Arvind Padhee, Odisha’s culture and tourism secretary and 1996 batch IAS said in a social media site that he was upset with compromise of standard. This is what Padhee tweeted: “Many colleagues hv qualifid d CS w/vernacular language as 1of their optionls n yt comfrtbl w/Englsh. #UPSC row. Upset w/compromise on stds”. On Saturday, before the government actually took the decision, Padhee argued that the most meritorious and the very best should be selected. “Let d most meritorious and 'very best' be picked thru d screening test. #UPSC row. Feel sorry for protesting stdnts showing unruly behaviour,” he tweeted.
Another Odisha cadre IAS (1999 batch) Shubha Sarma too was upset with the unruly behaviour of the protesters. “#UPSC admit card issue- those aspiring to be law-makers turn into law-breakers. #Stonepelting. What next? Guns in exam halls”, she tweeted on July 25.
A Didar Singh, former IAS and currently secretary general of industry body, Ficci, tagged a television report in Twitter to exclaim: “Maybe next step, scrap UPSC Exam itself!”
And DIPP secretary and 1980 batch IAS Amitabh Kant highlighted a Twitter comment of one Sisir Gupta to ask: “Is true that UPSC agitation is funded by tutorial colleges? Do we want to reduce IAS/IPS from elite services to dumps?”
But the most exhaustive analysis on why the UPSC exam pattern must not be tinkered with at the dictate of the protesters, was presented by Karnataka cadre IAS Srivatsa Krishna who was the civil services topper in 1994. In an editorial page article in Times of India last week, Krishna writes: “If someone cannot solve 10th class maths and reasoning, they certainly should not find a place in India’s civil services at all. These are tested in almost every serious examination in the world, are essential to assess one’s scholastic skills and are absolutely critical for civil services. They hit at the heart of rote learning.”
In fact, Krishna himself cleared examinations such as GMAT, GRE, IIT and PhD entrance, but he concedes, civils is by far the “toughest” exam, and also “most demanding, emotionally and intellectually”.
Krishna further argues in the same article how civil servants are required to read company’s balance sheets, engage in valuation for public sector privatisation, analyse data for policy interventions and do simple math for profitability analysis. “All these require an analytical and logical mind, which needs to be tested at entry,” he argues.
So, where is the case to scrap the CSAT altogether, as is being demanded by protesters and supported by a section of political parties?