Hindustan Times clarified, quoting an unnamed government spokesperson, that there was no such proposal before the government to reduce the age limit for civil service examinations. Quoting unnamed sources, the report further said that there had always been attempts to explore the possibility of reducing the upper age for the civil services examination, right from the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government's time.
In fact, the second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended fixing of upper age limit for unreserved candidates at 26 years, whereas for OBC, it suggested 28 and for SC/ST candidates 29. There was an additional two years for physically challenged aspirants.
The earlier UPA government reportedly took a decision to support the formula recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission headed by M Veerappa Moily. An April 2014 document uploaded on the department of administrative reforms and public grievances (DARPG) website regarding decisions taken by the government on the Commission’s recommendations, clearly said so.
But the confusion arose as The Hindu, a newspaper widely read by UPSC aspirants, front-paged a story saying that the Centre intended to reduce the upper age limit and the number of attempts of applicants with effect from 2015. The report also included the voice of MDMK leader Vaiko urging the Centre to withdraw its plan to bring down the upper age limit.
In social media platforms, UPSC aspirants created quite a buzz, many of whom arguing that any move to reduce the upper age to 26 years (from 30 years now) would result in discouraging Indian youths enrolling in master degree courses, apart from hurting the chances of rural youth who are often late starters. Further, it will hurt chances of young corporate executives to try their luck in UPSC exam.
The question comes (at least till late Tuesday): Why can’t the UPSC or DoPT simply issue a clarification to put to an end to this confusion?