An expert committee formed by the government to examine various issues related to age relaxation, eligibility, syllabus and pattern of civil services examination, to select IAS and IPS officers, will give its report within six months time.
It will also review the effectiveness of the existing scheme of the prestigious test in selecting suitable candidates and “suggest the time frame for implementation of the revised pattern of examination”.
The committee headed by former HRD secretary and retired IAS officer BS Baswan will examine the time frame in which the examination is conducted and suggest suitable changes to reduce the time taken for selection of candidates by utilising information and communication technologies, as per its Terms of Reference (ToR).
The expert committee will submit its report within six months of its constitution, in February next year, it said.
It will evaluate the effectiveness of the existing scheme of the civil services examination in selecting suitable candidates keeping in view factors such as the need for inclusiveness in the selection process, fair mix of candidates from different disciplines, the skill-sets required for a modern, effective and efficient civil service and trainability of selected candidates, after reviewing the recommendations of previous expert committees in this regard.
The civil service examination is conducted by Union Public Service Commission annually in three stages -preliminary, main and interview - to select officers for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.
The panel will also examine the plan of examination, number of papers, their structure and duration, marking scheme, weightage of marks and system of evaluation “so as to arrive at an examination pattern that is holistic and does not exhibit any bias for or against candidates from any particular stream, subject area, language or region”, according to the ToR.
The committee will suggest suitable eligibility criteria for candidates appearing in the examination, with particular reference to minimum and maximum age limits and number of attempts, to review the eligibility criteria for candidates, who have already been selected to different services, and who desire to reappear for selection to some other service.
It will also suggest a mechanism for designing and periodically updating the syllabus for each of the papers in the examination.
The panel will review the logistical requirements and constraints of conducting the examination in view of the increasing number of candidates taking the preliminary examination and suggest improvements, given that almost half of the number of candidates who apply do not appear at the preliminary examination.
The expert committee may devise its own procedures and may take assistance of such experts and institutions, and interact with such academic and professional institutions as it may consider necessary, in consultation with the UPSC, as per its mandate.
Minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh had recently clarified that till such time as the recommendations of the committee are received and the government subsequently takes a decision on the same, the General Studies Paper-II (also known as CSAT) in the civil services preliminary examination will remain a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33 per cent.
The government’s decision taken last year to exclude the English portion consisting of 22 marks in the General Studies Paper-II of the civil services preliminary examination from tabulation also continues to remain in force, Singh had said.
There are two compulsory papers-- Paper I and Paper II --of 200 marks each in civil services preliminary examination.
The panel has as its members BN Navalawala, former UPSC member, Hari Pratap Gautam, former Chairperson of University Grants Commission (UGC), Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), Professor Peter Ronald deSouza and Professor B Mahadevan. M P Tangirala, Additional Secretary in the UPSC, is member secretary in the committee.