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prelims Test Series 2019
बेसिक इंग्लिश का दूसरा सत्र (कक्षा प्रारंभ : 22 अक्तूबर, शाम 3:30 से 5:30)
UPSC Reforms
Oct 15, 2013

Brief introduction

The Union Public Service Commission is the central recruiting agency in India. It has been established under Article 315 of the Constitution of India. The Commission consists of a Chairman and ten Members. 

The Union Public Service Commission have been entrusted with the following duties and role under the Constitution:

  • Recruitment to services & posts under the Union through conduct of competitive examinations;

  • Recruitment to services & posts under the Central Government by Selection through Interviews;

  • Advising on the suitability of officers for appointment on promotion as well as transfer-on-deputation; 

  • Advising the Government on all matters relating to methods of Recruitment to various services and posts;

  • Disciplinary cases relating to different civil services; and 

  • Miscellaneous matters relating to grant of extra ordinary pensions, reimbursement of legal expenses etc. 

The major role played by the Commission is to select persons to man the various Central Civil Services and Posts and the Services common to the Union and States (viz. All-India Services).

Timelines of reforms related to recruitment procedures

After independence between 1947 and 1950, an annual combined competitive examination was held for recruitment to these services as well as to the non-technical Central Services. In 1950, on coming into force of the Constitution, the Federal Public Service Commision was redesignated as the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).The Constitution of India has set up three All India Services: the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Foreign Service (IFS). The examination required the candidates to take three compulsory subjects and three optional subjects (for the IPS, only two optional subjects were required to be taken). A separate viva voce was also conducted. 

From 1951 onwards, the eligibility age was fixed at 21 to 24 years (20 to 24 years for the IPS) and the candidates were permitted to take three chances at the examination. One of the recommendations of the Public Services (Qualification for Recruitment) Committee, appointed in 1955 was limiting the number of attempts to two by reducing the eligibility age range to 21-23 years. Government, while leaving the eligibility age unaltered, decided to reduce the number of attempts to two which were to be counted separately for (a) Category I Services (IAS and IFS), (b) Category II Services (IPS and Police Service Class II of the Union Territories), and (c) Category III Services (Central Services Class I and II). 

On the recommendation of the First Administrative Reforms Commission, the upper age limit was increased to 26 years in 1972 and from 1973, candidates were permitted to make three attempts for each of the three categories of services.

Later on the Committee on Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods under the chairmanship of D.S Kothari was appointed by the UPSC in 1974. The new system of recruitment came into existence in 1979. Th is consisted of three sequential stages: (i) Preliminary Examination (Objective Type) for selecting the candidates for the Main Examination, (ii) Main Examination (Written examination followed by an interview) for selecting candidates for entry into the civil services and (iii) Post Training Test at the end of the Foundation Course at the Academy, including an interview by a Board constituted by the UPSC. It was proposed that the result of the stage three test, combined with the result of the stage two examination would determine the ranking and therefore, allocation of services. Government did not accept the recommendation regarding allocation of services after the Foundation Course. The new scheme, consisting of the first two stages was introduced in 1979.

Then in 1993 some changes were introduced in this system on the recommendations of the Committee of the Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods for All India and Central Services under the chairmanship of Satish Chandra. It has introduced an essay paper carrying 200 marks and increases the marks for the interview test to 300.

From 2011 onwards UPSC has introduced changes in Prelims papers by removing the optional subjects. In place of that it has introduced a paper “Civil Services Aptitude Test” which includes: traditional aptitude, reasoning, comprehension, data interpretation, decision making and problem solving and so on.

Further from 2013 onwards it is changing its Main Exam Pattern on the recommendation of the Alagh Committee Report. The written examination will consist of the following papers: 

  • Paper I and II:  There will be two qualifying papers in any Indian language and English each of 300 marks.

  • Paper-III: Essay 250 Marks: Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

  • Paper-IV:  General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) of 250 marks

  • Paper-V: General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) of 250 marks

  • Paper-VI: General Studies –III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) of 250 marks

  • Paper-VII: General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) of 250 marks

  • PAPER-VIII & PAPER IX: Optional Subject Papers I & II 

Change is key to success

The present ce¬ntury, the era of LPG has change the concept of governance from being government centered to market driven. Government has to seek a balance between growth and development and has to work for the inclusive growth. The demands and expectations of every citizen have changed. Every citizen now demands greater availability of resources, freedom, equality, liberty, employment, etc. Therefore, the government would need a large number of civil servants with different types and levels of subject expertise and skills.

Thus the need of the hour is that “the students should be aware and up-to-date of the activities going around them with a deep analytical perspective to clear the IAS exam. Instead of mugging up the information a student should try to understand the basic concept behind it”.

The civil servant should have knowledge of chosen regional and English languages; grip on socio-economic problem-solving-skills; competency in use of information technology; ability to logically analyse situations and interpret data; ability to prioritise and undertake approaches to time management; the expertise to learn and assimilate new knowledge and skills; ability to work in group and promote team spirit; knowledge of multi-level approach to problem analysis and solving and authority over communication skills within and across. 

The proposed changes will bring all the aspirants at a level playing field and will provide equal opportunities to all students.

2nd ARC recommendations related to recruitment:

a) Government of India should establish National Institutes of Public Administration to run Bachelor’s Degree courses in public administration/ governance/management. In the long run it is expected that these specialized centres of excellence (National Institutes of Public Administration) would evolve as major sources of civil services aspirants.

b) Selected Central and other Universities should also be assisted to off er such graduate level programmes in public administration/governance/public management which will produce graduates to further expand the pool of eligible applicants to the civil services. The courses offered in these universities should include core subjects such as the Constitution of India, Indian legal system, administrative law, Indian economy, Indian polity, Indian history and culture apart from optional subjects.

c) Graduates of the above mentioned special courses from the National Institutes of Public Administration and selected universities would be eligible for appearing in the Civil Services Examinations. Further, graduates in other disciplines would also be eligible to appear in the Civil Services Examination provided they complete a ‘Bridge Course’ in the core subjects mentioned above. Th e Bridge course should be run by the same selected national institutes/universities, which conduct the graduate level courses stated in (c) above.

d) The permissible age for appearing in the Civil Services Examination should be 21 to 25 years for general candidates, 21 to 28 years for candidates from OBC and 21 to 29 years for candidates from SC/ST as also for those who are physically challenged. The number of permissible attempts in the Civil Services Examination should be 3, 5, 6 and 6 respectively for general candidates, candidates from OBC, candidates from SC/ST and physically challenged candidates respectively.


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