Elitist bias in IAS exam must go

The editorial “Make it shorter: Demystify civil services exam (Feb 13) was timely. The selection process for recruitment to civil services should be shortened and the elite bias reduced. The Kidwai Committee, on whose recommendations the present selection process was introduced in 1979, had recommended that the exam “should provide to the maximum possible extent equality of opportunity to promising candidates… irrespective of social status.” Yet, the selection process is heavily loaded in favour of elite candidates.

Why is there no cut off percentage for the SC/ST candidates? The others who get through this exam are well educated in good schools, need not hanker after a job to support themselves, but get lavish financial support from their parents to join coaching centres and prepare for the exam for years. Thus, the common candidates are destined to lose this race.

Why not reduce the optional papers in the two optional subjects (which are of postgraduate level) from four to two? The list of 54 optional subjects in this exam runs from Arabic to Zoology. The candidates’ proficiency can be equally judged in two optional papers instead of four. This way, there will be seven papers in the main exam instead of the present nine — sufficient to test one’s aptitude.

Moreover, as the recruitment through this exam is for “generalists” and not for “specialists”, the optional subjects have no relevance to the actual task of administration and, therefore, should be of qualifying nature only. Subjects like Law, Public Administration, Management, Economics, Finance, etc. are indeed taught to the probationers during training. Thus, there is no need for too many optional papers.

ASHWANI KUMAR, Nurpur Bedi (Ropar)



The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Public Grievances  has recommended a change in the pattern of the civil service examination. However, its proposal for GMAT type of aptitude test for IAS aspirants is illogical. An IAS officer is not a manger in the strict business sense.

Rather he is an administrator on whom depends the execution of the government’s socio-economic schemes. Moreover, the same exam also selects IFS, IPS, IRTS and IRS officers who definitely require knowledge of Indian culture, ethos, history etc.

For purposes of producing a generalist officer, the present system of examination is appropriate as it aims to check the general abilities of the aspirants along with their knowledge of India. Consequently, the GMAT type test should be used for admission to MBA programmes only and not  for civil services. The committee’s suggestion to reduce the spread of examination is welcome because it would provide relief to hapless candidates who while waiting for the results, end up ignoring other avenues.

LALIT JAIN, Dept of Laws, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Moral education

The Himachal government is in favour of discontinuing annual examination in moral education for primary classes from this session. The introduction of this subject was lauded by all sections. Now, when there is dire need of the continuity of the process, it is being eschewed by the policy-framers. It appears either the idea of moral improvement of the children at any early stage did not like their taste or the desideratum has been achieved to a good degree.

Inter alia, some are vehemently advocating the idea of introducing sex education in schools. Why should the children be taught this complex subject so early? Already both the preceptor and the learner are on the verge of moral bankruptcy. The educationists should take a judicious decision.

RAVI DATTA, Dehra (Kangra)

Rewari ignored

I fully endorse Puran Singh’s views in his letter about the state government’s neglect of South Haryana in setting up of state-run educational institutions (Feb 18). South Haryana has always been discriminated against and this bias must go for equitable development of the state.

There are at present five universities and one medical college in Haryana. But in South Haryana consisting of Rewari, Mahendragarh, Mewat, Gurgaon and Faridabad districts, there is no single university, medical or engineering college. For the harmonious development of the entire state, equality of education is a must. The Hooda government should set up a university in Rewari district.



Mindset has to change first

The media euphoria about our Prime Minister’s declaration that “together we can change the world” and for the joint India-China fight against terror and about pursuing more robustly the strategic and military dimensions of Sino-Indian relations should be tempered with caution in the light of our previous engagements with China.

The present scenario evokes a sense of déjà vu, reminiscent of 1962 and the period preceding it. Nehru’s refusal to acknowledge China’s mala fide designs cost India a chunk of its territory as also respect worldwide. China’s perfidy has been forgotten and another era of Sino-Indian friendship is purportedly being ushered in notwithstanding China’s refusal to recognise the McMahon Line, its claim to certain parts of Arunachal Pradesh and its adversarial position to India’s interests in the world. In the comity of nations, no one respects the weak. India’s putative claim to nascent world power is not in consonance with its supplicant attitude towards China, the US and even Pakistan. You have to think and behave like a world power to be one. The mindset has to change first.




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