The parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law, and justice has asked the UPSC to reduce the civil services exam’s selection cycle since it takes nearly 15 months for the final result, which wastes a candidate’s prime years besides taking a heavy toll on their physical and mental health. The committee is of the opinion that recruitment examinations should not usually take longer than six months, so UPSC should take steps to reduce the recruitment cycle’s duration without compromising its quality.
The panel also asked the UPSC to examine the reasons for low turnouts in civil service exams. The report has said that out of around 32.39 lakh candidates who applied the exams in 2022-23, only 16.82 lakh candidates (51.95%) appeared. The report said that 11.35 lakh candidates applied for the civil services exams in 2022. Out of them, only 5.73 lakh candidates (50.51 per cent) appeared for the tests.
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.
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) among many others.
The committee has also recommended that the UPSC furnish details of the examination fees collected from candidates during the last five years and the expenditure incurred by the commission on the conduct of the examinations for the same period.
An expert group or committee should study the impact of changes made to the scheme, pattern, and syllabus of civil service examinations in the last decade on the quality of recruitment and administration.
The 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.