The protest against the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) — introduced in 2011 to replace the earlier preliminary examinations — is being stepped up with aspirants petitioning Ministers to review the United Progressive Alliance government’s decision on the premise that the new format favours English-medium students and those with a science background.
They are now approaching Ministers, with some even catching them at South Block as they entered the building for Cabinet meetings. Recently many Hindi-medium students took to the streets in the Capital — forcing authorities to shut down four Metro stations on one day.
Pointing out that the earlier format ensured that candidates from all sections of society and across the country found representation in the administrative system of the country, the protesting aspirants said that results since the CSAT was introduced showed that those selected were mainly from a Science and Management background with English-medium education.
According to a petition being circulated in the name of ‘UPSC Civil Services Examination Aspirants’, “there is a drastic decline not only in the number of candidates from Humanities but also those coming from rural India and from a vernacular medium of instruction’’.
Flagging data from the Union Public Service Commission’s annual reports, the aspirants underscored the bias against those taking the examinations in languages other than English. While the number of candidates who appeared for the essay paper in the Mains in English went up from 5,817 in 2008 to 9,203 in 2011, the number of those who took the same exam in other languages dropped considerably over the same time. In Hindi, the number went down from 5,082 to 1,682; in Kannada, 14 to five; in Tamil, 98 to 14; and in Telugu 117 to 29.