"Challenges In Name Of Secularism": Civil Services Question Triggers Row

The UPSC will conduct Civil Services (Main) exam from September 20 till September 29.

'Challenges In Name Of Secularism': Civil Services Question Triggers Row

The Civil Services main exam comprises written test and interview.

New Delhi:

A question asked by the Union Public Service Commission or UPSC, the top recruitment body of the government, in one of its recruitment examinations held yesterday has stoked a new controversy. "What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism?" the Commission asked in its UPSC Main examination, which is the second stage for recruitment to premier services like Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). The question has drawn criticism from many who say it demonstrates contempt for the principle of secularism enshrined in the Indian constitution.

The UPSC is conducting Civil Services (Main) exam from September 20 till September 29. The examination would assess the candidate's general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services.

"'Indian secularism is a positive concept, taking along and encouraging all the cultural practices while instilling a scientific temper against superstitions and harmful practices', would have been the first sentence of my answer!," tweeted Kannan Gopinathan, who quit from the coveted IAS in August this year in response to the question appeared in the General Studies Paper 1 of the exam.

According to a candidate who appeared in the exam, the paper also had questions like "What makes Indian society unique in sustaining its culture" and "Did Indian renaissance play a role in the emergence of national identity", The News Minute reported.

Candidates who have the qualified the preliminary exam are eligible to appear for the main exam. The number of candidates to be admitted to the main examination is about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies.

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The Civil Services Main exam comprises written test and interview. Candidates, who obtain the minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the main examination as fixed by the UPSC, shall be summoned for interview.

The written test will carry a total of 1750 marks and the interview will be of 275 marks in total.

The marks obtained in the main exam will be counted in the final merit list.


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This year 11,845 candidates have been shortlisted for the main exam based on their performance in the preliminary exam.

The public service commission annually puts nearly 10 lakh job aspirants through a rigorous selection process to select an average of 900 candidates in an year for jobs in the bureaucracy, police and the armed forces.

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