Friday, August 27, 2010

CSAT to replace civil services prelims from 2011

The government will soon come out with a detailed syllabus of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) a new scheme of examination, which is to replace the existing civil services (preliminary) examination from 2011. The test is meant for shortlisting candidates for the civil services (main) examination, being conducted every year to recruit officers in IAS, IFS, IPS and other elite central services. The Centre had in March approved the proposal for introduction of CSAT in place of civil services (preliminary) from next year, and subsequently asked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to work out its syllabus. The government will shortly notify the new scheme of examination giving details of the syllabus which is being worked out. CSAT is expected to come into force from the civil services examination, 2011, said minister of state for personnel Prithviraj Chavan.

In written response to a parliamentary question in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Chavan said: "In CSAT, one of the optional subjects which a candidate could have chosen out of 23 optional has been replaced with a common paper on aptitude test". Referring to the syllabus, which is yet to be finalized, sources in the ministry explained that the candidates may now have to appear in two objective type papers, having special emphasis on testing their aptitude for civil services as well as on ethical and moral dimension of decision making. Both these papers having equal weightage will be common to all candidates in place of one common paper (general awareness) and one optional paper (any particular subject of choice) under the existing system, which lays greater emphasis on subject knowledge.

As of now, the change will be effective only for the first of the three stages of the CSE from 2011 onwards. The second and third stages civil services (main) examination and interview, respectively will remain the same till a panel of experts goes into various aspects of the entire system and submits its report. The proposal to this effect was sent to PMO last year by UPSC.

Officials familiar with the proposal explained that the changes had been suggested by various committees. Most of the panels had advocated for laying greater emphasis on aptitude of candidates than their subject's knowledge, arguing that the specialists or experts of any particular subject may not necessarily be good civil servants unless they have actual inclination towards it.

Source: The Times of India, August 27, 2010

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