A section of students preparing to appear for the civil services examination held by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) has started a sit-in agitation on Shastri Road in Navi Peth, Pune, demanding that the implementation of the new examination pattern be delayed by two years. The agitation is being supported by the Indian Youth Congress (IYC).
These major changes in the MPSC-Main examinations, which makes the exam resemble those held by the UPSC, are to be effected by 2023.
The protesting students argued that they have spent time and energy over the last few years preparing for exams with a certain pattern in mind, adding the new format will adversely affect their chances of getting selected. Besides, for the first few years, the new pattern will give a clear advantage to those preparing for the UPSC, they said.
On Monday, about 200 students gathered in front of Ahilyadevi Sikshan Santha on Shastri Road despite initially not being allowed by the local police to do so.
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Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1) Sandeep Singh Gill tried to pacify the students by asking them to start a line of communication with the MPSC instead of protesting on the road. “Form a five-member team from amongst yourself and prepare a statement. We will send that to MPSC through our senior officials,” Gill told the protesters.
Students and leaders of IYC, however, were adamant that they will not move until they get relief from MPSC.
Nitin Andhale, a protester, said, “I have been preparing for the civil services for the last eight years. There was no recruitment during the pandemic. Now they have started the recruitment but have changed the examination pattern. We were informed of the pattern by the Commission only six months in advance. This is injustice. Political leaders postpone elections twice or thrice so that they get time to prepare. We come from rural backgrounds and from poor families. All we are demanding is that they should delay the implementation of the new pattern till 2025.”
As per the changes in the exam pattern, the MPSC-Main exam will now be more descriptive in nature, having a total of nine papers, instead of six. The exam will be held for a total of 1,750 marks instead of 800. According to the new pattern, marks obtained in two language papers of 300 marks each will no longer be included in the merit score. A candidate will have to score 25 per cent marks in each of these papers to qualify for the merit score. There will be seven compulsory papers — one for essay writing, four on general studies and two papers on any topic selected by the candidate from the list of 26 optional subjects. All these papers will be descriptive in nature and will carry 250 marks each. Marks obtained here will be considered for the merit score.