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UPSC exam to be held as per schedule on Aug 24: Govt

Last updated on: August 07, 2014 16:11 IST

The civil services examination will be held as per schedule on August 24, the government declared on Thursday in Parliament, while saying that consultations will be held with various parties and stakeholders on the matter after the current session.

"As for this year, there is no scope for postponement of (UPSC preliminary) examination," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said as opposition created uproar in Rajya Sabha demanding an all-party meeting immediately.

Civil services aspirants are agitating against more weightage given to English in the exam. Naidu said the UPSC issue requires "deep" study and discussion with political parties and other stakeholders as there are both sides of the argument about the CSAT in UPSC.

"After the session, government is ready to discuss it with all" to reach a consensus, he said, adding the government has taken a correct decision in this regard and minds of students should not be disturbed.

As members insisted for all-party meeting before August 24, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar said there is already a view among many members that it will not be possible to find a solution to the issue immediately.

"An all-party meeting has to take place to discuss wider reforms. We will inform about the date later on," he said. Earlier, government had announced marks of English will not be included for gradation or merit in UPSC exam. As soon as the House met for the day, opposition parties including SP and BSP raised the issue and demanded that government should immediately call an all-party meeting to resolve the matter as it affects lakhs of students.

In the Lok Sabha, All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam leader M Thambidurai made a strong plea that the UPSC exam should be conducted in all regional languages to provide level-playing field to students from all over the country.

"Changes cannot be done overnight. The issue of different Indian languages being allowed needs to be debated and discussed. It cannot be done in 10-15 days. The exam will be held on August 24... We will take a view after in-depth discussions with all concerned including UPSC," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

Raising the UPSC issue in Rajya Sabha, Satish Misra (Bahujan Samaj Party) wanted to know why the government was delaying an all-party meeting. He said in the past, all-party meetings have been convened held on important issues within 24 hours. Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal-United) demanded an all-party meeting on Thursday itself.

The Trinamool Congress and the Left parties raised the issue of Cabinet decision to open up railway infrastructure segment to FDI and raising the foreign investment cap in defence.

When Derek O'Brien (Trinamool Congress) said that news of liberalisation of FDI in the two sectors was reported by media, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the matter was discussed during debate on the railway and general budget and also at the time of the Finance Bill.

The cabinet only took formal decision on the budget announcements, Jaitley said. Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party of India-Marxist) pointed out that a notice for suspension of Question Hour was given, to which Chairman Hamid Ansari said the questions are important and Question Hour will not be suspended.

Amid uproar over the two issues, Chair adjourned the House for 15 minutes at around 11.15 am. When the House reassembled, the Question Hour was taken up. The issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha again during Zero Hour with Yechury asking whether the government intends to convene the all-party meeting before August 24.

He insisted that the all-party meeting be called before August 24, when the preliminary examination of UPSC is scheduled. Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U) demanded that government should call the meeting tomorrow or day after and rued that police cases have been registered against protesting UPSC aspirants.

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