New Delhi: Any decision to change the pattern of civil services (preliminary) examination and postponing its date will be taken after receiving a report from a three- member committee which is looking into the matter, the government said on Tuesday.
Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh also appealed to the aggrieved students appearing for the examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to end their indefinite fast.
He said the government is sympathetically looking at their concerns and is awaiting the report of the three-member panel set up under the chairmanship of Arvind Varma to look into this issue.
Regarding other demands of students related to the pattern and the dates of the exam, Singh said that the government will take a view after receiving the opinion of the UPSC as well of as that of the committee.
Earlier in the day, Singh urged the UPSC to postpone the preliminary exam till there is clarity on the syllabus and exam pattern.
"We are also urging upon the UPSC and the committee that was constituted to look into the matter that not only report be constituted at the earliest, considering the urgency of the matter and the concern of all sections of the society... They should also consider postponing the date of the preliminary examination," he told reporters outside Parliament.
The civil services (preliminary) examination 2014 is scheduled to be held on August 24.
A release issued by the ministry later said the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has advised the committee members conveying the urgency of the matter and to furnish the report without any delay.
Singh held a meeting with the representatives of the students and conveyed to them that the government is fully aware of their concerns and is making every effort to address their grievances in a judicious manner, it said.
The civil services examination is conducted in three stages--preliminary, main, and interview-- to choose candidates for prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.
Scores of civil services aspirants have been demanding that the pattern for the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) be changed to give level-playing field to those coming from rural areas. They have been holding protests in various places in the national capital in support of their demands including that to postpone the date of prelims examination.
There are two compulsory papers of 200 marks each in the preliminary examination. These papers are also known as CSAT I and CSAT II.
The CSAT-II paper carries questions on comprehension, interpersonal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision making and problem solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy, and English language comprehension skills (of Class X level).
Students have been objecting to the level of aptitude and English language questions being asked in the examination claiming they are much above the standard prescribed for the examination.
RJD and Congress members had raised the issue during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected the notice for adjournment motion on the issue by RJD members Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav.
The issue was also earlier raised by SP`s Dharmendra Yadav and BJP`s Yogi Adityanath. Adityanath had demanded that CSAT examination be brought to an end as it is difficult for Hindi-speaking students coming from rural areas.
Yesterday, ABVP activists had staged protests outside the UPSC office demanding scrapping of CSAT, saying such a pattern was putting Hindi language aspirants at a disadvantage.