The panel appointed by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is all set to recommend reducing the upper age-limit for appearing in the civil services examination such as IPS and IAS to the government. The panel was headed by the former education secretary B S Baswan. The panel was constituted last year in the month of August, as part of the initiated taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to refurbish the civil services examination.
After a string of protests against the civil service aptitude test last year by the aspiring candidates, the government had promised to look after the matter and in order to review the examination, panel was constituted. According to Baswan, “We feel that the entry age is on the higher side. At the same time, we realize that candidates should not be put to any unforeseen hardship. Therefore, we will prepare a road map which will give all candidates sufficient time to adapt to the new system.”
The upper age limit has been pushed to 32 years for general category candidates in the civil cervices examination from the 24 years in the 1960s. Further, the upper age limit is relaxed by five years for SC and ST candidates and three years for OBC candidates presently. For disabled candidates there is a relaxation of 10 years to the upper age limit, making it even higher. In the year 2012-13 there were 6 to 11% candidates, who were over 30, got through with the examination. Baswan refrained from making any initial comment on the age and said he will let the report do the talking. The report is expected to come out in the month of August this year.
According to a senior official, the final decision on the recommendation will be taken once the panel submits its report and thorough sources it is almost confirmed that it will recommend to reduce the entry age and upper age-limit of the candidates. He further said, “I can only say that the government is very clear in its mind that it will not spring surprise on the candidates.” The Baswan committee was thus told to not only recommend changes but also spell out reasonable time frame for implementing the recommendations.
Previously, many government officials and training academies have been pushing this idea of lowering the entry age, to incorporate more youth and exuberance into the services. It was augmented that the civil servants find it difficult to internalize the values and core values of the civil services, once they get past their thirties. It would be a tough job for the government to lower the age limit, as it could get into severe criticism for doing the same. There have been several attempts in the past to achieve the same, but it had to undergo huge protests from opposition stating this would harm the interests of the rural candidates and would act to their disadvantage.
The UPA government initially accepted the second administrative reforms commission recommendation on 2014 to lower the upper age limit to 26 years, in their last government. But, keeping the upcoming 2014 general elections in mind and rising protests, the UPA instead raised the upper age limit by two years.
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