Hyderabad: The proficiency test in Telugu for All India Services officers is proving to be a hard nut to crack for young male officers. They have to take the exams many more times than their female colleagues. Getting through the test consisting of lower and higher grades paves the way for IAS, IPS and IFS officers to move up the ladder in pay and promotions.
Officers who did not take Telugu as a subject of study, have to appear for the language tests (written exam and viva) conducted twice every year by the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC). The syllabus is mostly of school standard.
Three panelists — a senior AIS officer, language expert and a TSPSC member — will assess the language skills. In the case of IAS officers, they move from junior level to senior level in four years after joining, including the two-year probation period. Around 80 per cent of the officers clear the language test in the probation period. Usually, officers take a shot at the first test (Lower level) after the first year in probation and then go for the higher level exam after six months.
Telugu University VC Prof. S.V. Satyanarayana says that the written test includes basic words in Telugu as well as sentences and translations. “At the higher level, the AIS officers are asked to read a newspaper, and explain a petition submitted to a collectorate and also converse with a villager in Telugu in front of the panel to gauge their fluency in the language,” he said.
A female IAS officer from Orissa allotted to the Telangana cadre cleared the first level when just three months into her probation. Others have been unable to pass the tests after even two years. An IFS (Indian Forest Service) officer has been unable to clear the proficiency test for the last six to seven years, which has been a setback in his career.
According to a senior IAS officer who has been one of the panelists, in states like Telangana and AP, government documentation is mostly in English and so most bureaucrats find it easy compared to states like TN and Karnataka.
“Some non-Telugu officers with over 25-years experience cannot write or speak Telugu. They are able to get the use of English is more here. TSPSC is adopting a strict approach and officers who are not up to the mark are being told to appear again for the test,” said a bureaucrat who did not want to be named....