A UPSC committee has recommended to reduce the upper age limit in Civil Services Examination. The final decision is awaited.
How many of us are aware of the fact that the upper age limit for the civil services examination since 1960s has gone up from 24 years to 32 years? Many might be, why go against the audience poll. And don’t you think so it’s quite high!! Moreover, the upper age is relaxed by five years for candidates from the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes while those from the other backward classes get a three-year relaxation. Disabled candidates get an additional 10-year cut. THE GENERAL CATEGORY L
Anyways, after it was felt that the entry age is on the higher side, then, in the month of May, 2016, a Union Public Service Commission-appointed committee decided to tell the government to reduce the upper age-limit for appearing in the examination to get into premier civil services such as the IAS and IPS. The committee was founded by the UPSC last August as part of an initiative by the Narendra Modi government to overhaul the civil services examination. This panel is being headed by former education secretary BS Baswan.
The committee was earlier asked to submit its report within six months but it was given an extension for a further period of six months, till last month end. Finally, after thorough consultation and research on August 9, panel under the leadership of education secretary BS Baswan submitted its report to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) the organising body for conducting the gruelling examination that is considered among India’s toughest. The panel recommended that the age be reduced in a phased manner spread over several years and not in one go. The step was suggested keeping in mind the thousands of people who spend years preparing for the examination and whose careers might be jeopardized if they found themselves ineligible for the test in the middle of the process.
As of now, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has referred the report of Baswan committee that has suggested changes in civil services exam pattern, to the government for final decision. A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August, 2016, as per the latest notification for the examination.
There have been several attempts in the past to explore the possibility of reducing the upper age. Former Prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh had supported the proposal but had to back out after loud protests from politicians, insisting that it put rural candidates at a disadvantage.
The UPA government had even accepted the second administrative reforms commission recommendation to lower the upper limit to 26 years for general candidates. But the government ended up raising the age limit by two years, months before the 2014 general elections.
Nearly 460,000 candidates appeared for the three-stage UPSC examination in 2015, hoping to join the administrative services that continue to remain the “dream job” for many. Less than one in 400 of them made it. The examination is conducted in three stages — preliminary, main, and interview — to recruit officers to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.
In the context of the above, the Narendra Modi led government – like the previous Congress-led UPA – is all for reducing the entry age into civil services. But any change to the examination is a politically sensitive topic.