In a move that could give sleepless nights to lakhs of civil service aspirants, the government on Sunday asked political parties to take a stand on the changes it wanted in the civil services preliminary exam conducted by the UPSC.
The four points on which the government has sought their opinion at the end of an all-party meeting include scrapping the civil service aptitude test (CSAT) introduced in 2011, reducing the analytical component of the aptitude paper or make the CSAT paper a qualifying paper. It has also asked if English language comprehension skills should be continued as part of the CSAT paper.
The move indicates that the format and content of the next civil services examination was not a closed chapter and could undergo drastic changes. But it would bring about a semblance of transparency before the examination format is finalized.
The Modi government, however, was left with little option after Congress leaders joined the opposition to criticise changes to the civil services examination introduced by the previous UPA government.
Political parties will be given a background note within the next three days and will have to revert with their views on the points within 15 days, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu announced after the meeting.
“Political parties need to discuss it amongst themselves because as you are all aware there are divergent views. So people are very sensitive. And then, we are dealing with the future of lot of youngsters who want to join the administrative service. So we have to study the pros and cons of any changes, any additions, deletions or alterations and then, take a final view,” Naidu later declared.
J’khand IAS officer is next UPsc chairman
In a departure from the seniority principle, the Modi government has appointed a Jharkhand cadre IAS officer Deepak Gupta as the next UPSC chairman rather than elevate the senior-most member, Alka Sirohi.
Government sources said the convention of appointing the senior-most member had been violated on just two or three times in the past.
Gupta was sworn-in to the post by the outgoing chairperson Rajni Razdan on Saturday evening. The government had earlier in August appointed Razdan to the post though her term at the commission was to end on 22 November.