UPSC aspirants will sit on an indefinite hunger strike from Monday, demanding compensatory attempts irrespective of their age or category. The candidates are out of the many who had appeared for the UPSC Civil Service prelims examination between 2011 to 14 when the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) was introduced in the prelims examination.
“Till now, we have sent 7,500 letters to the Prime Minister’s Office, and met so many ministers from various department, but the problem has not been solved. So we decided to sit for an indefinite hunger strike from Monday, December 31,” Shikha Vatsa, one of the protesters told indianexpress.com.
“We are not demanding for a job, but a fair chance should be provided to all the candidates who got affected due to government’s decision in changing the exam pattern between 2011 to 2015. From tomorrow we will fast unto death till the government met our demand,” said Harshit, another protester.
Seven years ago in 2011, the government introduced Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in Union Public Service Commission (UPSC Prelims), which according to many, was implemented to favour students from English medium and Engineering background.
The Nigvekar committee, which was appointed to examine the changes in the examination pattern, also observed that CSAT exam pattern gave more advantage to the English aspirants and candidates from the science background. Following this, though the Commission changed the syllabus for mains in 2013, the CSAT was made qualifying only in 2015.
“After the implementation of CSAT in UPSC prelims, selection of students from regional languages and from humanities background has declined,” mentioned the report submitted by the Nigvekar committee. “In 2009, 42.2% of the total qualifying candidates were from Hindi medium background which was reduced to 15 per cent in 2011,” the report analysed.
Changes of UPSC civil service exam pattern over the years
2011: Optional paper was replaced by the introduction of CSAT paper (civil service aptitude test as GS paper-II) at preliminary stage. No compensatory attempt was provided.
2012: changes in main exam syllabus, making it more generic leading to changes in question pattern entirely.
2013: Overhauling of entire main examination by replacing one optional paper with two general studies paper and these changes were notified only through notification without giving adequate time to aspirants to cope up with it. No compensatory attempt was provided.
2014: In CSAT paper, marks of questions from English comprehension were excluded for gradation of merit and it was announced in the examination hall itself.
2015: CSAT (GS paper-II) was made qualifying only without considering it for merit in preliminary exam. It was again notified just 90 days before the exam.
– Inputs from the report
Earlier, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said they have raised the issue several times and written to the government but the response has been “callous”. “I think this is inhuman because these youngsters are the future of our country. If these youngsters are denied the opportunity then you are having an elitist bias and promoting regional imbalances. We want the government to reconsider this and give these aspirants another chance,” Yechury said.
CPI leader D Raja is also in the team of MPs also expressed solidarity to the aspirants affected by the changes. “We are here to express solidarity with their demands and campaign. The government’s attitude remains very insensitive. This government talks about cooperative federalism but there is neither cooperation nor federalism. I urge the government to reconsider its decision,” D Raja said.
Recently, following a huge controversy regarding the reduction of age limit in UPSC, the government clarified that it is not considering any such proposal. “There is no move by Government to alter the age criteria of eligibility to appear in civil service examinations. Reports and speculations should be put to rest,” MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh said.