Now that is a huge departure both for UPSC and lakhs of IAS aspirants. In a ‘surprising’ move, UPSC, in the just released timetable of examinations published for the year 2014, has allotted 24th August 2014 as the Date for 2014 Civil Services Preliminary examination.
Earlier, except in 2011, Preliminary exams were conducted in late May every year. In 2014, the departure is 3 months from the usual date.
This has ‘surprised’ many aspirants. But if one analyzes the reason for this move by UPSC, there is nothing baffling in it.
Probable reasons for the delay is the forthcoming 16th General elections for the Lok Sabha in 2014.
The term of incumbent UPA government ends on 31st May 2014. The government has made it clear that there won’t be mid-term polls and it would complete its term and then go for the General elections.
The General elections in India, largest and longest electoral process held anywhere in the world, usually lasts for 2 months – from the date of announcement of election dates (code-of-conduct comes into effect from this day) from the Election Commission to the declaration of result.
Assuming elections starts in the first week of June, it would end only either on the first or second week of August.
Till then UPSC can not conduct Civil Services examination which is very important for it - if it ventures to conduct this exam during election time, some political parties might make it an issue. This is a possibility.
In 2009, during the 15th General Elections (held between 16th April 2009 and 13th May 2009), UPSC conducted Preliminary exam on May 17th – after the election was over.
Why not conduct before May 30, 2014 then?
This year, Mains is scheduled to be held from December 1 for five days. Earlier Mains was conducted for 21 days in the month of November and the Mains result used to be announced after 3 months (March next year).
2013 Mains result will be announced in April 2014. Personality Test (Interview) would consume another two months – say till late May.
UPSC, till now has followed a convention of announcing the Final result before Preliminary examination.
Next year, it can not follow its time-tested convention – it is impossible for UPSC to announce final results in the month of May.
Hence, for these reasons (probably) UPSC will conduct 2014 Prelims in the month of August 2104.
Notification date is on 17th May 2014 and last date for submission of applications is 16th June 2014.
2014 Mains will be held from 14th December of that year. Only 3 months of gap will be there between prelims and mains that year.
Should an aspirant worry about this change of schedule next year?
No. Instead of looking at the gap between Prelims and Mains as – “Oh God! Only 3 months, che unpredictable UPSC!“, (half glass empty), look at it as – “OMG! Eight months for next Prelims!! I am going for the Kill this time!” (half glass Full)
Prepare both for the Prelims and Mains 2014 in an integrated approach. The problem will be solved.
Actually UPSC has done you a favour – during General elections, you hardly can focus on exam preparation because of hype and fever this election generates. So, before next May, finish your preparation and then keep ready your all notes for revision after Prelims.