New Delhi (27.03.2023): A Parliamentary Committee has asked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to reduce the civil services examination's selection cycle asserting that the nearly 15 months long recruitment process wastes candidates' prime years besides taking a heavy toll on their physical and mental health.
The panel asked the UPSC to examine reasons for the low turnout of candidates in the civil services examination. The examination is conducted annually by the UPSC in three stages — preliminary, main, and interview — to select officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) besides many others.
As per data provided by the UPSC, the average time taken for civil services examination from the date of issue of notification to the date of declaration of the final result is nearly 15 months. The duration of any recruitment examination should not ordinarily exceed six months as long and protracted recruitment cycles waste prime years of a candidates’ life besides taking a heavy toll on physical and mental health of aspirants. The Committee recommends that UPSC should take steps to reduce the duration of the recruitment cycle significantly without compromising the quality.
Approximately, 32.39 lakh candidates who had applied for examinations conducted by UPSC in 2022-23, only 16.82 lakh candidates, (51.95%) actually appeared for examinations. For instance, 11.35 lakh candidates applied for the civil services examination in 2022 but only 5.73 lakh candidates (50.51%) actually appeared for the examination.
The panel has recommended forming an expert committee to assess if the present scheme of recruitment through civil services examination provides an equal opportunity to both English-medium-educated urban candidates and non-English medium-educated rural candidates.
While UPSC has changed the pattern of civil services examination from time to time on the basis of recommendations made by various expert committees, no study has been commissioned to assess how such changes impacted the aspirants, nature of recruitment and administration at large. This group may also assess whether the existing pattern of preliminary and mains examination provides a level playing field for all candidates irrespective of their academic background.
The Committee is of the considered opinion that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and UPSC should consider making further changes in the scheme and syllabus of civil services examination in the light of the findings of the impact assessment study.