a relief to thousands of civil service aspirants, candidates for the Union
Public Service Commission main examination can now give their personality test
interview in a language different from the one they choose for the written
paper. English will no longer be the mandatory medium for the interview, even if
the examination is written in that language.
In a nation where joining the civil services is still
considered a big deal, more than 4.8 lakh students appeared for the preliminary
UPSC examination this year. The results are expected around August after which
the main examination is likely to be held at the year end, in which the
candidates' list is expected to be whittled down to approximately 13,000. The
list of vacancies would be a fraction at about 1,000 going by the 2010 figures
where only the most deserving will get selected. But starting next year, the
personality test interviews will be much easier and a relaxed affair. They can
even give the test in their mother tongue, if it figures in one of the languages
in the eighth schedule.
UPSC under secretary M Mukhopadhyay on Thursday informed the
Bombay High Court of the far-reaching recommendations made by an expert
committee and accepted by the commission. Accordingly, candidates who opt for an
Indian language (other than Hindi) for the written part of the exam will be
allowed to choose the same language or English or Hindi as the medium for the
interview. Similarly, the UPSC affidavit submitted by its counsel, Rui Rodrigues,
also said that from now on, "candidates opting to write the civil services
(main) paper in English may be given the option to be interviewed either in
English or Hindi or any other Indian language opted by them for the compulsory
Indian language paper in the written part".
However, those candidates who are exempt from the compulsory
Indian language paper will have to appear for the interview in English or Hindi
only. The decision is a step in ruling out injustice and towards creating a
level playing field for scores of candidates across India since English is not a
native language and regional languages are the primary medium of instruction in
scores of schools.