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Increasing the attempts and the age limit-- is it producing better talent for the bureaucracy?.

Government increased the number of attempts of a Civil Services candidate to six and also increased the age limit to 32 years. This was done to give a level playing field to all candidates as some of them were protesting against the structural changes brought in the UPSC pattern alleging that these changes marginalized the candidates from rural background and gave unfair advantage to the ones from English background.

These changes aroused debate among various sections of students as to whether it would lead to producing better talent for the bureaucracy or not.

There are candidates who come from rural background and are not that good in English. They take some time to coma at par with students who are well versed in English. Also there are candidates who persue very high education first and then they decide to join civil services. Owing to age limitation some of them could not get proper time and also could not exhaust even the four attempts. By giving them two more years to prepare and two more attempts, these intellectuals would be in a better position to join civil services and implement their knowledge to bring changes in society.

Some working professionals also aspire to become civil servants. Because of their jobs and family responsibility they cannot devote much time to studies and hence need more years preparing to achieve their goals as compared to those students who can devote all of their time to studies only. Such candidates can fulfill their job responsibilities and prepare for civil services as well.

But this situation has some disadvantages too. Four chances are enough for a serious candidate to attempt the coveted exam and clear it. If he doesn't clear the test even after four attempts then he can divert his energy to some other field and use his capabilities over there instead of wasting more and more years preparing for these services. In some cases, candidates keep on preparing for civil services only and become over-aged to take many other exams. Such situation leads to depression in them.

Joining the service at higher age leads to lesser years of working as compared to those persons who join these services at younger age. Moreover the person cannot go at much higher position after promotion as he gets superannuated after lesser years of working.

Increasing the age may be a welcome step for some candidates but they should also have an alternate option of job which they can rely upon, if, unfortunately, they don't get selected. The government should not further increase age after this change. Rather it should provide a level playing field from the grass root level and try to impart quality education to all candidates so that serious candidates could clear this test in lesser attempts.

Chandni Singh