New Delhi(TNN): Introducing a level-playing field for aspirants of India’s elite services — IAS, IFS, IPS and others — the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has come out with a new syllabus for the 2011 preliminary examination, which, besides aptitude and other skills, will also test candidates on their knowledge of “environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change”.
The aspirants will also be tested for English language comprehension skills. As of now, the English language test is part of qualifying papers without having any weightage in the civil services (Main) examination. But its introduction in the preliminary level could mean a brighter chance for all those whose English language skills are better, to qualify for the Main.
The new syllabus will have two common papers with equal weightage (200 marks each), unlike the current system which gives more weightage to subject paper (300 marks) than the common general awareness paper (150 marks). It will replace the present system, which has been in force since 1979.
The proposal to change the system had been pending for long as most of the government panels had advocated greater emphasis on “aptitude” of candidates than knowledge of their subjects, arguing that the specialists or experts of any particular subject may not necessarily be good civil servants unless they have actual inclination towards it.
“The new syllabus will provide a level-playing field and equity, since all candidates will have to attempt common papers unlike the current format which provides for only one common paper,” an official said.
The first paper under the new syllabus will be more or less like the current general awareness paper, with additional issues such as climate change and biodiversity.
The second paper — being introduced by replacing the optional (subject) paper — will have aptitude, data interpretation and English language comprehension skills, which is more or less on the lines of MBA entrance test in India.
The second paper comprises general comprehension; inter-personal skills, including communication skills; logical reasoning and analytical ability; decision making and problem solving; general mental ability; basic numbers and their relations (secondary level) and data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables and data sufficiency). The English language comprehension skills will also be of secondary level.
The first paper, on the other hand, will test civil services aspirants on current events of national and international importance, Indian history, Indian and world geography, Indian polity and governance, economic and social development and general science, besides environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change that do not require subject specialization.
The new syllabus is only meant for the preliminary examination, which shortlists candidates for the CS (Main) Examination, being conducted every year by the UPSC.
“The syllabus for the CS (Main) Examination will also be changed in due course. As of now, the existing syllabus will be used for the Main examination in 2011 as well,” a senior official of the ministry of personnel said.