A decision that would benefit thousands of youths aspiring for Civil Services Examinations this year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) today issue a notification extending age relaxation of five years exclusively for the candidates of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), headed by Union Minister of State (MoS) in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh had taken up the matter with the UPSC after the issue was raised with him by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti as the UPSC had stopped five years age relaxation in the Civil Services Examinations for Jammu and Kashmir, which was going on since 1990.
Excelsior had exclusively reported that the Ministry of DoPT had agreed for one-time extension in age relaxation of five years to the candidates of Jammu and Kashmir as the over-aged candidates had prepared themselves for the examinations hoping that the age relaxation, which was being given for last 28 years, would continue.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the UPSC issued the notification of age relaxation for Jammu and Kashmir students this afternoon, giving a ray of hope to thousands of students, who had already braced up for appearing in the Civil Services Examinations but were shocked to see the UPSC notification, issued last week, which didn’t mention about age relaxation of five years in all categories being given to Jammu and Kashmir candidates.
When contacted, Dr Jitendra Singh confirmed to the Excelsior that the UPSC has issued notification today for extending five years age relaxation to candidates of all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, thus benefiting, the candidates, who won’t have been eligible to appear in the examinations in case the age relaxation was withdrawn.
Dr Jitendra Singh, who was in Arunachal Pradesh today, also spoke to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was in Ajmer Sharief in Rajasthan, on telephone and conveyed to her the decision of UPSC and subsequent issuance of notification for extending age relaxation in the Civil Services examinations.
The Chief Minister expressed her gratitude to Dr Jitendra Singh for taking initiative with the UPSC and getting restored the age relaxation for candidates of Jammu and Kashmir.
Following uproar in the Legislative Assembly and protests by Civil Services aspirants, Mehbooba Mufti had spoken to Dr Jitendra Singh and then sent him a written representation last week seeking extension in age relaxation for the candidates intending to appear in the UPSC examinations.
Sources said Dr Jitendra Singh immediately took up the issue with the UPSC in view of concerns voiced by the Chief Minister and thousands of students from all three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, and got the issue settled.
However, according to sources, the candidates of Jammu and Kashmir would have to gradually join their counterparts at the national level in terms of age criteria fixed for UPSC examinations all across the country as the UPSC feels that conditions which existed in 1990 when age relaxation of five years were extended to the sensitive border State, no more exists now.
Though the UPSC hasn’t mentioned in its notification issued today that age relaxation will be for this year only, sources said, the UPSC proposed to withdraw the relaxation as 11 States of Himalayan region and North East were also asking for age relaxation on the pattern of Jammu and Kashmir and the UPSC was finding it difficult to oblige all as this will open Pandora box.
Even today, sources said, the youths of Arunachal Pradesh held a protest demonstration, seeking age relaxation of five years in the UPSC examinations at par with Jammu and Kashmir.
The age relaxation of five years in the UPSC examinations was extended to Jammu and Kashmir in 1990 when the militancy was at its peak and large number of Kashmiri Pandits had migrated from the Valley.
The UPSC feels that situation has settled down to quite an extent in Jammu and Kashmir and the circumstances under which the age relaxation was extended in 1990 and continued for 28 years, don’t exist now. However, it has extended the age relaxation on the intervention of Dr Jitendra Singh but dropped enough indications that the relaxations might be confined and don’t last long.