New Delhi: The government Friday put on hold a controversial notification making proficiency in English a requirement for aspirants of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as most Lok Sabha members opposed it.
"The said notification will be in abeyance. We will call a meeting of UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) officials to resolve the issue, keeping in mind the views expressed by the members," Minister of State for Personnel and Training V. Narayanasamy told the Lok Sabha.
The house had to be adjourned earlier as many members raised the issue asking for revocation of the March 5 notification by the UPSC, which conducts the examination for all-India services.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad moved the motion in the house which was supported by members of most parties.
"This is a conspiracy by UPSC members who know English. They have inserted an English paper by sidelining the regional languages and Hindi," said Lalu Prasad.
Besides opposition parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Akali Dal and the Trinamool Congress, government allies such as the DMK and the National Conference also opposed the move to impose English on candidates, and said this would not provide students a level playing field.
"Why has the UPSC made English paper compulsory without consulting the government," asked BJP's Gopinath Munde.
JD-U chief Sharad Yadav demanded strict action against the officials responsible for the notification.
"The country has remained backward due to dominance of English. Students of rural areas would not be able to compete now. The government should bring impeachment motion against officials responsible for the notification," he said.
"This move is not good for anyone. English should be retained but other languages should also be given weightage," said Congress member Arun Kumar.
SP member Dharmendra Yadav termed the move as anti-national.
"We talk about Hindi and all other regional languages. This is an anti-national step," he said.
The members wanted the candidates to be allowed to write their exams in regional languages.