Civil service hopefuls seek Prime Minister's attention

A section of civil service aspirants demanding dilution of ‘English component’ in the preliminary Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) tried to march to Race Course Road on Wednesday.

The protesters said Modi’s election has sparked hope for them. “Only two per cent of Hindi students passed Civil Services exams this year. Earlier, our representation was over 10 per cent,” said Durgesh Tripathi, arguing that selection of Hindi medium students has dipped ever since Union Public Service Commission introduced a new screening test for Civil Services Mains Examination. 

Tripathi had qualified to the interview round twice before CSAT was introduced in 2011. He said the screening test is tailor-made for ‘anglophones’ coming out of elite institutions like IITs and IIMs. 

“Mandatory English comprehension, logical and analytical reasoning is a deterrent for Hindi medium students. And this is why so many from Engineering background get selected,” Tripathi said, adding that the government should rollback screening test.

On their march to PM’s residence, the protesters – most of whom are preparing for Civil Services exams in Delhi – were stopped by police barricades. They blocked government vehicles trying to get past the barrier.

“Our government is serious about vernacular languages. We will take it up in the cabinet’s meet today,” said Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister of Urban Development, whose vehicle was also stopped by them.  

“Hindi k acche din aney chahiye (Better days should come for Hindi),” said Sunil Sharma, another Civil Services aspirant. “The passage for English comprehension is lifted from New York Times or books of foreign authors. How are we supposed to understand it? They say your English should be at least of class 10 level. But this is Cambridge level,” he added. 

The group said Hindi medium students suffer disadvantage because CSAT has cut down on general studies portion. “We perform better in GS section,” said Tripathi.

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