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Changes in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2012 November and December months at the most visible of the civil service examination candidates are sought after by the month. In the past, used to come in the months of the notification, in the months before the release of such information is now loading tests of model changes. In 2009, UPSC, they gave a reference to the basic model may be modified. Will take effect immediately on nothing.In 2010 they confirmed that there would be changes and the preliminary pattern was changed to include a compulsory paper to test the aptitude of the candidate in 2011 (which is today popularly called as CSAT.) While introducing the CSAT the Chairman of U.P.S.C remarked that if they find that the new system can be implemented effectively another committee would be appointed to suggest changes in the Main examination.Fine, if you do not have time to read all the history, just see the present structure and proposed changes in UPSC Civil Services Exam.

In the first Week of December, this year the Chairman U.P.S.C in a press conference has declared that the U.P.S.C has appointed a panel to suggest changes in the main examination. According to the media reports the panel has been asked to suggest changes to ensure that candidates who opt for high scoring science subjects are not unfairly advantaged as compared to candidates who opt for humanities. Also they have been asked to design the papers in such away that they test the administrative and managerial skills.

What would the changes be? In order to have an idea we would have to trace the evolution of the recruitment system:

In India, the foundations for a professionalised recruitment process can be traced to the East India Company.

The origin of the present system of the examination in India can be traced to the East India Company. The Macaulay Committee in 1854 recommended that the ‘patronage’ based civil service of the East India Company be replaced by a ‘permanent’ civil service recruited on ‘merit’ by a written competitive examination. The recruitment system was based on the principle of ‘transferability of academic talent to administration’. The committee believed that ‘Early superiority in academics indicates the existence of some qualities which are securities against ‘vice’ – ‘industry’, ‘self denial’, a ‘taste for pleasure not sensual’, a laudable desire of ‘honourable distinction’, a still more laudable desire to obtain the ‘approbation of friends and relations’. Accordingly the examination was structured comprising compulsory and optional subjects like English Language and Literature, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Moral Sciences.

The Macaulay system of examination continued till ‘Independence’. While designing a successor civil service the Indian political leaders chose to retain the system of examination based on open entry and academic achievements. Minor changes were made in the scheme of examination while retaining the basic ‘principle’ underlying the examination.

The recruitment system in India has evolved over the years. While it is based on Macaulay model it can be said to be “sui generis” i.e., it has evolved on its own. Several changes have been made in the recruitment process, especially after Independence to reflect the needs of the administration from time to time. A number of Committees and Commissions were set up to make recommendations on various aspects of recruitment. These recommendations are included in the Report on Public Administration by A.D. Gorwala, 1951; Report on the Public Services (Qualifications for Recruitment) Committee, 1956 – also known as Dr. A.Ramaswami Mudaliar Committee Report; Report on Indian and State Administrative Services and Problems of District Administration by V.T.Krishnamachari, 1962; ARC’s Report on Personnel Administration, 1969; Report of the Committee on Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods, 1976 – also known as the D.S.Kothari Committee Report; Report of the Committee to Review the Scheme of the Civil Services Examination, 1989 – also known as the Satish Chandra Committee Report; Report of the Civil Services Examination review Committee, 2001, also known as Professor Yoginder K.Alagh Committee Report; Report of the Committee on Civil Service Reforms also known as the Hota Committee Report, 2004 & The report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission. (Verappa Moily)

The most significant of all these committees has been the KOTHARI COMMITTEE. The Committee recommended a sequential system of examination based on the dictum that “the average quality would get richer as the stream proceeds from one ‘stage to the next’. Sequences would improve the efficiency of the selection process and make it more homogenous”. Accordingly the examination was designed as a sequential three stage process : an objective type Preliminary examination comprising one Optional and General Studies (to prevent overloading the selection process by a large number of indifferent candidates), a Main examination which would comprise 9 written papers (compulsory papers and optionals which would test the depth of knowledge of the aspirant and finally a Personality Test to test the ‘governmental sense’ of the aspirant. The Kothari commission also ensured ‘inclusiveness’ by allowing candidates to appear at the Main examination in any regional language.

In 1989, the government appointment the Satish Chandra Committee to suggest reforms. The committee recommended that the ‘Kothari’ model should be retained and minor changes should be incorporated to remove the ‘imbalances’ that had crept in. Accordingly, an ‘Essay’ paper was introduced and the marks for the Interview were enhanced. Presently, the Civil Services Examination is conducted on an annual basis on this pattern.

The Y.K. Alagh Committee, appointed in 2001, recommended significant changes. It suggested that the ‘optional’ subject at the Preliminary examination should be continued but the General Studies paper should be recast to that of a Civil Services Aptitude Test comprising questions on basic awareness’, ‘problem solving and analytical abilities’ ( situation from the civil services arena to be taken to test reasoning and understanding of problems ) and ‘data analysis ability’. It recommended that the optionals at the Main examination should be replaced by compulsory papers viz. Sustainable Development and Social justice, Science and Technology in Society, Democratic governance, Public Systems and Human Rights. Subsequently, the ‘Hotha Committee’ on Civil Services supported the views of the Alagh committee and recommended ‘aptitude’ and ‘leadership’ tests for selection.

The Second Administrative Reforms (Veerappa Moily) Commission in its report in 2008 recommended a major overhaul in the system. It recommended that the Preliminary and the Main examination should consist of compulsory subjects like the Constitution of India, Indian Legal System, Administrative Law, Indian Economy, Indian Polity and Indian History and Culture. (At present, as the selected aspirants come from diverse background these subjects are taught at the foundational training course).


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