Chennai: DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday claimed that Hindi-speaking candidates enjoyed an edge due to changes incorporated in the UPSC exams in 2010 and sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in extending similar benefits to Tamil-speaking students to ensure a level-playing field.
The UPSC had introduced a "significant change," in the Civil Services Aptitude Test and questions in the new format were framed in such a way that only candidates well-versed in English will be able to answer them within the stipulated time of two hours, Karunandihi, whose DMK is a key constituent in the UPA, said in a letter to Singh.
"However such questions are also found translated in Hindi. So candidates who are conversant in Hindi can understand the questions easily by reading its Hindi version," he said.
The change had allowed Hindi-speaking candidates end up scoring more in CSAT and has emerged as a "severe challenge" for those from Tamil Nadu, he said, adding, the present system was in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, ie Right to Equality.
He said while 122 of 980 candidates selected through Union Public Service Commission exams in 2010 hailed from the state, it had dipped to 68 out of 910 the next year and blamed the change in pattern for the declining trend, claiming it had put the Tamil-speaking students "at a clear disadvantage."
If the present system of framing questions continued, it would result in a further dip. Candidates from Tamil Nadu were of the view that the benefit provided to their Hindi-speaking counterparts should be extended to them also, Karunanidhi said.
The Railway Board conducted exams in Tamil and UPSC should also consider doing so, he said.
The objective of the UPSC exam was to test and select the best and brightest candidates and its purpose will not be diluted by providing translation of the questions in Tamil as well as Hindi. This will provide candidates from the state a level playing field, he said.
"Kindly intervene to find a solution to the issue that is likely to make a lasting impact on the policy and programmes of the country in future," he told Singh.