The government Thursday made English optional for those seeking to get into the Indian Administrative Service, and said aspirants will be able to write the exam in a regional language also. "A candidate will be allowed to use any one of the regional languages under schedule 8 of the constitution or English as the medium of writing the exam," Minister of State for Personnel and Training V. Narayanasamy said, reading out a statement in the Lok Sabha.
This was the system before a March 5 notification of the Union Public Service Commission made English compulsory for candidates taking the civil services main examination, 2013. Following an uproar in the Lok Sabha over the issue March 15, the minister had assured the house that he would look into the matter. "The government has reviewed the concerns raised," Narayanasamy said.
Further, the English component of 100 marks from the essay paper will also be dropped. Status quo ante of two qualifying papers of 300 marks each in any modern Indian language and in English shall be restored, the minister said. The essay paper will now be of 250 marks, to be written in a medium of the candidate's choice, the statement said.

Bowing to all-round pressure in Parliament, government on March 15 had kept in abeyance the recent controversial notification of the UPSC, giving more weightage to English in these exams.

The controversial conditionality imposed by the Union Public Service Commission that language would be allowed as the medium of examination only if a minimum of 25 candidates wanted it has been dropped, Narayanasamy said.

Further, he said that a candidate would be allowed to take up literature as an optional subject "without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that
language's literature."

The Minister said these decisions were taken after the government took into account the views expressed by MPs in Parliament, representations on the notification and
consultation with different agencies.

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