The government on Friday put on hold a controversial Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) notification making proficiency in English a requirement for aspirants of the civil services as most Lok Sabha members opposed it.
Most members were furious over the Constitution-backed independent UPSC’s decision to the extent that many MPs requested the government to take action against the Commission chairman and other bureaucrats for “being a friend” of the Raj legacy and “English loyalist”, apart from a roll back.
Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanswamy informed the House that “the government has taken note of the views of the MPs. We will call the UPSC chairman and others for a meeting to find a way out. But in between we will keep notification in abeyance.”
After three adjournments owing to disruptions in the Lok Sabha, which witnessed members from different parties raising slogans and walking up to the well to demand discussion on the Pakistan parliament resolution condemning hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and rollback of the new UPSC notification, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav initiated the debate on restoring regional languages for writing the exams.
Yadav charged that the move was part of a “conspiracy”. “We want to know why this insult to Hindi. All the party MPs want to know the identity of UPSC officers who were instrumental in approving of the move to make English as the language in exams at the cost of regional ones so that he could be punished”.
Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav went a step ahead by demanding the impeachment of the UPSC chairman. “It is injustice to regional languages as well as to backward classes. You don’t want to make students of schools in rural areas where English is not taught to become bureaucrats,” BJP deputy leader of opposition Gopi Nath Munde charged.
TK Elangovan (DMK) described it as an authoritarian the act of UPSC as English is the not the official but a link language in the country. He said that the DMK for years has been demanding that all regional languages should be made official language of the Centre.
AIADMK’s Thambu Durai said there is discrimination even in Parliament as the secretariat does not have linguists to translate Telugu into English. Some of the MPs were of the view that the changed exam pattern will produce English-speaking elite in the country.
Ajay Kumar, a former police officer, said the country would revert to pre-1980 situation when aspirants did not have option to write exams in regional languages due to which IPS, IAS and IFS officers felt that they were “rajas.”
He said retired bureaucrats dominate the UPSC.
Earlier in the house, MPs shouted slogans like, “There will be no work in English. The country will not be a slave again” and “remove English, save the nation”.