Compulsory Indian Language Paper: No. of Candidates for Each Language

The Indian/regional language paper, officially called Paper ‘A’ is the first paper in the UPSC civil services mains exam. Although only qualifying in nature, candidates are advised not to ignore its preparation as failure to score the minimum required marks will lead to their failure to clear the mains implying the loss of a precious attempt. The UPSC allows candidates to choose from a list of 22 modern Indian languages given in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution. Read on to know the statistics regarding the number of candidates for each language in the UPSC mains exam.

The most popular language taken by candidates in Paper-A (UPSC language paper) is Hindi — One of the official languages of India. On an average about 65% of the candidates choose Hindi for Paper-A, and the rest 35% take up any one of the remaining languages.

UPSC Language Paper

Assamese Bengali Gujarati Hindi Kannada Kashmiri
Konkani Malayalam Manipuri Marathi Nepali Odia
Punjabi Sanskrit Maithili Tamil Telugu Urdu
Bodo Dogri Sindhi (Devanagari/Arabic script) Santhali (Devanagari/Olchiki script)

The following figures have been compiled from the annual reports published by the UPSC every year. It gives the number of candidates opting the various Indian languages from the year 2010 to 2015.

Language 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Hindi 8418 7233 7888 8820 10650 9358
Marathi 769 828 1074 1524 1442 1418
Telugu 700 722 795 1096 1276 1213
Tamil 561 624 649 806 742 747
Kannada 337 342 400 347 507 484
Malayalam 223 329 387 375 395 340
Gujarati 96 101 98 127 161 192
Punjabi 228 257 245 335 434 319
Bengali 57 110 89 103 96 82
Assamese 18 37 40 31 39 34
Odia 89 104 84 113 136 130
Kashmiri 0 1 0 0 0 0
Konkani 0 0 1 0 1 0
Sindhi (D) 0 0 1 0 1 1
Sindhi (A) 1 0 0 0 3 2
Sanskrit 1 8 3 7 4 1
Manipuri 0 3 0 0 2 0
Nepali 3 4 5 8 10 7
Bodo 1 2 2 1 2 2
Maithili 1 3 1 2 2 1
Santhali 0 0 0 1 0 1
Urdu 38 38 48 46 60 70

As you can see from the above table, the maximum number of candidates opted for Hindi through the years 2010 to 2015. Marathi is the language that is second to Hindi. It is closely followed by Telugu and Tamil. Malayalam, Punjabi and Kannada also have many takers.

Also, See | Tips to Tackle the Compulsory Indian Language Paper in UPSC Civil Services Mains

Visit BYJU’S Website for strategy and articles on free IAS prep and all the latest on UPSC IAS exam.

FAQ about Compulsory Indian Language Paper


Is UPSC language paper compulsory?

UPSC-CSE Mains Exam consists of nine papers, out of which Paper A is the Compulsory Indian Language Paper (commonly called UPSC language paper) and Paper B is English. Paper A and B are of qualifying nature. Paper A on Indian Language is not compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. In the Online Application, if a candidate hails from these North-Eastern States, the option for Indian Language will automatically be disabled in the Online Application.

In which language is the UPSC exam held?

In the preliminary exam, the paper is generally printed in two languages. One is Hindi and the other is English. In mains, questions are printed in English and Hindi. But you can answer in any of the scheduled languages (If Opted) mentioned in the Constitution.

How many languages are there in UPSC?

The UPSC allows candidates to choose from a list of 22 modern Indian languages given in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

How many languages are there in the IAS interview?

The candidates, opting for the Indian Language medium for the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, may choose either the same Indian Language or English or Hindi as the medium for the interview. The candidate has to indicate the language medium of the interview at the time of filling up the Detailed Application Form (DAF).

Is Hindi compulsory for IAS?

No, Hindi Language is not compulsory for UPSC Exam. The candidates, opting to write the Civil Services (Main) Examination in English, may choose either English or Hindi or any other Indian Language opted by them for the compulsory Indian Language Paper in the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination.


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