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UPSC CSAT-hit aspirants to sit on indefinite hunger strike as demands not met, gets Congress support

UPSC CSE 2019: "As our demand has not been met, mass hunger strike and #NOATTEMPTNOVOTE oath-taking movement will begin by lighting candles in all regional centres across the country," Shikha Vatsa, a protester said

Written by Arnab Mitra | New Delhi | Updated: February 19, 2019 4:13:27 pm
upsc cse, upsc cse 2019, upsc, upsc cse exam 2019, upsc cse exam, upsc cse 2019 exam, upsc csat, upsc csat 2019, upsc csat paper 2019, upsc civil service exam 2019 The CSAT-hit UPSC victims were in protest earlier this year. File Photo

UPSC CSE 2019: Union Public Service (UPSC) Civil Service aspirants affected by Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) will sit on an an indefinite hunger strike as their demands on providing compensatory attempts, irrespective of age and attempts, are not accepted. The Union Public Service Commission has released the Civil Service Examination (CSE) notification on February 19.

Speaking to, Shikha Vatsa, a protester said, “As our demand has not been met, mass hunger strike and #NOATTEMPTNOVOTE oath-taking movement will begin by lighting candles in all regional centres across the country.” Vatsa and a group of 80 to 100 people have been protesting since last year against the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), that was introduced in 2011.

READ | UPSC CSE prelims 2019 notification to release today; documents required 

The protesting students also received support from various political parties. The Congress, in a press release, backed the protesting students.

“2.5 lakh affected aspirants have been protesting to get an opportunity at compensatory attempt to appear for Civil Service Exam as at least four attempts were disturbed owing to “abrupt and frequent” alterations in pattern of the all India civil service exams after the introduction of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in 2011 prelims,” the release said.

All India Congress Committee national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted: “Today in Delhi, young students are protesting against Modi government which has been insensitive to their demands for equal opportunities. My statement in solidarity with the students. #UPSC #YouthAgainstModi.”

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had assured the protesting candidates that the issue will be resolved and they would be given compensatory attempts from 2019 onwards, regardless of age and attempts.

“The issue regarding the CSAT-victims had been discussed in the cabinet meeting and notification for the same will be issued shortly,” Tiwari had said.

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 favoured aspirants from English medium institutes and candidates who had studied science. Following this, though the Commission changed the syllabus for mains in 2013, the CSAT was made qualifying only in 2015.

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“After the implementation of CSAT in UPSC prelims, selection of students from regional languages and from humanities background has declined,” said the report submitted by the Nigvekar committee. “In 2009, 42.2 per cent of the total qualifying candidates were from Hindi medium background which was reduced to 15 per cent in 2011,” the Nigvekar report said.

Changes of UPSC civil service exam pattern over the years

The Nigvekar committee said there were multiple changes over the years. Here’s what the report said:

2011: Optional paper was replaced by the introduction of CSAT paper (civil service aptitude test as GS paper-II) at the 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.

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