UPSC row: Govt says it will not allow injustice to Civil Services aspirants

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 25 2014, 20:34pm hrs
Government today said it will not allow any injustice to students on the basis of language in UPSC examinations and has sought a report within a week from the three-member panel looking into the issue.

The assurance from Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh came in the Rajya Sabha after members expressed serious concern over the ongoing agitation of UPSC aspirants protesting the new Civil Services exam pattern and demanded cancellation of the exam scheduled on August 24.

Members, cutting across party lines, demanded a timeline for resolution of the issue and expressed dissatisfaction with the Minister's reply.

They said the Minister had in a statement sometime back assured that the problem will be resolved within a week, but appears helpless in doing so.

Singh said the issue of Admit Cards is not linked to the exam pattern and it will have no bearing on the government's decision, as it was being done as per the UPSC schedule.

"Government is not in favour of any injustice to students on the basis of language," Jitendra Singh told the House, adding he has asked the Committee to hand over the report within a week".

Allaying their apprehensions on the issue, the Minister said "The issue of Admit cards is not in any way going to influence the decision to be taken by the government. The cards have not been issued by us, but by the UPSC which follows a calender. The issue of Admit Cards, I can assure you, is not going to influence the further course of action," Singh told members in the Upper House.

He said "I assure you that within one week we have sought the report of the Committee...Today I have again told the Committee to give the report within one week. As the report comes, further action will follow."

Singh also reminded the Opposition that the three-member Committee was formed on March 12, 2014 as per Court directive during UPA tenure and it was to submit its report within a month but it did not do so.

Earlier, the Opposition created a ruckus in both the Houses over the issue.

Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice during Question Hour following Opposition's demand for a clarification by no other than the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House on the issue.

The matter figured in Lok Sabha too though it did not lead to any adjournment.

"It should not sound that this is our creation," Jitendra Singh said, adding the matter had come to light after a PIL and the UPA government took cognisance of the issue only after directions from a High Court judge in 2011.

He, however, said there were no agitations and demonstrations then.

Singh said a three-member Committee was formed thereafter but it did not give its report and, meanwhile, there was a change of government and now there is an agitation.

The Minister said that when the government approached the Committee it sought an extention. "We said we are giving you a three-month extention. We wrote to them to send the report at the earliest," he said, adding "today also, we have again told the Committee to give its report within a week."

He said the government is aware of what is happening and is looking at the issue with all seriousness and sensitivity.

"We should appeal to children that they should not put themselves in any physical trouble. We are looking at their problem with all seriousness," he said.

Earlier members cutting across party lines, including some from the ruling BJP, raised concerns over falling success rate of language students in UPSC exams.

Seeking clarification from the Minister on his statement made in both Houses earlier this week, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said discrimination is happening to language students in the UPSC exam and the number of those from Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and other languages successful in the exam was going down drastically while those with English have almost doubled.

He said no country can progress by the culture of translation and alleged a "bias" towards Indian languages to maintain the primacy of English in UPSC exams.

"Issuance of online admit cards should be immediately withdrawn. When will the Committee report come. The process of exams have already begun," he said.