Civil service aspirants can now breathe easy as UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) has issued a notification clarifying a few points regarding the civil services exams. As per the notification, “Every candidate appearing for the examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts (two more than earlier four).” In the case of candidates belonging to the OBC category, the number of attempts now allowed is nine and for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories, there is no cap on the number of attempts.
The 2014 UPSC notification has further announced a two-year age relaxation. The earlier age limit for taking up the civil services exams was 21 to 30. However, now candidates in the age group of 21 to 32 years - as on 1 August 2014 - can take the exam. It states that “the candidate must have been born not earlier than August 2, 1982 and not later than August 1, 1993” to appear for the exam. This age limit of 32 years has been relaxed by five years for candidates belonging to the SC and ST categories.
Although most of these changes have already been out in the public domain, it was only on May 30, 2014, that UPSC issued a notification confirming the same. Abhishek Gupta from the editorial team of Rau’s IAS Study Circle says that the notification has cleared the air about issues such as exam format, age limit, number of attempts, and so on. “The UPSC has also clarified the minimum marks required for the English and regional language papers,” he adds, “While for English, the minimum score required is 25%, for regional language, it is 30%. That apart, there are no major changes.”
A controversy ensued over UPSC’s decision to introduce some changes to the exam format last year, with many aspirants of the view that the format (of Paper 2) was biased towards engineering/management students who had a strong background in English. Siddhart Rao, a civil services aspirant in the city, says, “There is thankfully no significant change in the pattern as most of UPSC’s decisions regarding the same were revoked. Students from rural, non-English/non-technical backgrounds would have found it difficult had the changes been carried out. The additional number of attempts is a boon to aspirants as it will give us more time to prepare better,” he says.