Q. What are the different posts/services offered through UPSC?

UPSC conducts examinations for a wide range of posts and services, including:

  1. Indian Administrative Service
  2. Indian Foreign Service
  3. Indian Police Service
  4. Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  5. Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  6. Indian Corporate Law Service, Group ‘A’
  7. Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  8. Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’
  9. Indian Information Service, Group ‘A’
  10. Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
  11. Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service, Group ‘A’
  12. Indian Railway Protection Force Service, Group ‘A’
  13. Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes) Group ‘A’
  14. Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) Group ‘A’
  15. Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Grade III)
  16. Indian Railway Management Service, Group ‘A’
  17. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade)
  18. Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service (DANICS), Group ‘B’
  19. Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service (DANIPS), Group ‘B’
  20. Pondicherry Civil Service (PONDICS), Group ‘B’
  21. Pondicherry Police Service (PONDIPS), Group ‘B’

Q. What is Recruitment and what are Recruitment Rules?

Recruitment is a process of selection of candidates to a designated post and Recruitment Rules are the provisions prescribed under the Statute, for executing the same. The UPSC is required to advise upon the Recruitment Rules for various Civil Posts which are mandated to it, under the Constitution of India or a specific Act governing a statutory organization.

Q. Whether a qualification already mentioned under ‘Essential Qualifications’ is to be mentioned again under ‘Desirable Qualifications’, if it is relevant ?

Relevant Desirable Qualification(s) possessed by the candidate may be mentioned under ‘Desirable Qualifications’, irrespective of whether they are already mentioned under ‘Essential Qualifications’ or not.

Q. Which are the Universities, Courses and Degrees recognized by the UPSC?

Recognition of Universities, Courses or Degrees does not fall within the purview of the UPSC. This matter lies within the domain of the respective authorities mandated for the purpose e.g. University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), etc.

Q. How are the candidates recommended – whether through interviews or through recruitment test followed by interview?

The Commission, considering the number of vacancies and number of applications received, decides on merit and on a case to case basis, whether the candidates shall be recommended through interviews only or through Recruitment Test followed by interview. Generally, Recruitment Tests are held where the number of applicants is large or in cases where manual shortlisting is not feasible.

Q. How are candidates shortlisted for being called for interview for a Particular post?

The candidates must fulfil the prescribed minimum essential qualifications required for a particular post to get shortlisted. However, the prescribed essential qualifications are the minimum and the mere possession of the same does not entitle candidates to be shortlisted or called for interview. In case there are a large number of Applications, the Commission adopts a shortlisting criteria to restrict the number of candidates to be called for interview to a reasonable number in accordance with the methods mentioned in the detailed advertisement (Note-II under “INSTRUCTIONS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO CANDIDATES FOR RECRUITMENT BY SELECTION”).

Q. How can I get information regarding the syllabus for the Recruitment Test (RT)?

The Syllabus and the Scheme of Recruitment Test (RT) are published on the UPSC’s official Website – www.upsc.gov.in, for the recruitment cases where RT is to be conducted.

Q. How shall I get information regarding interviews?

The call letter will be sent on your e-mail provided in the Online application. The practice of sending interview Call letters by post has now been discontinued. The candidates who have applied are, therefore, advised to check their e-mails regularly. An indicative SMS is also sent on the registered mobile number of the candidate.

Q. What documents should I carry at the time of interview?

The candidates are informed about the list of documents required to be produced at the time of interview. This list is annexed to their Interview Call Letter sent through e-mail.

Q. Can I carry my mobile, laptop or any other communication devices, with me for the Interview or Recruitment Test?

No. Such gadgets are strictly prohibited during interviews or for Recruitment Tests.

Q. How are candidates assessed by the Interview Boards?

  1. The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of
  2. The interview is not merely a test of knowledge (whether general or in subject matter) but an attempt to assess the potential of the individual for being shaped into a competent, dedicated and honest officer who can be entrusted with the tasks and responsibilities associated with public service. 
  3. Candidates are judged on the basis of their overall records (educational qualifications, knowledge, experience, interests, activities etc.) and performance in the interview by consensus of the Interview Board Members. However, marks are awarded on an overall basis by consensus and not on individual attributes separately.

Q. What is the composition of the Interview Board?

An Interview Board is headed by a President, who is generally assisted by two or three Advisers who are Experts in their respective field(s)/discipline(s).

Q. Can I know the details like designation, academic qualifications etc. regarding Interview Board Members?

No. These details are not disclosed in compliance with Orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 9052 of 2012 [arising out of SLP© No. 20217 of 2011], filed by BPSC Vs Saiyed Hussain Abbas Rizwi & Anr.

Q. What are the minimum suitability marks in the interview?

Candidates are given marks in the Interview out of 100. The marks for minimum standard of suitability, category wise, are as below:


Standard of Suitability

General, EWS






Q. Do the President and the Advisers give marks separately to a candidate?

No. Marks are assigned by consensus.

Q. Can a candidate belonging to one of the reserved categories viz., EWS, Scheduled    Castes/Scheduled    Tribes/Other   Backward    classes/ Persons with Benchmark Disabilities be recommended for selection against an unreserved vacancy?

A   candidate    belonging    to     one     of     the     reserved categories can be recommended against an unreserved vacancy if he/she meets the criterion adopted for the unreserved category candidates and does not avail of any relaxation applicable to reserved category candidates.

Q. How is the seniority of candidates recommended by the UPSC determined?

The UPSC recommends selected candidates in the order of merit. The fixation of seniority of recommended candidates in their respective cadres/grades falls within the purview of the Ministries/ Departments concerned and is determined by them.

Q. Who verifies the documents, character and antecedents of candidates recommended by the UPSC?

Though UPSC compares and checks the supporting documents submitted by the Candidates with the originals, its veracity is not checked. The Ministries/Departments concerned and the Cadre Controlling Authorities are responsible for verification of the character and antecedents and veracity of documents submitted in respect of the candidates recommended by the UPSC.

Q. How is the Reserve List in a particular recruitment case drawn up?

The maximum number of names to be kept in the Reserve List is 50% of the total number of posts/vacancies in each category to which recruitment is being made, subject to a minimum of 05 (five) names in each category, depending upon the availability of candidates who fulfil the minimum cut-off marks for each category i.e. 50 marks for General and EWS, 45 marks for OBC and 40 marks for SC/ST/PwBD, in order of merit. In case 50% of the total number of posts/vacancies in any category works out to a fraction, this will be rounded off to the next higher whole number.

Q 23 – When and how is the Reserve List operated?

The Reserve List is operated on receipt of a formal request from the requisitioning Ministry/ Department. The validity of Reserve List is 2 years from the date of finalization of IBR (Prior to 01.03.2018 the validity of Reserve List was 18 months which could be extended up to 24 months in exceptional circumstances). The date of the list becoming invalid is indicated in Recommendation Letter. The Reserve List also becomes null and void upon finalisation of selection for filling up subsequent vacancies/post(s) in the same grade.


Q 24 - Whom should I contact after being recommended by the UPSC?

Answer - You may contact the requisitioning Ministry / Department for addressing any further queries such as pre-appointment formalities, time taken in the appointment, etc.

Q. What is the Constitutional mandate of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) with regard to Appointment by Promotion/ Deputation?

Union Public Service Commission is a Constitutional Body constituted under Article 315 of the Constitution of India. The functions of the Commission are laid down in Article 320 of the Constitution. As per Article 320 {(3) (b)}, the Commission shall be consulted by the Government on the principles to be followed in making appointments to Civil Services and Posts and in making promotions and transfers by deputation from one service to another and on the suitability of candidates for such appointments, promotions, or transfer by deputation.

Q. Are there any exceptions to the consultation with UPSC in making such promotions and transfers by deputation?

Proviso to clause (3) of Article 320 of the Constitution provides that the President as respects the All India Services and also as respects other services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union, may make Regulations, specifying the matters in which either generally, or in any particular class of case, or in any particular circumstances, it shall not be necessary for a Public Service Commission to be consulted.

Q. Are these functions of UPSC limited to the posts of the Union only?

Article 321 of the Constitution lays down that an Act made by the Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of a State may provide for the exercise of additional functions by the UPSC or the State Public Service Commission as respects the services of the Union or the State and also as respects the services of any local authority or other body corporate constituted by Law or of any Public institution. By virtue of provisions made in the relevant Acts, the functions of the UPSC have so far been extended to consider the cases of appointment by direct recruitment/promotion/deputation of the following Corporations/Bodies:-

  1. The Employees State Insurance Corporation. (By way of ESI Act 1948)
  2. The Employees Provident Fund Organisation. (By way of EPF Act, 1952)
  3. The Delhi Municipal Corporation. (By way of DMC Act, 1957)
  4. The New Delhi Municipal Council. (By way of NDMC Act, 1994)

Q. Are there any exemptions from the consultation with UPSC in making appointment by promotion or transfer?

Under the proviso to clause (3) of Article 320 of the Constitution, the President has framed the Union Public Service Commission (Exemption from Consultation) Regulations, 1958 specifying the matters in which it shall not be necessary for the Commission to be consulted. As per these Regulations it shall not be necessary to consult the Commission, save as otherwise expressly provided in the Rules governing recruitment by appointment/promotion to Civil Service or Civil Posts, in regard :

  1. To a post included in an All India Service, of any officer who is already a member of an All India Service;
  2. To a post included in a Central Service Group ‘A’, of any Officer in the Armed Forces of the Union or any officer who is already a member of an All India Service or a Central Service, Group’ A’;
  3. To a Central Service, Group ‘B’, or to a post included in a Central Service, Group ‘B’, of any officer who is already a member of a Central Service, Group ‘B’, or Central Service, Group ‘C’, or of any officer to the Armed Forces of the Union; and
  4. To a tenure post included in a Central Service, Group ‘A’, or a Central Service Group ‘B’, of an officer of a State Service.

Q. How is transfer from one service/post to another made?

Transfer from one service/post to another is made by way of Deputation (including Short Term Contract) or on absorption.

Q. In what manner does UPSC advise Government(s)/ Ministries/ Departments on the suitability of the candidates for promotion/ Deputation?

UPSC advises Government(s)/ Ministries/ Departments on the suitability of the candidates for promotion and deputation by convening Departmental Promotion Committees (DPCs) in the case of promotion and Selection Committee Meetings (SCMs) in the case of deputation, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Recruitment Rules.

Q. Are there any specific provisions regarding consultation with the UPSC in matters of appointment by promotion and deputation for any particular post?

The Recruitment Rules of the Service/Posts specifically provide for consultation with the UPSC for appointment to each post by way of promotion or deputation.

Q. What are the cases normally referred to the UPSC for holding Meetings of the Departmental Promotion Committees (DPCs)?

The following cases are referred to UPSC for holding DPC meetings:

  1. Cases of promotion within Group A and from Group B to Group A, where the Recruitment Rules provide for association of the Chairman or a Member of UPSC with the DPC.
  2. Cases of promotions under special enactments which, by virtue of provisions made in the Acts enacted under Article 321 of the Constitution provide for association of the Chairman or a Member of UPSC, with the DPC. Some of the examples are cases pertaining to the Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Employees State Insurance Corporation, the New Delhi Municipal Corporation etc.

Q. Is it necessary to consult UPSC with regard to selection for temporary/ ad-hoc or officiating appointment to a post?

It shall not be necessary to consult the Commission with regard to selection for a temporary or officiating appointment to a post, if: 

  1. the person appointed is not likely to hold the post for a period of more than one year; and 
  2. it is necessary in the public interest to make the appointment immediately and a reference to the Commission will cause undue delay,

provided that- 

  1. Such appointment shall be reported to the Commission as soon as it is made; 
  2. If the appointment continues beyond a period of six months, a fresh estimate as to the period for which the person appointed is likely to hold the post shall be made and reported to the Commission; and
  3. If such estimate indicates that the person appointed is likely to hold the post for a period of more than one year from the date of appointment, the Commission shall immediately be consulted in regard to filling up of the post.

Q. What is the Zone of Consideration for promotion?

According to the instructions for determining the zone of consideration issued by DOP&T vide O.M. dated 06.01.2006, the zone of consideration for one vacancy is five (05) officers, for vacancies from two (02) to ten (10), the zone of consideration is twice the number of vacancies + four (04) and for vacancies exceeding 10, the zone of consideration is one and a half times the number of vacancies rounded off to the next higher integer + three (03) but not be less than the size of the zone of consideration for 10 vacancies. In other words, the normal zone of consideration for ten (10) to fourteen (14) vacancies is twenty four (24) and for vacancies exceeding fourteen (14) the zone is one and a half times the number of vacancies rounded off to next higher integer + three (03). The extended zone of consideration for SC/ST officers is five (05) times the total number of vacancies.

Q. Can eligible officers, who are on deputation, be considered for promotion?

Provisions regarding consideration of officers on deputation are contained in Paras 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 of the DOP&T O.M. dated 10.4.1989, which are as under: 

  1. The names of the officers who are on deputation, either on their own volition or in public interest (including foreign service), should also be included in the list submitted to the DPC for consideration for promotion, in case they come within the field of choice for promotion and fulfill the prescribed eligibility conditions.
  2. Very often a certain number of years of service in the lower grade is prescribed as a condition for becoming eligible for consideration for promotion to a higher post/grade. In such cases, the period of service rendered by an officer on deputation/foreign service, should be treated as comparable service in his parent department for purpose of promotion. This is subject to the condition that the deputation/foreign service is with the approval of the competent authority and it is certified by the competent authority that but for the deputation/foreign service, the officer would have continued to hold the relevant post in his parent department. Such a certificate would not be necessary if he was holding the departmental post in a substantive capacity.

Q. Can eligible officers who are on study leave or on special leave for training abroad be considered for promotion?

Para 4.4 of the DOP&T O.M. dated 10.4.1989 provides that an officer proceeding on study leave should be treated on the same basis as an officer proceeding on deputation if the study leave was duly sanctioned by the competent authority and the competent authority certified that the officer would have continued to officiate but for her/his proceeding on study leave. Such a certificate would not be necessary if the officer was holding the said departmental post in a substantive capacity. These instructions would also apply in the cases of government servants who are granted special leave for training abroad under the various training schemes.

Q.Can retired officers be considered for promotion?

The DOP&T, in consultation with the Department of Legal Affairs, has clarified in OM No.22011/14/98-Estt.(D) dated 12.10.1998 that it would not be in order if eligible employees, who were within the zone of consideration for the relevant year(s) but are not actually in service when the DPC is being held, are not considered while preparing year wise zone of consideration/panel and, consequently, their juniors are considered (in their places) who would not have been in the zone of consideration if the DPC(s) had been held in time. Consideration of such officers is, therefore, considered imperative to identify the correct zone of consideration for relevant year(s). Names of the retired officers may also be included in the panel(s). Such retired officials would, however, have no right for actual promotion. The DPC(s) may, if need be, prepare extended panel(s) following the principles prescribed in the DOP&T O.M. NCt.22011/18/87-Estt.(D) dated 09.04.1996. The DoP&T have brought out further instructions/guidelines vide O.M No. No.2201 l/3/2013-Estt (D) dated 25.01.2016 and 15.11.2018 in regard to grant of notional promotion in eligible cases of retired officers.

Q. How is the panel for a vacancy year is recommended by DPCs?

The DOP&T vide O.M. No.35034/7/97-Estt.(D) dated 8.2.2002 stipulates that the DPCs shall determine the merit of those being assessed for promotion with reference to the prescribed Benchmark and accordingly grade the officers as ‘Fit’ or ‘Unfit’. Only those graded ‘Fit’ (i.e. who meet the prescribed Benchmark) by the DPC shall be included and arranged in the select panel in order of their inter se seniority in the feeder grade. Those officers who are graded ‘Unfit’ (in terms of the prescribed Benchmark) by the DPC shall not be included in the select panel. Thus, there shall be no supersession in promotion among those who are graded ‘Fit’ (in terms of the prescribed Benchmark) by the DPC.


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