This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Critical Assessment Of The UPSC Notification

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Mahitha Kasireddi:

The UPSC has been recently caught up in the language row following its March 5th notification for taking students for a ride. The recruiting board known for selecting highly deserving candidates in the clan of bureaucrats has been put in the dock lately. As it was rightly pointed out by a politician- “UPSC may be a very powerful institution but definitely not above the constitution and rule of law”. I may sound like a detractor of the UPSC, which is not my intention at all. This is an effort to focus on the pros and cons of the entire nexus which keeps the aspirants guessing till the eleventh hour.

UPSC

The Pattern:
The year long debate on the changing pattern had finally ended when the notification was released. The UPSC indeed deserves applauds for putting aspirants under real test and giving them tougher competition. The changed pattern has indeed induced a step-up in the respect, glory, prestige and responsibility in holding the posts of All Indian Services.

The decision to revise the standards of UPSC was majorly to defy the profit churning coaching institutes who cash on dreams of young aspirants and their parents. The 5 new papers introduced in the mains examination, focusing in depth on varied topics exhaustively have now downgraded hundreds of coaching institutes.

I live near RTC X roads, Hyderabad. This is a famous area for the number of IAS coaching centres and so called study circles which have been running since the past 30 years. The institutions-induced beneficiaries around this place are Xerox shops which sell away ready-made spiral binded copies of materials of an XYZ institute or ABC study circle etc. The equally ignorant aspirants take these for a Bible for cracking the UPSC.

Delhi needs a special mention regarding the coaching institutes. It is called “the market”, where the minimum amount would be 75000 and maximum would be 1 lakh for one time coaching for both prelims and mains. People from all over the country flock there and decide to stay there, bearing the cost of living of that place till they qualify or their number of attempts are over. Students hailing from weaker financial background definitely are in the disadvantage induced by these institutions.

But these institutes are no different from the ones in Hyderabad or any other place in India. A similar stereotype material of some institute keeps circulating around the students. Down the years, the UPSC has revised the standard of the exam but the standard of coaching offered in these institutes is still at the old levels albeit charging high amount of fees. Today, the questions asked in the UPSC exams are not of mere listing the articles in the constitution, which is a crammer’s task, but of analyzing and an ultimate testing of intellectual ability required for becoming an administrator.

Talking of optionals, the previous pattern of testing in two optional has been cut down to one. The weightage for the optional allotted has also been decreased drastically. Every move by the UPSC has a reason. The reason behind changes in the optional is to take away the undue advantage from highly capable students like those graduated from IITs. What is the difficulty in scoring in an engineering subject for an IITian? He/she need not worry about mere 600 marks in GS as against the 1200 marks in optionals. UPSC has done away with this discrimination.

The real test is in paper 5 which is a test in ethics, integrity and aptitude; it is an ultimate tool to explore the character and attitude of the candidate towards the weaker sections, crisis situation and the service as a whole. This is something which totally eliminates the role of coaching institutes. This gives a chance to the candidate to actually put him/herself under a deep introspection and a great opportunity to prove his ability completely on his/her own terms. Of late, we have known how the cancer of corruption has sneaked into every corner of the system not sparing even the civil servants. The new pattern introduced from this year is a welcome move to eliminate any undeserving candidate who cannot be honest in a sustained manner.

What is in the language?
With the new restrictions imposed in the medium of expression, the UPSC has simply entertained fringe groups in the country. Leave alone discussing the good and bad in this move, the politicos beyond party line have banked on this issue. A new vote bank in their favor- “Regional languages”.

The emphasis on English by the UPSC might be an over pragmatic approach. The intended results of this move cannot be expected in just one year but it would take another 6-7 years. For a student who undergoes schooling in his mother tongue in his native village, taking up English as a medium in later levels of education should solve all purposes of development, even writing the UPSC exam in English.

All those arguing that children from backward sections are in the disadvantage as they are not so fluent in English, are actually expressing their hypocrisy. In pan- India, improvement in English is still considered a benefit and prestige. We need our children to talk in English and contend equally with those brought up in cities in impressing the babus from corporate companies. But, coming to UPSC, we demand considerations in regional languages. When there is no warranty of going to be posted in his/her state upon being selected, this argument stands invalid.

May be the UPSC was doing away with the partiality shown by evaluators hailing from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu where there is a great pride and loyal admiration for their regional language. Students who answer in these mediums of Kannada, Marati, Tamil or Gujarati will definitely have an undue advantage compared to those answering in English.

If the protagonists of the regional languages are true in their intention of saving them (languages), they should actually not oppose this move. If somebody is very serious about becoming an IAS officer, he would take up all levels education in his/her mother tongue. The glory of UPSC will never wane out and number of aspirants will only increase every year. This would actually help in restoring the lost glory of many regional languages.

But, the counter argument is equally stronger. Many educational institutes do not offer graduation courses in regional languages. Graduation in regional languages is not available in case of all languages. The old students who have been preparing since many years will suffer an irrevocable loss if it is their last attempt. UPSC should at least announce relaxation in age and number of attempts.

It has been very harsh in announcing that answering in regional language would be allowed unless there is at least 25 % representation. How would aspirants be responsible and pay for the loss of weak representation of a language? The UPSC has wronged the aspirants by actually allowing students to express in Hindi. This step would gravely affect the North-East and South Indian students where Hindi is not as prominent as in North Indian.

Well, after all the speculation that sparked around the new notification, it is finally stalled. Hoping the decision on the new changes would be fair and announced as early as possible and spare the aspirants from anxiety and guessing game instead doing what they actually need to do- studying !

You must be to comment.
  1. Himanshi

    I think you’ve made a mistake. You don’t need a 25% representation. Here’s what the UPSC Examination notice says:
    “…in the interest of maintaining the quality and standards of examination, a minimum number of 25
    (twenty-five) candidates should opt for a specific language medium for answering the question papers in that
    language medium. In case there are less than 25 (twenty five) candidates opting for any approved language
    medium (other than English or Hindi), then those candidates will be required to write their examination either
    in Hindi or in English only.”

    I don’t think that is too much to ask for. You can’t really expect them to find a separate examiner for correcting the copies of 5 students. Also, the point about the examiners from certain areas being biased may be excused as your personal opinion but the same can be forwarded by the Bhagwa-brigade against the English-medium examiners.

  2. mahitha

    I havn’nt made any mistake, if an assam student prepared in assame, how do you expect him to suddenly change his medium of expression within a few months..since this is the first year from when the changes are implemented he should be given more attempts to compensate….. but, hopefully this language issue should be resolved !…

    1. Himanshi

      I was talking about this particular sentence:
      “It has been very harsh in announcing that answering in regional language would be allowed unless there is at least 25 % representation.”

  3. aadil

    Compared to previous year this year UPSC general studies was more unique as one could solve 20-30 questions based on general knowledge & newspaper. Students were more prepared this year and the paper lacked in depth conceptual questions.Questions asked on polity were more obvious except the ones with combinations of options. But that shouldn’t trouble IAS aspirants as one could score high without even attempting them. Polity questions related to Prime Minister, Supreme & Rajya Sabha without combinational options were very easy and one should have scored them.You can find more on http://www.upsc4all.com

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Namrata Vijay

By Sneha Banerjee

By Silca

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below