The government and UPSC have decided to withdraw all controversial language changes to the civil services examination but will go ahead with other reforms to have four general studies papers instead of two.
Government sources said the decision was taken at the meeting of the Union Public Service Commission representatives with minister of state for personnel, V Narayanasamy on Wednesday.
The restrictions on writing the examination in a regional language are being withdrawn under this formula. Besides, a 100 mark English paper – whose marks were to be counted to draw up the merit list – is also being scrapped.
Narayanasamy last week told angry Lok Sabha MPs that the government would keep the notification in abeyance and maintain status quo ante, a Latin phrase for the way things were before.
But the UPSC – that had been furiously pushing the changes despite reservations on the timing of the changes just ahead of the examination – was able to persuade the department not to scrap the reforms lock, stock and barrel.
“It has been decided to make changes on the contentious language issue to the satisfaction of the MPs. All their concerns have been addressed,” a government official told HT, pointing that a strong view had emerged during discussions over the last few days not to withdraw all changes.
The official, however, refused to get into the details of the final set of rules.
“The government may like to make a statement in the Lok Sabha informing MPs about the decision,” he said. This would, however, depend on the presiding officer and the political turmoil.
Incidentally, the department of personnel officials and Narayanasamy had opposed the two contentious language changes when the UPSC had first proposed them.
A government source said the civil servants had made the same arguments that MPs made in Parliament; that they would tilt the balance in favour of Hindi-speaking candidates and give urban candidates an edge.