CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION
The Indian Government through Union Public Service Commission conducts Civil Services Examination to recruit officers for various key positions in the government. The Services for whom the Civil Services Examination is required is as under:-
- Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
- Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
- Indian Police Service (IPS)
- Indian P & T Accounts and Finance Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Excise), Group ‘A’
- Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Revenue Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Ordnance factories Service, Group ‘A’ Assistant Works manager, Non-Technical)
- Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Railway Service
- Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’
- Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Grade-III)
- Indian Corporate Law Service, Group ‘A’
- Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade)
- Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and, Dadra and Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’
- Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’
- Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’
- Indian Forest Service
Eligibility Conditions for the Civil Services Examination
(1) For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
(2) For other services, a candidate must be either :—
- (a) a citizen of India, or
- (b) a subject of Nepal, or
- (c) a subject of Bhutan, or
- (d) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
- (e) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India. Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.
A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.
(ii) Age Limits :
(a) A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years.
(b) The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable :
- (i) upto a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.
- (ii) upto a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.
- (iii) upto a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir
- (iv) upto a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.
- (v) upto a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service and have been released
- (i) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed before date of joining the job) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or
- (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or
- (iii) on invalidment.
- (vi) Upto a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August, 2014 and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.
- (vii) upto a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically handicapped persons.
NOTE I: Candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who are also covered under any other clauses of para 3(ii) (b) above, viz. those coming under the category of Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & K, blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically handicapped etc. will be eligible for grant of cumulative age-relaxation under both the categories.
NOTE II: The term ex-servicemen will apply to the persons who are defined as ex-servicemen in the Ex-servicemen (Re-employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.
Note III : The age concession under sub para (ii) (b) (v) and (vi) will not be admissible to Ex-Servicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs who are released on own request.
NOTE IV: Notwithstanding the provision of age relaxation under sub para (ii) (b) (vii) above, a physically disabled candidate will be considered to be eligible for appointment only if he/she (after such physical examination as the Government or appointing authority, as the case may be, may prescribe) is found to satisfy the requirements of physical and medical standards for the concerned Services/posts to be allocated to the physically disabled candidates by the Government.
Save as provided above the age limits prescribed can in no case be relaxed.
The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognised by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University, which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate. These certificates are required to be submitted only at the time of applying for the Civil Services (Main) Examination. No other document relating to age like horoscopes, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, service records and the like will be accepted. The expression Matriculation/Secondary Examination Certificate in this part of the instruction includes the alternative certificates mentioned above.
NOTE 1: Candidates should note that only the Date of Birth as recorded in the Matriculation/Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent certificate as on the date of submission of applications will be accepted by the Commission and no subsequent request for its change will be considered or granted.
NOTE 2 : Candidates should also note that once a Date of Birth has been claimed by them and entered in the records of the Commission for the purpose of admission to an examination, no change will be allowed subsequently (or at any other examination of the Commission) on any grounds whatsoever.
Note 3 : The candidate should exercise due care while entering their date of birth in the online Application Form for the Preliminary Examination. If on verification at any subsequent stage, any variation is found in their date of birth from the one entered in their matriculation or equivalent Examination certificate, disciplinary action will be taken against them by the Commission under the Rules.
(iii) Minimum Educational Qualifications :
The candidate must hold a degree of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
Note I : Candidates who have appeared at an examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission’s examination but have not been informed of the results as also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination. All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination. The applications for the Main Examination are generally called sometime in the month of September/ October.
Note II : In exceptional cases the Union Public Service Commission may treat a candidate who has not any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate provided that he/she has passed examination conducted by the other Institutions, the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies his/her admission to the examination.
Note III : Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognised by Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.
Note IV : Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Examination provided they submit along with their application a copy of certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination. In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview original Degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.
(iv) Number of Attempts
Every candidate appearing at the examination who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts at the examination. Provided that this restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in the case of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates who are otherwise eligible. Provided further that the number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes, who are otherwise eligible shall be nine. The relaxation will be available to the candidates who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates. Provided further that a physically handicapped will get as many attempts as are available to other non-physically handicapped candidates of his or her community, subject to the condition that a physically handicapped candidate belonging to the General Category shall be eligible for nine attempts. Necessary action to make Corresponding Changes in respective Rules/Regulations Pertaining to various services is being taken separately. The relaxation will be available to the physically handicapped candidates who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.
Note : (i) An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Civil Services Examination.
(ii) If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.
(iii) Notwithstanding the disqualification/ cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.
(v) Restrictions on applying for the examination
A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination. In case such a candidate is appointed to the IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination is over and he/she continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be eligible to appear in the Civil Services (Main) Examination, notwithstanding his/her having qualified in the Preliminary Examination. Also provided that if such a candidate is appointed to IAS/IFS after the commencement of the Civil Services (Main) Examination but before the result thereof and continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be considered for appointment to any service/post on the basis of the result of this examination viz. Civil Services Examination.
(vi) Physical Standards
Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Civil Services Examination.
The competitive examination comprises of two successive stages as under:
(i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination;
(ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.
The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks in the subjects as mentioned in succeeding paragraphs. This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.
Note I: The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the total qualifying marks as may be determined by the Commission, of the two papers put together.
Note II: There will be negative marking for incorrect answers (as detailed below) for all questions except some of the questions where the negative-marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.
(i) There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
(ii) If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question.
(iii) If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the candidate; there will be no penalty for that question.
The Main Examination will consist of written examination and an interview test. The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type in the subjects out of which two papers will be of qualifying nature. Marks obtained for all the compulsory papers (Paper-I to Paper-VlI) and Marks obtained in Interview for Personality Test will be counted for ranking.
Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test. The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled. The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks). Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various services keeping in view their ranks in the Examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various services and posts.
Scheme and Subjects for the Preliminary and Main Examinations.
A. Preliminary Examination
The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.
Note (i) Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
(ii) The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level will be tested through passages from English Language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
(iii) Details of the syllabi are indicated in Part A of Section III.
(iv) Each paper will be of two hours duration. Blind candidates will however, be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes for each paper.
B. Main Examination
The written examination will consist of the following papers :
Qualifying Papers :
Paper-A Language (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution). 300 Marks
Paper-B English 300 Marks
Papers to be counted for merit
Paper-I Essay 250 Marks
Paper-II General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250 Marks
Paper-III General Studies -II(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250 Marks
Paper-IV General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250 Marks
Paper-V General Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250 Marks
Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 Marks
Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks
Personality Test 275 Marks
Grand Total 2025 Marks
Candidates may choose any one of the optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below.
NOTE : (i) The papers on Indian languages (Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution) and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
(ii) evaluation of the papers, namely, Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 30% marks in Indian Language and 25% marks in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.
(iii) The paper A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.
(iv) Marks obtained by the candidates for the Paper-I-VII only will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all of these papers.
(v) For the Language medium/literature of languages, the scripts to be used by the candidates will be as prescribed.
List of optional subjects for Main Examination:
There are twenty plus Optional Subjects for the Indian Civil Services Main Examination. The Aspirants for Civil Services Examinations may view the complete list of subjects and detailed syllabus for the subject by following the link – Optional Subjects for the Civil Services Examination.
(i) The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type.
(ii) Each paper will be of three hours duration.
(iii) Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language papers Paper-A and Paper-B, in any of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English.
(iv) Candidates exercising the option to answer Papers in any one of the languages mentioned above may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them. Candidates should, however, note that if they misuse the above rule, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases; their script(s) will not be valued for being in an unauthorized medium.
(v) The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) will be set in Hindi and English only.
(vi) The details of the syllabi are listed out separately for each subject in the links provided.
“General Instructions (Preliminary as well as Main Examination)” :
(i) Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. In no circumstances, will they be allowed the help of a scribe to write the answers for them. However, blind candidates will be allowed to write the examination with the help of a scribe. Blind candidates will also be allowed an extra time of thirty minutes at each paper @ ten minutes per hour.
(ii) An extra time of twenty minutes per hour shall be permitted for the candidates with locomotor disability and cerebral palsy where dominant (writing) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function (minimum of 40% impairment) in the Civil Services (Main) Examination only. However, no scribe shall be permitted to such candidates.
Note (1) : The eligibility conditions of a scribe, his/her conduct inside the examination hall and the manner in which and extent to which he/she can help the blind candidate in writing the Civil Services Examination shall be governed by the instructions issued by the UPSC in this regard. Violation of all or any of the said instructions shall entail the cancellation of the candidature of the blind candidate in addition to any other action that the UPSC may take against the scribe.
Note (2) : For purpose of these rules the candidate shall be deemed to be a blind candidate if the percentage of visual impairment is Forty Percent (40%) or more as per the specified criteria.
Note (3) : For availing of the concession admissible to a blind candidate, the candidate concerned shall produce a certificate in the prescribed proforma from a Medical Board constituted by the Central/State Governments alongwith their application for the Main Examination.
Note (4) : (i) The concession admissible to blind candidates shall not be admissible to those suffering from Myopia.
(ii) The Commission have discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects of the examination.
(iii) If a candidate’s handwriting is not easily legible, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to him.
(iv) Marks will not be allotted for mere superficial knowledge.
(v) Credit will be given for orderly, effective and exact expression combined with due economy of words in all subjects of the examination.
(vi) In the question papers, wherever required, SI units will be used.
(vii) Candidates should use only international form of Indian numerals (i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc.) while answering question papers.
(viii) Candidates will be allowed the use of Scientific (Non-Programmable type) Calculators at the conventional (Essay) type examination of UPSC. Programmable type calculators will however not be allowed and the use of such calculators shall tantamount to resorting to unfair means by the candidates. Loaning or interchanging of calculators in the Examination Hall is not permitted. It is also important to note that candidates are not permitted to use calculators for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not therefore, bring the same inside the Examination Hall.
C. Interview test
The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well educated youth.
Syllabi for the Examination
NOTE : Candidates are advised to go through the Syllabus published on the UPSC website for the Preliminary Examination and the Main Examination, as regular periodic revision of syllabus is done in several subjects.
Part-A Preliminary Examination
Paper I – (200 marks) Duration : Two hours
- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and Indian National Movement.
- Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
- Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
- Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
- General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation
- General Science.
Paper II– (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability
- Decision-making and problem solving
- General mental ability
- Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level),
- Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
- English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
Note 1 : Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
Note 2 : The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.
Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.
Part-B Main Examination
The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.
The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues and ability to analyze and take a view on conflicting socio- economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree level i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.
Syllabus of the papers included in the scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination is discussed below.
QUALIFYING PAPERS ON INDIAN LANGUAGES AND ENGLISH
The aim of the paper is to test the candidate’s ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian Language concerned. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :-
(i) Comprehension of given passages
(ii) Precis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary
(iv) Short Essays
Indian Languages :-
(i) Comprehension of given passages
(ii) Precis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary
(iv) Short Essays
(v) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.
Note 1 : The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
Note 2 : The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).
Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. 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.
General Studies- I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.
General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
The IAS aspirants can check the complete General Studies syllabus by following the link – General Studies Syllabus.
Optional Subject Papers I & II
Candidates may choose any optional subject from amongst the list of Optional Subjects given here.
The rules and regulations governing Indian Civil Services Examination is subject to modification/change and it is advised to check up for the latest syllabus on the Union Public Service Commission website – http://www.upsc.gov.in/.
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