Two More Attempts at Civil Services Examination: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - April + May 2014


The Department of Personnel and Training, under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, have released a notification providing a relaxation in the number of attempts and maximum age-limit for the civil services examination.


The Union Public Services Commission has introduced a series of changes in the Civil Services Examination in the recent years. Starting from the introduction of the CSAT paper in place of the Optional paper in the Prelims exam, the UPSC further made a major transformation in the Civil Services Mains Examination in 2013. However, the decision witnessed a major uproar among the aspirants, who did not welcome the changes.

Thus, the announcement of the civil services examination witnessed a simultaneous series of protests from the various sections of IAS aspirants. The main concerns of the aspirants, for which the protests were made

  • The complete overhaul of the Mains examination came without any relaxation in the attempt and maximum agelimit criteria, to provide the candidates an appropriate time to adjust to the new syllabus. Since the New syllabus was announced late, by the UPSC, there was little time available for the candidates to prepare for the Exam. Thus, the candidates demanded additional attempts and age relaxations.

  • The demands were supported by the earlier examples when the changes in the UPSC Mains and Prelims were matched with an additional number of attempts for the candidates.

  • some sections of the student community also objected to the introduction of the English paper as a compulsory subject. It was alleged that it was done with an intention of sidelining the student belonging to nonenglish
    medium. However, later UPSC, through its notification, amended its decision and made the English paper qualifying in nature.

The Latest Notification:

A detailed Analysis In its latest notification, released recently, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has taken a major decision, announcing additional attempts and age relaxations for the candidates of various communities.

The relaxations given are as follows:

Additional Attempts for Various Categories

  1. Unreserved/General Category- While the earlier limit of attempts by the candidates of the unreserved category was 4, the latest notification by the UPSC has increased the same to 6. Thus, the candidates would be entitled to have 2 additional attempts. This also comes with a consequential maximum age-limit relaxation of two years, thus making the maximum age limit 32 years.

  2. SC/ST Category- The earlier age-limitation for the candidates belonging to the SC/ST category was 35 years. There was no specified restriction on the number of attempts available to this category. Thus, the candidates,
    hailing from the SC/ST category are able to take the civil services examination till they attain the maximum age-limit. The latest notification has increased the age-limit for the SC/ST category by 2 years, making it 37 years, with a consequential increase of 2 attempts.

  3. OBC Category- While the maximum age-limit for the candidates coming from the OBC section was 33 years, and the number of attempts being 7; the latest notification of the UPSC has increased the number of attempts and maximum-age by 2 respectively. Thus the new attempt limit is 9, with maximum age being 35 years.

  4. Physically Handicapped (P.H.) Category- previous agelimit for the candidates belonging to the PH category was 40 years, with 7 attempts for General and OBC Category PH candidates, and unlimited attempts for the SC/ST + PH candidates. However, the latest notification has increased the number of attempts to 9 for the General/OBC PH candidates. The age-limit has been increased by 12 additional years to each category, that is, for General PH candidates= 30+12 (42); for SC/ST PH candidates= 35+12 (47); and for OBC PH candidates= 33+12 (45).

Rules on Age qualification for the Civil Services Examination

The rules of the UPSC regarding the age calculation of a candidate for civil services exam are that- a candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the maximum age-limit, as on August 1st.

The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate, or in a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an
extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University, which must be certified by the proper authority of the university or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate. These certificates are required to be submitted at the time of applying for the Civil Services (Main) Examination. No other document relating to age like horoscope, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, service records and the like are accepted.

Thus, the calculation of the age qualification for appearing in the civil services is done from August 1st of the that year, and not from January 1st. The age qualification is calculated according to the category of the candidate. Apart from the criterion for Unreserved, OBC, SC, ST and PH candidates, there is also an age relaxation for the candidates:

  • relaxation of upto a maximum of 5 years, is a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, during the period from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 1989.

  • relaxation of upto a maximum of three years in case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.

  • Relaxation of a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commission Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years military service, and have been released- on completion of assignment or otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or on account of physical disability attributable to military service, or on invalidment.

  • Relaxation of upto a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial perid of assignment of five years military service and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the ministry of defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.

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