Several civil services aspirants and student union members are demanding some changes in the Civil Services exam, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. Students staged another protest outside the Parliament on Monday.
Some of their major demands include restoration of foreign languages as optional subjects, giving age relaxation to students and increasing the number of attempts. The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) has been involved in spearheading the agitation and this is part of a series of ongoing protests. “Of late, the UPSC has introduced a set of systematic changes in its subject list, syllabus and exam format which tend to put several aspirants at a disadvantage. We want a debate on this in Parliament and will continue to hold more protests,” says Akbar Chawdhary, president, JNUSU.
What civil services aspirants want
“We would want foreign languages such as Arabic and Persian to be included in the list of optional subjects as these are taught by more than 20 universities in the country. Shouldn’t the UPSC’s policies be more accommodative in the present context towards graduates and postgraduates trained in foreign languages from our university system,” asks Akbar Chawdhary, president, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, that is leading the protest.
Students are also against the new Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) pattern introduced in 2011 as it “does not create a level-playing field among students from humanities and different Indian language candidates.” “Students from non-technical streams and non-English background are at a disadvantage. The number of candidates clearing Prelims and appearing in Mains in non-English languages has gone down significantly post-CSAT (with the language medium of writing the common essay paper being the benchmark),” says Chawdhary.
Aspirants are demanding granting of fresh attempts and age relaxation to the candidates who are caught in the transition of syllabus change of 2011 and 2013. “We want the number of attempts to be increased to three. Earlier this year, the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection arbitrarily reduced the age limit and increased the minimum percentage required for applying in Bank PO. It was only after a struggle that this was rolled back. The UPSC should also give relaxation in the age criterion to aspirants,” he adds.