No recruitment exam process should exceed 6 months – The Core IAS

No recruitment exam process should exceed 6 months

Context: Taking exception to the UPSC taking nearly 15 months to complete Civil Services Examination from notification to final results, a Parliamentary Standing Committee has said the duration of any recruitment exam “should not ordinarily exceed six months”.


  • In the last five years, 2020 saw the highest time taken for completing the Civil Service Examination at one year, seven months and 12 days. The year 2019 came second with the UPSC taking one year, five months and 15 days to announce the result after notification for the examination was issued.
  • In 2017, it took one year, two months and five days while in 2018; it was one year, one month and 28 days. In 2021, it took one year, two months and 26 days to announce the results.
  • The Civil Services Examination is conducted in three states – preliminary examination, main examination and interview.
  • According to the report, 11.35 lakh candidates applied for the Civil Services Examination in 2022 but only 5.73 lakh or 50.51 per cent actually appeared for the examination, prompting the committee to ask the UPSC to examine the reasons for low turnout of candidates and share the findings with it.


  • It argued that “long and protracted” recruitment cycles “waste prime years” of a candidate’s life besides taking a “heavy toll” on their physical and mental health. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice said in a report tabled in Parliament earlier this week, “the UPSC should take steps to reduce the duration of the recruitment cycle significantly without compromising the quality.”
  • The report on the Demands for Grants (2023-24) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension provided details of the time taken for the prestigious recruitment exam for IAS, IPS, Indian Foreign Service and other top bureaucracy posts.


  • For officers early in their careers, exam scores and education are highly predictive of future success.
  • Older officers who enter the service as part of larger cadres face limited career prospects and are less effective at improving economic outcomes.
  • While initial characteristics heavily shape career trajectories, in the long term, there are clear rewards for officers who systematically invest in training or acquire specialized skills.
  • Individual bureaucrats can have strong, direct, and measurable impacts on tangible health, education, and poverty outcomes.
  • Surprisingly, officers with strong local ties—thought to be vulnerable to corruption—are often linked to improved public service delivery.
  • Political interference generates substantial inefficiency: the best officers do not always occupy important positions, while political loyalty offers bureaucrats an alternative path to career success.
  • Counter intuitively, greater political competition does not necessarily lead to better bureaucratic performance.


 Other Main issue:

  • While the debate over the age limit and screening process for recruiting civil servants in India rages on, it is interesting to note the specific conditions for entry into the civil service in many other countries.
  • While some require degrees or educational courses for various levels of employment, there are also additional requirements such as linguistic competence, enjoyment of civil rights, military obligations, specific age limits etc., according to a paper by the European Parliament on recruitment and equal opportunities systems.

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