"Take That, C-SAT" Say Irate UPSC Aspirants

“Take That, C-SAT” Say Irate UPSC Aspirants

These are testing times for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) as candidates have intensified their protests against the C-SAT/Aptitude Test paper in English. The Modi government sought to assure the Parliament that it would not allow injustice to the students on the basis of language. The Minister of State in the PMO indicated that the government does "not wish to link language with skill,” as he spoke to the RS about this matter.

However, the minister declined to intervene regarding the cancellation of admit cards issued for this year's examination indicating that the procedure was as per the calender of the UPSC. The minister has been quoted by the media as saying “The issuance of admit cards by the UPSC is not a government decision and is not going to influence our further course of action”.

With pro and anti arguments for the bone of contention existing in plenty, it is not surprising that turmoil reigned supreme in the Parliament's Lower House as well. The House was adjourned twice as members kept demanding a statement from the PM. In the LS, the troika of Samajwadi Party, JDU and RJD railed against the alleged discrimination against Hindi as well as regional languages on account of the English C-SAT.

As a statement on this issue had already been made by the Home Minister, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan turned down the request for suspension of question hour. Seeking to assuage the warring triumvirate, the Speaker attempted to be the bridge over troubled waters. Mr. Singh also sought to defuse the tension holding that the former UPA government introduced aptitude test papers in English in the preliminary examination since 2010 and the questions were of précis or objective type 10th standard papers that sought to find out the working knowledge of English. Mr. Singh also questioned why nobody objected then.

It was in the year 2012 that a PIL had been filed and following an HC order, the UPA government set up a 3 member committee to examine the matter. The panel asked for three months extension citing inability to submit the report in the stipulated one month. With a new government at the helm, a new approach is clearly needed to tackle this issue. Mr. Singh indicated that the committee is asked to submit its report in 1 week following which a course of action will be taken. While the panel deliberates, the affected students are the ones who are in trouble. A future course of action that is fair to them must be chosen. India prides itself on its regional and linguistic diversity . This is a strength in many ways. On the other hand, many media reports are questioning how an officer can function if he or she does not know English as the language is widely used in diplomatic and administrative circles.

But the question arises as to whether this justifies a compulsory paper in English when many Indians have no access to English medium education. It may also lead to skewed demographics when it comes to representation of regional and linguistic diversity in the civil services. JD(U) President Sharad Yadav took to numbers to make his point. He read out statistics to demonstrate how participation of students with languages such as Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu as their mother tongue has declined in recent times while that of English medium students has doubled since the year 2008.

Kanimozhi of the DMK said the present system helps the "creamy layer" fluent in Hindi and English alone. CPI member D. Raja wanted the UPSC notification for admit cards reconsidered and withdrawn. He insisted that the languages in the Eighth Schedule be allowed for the preliminary examinations.

Numerous UPSC aspirants have been angered at the discrimination towards Hindi speaking and regional candidates and have resorted to protests. While many have criticised the protesters as firebrands, the bigger question is why let the situation arise in the first place? Surely some measures should have been taken to resolve the issue by either the NDA or the UPA government so that this rigmarole would not ensue. When it comes to one of the premier competitive examinations such as the UPSC, only the best make the cut. But choosing to draw lines on the basis of language is debatable.

Like every other issue, there are pluses and minuses at every point. The question is which viewpoint the government will choose to adopt. With many of the protesting students alleging that changes in the preliminary and main examinations are discriminatory for not only Hindi medium and regional students but also those from the Humanities, a lot more questions have been raised besides language. With so many youngsters placing their hopes on this examination for a career as an officer, the government should try to hear all the voices before making up its mind.
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  • gojivymrbj -ogzqunlhd (10/03/23)
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  • RE: "Take That, C-SAT" Say Irate UPSC Aspirants -Ashutosh negi (08/02/14)
  • hindi must be respected as far as a concern of upsc examinations. there are plunty of students from rural areas who passed their 10+2+3 examinations in Hindi medium. so papers must be in hindi also.

    it is not a sound reason that as an administrative officer knowing English is must..there are other necessary things also like good perception about any matter , problem solving skills, and many more.

    and lastly I want to say English is not so important, its mere a language. .there are many coaching centers in india who helps anyone to learn English within 2 months...

    right attitude towards ur work is more important then knowing English.