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

RTI221 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.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  5. Spectrum Geography (selective) (Hindi | English)
  6. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  7. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  8. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  9. Oxford School Atlas with Census 2011
  10. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Arihant

So far 221 Comments posted

  1. jamunal

    hi good afternoon,
    i m a student of banking and my dob is 30/04/1991 i want to know that can i apply for the ias exam 2016.plz help me with this

  2. swaran

    sir i am swaran recently turned 32yrs and i belongs to General category. i have taken CSE in 2011.Am i eligible to give the exam in 2015. i came to know that the Dopt have extended one more attempts for those who have taken the CSE 2011. is it true ? and am i eligible to write the exam in 2015??

  3. kumarasamy

    My dob is 14/9/1994..can i eligible to write this year upsc exams?

  4. Vinoth

    Is there any age limit for PhD holders? .I heard that there is no age limit for candidates with PhDdegree. Is it true.

  5. Nitin

    Will the relaxation of attempts and age valid for 2016 too. Mrunal sir kindly clarify since i have only one attempt as per the new rules would like to keep it for 2016 if it is otherwise think else

  6. anu

    Sir, in upsc to get OBC reservation, should caste remain in OBC from centre list or state list OBC will be fine from Maharashtra? Also is there any reservation for divorce women?

  7. preeti

    sir meri date of birth 7 june 1983 hai.kya is baar mai ias ke exam me baith sakti hoon???


    sir i would like to ask you the age limit has been increase 2 year from 30 to 32 years whether it will be implemented permanently or temporarily for two years . is the age limit criteria for 2015, 2016 or 2017………..please answer

  9. Maitri Manna

    I belong to OBC,sub-caste Napit.My father is a retd. primary school teacher and pention mom is also a primary school parent’s annual income Rs 1,66,800.sir I can not understand wheather I belong to OBC creamy layer or not? If I not,from where I collect my non creamy layer certificate? I live in West Bengal.

  10. Parveen Kumar

    Sir, I have done Graduation in B-Com. and i did 1st yer and 2nd year in 2005 to 2007 but i skipped 08,09,10 and completed my 3rd year in 2011 due to some personal reasons. and then i did PGDM also can i also appear in exam with this particular degree . with this my 10th mark sheet and 12th mark sheet has name difference of just one letter from Parveen to Praveen. for which i have taken a affidavit from Gurgaon lawyer in 2009.

    Please advise me for this.

    Thanks & Regards
    Parveen Kumar

  11. pankaj palaskar

    difficult to find the date of community certificate, I m from OBC category non creamy layer, I don’t know about the date on which certificate , is it caste certificate or non creamy layer.

  12. pravin

    My d.o.b is 10.01.1980. My 9th attempt is rest, may I appear cse2015 mrunal sir

  13. sajid ansari

    I belongs to obc category but not yet ready my DOB is 8-2-83.can i appear this upsc-2015 exam.plz help me.

  14. Amitkumar

    Recently govt of India announced that jain also come under minorities , Is there any reservation for minorities (Jain) ?

  15. jayaprakash

    respected i am jaya prakash applying for cse- 2015, and i am belongs to obc , here i want to ask you that , in firm -I they are asking about obc code i don”t have any idea about that, will you please tell the answer?. i am in urgent sir, tomorrow is last date, i will be thanksful to you, if you help me sir thank you.

  16. Santosh Srivastava

    Hello, my dob is 25/4/1981. I am a resident of USA and a succesful entrepreneur. I am an Indian citizen.
    I am planning to prepare for upsc and my goal is strictly service of nation. But since I am over 35 and from general category I wanted to know if thr is any way for age relaxation in my case and who should we contact to get a NOC for age issue? Do they entertain any cases like mine?

    Your response is highly appreciated.

    Santosh Srivastava

  17. nilesh pawar

    hello sir i am resident of my caste is declared as a nomadic tribe -B (NT-B),So for central exam i will be a obc person,so where should i get this obc certificate from?and who will be the effective person issuing this certificate for me? i have non creamy layer certificate.please let me know about this .
    thanks and regards

  18. madhuri mishra

    Sir; I am graduated in psychology can I eligible for upsc .which subject is compulsory for the preparation of exam?

  19. Oms

    I am working in IRBn of Sikkim Police at Delhi I am preparing MA in Tourism from ignou could I attempt for CAPF ?

  20. Altaf Pathan

    hello sir, i am in OBC category having both caste certificate and non-creamy layer certificate but not having the caste validity certificate. what should i do sir? is the validity certificate is necessary for further process?

  21. Burton

    Hi , What is the age limit likely to be for UPSC 2016 EXAMS?

  22. juhi singh

    Sir civil seva exam ke CSAT paper ke bare me bta dijiye ki kaun kaun se subject aate h aur qualifaying kaun kaun sa subject h

  23. Pawan Nayak

    Sir I would like to join in UPSC for IPS and IAS.
    My DOB is 2nd January 1994, I am belonging to OBC category but I don’t have certificate and I am pursuing my degree from North Bengal a final year student. Sir please help me to register myself and kindly provide me an instructions how to get registered.

  24. Amarjit

    sir, I am working teach. my DOB 08-07-80, i am post graduat in political science, i belongs to SC category. can i appear ias/ips exam ( appear in 1st time)plz

  25. Bal Krishna


    My father is working as a Lecturer in Government Aided Post Graduate College of Uttar Pradesh & selected by UP Higher Education Commission. Please guide me regarding my father’s post belongs to Group B or A becuase there is no clear guidlines regarding his post given by UGC. So kindly tell me in which category I belongs either OBC-Non Creamy or Creamy Layer.

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