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By R. Ravikanth Reddy( The Hindu ) : The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) notified 1,129 vacancies for civil services in 24 categories with major changes in the exam format. The notification was delayed by a few days to incorporate the changes meant to ensure a level playing field for aspirants from all streams of education.

There are significant changes in the pattern of the examination. Under the new criteria, the preliminary stage would continue to have Civil Services Aptitude Test General Studies (CSATGS paper II) paper as well as the Preliminary (General Studies Paper). However, General Studies paper I of only those candidates who score a minimum of 33 per cent CSATGS paper II would be taken up for evaluation.

Students from rural background had petitioned that CSAT, with English, Mathematics and reasoning, was working against their advantage. It became a major issue in Parliament with several MPs demanding that CSAT paper be scrapped.

Besides, all aspirants who had appeared at the 2011 examination have been granted another attempt. “This relaxation is on account of the demand of the students who were agitating against the CSAT model last year. The CSAT pattern was introduced without adequate notice in 2011, and many aspirants felt unfairly disadvantaged due to this change. To pacify them, the government agreed to grant an extra attempt this year irrespective of their eligibility. However, the notification makes it clear that only those who have appeared at the examination in 2011 would be eligible to apply,” says Gopala Krishna, Director of Brain Tree.

Changes in age criteria

There are not many changes with regard to number of attempts or the upper age criteria and it would be similar to last year. The maximum age limit is 32 years for general category, 35 years for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 37 years for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students.

As before, the number of attempts for general category stands at six while the OBCs can appear nine times. There is no limit on the number of attempts for the SCs and STs. However, differently-abled aspirants have been allowed a relaxation of 10 years and nine attempts.

At the Mains level, there is no significant change in the format and the syllabi. The emphasis on the marks to be scored in the qualifying paper ‘Modern Indian language’ in the Main examination has been reduced from 30 to 25 per cent, said Mr. Gopala Krishna.

More than 50,000 aspirants from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are expected to test their luck this year, while at the all India level the applications are likely to be around nine lakhs.

The Telugu States will have four centres for the preliminary — Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati.

However, for the Main exam, only Hyderabad will be the exam centre.

Every centre is assigned a fixed number of students. So, last year many aspirants from the Telugu-speaking States who applied in the last minute were allotted Chennai or Nagpur as vacancies in all four centres exhausted. Trainers say aspirants should send in their applications at the earliest.

Trainers say that about 45,000 to 48,000 candidates apply from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. An estimated 50 per cent of applicants actually appear in the preliminary exam at the national level. The average is usually high in the two Telugu States.

Civil Services Exam 2015 Notifications,
More Guidelines IAS 2015 Exam

( Courtesy R. Ravikanth Reddy, The Hindu )

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