UPSC Civil Services (IAS) 2020 Prelims Admit Card (Out), Syllabus & Eligibility

UPSC IAS 2021 eligibility criteria explained. Read below the simplified IAS eligibility criteria components.

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IAS eligibility is defined in the official UPSC notification released There are various subheads for the IAS eligibility defined in the UPSC notification. It includes the IAS age limit, number of attempts, qualification, nationality and the likes. There are some restrictions also related to the doctors and the previously selected candidates. There is no minimum percentage required to appear in IAS exam. The candidate must fulfil all the IAS eligibility criteria because if anything does not confirm the prescribed norms, the candidature of the candidate will be cancelled.

IAS eligibility is the first thing which comes into the mind of graduate because IAS exam is the most coveted exam in India, conducted by the top exam conducting authority of the nation – UPSC. There are various eligibility criteria for IAS exam which needs to be understood by the IAS aspirants clearly. There are various candidates who do not understand the IAS eligibility criteria and do not fill the IAS application form even though they are eligible for the exam. Here we are explaining the IAS eligibility criteria in detail so that the candidates should not get confused and fill the IAS application at the appropriate time.

The IAS exam process starts with the official UPSC IAS notification issued in February month. Each year, lakhs of aspirants fill the IAS application but get rejected because of the non-conformity to the eligibility criteria for IAS. The IAS notification is a carefully designed document that states the various eligibility criteria for the IAS exam. It includes nationality, educational qualification, number of attempts and age limit. Various candidates get confused with the multiple criteria and do not fill the IAS application even when they are eligible for the IAS exam 2021.

IAS Eligibility – Nationality

For the IAS exam not even the citizens of India are eligible, a citizen of other countries are also eligible. The candidates should understand that they are competing with the students of various nations.

For All-India ServicesNationality
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
Indian Police Service (IPS)The candidate must be a citizen of India.
Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

For Central Civil Services – 

(a) a citizen of India, or   (b) a subject of Nepal, or (c) a subject of Bhutan, or

(d) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or

(e) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

IAS Eligibility – Educational Qualification

This exam does not discriminate based on the minimum percentage in the qualifying exam. The only educational qualification required is that the candidates must be a graduate or equivalent in any discipline from a recognised university. There is no mention of minimum passing percentage required to appear in the IAS Exam.
It means that any citizen of Indian who is a graduate with any percentage can fill the IAS application if he fulfils all the other eligibility criteria.

The candidates, in the last year of their degree course, can also fill the IAS application provided that they need to submit their final year mark sheet/ score sheet at the time of Detailed Application Form(DAF) submission for the IAS main exam.

Condition for Doctors

Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the examination. They will require submitting a copy of a certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination.

As per the eligibility criteria for IAS exam, in such above cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview original Degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.

IAS Eligibility – Age limit

UPSC has mentioned the age limit for IAS in the official IAS notification. The candidates need to ensure that they fall in the prescribed age limit because UPSC can cancel the candidature of the candidate at any moment in the wake of non-conformity to the eligibility criteria.

The candidate must attain the age of 21 years and must not exceed the age of 32 years. The date of birth as mentioned in the High School/Higher Secondary certificate will be considered by the UPSC.

for the UPSC IAS 2021 exam, the age will be counted from the date July 1 of the notification year. It means that for the IAS exam 2021, the age will be taken into account from the date July 1, 2021. For IAS exam 2021, the candidate must not be born before August 2, 1989 and not later than August 1, 2000.

UPSC also provides age relaxation to the candidates belonging to the reserved categories as follows.

CategoryAge Relaxation
SC/ ST5 Years
OBC3 Years
Defence Services Personnel, disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof3 Years
Ex-servicemen including commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years of military service as on August 1, 2021 and have been released5 Years
PwD [(a) blindness and low vision; (b) deaf and hard of hearing; (c) locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy; (d) autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness; and (e) multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness]10 Years

IAS Eligibility – Number of Attempts

Besides the age limit and educational qualification, there are one more eligibility criteria for the IAS exam. The number of attempt for the candidates are limited to a certain number in the IAS exam. But as the exemption in the age limit, the exemption in the number of attempts is also provided to the reserved category candidates.

The number of attempts and exemptions are as follows

CategoryNumber of Attempts(Allowed)
General/Economically Weaker Section(EWS)6
Other Backward Classes9
SC/STUnlimited - till the age limit
Person with DisabilitiesUnlimited - till the age limit

How an Attempt is counted in IAS Exam?

The UPSC defines the attempts in the official IAS notification. If a candidate appears in any of the paper of IAS Prelims exam, this will be counted as the attempt of the candidate. The number of attempts is one of the critical components in the IAS eligibility.

This is the reason for high absenteeism in the IAS prelims exam. Only around 50% of candidates appear in the IAS prelims exam and the rest of the candidates do not appear to keep their number of attempts intact. Therefore, UPSC introduced the IAS application withdrawal facility.

Notwithstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of the appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.

Special Restrictions

The candidates who are appointed to Indian Administrative Services (IAS) or Indian Foreign Services (IFS) and continue to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete in the IAS Exam again. They have to resign to compete again in the IAS exam.

But an existing IPS officer can appear and compete in the IAS exam again. But he cannot opt for the Indian Police Service again.

Physical Standards

A candidate must be physically fit and have a sound mind. After the IAS interview, the candidate needs to undergo a compulsory medical test at the assigned medical centre. The candidates need to qualify this medical test irrespective of the service assigned later.

The candidate who wants to claim the relaxation in the IAS eligibility criteria, as per their category, should note that all the certificates required to avail the relaxation should be issued before the date of the IAS notification of that year.

If the candidates are still confused regarding the IAS eligibility, they can comment in the comment box and ask their query.

Henesh Rawat
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