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UPSC aspirants demand extra attempt, cite 'unprecedented' circumstances due to Covid

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recently announced postponement of the civil services preliminary examination, scheduled to be held in June, to October 10 in view of the alarming COVID situation.

Nidhi Taneja Edited by: Nidhi Taneja @nidhitanejaa New Delhi Updated on: May 18, 2021 19:36 IST
Image Source : FILE


Thousands of civil service aspirants have been rallying together to demand an extra chance for those who exhausted their last attempt in the year 2020, owing to an unprecedented situation arising due to COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, as many as 10,000 UPSC civil service aspirants received a setback when a plea to this effect got dismissed by the Supreme Court. Students, however, are in no mood to budge. Why? Because the top court made it clear that its decision would not restrict the Centre in exercising its discretion in future to deal with the matter. 

Two months later, the furore still continues. After all, the battle surrounds the toughest and the most competitive examination in the country. 

Some aspirants cite reasons including coronavirus-induced lockdowns and restrictions, lack of study material, electricity and internet in remote regions. Others mention loss of lives in their families, leading to personal struggles, both psychological and financial. 

"Pandemic, lockdown, unavailability of electricity and internet in our village plus disastrous flood destroyed not only UPSC aspirants' homes and family livelihood but our dreams too. So please give us one chance to live our dream," a user wrote on Twitter. 

"Students who were totally dependent on external sources for their study like library, coaching, study material etc got devastated by the crisis, unlike the privileged class students," one Ashok Kumar said on the micro-blogging platform. 

Recently, the India Wide Parents' Association wrote to the government highlighting the many concerns of UPSC aspirants. "Students have faced various hindrances in preparing for the exams. The country witnessed complete shutdown on account of COVID pandemic. Candidates faced general hardships, faced personal hindrances, physical, phschological, emotional and financial issues, and this makes their case special and worthy of an extra attempt. Few of them are Covid warriors and persons engaged in essential services, who worked incessantly and exhausted themselves in the service of the nation and its people," the letter written by IWPA President Anubha Shrivastava Sahai mentioned.

"Many canddiates are based in remote areas, far away from their respective centers and these regions hardly have proper access to internet and materials for study. For those in Jammu and Kashmir, internet services had been barred since August 2019. Later only 2G services were restored."

"There are UPSC aspirants whose family members contracted Covid...suffering physical and emotional trauma. Some were bereaved as they lost their near and dear ones," the letter went on to say.

Former IAS officer Shah Faesal, who became the first Kashmiri to top the UPSC exams in 2009, also vouched for an extra chance for the last attempter aspirants. "Like other students, civil service aspirants have also suffered tremendously. Their access to coaching got affected. They could not get study materials on time. Many of them caught Covid and lost precious time to sickness. Many lost their near and dear ones and are dealing with psychological trauma. Many lost bread earners and are facing struggles of survival. Therefore if we mean to reboot out world, then these aspirants should also be given another chance to make up for the lost time," he told India TV Digital. 

"UPSC won't be compromising on the merit because no one is demanding relaxation in the quality of exam. It's just about allowing an extra attempt to those who are at the cusp of becoming ineligible for the exam," the former bureaucrat opined. 

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recently announced the postponement of the civil services preliminary examination, scheduled to be held in June, to October 10 in view of the alarming COVID situation. 

READ MORE: UPSC Prelims 2021: UPSC postpones Civil Services Examination to Oct 10

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