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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Govt calls all-party meet to break CSAT deadlock

Agencies  New Delhi, August 06, 2014
First Published: 14:01 IST(6/8/2014) | Last Updated: 21:21 IST(6/8/2014)

Under fire from the opposition on the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) row, the government on Wednesday decided to convene an all-party meeting on the issue while indicating its unwillingness to postpone the civil services preliminary examination scheduled for August 24.

For several weeks now, civil services aspirants have been protesting against the introduction of CSAT paper and pressing for scrapping it.

The matter, which has disrupted parliamentary proceedings during the past week, rocked Rajya Sabha again with members from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India (CPI), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) staged a walkout.

Participating in a brief discussion on the issue, D Raja of CPI said: "UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) should make available question papers in all Indian languages".

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, said: "The government took a step after a lot of consideration and thought. This problem was started by Congress and UPA. Now the NDA and BJP has come up with a proper solution for that," Naqvi said.

Responding to the debate, minister of state for parliamentary affairs Prakash Javadekar said the government will convene an all-party meeting on the issue.

Read: Govt says no more changes to UPSC exam

"We will convene an all-party meeting to seek the views of the leaders on bringing reforms in the pattern of civil services examinations conducted by the UPSC," Javadekar said.

Maintaining that it was a sensitive issue, which has many aspects, the minister said a discussion is needed to determine on whether a major reform of the examination pattern of the UPSC is required.

"If there is need, more such meetings can take place,” he added.

Noting that nine lakh students are appearing for the August 24 preliminary test of the UPSC, the minister urged the members, "Let us give our best wishes to all those, who are taking the August 24 exam."

Reacting sharply to the suggestion by the minister, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI-M said the views of all the parties have already come in the House and asked why does not the government take a decision on that basis rather than calling an all-party meeting.

Members from the CPI-M, including P Rajeeve, wanted to know the "status quo" asking whether the statement given by the minister of DoPT Jitender Singh earlier on the issue now remains valid after Javadekar's remarks.

Watch: BJP holds UPA government responsible for UPSC row

"What is the status quo? Is it incorporative of the UPSC notification," Rajeeve asked.

Deputy chairman P J Kurien tried to pacify the members saying, "The minister has not said that the statement is invalid."

"Do not apply delaying tactics. Government should say what is the status quo... This is not satisfactory. That is why we are staging a walk out," Yechury said before joining members of SP, BSP and CPI in the walkout.

The upper house was then adjourned till 2pm.

Blaming the previous UPA government for row over the UPSC issue, the Bharatiya Janata Party had said on Tuesday that the Narendra Modi government has taken best possible steps it could have under the given circumstances.

Stating that there is no confusion on the issue, BJP blamed Congress and some other opposition parties for creating confusion for "political reasons".

Opposition parties had disrupted Parliament on Tuesday as well demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The opposition made a strong pitch for setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the matter, saying it involved the career of lakhs of students.

The government on Monday had said that the marks in English language comprehension skills in the CSAT would not be included in preparing the merit list.

Minister of state in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha that the exams have been thus made "language neutral".

He also announced that candidates who appeared in Civil Services Examination 2011 may be allowed one more attempt in 2015.

(With PTI and IANS inputs)


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