Language papers will be of qualifying nature, marks won’t be counted for ranking

Following a nationwide controversy over the changes it had suggested in the civil services mains examination, the Union Public Service Commission on Thursday dropped the requirement of mandatory English language paper.

The UPSC, whose move to give added weightage to English language, led to uproar within and outside Parliament and forced the government to keep it in abeyance, has issued a corrigendum, restoring the earlier practice of candidates sitting for two qualifying papers in any Indian language and English, the marks obtained in which will not be counted for ranking.

“The papers on Indian languages and English will be of matriculation or equivalent standard and will only be of a qualifying nature.” The aim is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express their ideas clearly and correctly, says the corrigendum.

There will be a separate paper on “ethics, integrity and aptitude” and an “essay” carrying 250 marks in the mains examination.

The paper on ethics, integrity and aptitude will test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues of integrity, probity in public life, and problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by them in dealing with society.

The aspirants will be required to write an essay on a specific topic in their own choice of language.

Under the earlier controversial norm, a language would be allowed as a medium of examination only if a minimum of 25 candidates so desired.

Now a candidate will be allowed to take up literature as an optional subject “without the conditionality of graduation in that language’s literature”.

From 2013, the Civil Services (Mains) examinations will have two qualifying papers of 300 marks each and five compulsory general studies papers (including one on ethics, integrity and aptitude) of 250 marks each, besides an optional paper carrying 250 marks.

There will be an interview for those who qualify in the written examination.

The UPSC said, “There is no change in the pattern of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, which will be held on May 26.”

The last date for filling online applications is April 4.

The Mains will be held in August/September.

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