UPSC says 10 lakh candidates apply on average but only half appear for the exam & this stretches commission’s resources.
New Delhi: If a civil services aspirant applies to take the exam to become a civil servant but does not eventually appear for the test, it should be treated as one of the handful of attempts candidates are allowed, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has proposed to the Modi government.
Such a rule, the commission believes, will ease the strain on it as an average 10 lakh candidates apply every year but only about half of them actually appear for the exam, a top source in the government told ThePrint.
“The UPSC prepares for all the applications that are received in terms of the number of papers printed and centres roped in, among others. But a large number of people don’t show up,” the source who is familiar with the proposal said.
At present, general category candidates are allowed six attempts while those from the OBC category are allowed nine.
The attempts, however, are counted only when a candidate appears for the preliminary examination.
While the government is yet to respond to the UPSC proposal, it will only impact non-serious candidates if implemented, the source said.
DoPT secretary C. Chandramouli neither denied nor confirmed the proposal when ThePrint reached him for comment.
Problem flagged earlier
Citing the same problem, the UPSC had for the first time in October allowed candidates to withdraw from the examination within a week of applying.
While making the announcement, UPSC chairman Arvind Saxena had said that in the commission’s experience, roughly 50 per cent of the 10 lakh-plus candidates who enrol for the exam never appear for it.
“The commission has to book venues, print paper, hire invigilators and ship the documents for all the 10 lakh applicants – which turns out to be a 50 per cent waste of energy and resources,” he had said.
However, the thinking in the commission subsequently is that the move is not likely to yield results until there is a disincentive for candidates to not skip the exam, the source added.
Additional measures to weed out ‘fake candidates’
In another move to weed out ‘fake’ applicants, the commission wants applicants to produce their identity cards at the time of enrolment as well. This is to ensure there is no impersonation.
The source said that under current practice, applicants are only asked to produce identity proof during the main examination, the second stage of the three-tier process.
The preliminary exam and the interview make up the complete exam through which the UPSC selects officers for the IAS, IPS, IFS and other services.
While the UPSC’s concerns stem out of genuine logistical issues, any decision in this regard is bound to have political ramifications for the government.
Even now, the government is facing stiff protests from civil service aspirants who are demanding compensatory attempts after they were affected due to the introduction of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in the UPSC prelims examination in 2011.