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Hint of UPSC exam rollback

Congress workers protest against the NDA government in Delhi on Tuesday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha

New Delhi, July 16: The Centre today promised “no bias on the basis of language” and a sympathetic view towards protesting students, in what is being seen as indication of its readiness to roll back changes made in the civil services examination pattern three years ago.

Jitendra Singh, minister of state for personnel, promised an early solution and said the government was writing to the Arvind Verma committee that is examining the issue to submit an early report.

“We are writing to the committee to expedite the process and furnish its report at the earliest, considering the urgency of the matter…. We wish to convey… that there will be no bias allowed on the basis of language,” the minister said in a statement in the Lok Sabha after some heartland MPs raised a furore over the issue.

The protesting MPs, led by Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, alleged that the change in the UPSC pattern was biased in favour of English-educated examinees to the disadvantage of Hindi medium students.

The MPs demanded a discussion in the House and the Speaker agreed. It is likely either tomorrow or after the budget is passed.

The minister yesterday met the agitating students and asked them to end their protest, promising an early solution once the Verma committee report is received. He repeated the appeal in his statement in the Lok Sabha.

“The government is fully aware of the issue and is taking a sympathetic view of the same…. We urge upon these youngsters to end their protest and resume their normal routine,” Singh said.

Student organisations have staged protests outside the UPSC office here demanding scrapping of the civil services aptitude tests introduced in 2011 that test students on comprehension, logical reasoning and analytical ability.

Until three years ago, civil service examinees sitting for the preliminary test had to write two papers — general studies and a second one that could be chosen from a list of 23. Other than the language papers, candidates were allowed to write the exam in English or Hindi.

The protesters allege that the change in pattern benefits “upper class” English-educated students.