Every year, about 10 lakh candidates apply for the UPSC civil services prelims exam. Nearly every year, only about half that number actually turns up for the IAS prelims and takes the exam. Since this is a regular feature seen each year, the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) has decided to allow candidates to withdraw from the exam after having applied for it. The commission will put this into practice for the upcoming Engineering Services Exams to be held in 2019, and then extend this facility for all its other exams including the civil services exam.
This move might not make a difference to the candidates who actually do not take the exam since only if they take the exam, the attempt is counted. However, this would make a big difference to the commission itself that sees half its resources and efforts at conducting the exam go to waste since it has to make arrangements for all the candidates that apply for the exams. UPSC Chairman Arvind Saxena said, “The Commission has to book venues, print papers, hire invigilators and ship the documents for all the 10 lakh applicants – which turns out to be a 50 per cent waste of energy and resources.”
The UPSC civil services exam is conducted in three stages, namely, the prelims, the mains and the personality test (interview). Each stage prescribes a cut-off mark and rank, and candidates who score below the cut-off are eliminated.
The UPSC hopes to work with the serious candidates and offer them good facilities and appropriate arrangements by making the system more effectual. A candidate who wishes to withdraw his/her application can do it online by providing details of the application. After that, a one-time-password (OTP) will be sent to the candidate’s registered mobile number and email ID. The candidate will be sent a message on the successful withdrawal of application. After this, the application cannot be revived.
The Chairman Shri Saxena also said that the UPSC is gradually shifting from a ‘pen and paper’ mode to a computer-based examination system. As it is, the entire application process is strictly online. The cycle time for each exam is also expected to come down, according to the Chairman. Candidates often complain that the UPSC civil services exam is a long-drawn one with each cycle lasting for almost a year. An unsuccessful attempt means starting all over again from scratch.
To make life easier for aspirants, the UPSC has started disclosing marks of unsuccessful candidates in certain exams like on its official website. In addition, the commission is also linking these marks to the National Career Services portal of the government to further the career prospects of such candidates.
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