The English essay paper of 100 marks in the 2013 Civil Services Main Examination, which raised a nation-wide controversy, has been dropped and the earlier practice of two qualifying papers in any Indian language and English restored, the government said on Thursday.

“The English component [of 100 marks] from the essay paper will be dropped and the status quo ante of two qualifying papers of 300 marks each in any modern Indian language and in English shall be restored,” Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy said in the Lok Sabha. In a statement on the issue, he said the essay paper would now be of 250 marks to be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice.

Bowing to all-round pressure in Parliament, the government on March 15 had kept in abeyance the recent controversial notification of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), giving more weightage to English in these exams.

As before, the candidates would be allowed to use any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination, he said.

The controversial conditionality imposed by the UPSC that language would be allowed as the medium of examination only if a minimum of 25 candidates wanted it, has been dropped, Mr. Narayanasamy said.

Further, he said a candidate would be allowed to take up literature as an optional subject “without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language’s literature.”

The Minister said these decisions were taken after the government took into account the views expressed by MPs in Parliament, representations on the notification and consultation with different agencies.

The government had kept the UPSC notification in abeyance after the two Houses of Parliament witnessed repeated uproar and adjournments.

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