The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday categorically rejected reports on the proposal of reducing the age limit for the general category candidates. Union Minister Jitendra Singh has reportedly said that the Centre is not planning to change the age criteria for the general category candidates. The denial comes after days of speculation. There were reports since last week that the Niti Aayog reportedly suggested that the upper age limit for entry into the civil services be brought down to 27 years from the present 30 years for general category candidates in a phased manner by 2022-23.
In the 'Strategy for New India @75' document released on Wednesday, the government think-tank had also pitched for an integrated exam for all civil services.
"The upper age limit for the civil services should be brought down to 27 years for the general category in a phased manner by 2022-23," the document said.
It also said the existing 60-plus separate civil services at the central and state level need to be reduced through rationalisation and harmonisation of services.
"Recruits should be placed in a central talent pool, which would then allocate candidates by matching their competencies and the job description of the post," it said.
"Concomitantly, the number of exams for civil services should ideally be brought down to one with all-India ranking. States may also be encouraged to use this pool for recruitments," the document added.
The document also said the service conditions for employees of autonomous bodies need to be regulated and harmonised.
It noted that reforms in civil services are a continuous process and several initiatives have been taken in recent years by the present government.
The most sought-after exams are also witnessing digital wave. Traditionally, aspirants from across the country had two choices - either relocate to Delhi, the coaching mecca for IAS preparation or study from home - with typically a sub-par teacher in their own town. The digital wave in India is enabling more and more aspirants to use technology for exam preparation. The core benefits include saving travel time and removing the need to relocate. The online model was not that common till a few years ago because students felt that the online platforms did not provide quality education. However, with education technology companies starting to focus on quality as much as the user experience, the trend is changing drastically.