What is civil service? : overview and FAQ’s
Q. What is “Civil Service Examination” ?
The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) among others
Q. What are the processes of the examination ?
The Civil Services Examination is based on the British Raj – era Imperial Civil Service tests . The Civil Services Examination is considered to be one of the most difficult and competitive examinations in India. On average 1,000,000+ candidates apply every year and the number of candidates appearing to sit the preliminary examination is approximately 4,00,000+. The examination consists of the following three stages:
- Stage I: Preliminary examination – A qualifying test advertised in Feb-March and held in June-July each year. Results may be published in mid-August.
- Stage II: Main examination – Will be held in October.
- Stage III: Personality Test (interview) – May be in Feb – April
Who all can apply for the examination? What is the eligibility?
- For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
- A citizen of India
- For other services, a candidate must be one of the following:
- A citizen of India
- A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
- A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India
All candidates must have as a minimum one of the following educational qualifications:
- A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university
- A degree received through correspondence or distance education
- A degree from an open university.
- A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above.
The following candidates are also eligible, but must submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam.
- Candidates who have appeared in an examination, the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy one of the above points
- Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed an internship
- Candidates who have passed the final exam of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI
- A degree from a private university
- A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities
Q. What is the age limit for applying for UPSC CIVIL SERVICE?
A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on August 1 of the year of examination. Prescribed age limits vary with respect to caste reservations.
For other backwards castes (OBC) the upper age limit is 35.
For scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) the limit is 37 years.
The upper age limit is relaxed for certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and physically handicapped people.
Q. How many times I can appear for this examination?
The number of times a candidate may attempt the exam is limited as follows,
- General category candidates = 6
- OBC category candidates = 9
- SC/ST candidates = unlimited attempts till 37 years of age
Appearing to attempt one of the papers in the preliminary examination is counted as an attempt, including disqualification/ cancellation of candidature.
*** applying to sit the exam but failing to attend is not counted as an attempt.
Q. What are the services which one gets on qualifying the Civil Service Examination?
All India Services (Group A)
- Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
- Indian Police Service (IPS)
Central Services (Group A)
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)
- Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
- Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
- Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
- Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
- Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
- Indian Information Service (IIS)
- Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
- Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS)
- Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
- Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
- Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
- Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
- Indian Revenue Service (IRS-IT)
- Indian Revenue Service (IRS-C&CE)
- Indian Trade Service (ITrS)
- Railway Protection Force (RPF)
Group B Services
- Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (AFHCS)
- Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)
- Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)
- Pondicherry Civil Service
- Pondicherry Police Service
Q. What is the pattern of preliminary examination?
The new pattern includes two papers of two hours duration and 200 marks each.Both papers have multiple choice objective type questions only. They are as under:
- Paper I tests the candidate’s knowledge on current events, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, Indian policy panchayti Raj system and governance, economic and social development, environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change and general science ,Art and culture.
- Paper II tests the candidates’ skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability.
In August 2014, the Centre announced that English marks in CSAT-II will not be included for gradation or merit and 2011 candidates may get a second chance to appear for the test next year.
In May 2015, the Government of India announced that Paper II of the preliminary examination will be qualifying in nature i.e. it wouldn’t be graded for eligibility in Mains Examination and a candidate needs to secure at least 33% marks in order to be eligible for graded on basis of Marks of Paper I of Preliminary.
Q. What is the pattern of ‘Mains examination’ ?
The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifying and seven ranking in nature. Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission’s discretion .
|Paper A||(One of the Indian languages listed below, to be selected by the candidate (from the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India) (Qualifying)||300|
|Paper B||English (Qualifying)||300|
|Paper II||General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society)||250|
|Paper III||General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations)||250|
|Paper IV||General Studies III (Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management)||250|
|Paper V||General Studies IV(ethics, integrity and aptitude)||250|
|Papers VI, VII||Two papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper)||500|
|Sub Total (Written Test)||1750|
|Personality Test (Interview)||275|
Q. In what all languages one can write the examination?
The examination is offered in the following languages, with the name of the script in brackets:
- Assamese (Assamese)
- Bengali (Bengali)
- Bodo (Devanagari)
- Dogri (Devanagari)
- English (English)
- Gujarati (Gujarati)
- Hindi (Devanagari)
- Kannada (Kannada)
- Kashmiri (Persian)
- Konkani (Devanagari)
- Maithili (Devanagari)
- Malayalam (Malayalam)
- Manipuri (Bengali)
- Marathi (Devanagari)
- Nepali (Devanagari)
- Oriya (Oriya)
- Punjabi (Gurumukhi)
- Sanskrit (Devanagari)
- Santhali (Devanagri or Ol Chiki)
- Sindhi (Devanagari or Arabic)
- Tamil (Tamil)
- Telugu (Telugu)
- Urdu (Persian)
Q. What are the available optional subjects?
The subjects available for Papers VI and VII are: The standards of Optional papers is of Post Graduate level. Paper I is theoretical but Paper II is often dominated by Current Affairs and Application based questions.
- Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
- Civil Engineering
- Commerce and Accountancy
- Electrical Engineering
- Literature of any one of the non-English languages listed above
- Mechanical Engineering
- Medical Science
- Political Science and International Relations
- Public Administration
Q. What is the nature of personality test (interview)?
The objective 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 evaluate the mental caliber of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only a candidate’s intellectual qualities, but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, and 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 that is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
The interview is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidate, which has been already tested through 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 all well-educated youth.
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