The government is considering an overhaul of the civil services examination from this year that could include replacing optional papers in the final examination with two compulsory papers with a predefined syllabus.
The last-minute decision to introduce the change from this year comes at the instance of Prime Minister’s Office that had been keen on reforms in the way India selects its civil servants since 2004.
But the move has kept over 4 lakh aspirants — who apply for the examination to get into coveted services such as the IAS, IPS or the IFS — on tenterhooks.
The notification, which kick-starts the examination process, and lists the selection pattern, the syllabus and the number of posts up for grabs, should have been out by February 2.
The Union Public Service Commission — that conducts the prestigious examination — blamed “unforeseen circumstances” for the delay.
But a senior official at the Department of Personnel & Training told HT that the delay was due to the government’s decision to introduce a fresh dose of reforms into the examination.
“The approved changes will be conveyed to UPSC as soon as the competent authority (in this case, the Prime Minister) takes a decision,” he said.
The UPSC has a three-tier selection process to select civil servants. The first is the preliminary exam, an objective-type exam which serves as a screening test.
Those who clear this are entitled to appear for the subjective-type main examination. About one-fifth of those who take the main examination are called for a personality test.
The panel headed by former UGC chairman Arun S Nigvekar had recommended doing away with the optional subjects, to be replaced with compulsory papers.