New Delhi: Government on Sunday held an all-party meeting and asked leaders to give their views in a fortnight on the contentious Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), in a move to ward-off any renewed disruption in Parliament over the UPSC exam row.
"We have decided to seek the views of political parties on the issue in view of the divergence of opinion on the matter. People are very sensitive. So we have to study the pros and cons of all aspects and take a final view," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.
Naidu said that the political parties have been asked to give their views on five issues--- on continuation of English language comprehension skill, reduced weightage of analytical component, to make paper-II qualifying and revert back to optional paper besides suggesting any other alternative.
He quoted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as telling the meeting that since the issue is very sensitive, collective view has to be taken.
"The meeting saw all political parties appreciating the government's approach in this regard as they were given an opportunity to discuss the issue," he said.
"Department of Personnel and Training will give them a brief note on it in next three days after which the political parties have to give their views in writing within next 15 days," Naidu said.
The issue had snowballed into a major controversy during the last session and both the Houses of Parliament were disrupted over it several times.
Apparently the government wanted to take the parties on board before the Winter session begins.
The meeting was convened by Naidu in pursuance of the assurance given by the government during the last Budget Session of Parliament.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Jaitley, Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh, Ministers of State for Parliamentary Affairs -- Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi-- and leaders of 26 parties represented in both the Houses of Parliament, were present in the meeting.
In the meeting, Singh and Naidu said that the CSAT issue is a sensitive and the government would like to have the benefit of considered views of all parties.
The parties that attended the meeting included Congress, Left parties, Trinamool Congress, JD(U), RJD, Samajwadi Party and BSP.
A detailed presentation was made by Secretary (DoPT) on
the origin and evolution of the civil services examination over the years being conducted every year by the Union Public Services Commission.
Alleging language bias, a section of civil service examination aspirants have been demanding scrapping of the CSAT introduced in 2011.
They were claiming that the second paper of the CSAT, which tests among other things logical reasoning, analytical ability, basic numeracy and English language comprehension, puts rural students and those from non-English medium school background at a disadvantage.