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Lakhs appear in civil services prelims exam

PTI 24 Aug 2014, 18:03:15 PM IST
New Delhi: Lakhs of students today appeared for Civil Services preliminary examination, which was mired in controversy over demand of change in its pattern, at various centres across the country.

The preliminary examination consisting of two papers (Paper I and Paper II) of two hours duration each was held without any reported incidents of protests, official sources said.

The first paper began at 9:30 AM and second started at 2:30 PM.

Some of the students complained of few alleged errors in Hindi translation of questions asked in English language in Paper I.

There were no comments either from the government or Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on the students claim over errors in the translations.

About nine lakh students have applied for the examination. A controversy had recently erupted over the pattern of examination as students demanding change in the pattern of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) or Paper II, had taken to the streets waging a violent agitation.

In the wake of such protests, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh had on August 4 said in Parliament that marks of the English section questions, asked in Paper II, will not be included for gradation or merit in civil services exam.  

The Department of Personnel and Training, and UPSC had issued separate instructions not to attempt questions of English language comprehension skills asked in Paper II of the examination as their marks will not be included in the gradation or deciding on merit.

The Paper II carries questions on comprehension, interpersonal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision-making and problem-solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy and English language comprehension skills (of Class X level).  

However, a group of students said they will continue with the protest.

“We are against the pattern of civil services examination.  We want a change in its pattern,” said Sampoornanda, who is part of a students' movement ‘Nagrik Adhikaar Manch' for the cause.

Another aspirant, who had enrolled for the exam but did not take it, said, “We will not disturb the examination and those taking it. But we will continue with our demands of scrapping Paper II of the preliminary examination unless government brings necessary changes in it.”

The prestigious civil services examination is conducted in three stages—preliminary, main and interview—by the UPSC to select IAS, IFS and IPS officers among others.  

Hearing an eleventh-hour petition filed by a group of protesting students, the Supreme Court had yesterday declined to postpone today's preliminary examination.