From this year onwards, civil service aspirants will get two attempts more than the current four to crack the competitive exam.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) — which conducts the exams that open the doors to appointments in the all-India services, such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) — has also granted candidates consequential age relaxation so that they can take advantage of the additional attempts.
“Every candidate appearing for the examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts,” said a notification issued by UPSC for this year’s civil services examination.
The relaxation in norms will mainly benefit candidates from the ‘general’ and ‘other backward classes (OBC)’ categories as there is no restriction on the number of times scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) candidates can sit for the exam. This also means OBC candidates, who are already allowed seven attempts, will now get nine.
There will also be a consequential age relaxation of two years. According to the notification, a “candidate must have been born not earlier than August 2, 1982 and not later than August 1, 1993” in order to take the exam. That means, those in the age group of 21 to 32 years as on August 1 this year will be eligible.
This year’s exam starts on August 24 with the preliminaries, followed by the mains and then the interview.
The notification adds that the upper age limit of 32 years can be relaxed further by five more years for SC/ST candidates and for people living in Jammu and Kashmir between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1989, and by three years for OBC candidates.
The UPSC will fill 1,291 vacancies through this year’s exams, including 26 seats reserved for the physically challenged.
Aspirants had long been demanding more attempts, saying they needed it to adapt to the new exam pattern adopted in 2013. The proposal was first cleared under the UPA regime in February. After the clearance from the government, the UPSC on Saturday issued a formal notification.