An Analysis of General Vs Reserved Category
Candidates in reserved categories — SC, ST and OBC — fare somewhat poorly in the UPSC result for Civil Services Examination compared with candidates in the general category — and this is true for both the written and interview stages of the exam, according to an analysis of marks by the Indian Express.
Analysis of Last 4 Years
The analysis of marks of the last four years — 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 — also shows that ST candidates often do slightly better than SCs, and sometimes even OBCs, in the interview, called ‘Personality Test’ in Union Service Public Commission (UPSC) parlance.
Final rankings for UPSC result in one of the toughest competitive examinations anywhere in the world are based on an aggregate of marks obtained by candidates in the written exam and the personality test. Since 2013, maximum marks in the written test has been 1,750 and that for the interview, 275 — until 2012, these were 1,800 and 300 respectively.
Average Marks in Written Exam
The results of CSE 2015, the latest exam, were declared in May 2016.
In 2015, the average marks obtained in the written exam by successful candidates in the general category was 729 — a little less than 739 in 2014. In 2013, the average marks of successful candidates was significantly lower than both these years — 629. In 2012, it was higher — 786.
In the same years — 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 — average marks of successful OBC candidates in the written test were 698, 708, 607 and 775 respectively.
SC candidates got average marks of 681, 697, 586 and 724; STs got 672, 676, 572 and 740 respectively.
Average Marks in Personality Test
A similar pattern was seen in the personality test. Candidates in the general category got, on average, 171, 177, 180 and 191 marks in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 respectively; in the same exam and in the same sequence of years, OBC candidates got 165, 171, 169, and 179; SCs got 163, 167, 167, and 171; and STs got 162, 170,168, and 180 marks. (See chart)
A separate cut-off list is prepared for each of the reserved categories, but it matters when a candidate does well enough to rank among the top 90 overall. Lower interview marks pull down their ranks, and they lose the chance to be considered as general category candidates in the allotment of service and cadre of their first choice.
In 2015, just 9 OBC and 4 SC candidates reached the top 90 ranks; no STs made it to this bracket. In 2014, there were 11 OBCs, 2 SCs and 1 ST among the top 90. In 2013, there were 77 general category candidates and 13 OBCs in the top 90, and in 2012, there were 19 OBCs, 2 SCs and 1 ST.
In the personality test, 165 marks out of 275 — 60% — is considered good. Among the selected candidates in 2015, 66.33% in the general category crossed this threshold, while only 55.10% of successful OBC candidates, 51.14% of SCs and 50.56% of STs could make it.