'Catch them old,' a mango man's manifesto for AAP

UPSC has tweaked the maximum age for applicants to IAS and other civil services this year to 32. This pushed the age bar to 37 for some reserved categories and 42 for others. Clearly, the Aam Aadmi Party must respond! Here’s how

rohit

Rohit Bansal | February 11, 2014




The Aam Admi Party (AAP) is of the view that every voter (oops, aam aadmi) should have the inalienable right to become an IAS officer.

Successive Congress governments have kept the age limit between 21 and 30. This has ensured that anyone barely 10-12 years out of graduation sat over the destinies of lakhs of aam aadmi under his or her remit. The BJP is guilty similarly. Before that, the snooty angrez had left us with the Indian Civil Service (ICS; 1858-1947) with the prescribed age limit being kept artificially low at merely 21-24 years.

Now, just weeks before the model code of conduct is to come into force for elections, the UPA government has increased the maximum age limit for taking this exam by two years – that is, 32 for general category. Corresponding limits for their brothers and sisters in OBC, SC & ST and other special categories have also been increased.

The ground situation at present is captured here:
1. The upper age limit is relaxable up to a maximum of five years for candidates belonging to SC or ST categories (increased to 37 for this year) and up to a maximum of three years for candidates of OBC category among others (hiked to 35 for this year).

2. The upper age limit is also relaxable up to a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in Jammu & Kashmir during January 1, 1980 to December 31, 1989 (hiked to 37 for this year).

3.It can also be relaxed up to a maximum of three years in the case of defence services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof (hiked to 35 for this year).

4. There is also a relaxation in upper age up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped candidates besides other categories (hiked to 42 for this year).

5. While applicants in the general category have been getting four attempts to become an IAS (attempts hiked to six this year), those in OBC category are entitled to seven attempts (nine this year). The SC and ST categories get unlimited attempts already.

Our vision for Swaraj:
AAP promises that within one week of assuming power in the centre, the UPSC will be instructed to remove all above-stated caps on maximum permissible age to write the IAS exam, subject to a universal cap of 58 or two years before the retirement age prescribed for civil servants (the manifesto item on retirement age will be released shortly).

The removal of caps ‘save for two years before the date of superannuation’ will ensure that all successful IAS officers will continue to be trained for two years at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (and corresponding institutions for other services) before superannuation.

As a party with foresight, we realise that such candidates who retire no sooner their training and probation are over won’t be able to start as SDM, assistant superintendent of police, etc. But our political affairs executive deems them as fit cases for being considered as members/chairpersons of the zoo of regulatory institutions in the country.

A regulatory sinecure is, after all, the ultimate aim of all IAS (etc) officers anyway. And given their rich and varied experience in ‘lifemanship’ senior candidates must have a right to this nirvana similarly.

AAP will also instruct UPSC to remove the cap on the number of attempts.

The overarching vision of ‘AAP ka Swaraj’ on the recruitment of civil servants is that parents and children should be able to write the exam together. This will arrest the tendency of parents to force their children to write this exam (only to serve under characters like Mayawati and Sheila Dikshit) and lead by example instead!

Execution of this item of our manifesto will also create a transparent system of ‘lateral inductions’ into the IAS, including those at 58, who have hung around doing other jobs for 35+ years.

Accordingly, the AAP government will kick-start implementation of this manifesto item in Delhi administration right away, without the niceties of waiting to come to power in the centre (god forbid, via coalition with the Congress once again!).

A mention was made in this manifesto regarding changing the retirement age. A expert panel will be instituted under ambassador Vivek Katju (IFS retd) to examine the merits of fixed tenure of 38 years to all voters (oops citizens!) who succeed in the IAS exam, irrespective of the date of their joining.

Katju’s illuminating piece on this provision for SC or ST is commended here

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