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UPSC preliminary exam to be held on 4 October, test centres could be doubled

Mode, format of exam will remain the same and will be held on a single day, but while observing social distancing norms. More steps could be taken for venues in hotspots.

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New Delhi: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is going to conduct the preliminary exam for the civil services on 4 October — four months after its original scheduled date on 31 May.

The commission, which announced the new date Friday in a statement, had postponed the exam in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Sources in the UPSC said there will be no new applications for the exam, and only those who had enrolled by 3 March will be eligible.

The commission will conduct the exam in the same manner as usual by observing the government’s guidelines of social distancing, sources added. 

“We are still holding the exam on a single day, since it is not possible for the commission to hold a multi-session exam for such a large number of candidates,” an UPSC official, who didn’t want to be named, told ThePrint.

“There can be a lot of litigation issues if we have the exam on multiple days since some students can argue they got a tougher exam, etc,” he added.

“We are still figuring out the logistics… The commission will stay in touch with the state commissions, etc. for coordination on how social and physical distancing norms can be observed as per government guidelines,” the official added. “The mode, format, etc. of the exam will remain the same.”

Also read: IAS, IPS, IFS exam could be delayed, UPSC to take call after 3 May when lockdown is lifted

More centres may come up

The official said the number of centres and venues may have to be doubled to ensure social distancing.

Currently, the commission has approximately 70 centres, which are basically cities, and up to 1,000 venues, which come under the centres. Nearly 10 lakh candidates take the exam every year.

“The commission is going to be in touch with state commissions, and some additional measures may be taken for venues in hotspots… But since the exam is three months away, the commission has ample time to figure out the logistics,” the official quoted above said.

To be on the safe side, the commission has announced dates in October so that candidates get ample time to prepare, and the situation is in control to a certain extent for them to be able to travel to different centres, etc., an official from the Department of Personnel and Training, the nodal ministry for the commission, told ThePrint. 

Also read: From 2020, the same UPSC exam could get you into IAS as well as BSF


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