Changes in Civils 2013
Union Public Service Commission vides Notice No. 04/2013-CSP dated 05.03.2013 has proposed certain changes in the Civil Services Main examination which are to come into effect from 2013. Unfortunately, certain changes are in violation of the fundamental right of Right to Equality (Article 14) and Right to Expression (Article 19). The following paras will elaborate the same.
1) In Page 11 of the notification, it mentions, Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and English précis) in English or Hindi. If the candidate has had his/ her graduation in any of the following language mediums using the particular language medium for qualifying the graduate level examination, then he/she may opt for that particular language medium to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and English précis).
[Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu]
This indicates that, if an aspirant medium of instruction in graduate level examination is not, Say, Gujrathi, he shall not be allowed to write the exam in Gujrathi. In the context of India, many students study in regional languages till twelfth (12th) standard. Though they shift to English medium in graduation, his level of proficiency in English cannot be compared with those studying in convents and cities. And when Hindi as medium of instruction is allowed in UPSC mains examination unconditionally, why other languages like Tamil, Telugu, Gujrathi etc cannot be allowed for aspirants as medium of language in UPSC mains examination. This step is a negation to the ‘idea’ of India that the founding fathers of the constitution envisaged.
To elaborate further, in Gujarat, the cadre on which I was born, 90 % of the candidates clearing the exam, qualify with language as an optional and use Gujrathi as the medium of instruction. This is true for many other states of India. This retrograde step will disrupt, destroy and dismantle the dreams of many of my fellow Indians.
My brother officer and mentor in life, Dr Subrahmanyam IRS, a college drop out, who worked as a bus cleaner, bus conductor and later as a mansion made it into the civil services examination with Telugu as an optional and with Telugu as the medium of language. Under the new rules, this humble man from Tekullapally from Khammam would never had become a civil servant unless he knew English (in which he was not proficient).
2) In Page 13 of the notification, it mentions, in the mains examination,
Essay: Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression. (200 marks)
English Comprehension & English Precis will be to test the English language Comprehension and English précis writing skills (at 10th standard level).(100 marks)
I may bring to your notice that PAPER –I consists of 300 marks, and the marks obtained in this paper will be taken into consideration while deciding the overall ranking in the examination. This provision is anti- rural and anti-poor. As 100 marks of English comprehension and English précis can create lot of disparities in the merit ranking, this is a retrograde step. I may also inform to you that, in the Civil Services preliminary examination, Civil Services aptitude test already puts to test the English skills of the aspirant. So, it is understood that, a candidate appearing for mains examination had already proved his English language abilities in the preliminary examination. While the marks in preliminary examination do not affect the overall ranking of the candidate, the mains marks will. So, this will put many rural and vernacular language aspirants to disadvantage.
Many argue that English is the lingua Franca of the world. But one should realise that English is necessary but not compulsory. UPSC was right in having a compulsory qualifying paper in English. But this new step to include marks in English for the final ranking is retrogressive.
In the Training to IAS officers at LBSNAA, MUSSOORIE, 40 % of the time spent in Phase-I of the training program is for language of the state to which the officer is allotted. Even Indian Foreign Service officers get training in French, Japanese, German etc. So, this excessive focus on English will only hamper the aspirations of rural India, a step to create a divide between ‘INDIA’ and ‘BHARATH’. How can we expect officers to formulate policies on poverty, when he never has seen what is poverty if not experienced.
3) In Page 11, it mentions that, in the mains examination, However, in the interest of maintaining the quality and standards of examination, a minimum number of 25 (twenty-five) candidates should opt for a specific language medium for answering the question papers in that language medium. In case there are less than 25 (twenty five) candidates opting for any approved language medium (other than English or Hindi), then those candidates will be required to write their examination either in Hindi or in English only.
The above provision will seriously limit the aspirations of Scheduled tribes in the country. If there is only One (1) aspirant who wants to write in Dogri/ Santhali etc, why is his freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution being curtailed. Then, he will have to write the examination only in Hindi/ English, in which his proficiency is limited. These provisions will further alienate the already alienated NorthEast. I remember at LBSNAA, Mr R.S.Pandey IAS, ex-chief Secretary of Nagaland that the Northeast suffers more from ‘psychological’ distance than ‘physical’ distance from the rest of India. These provisions corroborate his view further.
4) In Page 16 of notification, it mentions,
PAPER-VI & PAPER VII
Optional Subject Papers I & II
Candidates may choose any optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given in Para 2 (Group 1). However, if a candidate has graduated in any of the literatures of languages indicated in Group-2, with the literature as the main subject, then the candidate can also opt for that particular literature subject as an optional subject.
This provision implies that literature cannot be chosen as an optional if the candidate has not graduated in it. This means, a medical science graduate cannot opt for Telugu or Political Science graduate cannot opt for Gujrathi. This restrictive provision on the rights of the candidates to choose his optional paper serves no purpose and suggests lack of application of mind and logic. While a Tamil literature student can opt for Tamil, why can’t a doctor hailing from Tamilnadu opt for Tamil?
5) In page 10 of the notification, it mentions,
(i) Marks obtained by the candidates for all papers (Paper I-VII) will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination.
This provision is again ambiguous. In CAT examination, there are ‘SECTIONAL CUTOFF’ for each section and this is already notified by the examination conducting agency. But, UPSC only says it has the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination. This means, if a rural aspirant, in spite of doing well in all papers, but fails to qualify for the minimum marks in English paper; his selection into the merit list is near to impossible. Rules to the game need to be specified before the game starts not after the game ends, to favour the strong.
Apart from the above raised grievances, I may point out that the examination cycle is a one year process. There are candidates who are preparing since years for this examination. Introduction of new pattern without giving reasonable time to adjust for the changes is in violation of the principles of natural justice. May I also humbly submit, the proposed changes will only increase the role of coaching centers. Candidates who have been already coached will now be further coached to face the new subjects. This is just another way to expand the already existing hole in the pocket.
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher once said, ‘Change is the only constant in life’. While there are many changes which are introduced for spotting the right talent, like introduction of a new paper on ethics and integrity , world history, reducing marks of optionals to increase objectivity etc, a change that is in ‘ exclusion ‘ of a certain section of population is never a welcome step.
I pray that the above raised issues be given thought keeping in interest the larger sections of society and suitable changes be brought in. I humbly pray that debate and dissent from all quarters of society should emerge for consensus building on this critical issue. Every Concerned Indian should raise their ‘voice’ to enhance & expand the ‘choices’ of the citizens.
The author is Kankipati Rajesh, IAS
Assistant Collector (Under Training)
Junagadh, Gujarat Cadre
Source: The Hindu