Uproar in Rajya Sabha over UPSC issue

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 5 2014, 21:04pm hrs
CSATNoisy scenes continued in the House even after Opposition members spoke on the issue demanding scrapping of the CSAT pattern of examination and seeking question papers of Preliminary Examination in all languges.
Question Hour was again a casualty in the Rajya Sabha today as Opposition members created an uproar over the UPSC issue trooping into the well and forcing adjournament of the House for half-an-hour.

As soon as the House assembled for the day and the Chairman tried to take up Question Hour, members from Congress, SP, BSP, CPI-M, CPI, DMK and AIADMK were on their feet raising the UPSC matter.

Noisy scenes continued in the House even after Opposition members spoke on the issue demanding scrapping of the CSAT pattern of examination and seeking question papers of Preliminary Examination in all languges.

After his fervent appeals to allow Question Hour to take place did not have an impact, Chairman Hamid Ansari, apparently agitated, told the members that he will call a meeting of the Rajya Sabha Committee to decide whether the Question Hour is desired or not.

"If you do not want to have a Question Hour, I will have a committee meeting and you decide whether you want to have a Question Hour or not...Government has explained its position (on the issue).

"If you want a discussion, give a notice...You cannot raise extraneous matters in Question Hour," Ansari remarked.

AIADMK members trooped into the well seeking a response from the government and demanding that question papers of the UPSC exams should be in Tamil language.

Though the Congress has demanded scrapping of the CSAT pattern of exams alleging that it favours students from English background at the expense of those from Indian languages, party members B K Hariprasad and J D Seelam from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh respectively struck a discordant note.

Noting that he hails from a region whose languages is not one among 22 Indian languages in the eighth schedule and wondering what will happen to them, Hariprasad demanded that "status quo should be maintained".

J D Seelam (Cong) felt "taking away English will be a disadvantage for all non-Hindi states".

As Seelam was in the aisles speaking loudly, a visibly upset Ansari said "You are no body here...you cannot talk from there". The remarks angered some members.

As the din continued, Ansari adjourned the House till noon.

Ansari had earlier told Seelam "I'm afraid you cannot indulge in agitational tactics here. You had been a minister" when he noticed the Congress member raising his voice from his seat.

The Chairman had directed him to sit down when Seelam again rose to speak.

As members continued raising the issue and pressed for a debate, the Rajya Sabha Chairman said "give a notice for a debate. It will happen in due process. Debates won't happen like that. I am sorry demand for a debate cannot be made this way."

Ansari was visibly upset as the AIADMK members kept shouting slogans in the well. After urging the members to go back to their seats and telling them that their behaviour is "not becoming" of a Rajya Sabha MP, he also jotted down

something on a piece of paper and sent it to V Maitreyan.

Later, Maitreyan called back the agitating AIADMK members into the aisle.

Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) said keeping in mind the national languages, the CSAT pattern should be scrapped and rejected the government's decision announced yesterday as "all the more wrong".

Keen to defuse the escalating UPSC row, the Government today announced in Parliament that English marks in CSAT-II will not be included for gradation or merit.

The government had, however, refused to yield to the demand of the civil service aspirants for doing away with Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Ramgopal Yadav (SP) said Indian languages should be allowed replacing the provision to make English compulsory.

Derek 'O' Brien (TMC) said the option given to students to write their answers in any language in the main exams should also be extended to preliminary tests of UPSC.

Kanimozhi (DMK) said all Indian languages should be included in preliminary exams so that students, who do not know English or Hindi do not face any problem.

Pramod Tewari (Congress) said the voice of the UPSC aspirants and students should also be included when the government finds a solution to the issue.

D Raja (CPI) said question papers should also be made available in all 22 languages. V. Maitreyan (AIADMK) and P Rajeeve (CPI-M) also raised the same demand.

Giving figures, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the number of students from language backgrounds like Telugu and Tamil is coming down.

Congress member M S Gill, who had earlier opposed the protests on the examination pattern, said members from Hindi states need not try to explain what the rest 22 langugages want and that if translation of question paper is to be done, it should be done in all languages and not just Hindi.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (BJP) countered the Opposition attack saying the problem was created during the Congress-led UPA rule which the NDA government is now trying to resolve.

"Government has handled the demand of students and youths regarding UPSC with sensitivity and intelligence. It is definitely a problem created by Congress and UPA which is being resolved by the NDA government.

"Will a discussion take place on the same issue everyday You have done and we have to pay for it. We are not only paying for it but also trying to resolve the issue," he said.

In the din, Health Minister Harshvardhan made a statement in reply to a starred question about the prevalence of anaemia and mineral deficienices among women. It was the only question taken up in the din as Opposition members disallowed Question Hour to proceed further.