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CSS exam age relaxation for CSS 2011

This post is related to CSS candidates’ age relaxation and I would like to offer some
recommendation based on comparative analysis of age limits in our neighboring
countries which are also common wealth sovereign states that how they relax age to
let competent people participate in the exam.
When Musharraf regime seized the power through military coup back in 1999, the
best strategy for the regime was to control the government institutions and public
offices effectively. Therefore, the concept of devolution of power to grass root level
was revived and introduced with some changes in the departmental role of civil
servants. Police Ordinance and DMG roles’ restructuring were made, this was only
done to suite the vested interest of then regime. Tightening the age limit was also one
of the tools which were applied to block the entry of competent persons through this
perilous process of examination.
On May 17, a senate standing committee had oragnized a debate on age relaxation in
FPSC offered job (other than competitive exam, proceeding is available on the
internet), the initiative was taken by Senator Haji Ghulam Ali. The proposal of age
relaxation was unanimously accepted. It is beyond logic that why government is
reluctant to take competent people onboard by just removing a restriction imposed by
a dictator, even though candidates would secure their seats on competition basis. Why
governemnt is not allowing them to take just exam and prove their competency? Age
restriction was imposed on about a decade ago, since then education system have
undergone a number of changes e.g. now universities are offering FOUR YEARS
GRADUATION PROGRAM. To complete this education, one has to study four
years, therefore, 28 years of age makes no sense. Secondly, after completion of
education a number of candidates join private sector to eke out their living and to
support their families. How is it possible for an average middle class to continue the
studies without supporting his or her family? In 2008, SPSC has given 10 years of age
relaxation to aspirant to appear in exam and prove their competency, as a result
number of candidates appeared and only handful of 'best of the best' could make it.
What's a problem with CSS exam? However, there is a rumour that goverment would
relax age by 5 years and education qualification would be 16 years but not cleared yet.

On 24, June 2010, Establishment division had issued an Office Memorandum (No:
9/2/91-R-5), as 'Most Immediate' was mentioned on it, regarding Clarification on
general age relaxation of upper limit prescribed in recruitment rule. In this
memorandum, the general age relaxation is given for five years to all posts except
through CSS. No one could understand the reason or logic behind this decision. Why
the whole government seems reluctant to let aspirant compete and take best of the best
on board? The point#2 of this office memorandum is read as:

“2- In light of the recommendation of the Senate Standing Committee, the

Ministries/Divisions/Departments are advised that hence-forth, the concession of 5
years general relaxation in upper age limit shall be clubbed with the maximum age
limit of the post n their advertisments. In case usual upper age limit of posts in various
Basic Pay Scales is as in column (2) below, the maximum age limit shall be as in
column (4) below:”

BPS Age Limit General Age Relaxation Maximum Age Limit

1-15 25 years +5 years 30 years
16 28 years +5 years 33 years
17 30 years +5 years 35 years
18 35 years +5 years 40 years
19 40 years +5 years 45 years
20 45 years +5 years 50 years
21 50 years +5 years 55 years

It is quite ridiculous that, the BPS 17 person of ex-cadre is given 5 years age
relaxation and age limit is already set 30 years but for the CSS exam, age is restricted
to 28!
On July 1, 2010 Chairman FPSC has presented the annual report to the Honorable
President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and explained the dearth of competent candidates
especially from Sindh (rural/urban). In order to retain and attract the smartest people
in the civil services the president had ordered to give incentives to the beaurocrates
and young recruiters in terms of constructing high rise buildings and increased pay
packages. It is indeed a good move forward but the basic question remains
unanswered that how would government attract ‘competent’ people for civil services?
In 2008, the annual report was presented to the president highlighting some problems
in which the prime one was ‘declining education standard’, the real road block for
skiming out best of the best; in 2006, approx 82% and 68% were failed in Essay and
English Precis Writing respectively. This percentage rose to 92% in English Precis
Writing, quite pathetic. On the basis of such drastic and declining education
standards, the recruitment system was gravely demanding improvement. Owing to
this need, consultants were hired through word bank as stated in annual report 2008
which is as follows:
c) Improvement in CSS Recruitment System.
Consultants hired through World Bank have completed their study
on CSS recruitment system and after thorough analysis, FPSC’s
recommendations for improvements have been forwarded to the
Government. Modifications and changes in our present system are
essential in order to bring CSS recruitment system in line with modern
day requirements and practices.
Consultants were payed with the tax payers money yet we are unable to implement
the changes suggested by them. We are we so much radical and conservatives that we
seems always in love with our old archaic practices. Why can’t we adapt to global
changing patterns? I think that is why we are backwarded although we are a nuclear
state. Simply, we don’t want to change.
India and Bangladesh have very flexible and relaxing age criteria for the prospective
candidates of Civil services having graduation as academic qualification. India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh have the same system of government as inherited from the
British Raj. But how the others evolved their system to compete the modern
challenges of globalization and how naïve are we to complicate the system to suite a
regime’s vested interest. India and Bangladesh has age limit of between 21 to 30 but
they facilitate to have maximum participation for it is the democratic right of every
‘capable and competent’ person to serve his or her country. Please see below the
criteria of both neighboring countries; India and Bangladesh.


i. A candidate must have attained 21 years and not be over 30 years on August 1 of
the year of examination.
ii. The upper age limit is relaxed in specific cases as mentioned below:
a. upto a maximum of 5 years if the candidate belongs to SC/ST.
b. upto a maximum of 3 years if the candidate belongs to Other Backward Classes.
c. upto a maximum of 5 years if the candidate had been domiciled in Jammu &
Kashmir during the period between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1989.
d. upto a maximum of 3 years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled
during hostilities with foreign countries or in a disturbed area and consequently
e. upto a maximum of 5 years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned
Officers and ECOs / SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as
on August 1 of the year of examination and have been released:
o on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be
completed within one year from August 1 of the year of examination) otherwise than
by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or
o on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or
o on invalidment.
f. upto a maximum of 5 years in the case of ECOs / SSCOs who have completed an
initial period of assignment (5 years Military Service) as on August 1 of the year of
examination and whose assignment has been extended beyond 5 years. Such
candidates will have to provide a certificate from the Ministry of Defence stating that
they can apply for civil employment and they will be released on a notice of 3
months, upon selection, from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.
g. upto a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically
handicapped candidates.


• If not a child of a freedom fighter or a candidate for health cadre, the age should be
between 21 to 30 years on the first day of advertisement year.
• If the candidate is a child of a freedom fighter or he/she is a candidate for health
cadre, the age should be between 21 to 32 years on the first day of advertisement year.
• If the candidate is a scheduled tribal group member, the age should be between 21 to
32 years on the first day of advertisement year.

I would strongly suggest the government and policy makers to enhance the age limit
to 35 years and qualification criteria to at least 16 years. Most of the universities are
offering now four years graduation program i.e. candidates are getting 16 years of
education as compared to previously 14 years of education.

This will help to cut down unnecessary training costs abroad for the people of this
mature age would also bring some experience coupled with expertise with them to run
the business of state effectively.

It is requested to Honorable President of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and His
Excellency Mr. Yousuf Raza Gilani to please look into this matter and do
needful. Our President has claimed in his Brimingham speech that he is a
common people’s president and vigilantly aware of peoples’ problems and issues.
Therefore, it is requested to Mr. President to specially look into this matter being
the Awami Saddar.


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