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India's Mission to Mars - Will it lead to a heightened scientific temper of Indians.?

The civil service examination is being conducted by UPSC for years as a means of selection of the most efficient persons for the esteemed posts of IAS, IPS, IFS and other central government service posts. People holding these posts are literally the framers of the future of our country. So the means of selecting them should be a tough one to get the best of the best. The civil service examination, as of now is divided into three phases. Every year approximately 2lakh people sit for the preliminary examination, from them, approximately 10-12 thousand qualify for the main! After the mains, about 3-4 thousand of them qualify for the Interview round, and finally about 900-1000 are recruited every year for the various posts. These approximated figures make it clear that it's not a cat-walk to crack the examination.

Now if we look into the subject matter of the essay topic, it is asked whether the examination or rather it's pattern needs to change. Before getting into that, we should know about the history of the examination and the changes it has undergone from the time it has started.

Initially during the British rule, the Indian Civil Service Examination used to be conducted in Britain. Also, only the British citizens were allowed to sit for the examination. It was only after a long-lasting struggle that the examination started in India and Indian citizens were allowed to sit for the exam.

UPSC always tries to upgrade the exam and for this purpose, it takes suggestions from the Sakaria Commission Report. There are certain changes that took place over the years. Here we are discussing about some of the major changes that took place from 2011.

  1. Previously Preliminary exam used to consist of general studies paper along with two optional papers. But with time, it was understood that the optional papers are making the examination easier for those who are experts in mugging up. There is no possibility to test the basic common sense a person has, his abilities to make quick decisions or to test his logical abilities. Considering these shortcomings of the Civil Service exam, UPSC brought about a major change from 2011. The preliminary exam was to consist of general studies paper a CSAT(Civil Service Aptitude Test) paper, which was to consist of English Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, Arithmetic Aptitude, Grammar and Vocabulary questions , which provided the means of judging a person from all angles.
  2. Also in Mains, instead of two optional papers, one optional paper system was started and the marks for General Studies paper was increased.
  3. Recently in 2014, there was unrest among people for the English comprehension and other English Language questions. The demand raised was that it is being difficult for the rural people and others who are opting for the exam in Hindi to get through these questions, specially when time is a concern. As it is rather an elimination round, there were complaints that it was unfair.

Still there are oppositions among people regarding the introduction of CSAT paper, even some consider it as a favoring factor for the urban students. But they are not considering the underlying issue. When changes are being considered about the civil service exams, the real motive is to bring about a change in the civil services. The Civil servant has to face various problems during his service, including unrests and other situations of crisis, in which his quick decision making will only help him out. Thus it is better to test the presence of such potentials in a person right from the beginning.

Although there is opposition regarding CSAT paper, it is an essential and should be accepted. Changes should be brought about only when there is a need which is felt by all, not when merely a section of people are opposing. It should be understood that the use of English in India is increasing in every sphere of life. Each and everyone needs to communicate in English for getting a basic job. So a person beholding such a post cannot excuse himself from this.

Things can only change if the correct initiative is taken. And for that every system should face questions about it's functioning. Only when a system is questioned will it try to upgrade and improve itself. And concerning the Civil Service Examination, it is all the more important, as in the days of reigning corruption in all spheres, the country is in need of good Administrators.

Anwesha Bandopadhyay