Despite government assurances to ensure no linguistic group suffers a disadvantage and a committee appointed by it to look into grievances of protesters with the stipulation that a report would be submitted within a week, there is no let-up in the agitation against language-based discrimination in civil service examinations. While ensuring an equal opportunity in the exams for all, the government cannot allow itself to be dictated to. The examinees cannot force a particular format for an examination. While the government should do everything to allay their genuine apprehensions on the basis of the expert committee report, there should be no rescheduling of the examinations that are slated to start on August 24.
The agitating students have been maintaining that the Civil Services Aptitude Test in the Union Public Service Commission examination favours those who are proficient in English and discriminates against Hindi and regional languages. They want the test to be scrapped. It was the Congress-led UPA government that had approved the changes in the examination pattern in 2010, replacing a previous optional subject in the UPSC preliminary examination with CSAT. Critics say the CSAT is tilted towards aspirants coming from science and engineering and management backgrounds. The agitation has taken a political shape and emotions are running high.
The government has clarified that the UPSC has already issued admission cards for the examination. There is little justification for continuing the protests after this. Once the expert panel gives its report, the government must make sure that the decision is implemented with alacrity. While parties must stop seeking to make political capital out of it, the government must desist from postponing a decision on the issue. A spirit of fair play must prevail but the government must also ensure the examination scheduled is not unduly disturbed.