UPSC: Centre says age-relaxation “not feasible”; students react

On Thursday, August 10, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that it is not feasible to change the number of attempts and age limit in respect of the CSE
Read details here | (Photo: Edex Live)
Read details here | (Photo: Edex Live)

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Examination (CSE) aspirants have shown disappointment with the centre’s response in the Parliament establishing that it is “not feasible to consider any change in the existing provisions regarding number of attempts and age-limit in respect of the CSE.”

On Thursday, August 10, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said this in his reply in the Rajya Sabha. The students have been protesting for an extra attempt in the UPSC CSE examination as a one-time measure, citing the pandemic and “lopsided” exam pattern in the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Speaking to EdexLive, students labelled the central government as "anti-student" stating that it has not been responding to their "valid and fair" demands.

“We have been protesting for so long. During the last protest in Delhi, the students were manhandled by the police and detained. They either do not allow us to hold a peaceful protest or harass the students. Our demands are genuine, everyone knows about the consequences of the pandemic. About the CSAT issue as well, they know that a majority of the aspirants are from humanities or rural background,” expressed Saket Kumar, a UPSC aspirant from New Delhi.

In February 2023, the Supreme Court of India had dismissed a plea by UPSC aspirants seeking an extra attempt asking the Central government to take a call instead.

However, in 2022, a parliamentary committee asked the government to sympathetically consider the demand of Civil Services examination aspirants hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and grant an extra attempt with corresponding age relaxation to them.

Ambarish Pathak, another UPSC aspirant, said, “The current norms regarding the age limit and number of attempts are fine, we do not need a permanent change. We only want a one-time relaxation because of pandemics in 2020 and 2021. Many of the aspirants were working during the pandemic as frontline workers. Other aspirants from rural backgrounds who were preparing for the exam had to go back to their villages due to financial restraints. A few aspirants lost their family members. When the Parliamentary committee has also recommended an extension, why is the government so rigid on its decision?”

Aspirants informed that they are seeking permission for another protest in New Delhi against the government’s response.

“The government has not said anything new. They are just repeating what they have always been saying. We will keep protesting till our demands are heard,” said Nitin Kumar, another UPSC aspirant.

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