According to UPSC "Consistent with the need for selecting right kind of person from huge pool consisting of multiple languages, culture and communities, the commission has now constituted a high power panel to suggest possible changes in the pattern of CS (main) examination".
UPSC has to ensure that all the candidates are judged "on the basis of in-depth knowledge and understanding rather than information gathered at the last moment".
UPSC, which changed the 'preliminary' exam pattern this year by infusing elements of 'aptitude' test, had brought a minor change in the 'main' test pattern last in 1993 when it introduced an additional paper of 'essay' of 200 marks. The 'essay' paper, meant for testing aspirants' knowledge of a chosen topic and presentation skill, carries substantial weight in the entire written examination of 2,000 marks.
However, it is felt that the new paper introduced 18 years ago has not served the desired purpose of bringing candidates opting for high scoring science subjects at par with those opting for humanities and languages as their optional papers in the main exam.
Besides, officials feel, the existing pattern is tilted towards short-listing those candidates, who are good at their 'subjects' instead of having knowledge of general studies, comprising modern Indian history,culture and socio-economic and political system. It also does not test the candidates' administrative and managerial potential.
The committee, which has been working on bringing certain changes, will take into account the recommendations of the second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) on changes in the civil services examination.
The ARC, in its recommendation in 2008, had suggested that UPSC should only keep two compulsory papers (general studies) and an essay paper for the 'main' examination. It also suggested that there should not be any optional subject.
Now, aspirants have to appear in two optional subjects (two papers each), besides one paper of essay and two papers of general studies. Hence, candidates having good knowledge of their optional subjects (four papers having 1,200 marks) get through the main examination easily, even if they score less marks in two papers of general studies (600 marks) and one paper of essay (200 marks).Getting high scores in science,engineering,medicines papers is easier than getting good marks in humanities and language papers. No wonder, the existing system tests aspirants unfairly.