DoPT clarifies on the Age/Attempt relaxation in the UPSC Civil Service exam: Gen 32 year (6 attempt), OBC 35 (9 attempt), SC/ST 37(Unlimited), PH-42 to 47

RTI152 Comments

  1. #1: UPSC age/attempt relaxation: DoPT elaborates further:
    1. General category
    2. OBC category
    3. SC/ST category
    4. PH category
  2. Unofficial notes about age/attempt limit
    1. Q. what about IFoS exam?
    2. Q. What about JK residents and Ex-Servicemen?
    3. Q. Do Central service employees get additional age/attempt relaxation?
    4. Q. What counts as attempt?
    5. Q. When is the age counted? 1st August or 1st January?
    6. Q: is this age/attempt limit also valid for 2015, 2016, 2017? or is it only for 2015?
    7. Q. Creamy LAYER OBC = General = 6 attempts & 32 years
    8. Q: Changing category in between exams = permitted
    9. Q. Jat reservation in UPSC exam
    10. Non-cream layer jat outside those 9 states= General
  3. #2: Indian Engineering Service
  4. #3: NDA/NA Exam-I 2013 cutoffs

#1: UPSC age/attempt relaxation: DoPT elaborates further:

Feb 2014: Government approved two extra attempt for all categories in IAS/IPS exam (click me). But that notification was creating some confusion.

March 2014: now Department of Personnel and training (DoPT) issued a separate circular to elaborate the matter further. click me for the circular

Moral of that story circular is following:

General category

attempt limit44+2 = 6 years
age limit30 years30+2=32 years

OBC category

attempt limit77+2=9
age limit3333+2=35 years

SC/ST category

attempt limitunlimitedunlimited
age limit3535+2=37 years

PH category

PH candidate frombeforeAFTER
PH from General/OBC categoryattempt limit77+2=9
age limit40
  • General PH: 30+12=42 years
  • OBC PH: 33+12=45 years
PH from SC/ST categoryattempt limitunlimitedunlimited
age limit40SC/ST PH: 35+12=47 years

Unofficial notes about age/attempt limit

These are not given in the official circular, but frequently asked by readers. So I’m replying these based on the previous trend/system/rules of UPSC.

Q. what about IFoS exam?

Q. does this relaxed age/attempt limit also applicable in Indian forest services (IFoS) exam?

Ans. No. This relaxation only applies to Civil service exam (IAS/IPS).

Forest service (IFoS) is a separate exam- its age/attempt limit is counted separately. Only the preliminary exam of IAS and IFoS are common. Therefore, we should continue assuming that IFoS age/attempt=old system remains. (unless UPSC notification changes it on 17th May 2014.)

Q. What about JK residents and Ex-Servicemen?

Ans. Since the circular is silent about them. We can assume the old system continues for them. However, every JK and Ex-serviceman can also be classified under Gen/OBC/SC-ST/PH. and therefore benefits / gets hurts accordingly (depends on how UPSC interprets it!). For example:

J&K resident (SC/ST)30+10=40
  • viewpoint #1: circular is silent. = old system continues, he gets 40 years
  • viewpoint #2: as SC/ST candidate, he gets only 37 years. because circular did not mention him.

I believe in view point #1. Let’s wait for the notification on 17th May.

Q. Do Central service employees get additional age/attempt relaxation?


  1. No, for the IAS/IPS (Civil service exam).
  2. Yes, for CAPF (Assistant commandant exam)

Q. What counts as attempt?

  1. Appearing in the preliminary exam, count as attempt.
  2. Meaning, in past, if you had filled up the UPSC application form, but you remained ABSENT in the preliminary exam=> then it doesn’t count as attempt.
  3. If you wrote the preliminary exam, it counts as attempt. – Irrespective of whether you passed or failed.

Q. When is the age counted? 1st August or 1st January?

  1. Traditionally, UPSC civil service exam counted the age on 1st august of the given year.
  2. In Indian Engineering service exam, they count age on 1st January. But UPSC still silent on whether they’ll follow the same model for IAS/IPS exam or not? RTIs don’t reveal anything.
  3. So until any change is officially notified (on 17th May 2014), we should assume that for IAS/IPS (Civil service exam) exam, the Age limit is counted on 1st August.
  4. Meaning, as a general category candidate if you want to appear in 2014’s exam, YOU must not have crossed the 32 years on 1st August 2014.

Q: is this age/attempt limit also valid for 2015, 2016, 2017? or is it only for 2015?

Ans. I don’t know. And RTI is unlikely to reveal anything. Most likely the DoPT and UPSC will reply that “CPIO cannot predict the future course of action.”

Anyways, official notification of UPSC, will come on 17th May 2015. Hopefully that should throw some light. [This scenario is similar to optional subjects- no one knows when it’ll be removed from the mains exam, we can only come up with conspiracy theories.]

Q. Creamy LAYER OBC = General = 6 attempts & 32 years

  • From above table, you can see OBC gets 9 attempts and 35 years.
  • But that applies only to non-creamy layer OBC.
  • It doesn’t apply to creamy layer OBC.
  • for age/attempt limit: the creamy layer OBC is treated as General category candidate (meaning 6 attempt, 32 years).

In other words,

OBC typeage limitattempt limit
non-creamy layer359
creamy layer326

How/why? Well observe the following screenshot of 2013’s application form. The UPSC form is designed in such way that creamy layer has to tick “General” category.


click me to enlarge

I repeat again, to claim OBC reservation benefit in UPSC, you need TWO certificates:

  1. OBC caste certificate
  2. Non-creamy layer certificate.
    1. Non creamy layer status depends on your parents’ income and property.
    2. It doesn’t depend on your income/property
    3. It doesn’t depend on your husband/wife’s income/property.
    4. If your mom/dad is government employee then INCOME criteria doesn’t apply. (e.g. if dad is class3 employee, then it doesn’t matter whether he gets 6 lakhs or 7 lakhs. You’re still non-cream layer. For more, read this PDF file click me)

Q: Changing category in between exams = permitted

Q. I had applied as general category in xyz year’s exam. But for 2014, I want to apply as OBC/SC/ST candidate. Is this permissible?

Ans. Yes. As long as you’ve the necessary documents. example, candidate gives 2012’s exam as gen and 2013’s as OBC.

Q. Jat reservation in UPSC exam

Q. This week (March 2014), cabinet cleared the file. So it’ll take some weeks before gazette notification is released. Only after that, local tehsildar/SDM/collector office will start issuing certificates. Can I claim reservation in in UPSC?

Ans. You’ve to keep two things in mind:

#1: closing date in normal circumstances:

  1. In UPSC exams, The closing date fixed for the receipt of the application is be treated as the  date for  determining the  OBC  status (including that of creamy layer) of the candidate.
  2. For 2014: UPSC prelim application starts from 17 May 2014 and ends at 16 June 2014.
  3. So, 16/06/2014 is the closing date.

#2: closing date in extra-ordinary circumstances:

(quoting UPSC notification from 2013): There may be a few cases where there was a little gap (say 2-3 months) between the issuance of a Government Notification enlisting a particular community in the list of any of the reserved communities and the date of submission of the application by the candidate. In such cases the request of change of community from general to reserved may be considered by the Commission on merit. In case of a candidate unfortunately becoming physically disabled during the course of the examination, the candidate should produce valid documents to enable the Commission to take a decision in the matter on merit.

–end of copy paste–

Non-cream layer jat outside those 9 states= General

OBC list is always “State-wise”. Cabinet has cleared OBC status only for the jats of nine states viz.  Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

Meaning only the (non-creamy layer) Jats of those states will get OBC age/attempt benefit.

Consider this hypothetical situation:

A Jat candidate, who originally belongs to Madhya Pradesh but currently living in Delhi for last few months, to study in a coaching class. = No, he doesn’t get OBC reservation UNLESS he can prove that he is a domicile of Delhi. Meaning, he needs to show birth certificate, proof-of-resident/ration card/lightbill/phone bill etc.

If I recall correctly, Delhi sarkaar wants domicile proof that you/your parents are living in Delhi since 1993, only then you can get OBC certificate.

Moral of the story: you must have two certificates.

  1. OBC certificate (depends on state.)
  2. non-creamy layer certificate (depends on your parents’ income/property. BUT for government servent parents- it doesn’t depend on income but rank.)

Moving to the next topics:

#2 and #3 are based on RTI reply filed by Mr.Prashant Kumar.

#2: Indian Engineering Service

Q1. Can an engineer from Computer Science/Information technology eligible to sit in the exam? if yes, then under which subject (out of the four available) they may apply?

Q2. if a computer science candidate gets selected in another subject (Electrical, etc) is there any preference given to the Electrical candidate or all must be considered equal?

UPSC replies for Q1 and Q2:

The rules of ESE-2014 are yet to be finalized. However as per the rules of 2013, degree in engineering in any steam is essential educational qualification for appearing in the engineering service examination. A candidate may apply for the admission to the examination in respect of any one of the four categories of the services/posts viz. civil engineering or mechanical engineering or electronic engineering or electronics and telecommunication engineering.

Q3. Is there any provision or discussion over inclusion of Computer Science/ IT as one of the subjects in Engineering Service Exam in the coming years?

UPSC replies:

Query is hypothetical in nature and hence does not qualify as information as defined under section 2/F of the RTI act, 2005

Q4. What is the total time from Pre-Exam to Joining for a candidate in Engineering Service?

UPSC replies:

there is no such specific timeframe between the conduct of exam and joining of the candidate. It varies from year to year

Q5. How many Computer Science/IT students have applied and got selected in Engineering Service Exam 2011 and 2012?

UPSC replies:

The information regarding the qualification of candidates is neither compiled nor maintained in the manner asked for in the application. As such the information cannot be provided.

#3: NDA/NA Exam-I 2013 cutoffs

Q1. Please provide the cutoff marks for all categories in the NDA 2013 exam?

NDA stagemarks secured by last candidate
written stage333/900
final stage698/1800

Q2. Is the NDA cutoff paper-wise or overall?

UPSC replies: There is no separate paper wise cutoff in this exam.

Ref: scanned copy of UPSC RTI reply to Mr.Prashant Kumar.

So far 152 Comments posted

  1. deepak

    mrunal sir,in dept of admn. reform website there is a seprate section on recommendation accepted by govt of 2arc. in this it mentions reducing age limit by 2015exam of ias.age will be reduced to 26. it is creating sleepless night among aspirants.will it be implemented.


    sir, is it age reduction in 2015 attempt i.e 32 to 26 years, r not that year. i would like to know this.

  3. RKS

    Have come across a NEWS for 2011 appeared candidates. I dont know whether you all are aware or not. Just posting for everyones reference.



    An assurance was made by Minister of State (MoS), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in Parliament on 04.08.2014 as under:

    “Candidates who appeared in Civil services exam in 2011, may be given one more attempt in 2015″

    In pursuance to the above assurance given in the Parliament by Hon’ble MoS (PP), the Government has decided as under:

    ” The Candidates, who appeared in Civil services examination (CSE) 2011, will be given one additional attempt in CSE, 2015. Details will be notified through CSE rules 2015, in due course”.


    Find the link below from where i have got the info:

  4. dhanalakshmi

    Please tell me sir whether i can able to write preliminary ias exam on 2015. My date of birth is 1983, this is my first attemt.I belongs obc and am married.

  5. DEV


    parents of whom only the father is a direct Class II officer and he gets into Class I at the age of 40 or earlier.


  6. Manash

    Sir, My assumed Date of birth is 01/03/1978, am I eligible to appear in csat 2015?, Sir I m really willing to serve the nation through this service.If counting point is 1st Jan’2015 then I will be eligible but if 1st agust ‘2015 then impossible, Would UPSC provide more attempts and age relaxation again at least one year?

  7. akshaykumar

    Sir, I am 36yrs old (in April 2014), belong to ST and wish to take prelims exam next year, Please suggest whether I can take exam next year?

  8. Sumit Kumar

    Iam working in Indian Armed Forces (Navy) and going to retire on 31 Jul 16. At the time of retirement my age will be 36 Yr 06 Mths and 09 days. I had qualified AMIETE with 6.75 CGPA. in 2011. Whwther Iam eligible to appear in ESE 2016 in ex serviceman quota.

  9. Sumit Kumar

    Iam working in Indian Armed Forces (Navy) and going to retire on 31 Jul 16 working as PBOR with Rs. 4200 Grade Pay. At the time of retirement my age will be 36 Yr 06 Mths and 09 days. I had qualified AMIETE with 6.75 CGPA. in 2011. Whwther Iam eligible to appear in ESE 2016 in ex serviceman quota.

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