Amid protests from civil services aspirants against the new exam pattern, the government on Sunday convened a high-level meeting to resolve the issue. The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh among others.
“There was a discussion on the issue and ways to resolve it,” a senior government official, who attended the meeting, said.
A decision on whether or not to change the syllabus of civil services examination and postpone the preliminary test, slated to be held on August 24, is likely to be taken soon, he said. The meeting, which was held at the Home Minister’s residence, was also attended by S K Sarkar, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and officials from the PMO and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Civil services aspirants have been protesting in the national capital and demanding change in the pattern of civil services preliminary examination. The issue has been raised in Parliament too. The government has urged them to call off their protest which intensified from Thursday night after the UPSC, which conducts the examination, started issuing admit cards to the aspirants for the preliminary exam scheduled to be held next month.
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A three-member government appointed committee is looking into the demands of civil services aspirants to change the pattern of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) to give level-playing field to those coming from rural areas. Jitendra Singh, who is also the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, had earlier urged the UPSC to postpone the preliminary exam in view of the students demand.
There are two compulsory papers of 200 marks each in the preliminary examination. These papers are also known as CSAT I and CSAT II. The CSAT-II paper carries questions on comprehension, interpersonal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision-making and problem- solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy, and English language comprehension skills (of Class X level).
Students have been objecting to the level of aptitude and English language questions being asked in the CSAT II paper claiming they are much above the standard prescribed for the examination. The civil services examination is conducted in three stages– preliminary, main, and interview– to choose candidates for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.