“New UPSC Rules were to Test Communication Skills”
Amid criticism of the new UPSC rules that sought to make
English compulsory in the civil services exam (proposed changes have since been
put on hold) the former UGC chairman Arun S. Nigavekar, who headed the committee
of experts which gave the recommendations, said it had not emphasised any
particular language but only sought to judge a candidate’s communication
“The committee suggested an examination pattern which shall
judge a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively, be it in any language,”
the top academician told PTI, adding that the issue of language was not in the
committee’s “terms of reference.”
He declined to comment on whether the inclusion of English in the civil
services main exam was part of his committee’s recommendations.
The panel underlined qualities a 21st-century civil servant should possess to
deal with the multidimensional challenges of the present-day world, Mr.
“In our recommendations, we gave a broader and generic outline of the same,”
Noting that a civil servant’s job was becoming increasingly
demanding and a prospective bureaucrat would now be introduced to a
comparatively more challenging work environment, the committee suggested an
examination pattern that tested the candidates’ ability to employ his knowledge
at the operative level. As per the changes proposed, a 100-marks paper of
English comprehension and précis was to replace the English and Indian language
papers that had been of a qualifying nature and whose marks were not included in
the merit list.
The new proposed pattern sparked protests, with the Chief
Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and
Jayalalithaa, expressing their opposition and seeking Prime Minister Manmohan
In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the Commission’s exams in
the State if its demand to include Marathi in the syllabus was not met. The
issue was also raised in Parliament.
“A civil servant shall not only identify the problems of his
area, he should also be able to effectively communicate the same to his higher
authorities, so that a solution can be found,” Mr. Nigavekar said over phone
from Pune on the panel’s recommendations.
Asked whether the new pattern would have virtually blocked
the entry of aspirants who had obtained their education through the medium of
Indian languages, he said the recommendations were made keeping in mind the
existing structure of education in the country and no “expertise” over any
particular subject was stressed upon.
Courtesy: The Hindu