Amid a nation-wide controversy, the Union Public Service Commission has withdrawn changes suggested by it in civil services mains examination, dropping mandatory English language paper requirement.
The UPSC, which conducts the prestigious examination to select Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service officers among other, issued a corrigendum on Tuesday restoring the earlier practice of two qualifying papers in any Indian language and English, the marks obtained on which will not be counted for ranking."The papers on Indian languages and English will be of matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only.
The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking," it said. The aim of papers on Indian language and English is to test the candidates' ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express their ideas clearly and correctly, the corrigendum said.
There will also be separate papers on ‘ethics, integrity and aptitude’ and ‘essay’ of 250 marks each for the candidates taking the mains examination.
The paper on ethics, integrity and aptitude will include questions to test candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society.
The aspirants will be required to write an essay on a specific topic and in their own choice of language. Under the earlier controversial norm put forth by the commission, a language would be allowed as the medium of examination only if a minimum of 25 candidates wanted it.
"It may also be noted that there is no change in the pattern of civil services (preliminary) examination, which will be held on May 26, 2013," the UPSC said.
The UPSC had on March 5 issued a circular giving more weightage to English language. The move had led to an uproar inside and outside Parliament forcing the government to keep it in abeyance on March 15.
Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy had told Lok Sabha that 'status quo ante' will be maintained on the suggested changes. Now, a candidate would be allowed to take up literature as an optional subject ‘without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language's literature’.
From civil services (mains) exams, 2013, there will be two qualifying papers of 300 marks each and five compulsory general studies papers (including one on ethics, integrity and aptitude) of 250 marks each, in addition to one optional paper of 250 marks.
There will also be a interview, for those who qualify the written exam, of 275 marks, taking the total of mains examination marks to 2025. The last date for filling online application for civil services preliminary examination is April 4. The mains examination will be called sometime in August/September, this year.