On the face of it, the move to give civil services aspirants two additional attempts to crack the UPSC examination, along with a relaxation in the upper age limit, may seem a boon but relative newcomers will have to face an uphill task in overcoming the challenges posed by older and more experienced aspirants preparing for the service. It does seem to be a populist decision to garner the support of youth before the general election.

G. Vishnu,

New Delhi

The move is no doubt populist. In 2011, the UPSC set up a committee, under the chairmanship of Arun Nigavekar, which had rightly recommended a reduction in the number of attempts from four to three and in the upper age limit from 30 to 25 in the general category in order to prevent a delayed entry into service. But against these recommendations, the new decision is unfair to fresh candidates who will be a part of the rat race in which there will be veteran candidates who have been at it for six years. The government should keep the UPSC out of populist moves as it involves people who will ultimately run the entire administrative machinery of the country.

Aneesh M. Makker,

Malout, Punjab

While the recent move is welcome, the government must also expand the range of subjects a candidate can use to sit for the examination. Almost all the major subjects are listed in the optional papers for the Mains but mass communication stands excluded. A number of universities now run graduate and postgraduate courses in mass communication. It was a surprise not to find it listed.

Winnie J. Panicker.

Karakonam, Kerala

Keywords: UPSC

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