Understanding Consolidated Reserve List in UPSC Exams

UPSC often maintains a consolidated Reserve list of candidates along with the list of recommended candidates. For example, in 2013 there were 1228 vacancies, but the list of recommended candidates were only 1122. That the means, there is a difference of 105 vacancies. Aspirants who went through the UPSC result might have noticed about a consolidated reserved list of 210 candidates. (Please note that the remaining vacancies are only a maximum of 105 and not 210). This post is an attempt to decipher the Consolidated Reserve List in UPSC Civil Services Exam.

NB: Reserve list should not be confused with reservation. Both are entirely different. Reserve list may be best treated as the second merit list (supplementary list) of recommended candidates, which comes after the first list (main list). Both lists are based on the vacancies reported for a particular year.

Deciphering the Consolidated Reserve List of candidates:

For 2013, in accordance with Rule 16 (4) & (5) of the Civil Services Examination Rules 2013, the Commission is maintaining a consolidated Reserve List of candidates as under:

  • GENERAL: 105
  • OBC: 88
  • SC: 13
  • ST: 04
  • TOTAL: 210

What does this mean? This means that some candidates from reserved list have scored enough marks to be counted along with general-merit-unreserved category (total 105). 88 candidates from OBC, 13 from SC and 4 from ST have marks which can be counted among the unreserved merit list. So where will these candidates be placed: in general merit list or reservation list? The answer varies – If a reserved category candidate get a better service if considered under reserved category, he/she will be considered as a reserved category candidate. If the service to be allocated remains same, whether considered under unreserved merit list (general) or reserved list, then he/she will be counted among the unreserved general merit candidates. (Eg: If an OBC candidate secures AIR 1, then his chance of getting his preferred first service most probably remains the same, whether considered on general merit or reservation. In such a case he/she will be considered as general merit only, leaving the scope of allocating another candidate among OBC category to the reservation.)

PS : Though there were 622 vacancies under general-merit list only 517 candidates were recommended initially by UPSC under this category. Remaining 105 candidates from general category along with 105 from reserved category is listed under Consolidated Reserve List.

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reserve list

What happens if a reserved category candidate gets allocated on an un-reserved general merit vacancy?

If reserved category candidates recommended by UPSC gets allocated on an unreserved general merit seat, there is the possibility of a vacancy in reserved list, which can be filled only by a candidate from reservation category. This also means that the prospects of an un-reserved candidate contesting in open merit will diminish. But, in general, unless the reserved category candidate has very high rank (less than AIR 200) , he/she would get his preferred service only if allocated under reserved category, and so DoPT allocates in that manner.

Minimum Qualifying Marks in Prelims and Mains

Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the Preliminary Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion shall be admitted to the Main Examination; and candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the Main Examination (Written) as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion shall be summoned by them for an interview for personality test : Provided that candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or Other Backward Classes may be summoned for an interview for a personality test by the Commission by applying relaxed standards in the Preliminary Examination as well as Main Examination (Written) if the Commission is of the opinion that sufficient number of candidates from these communities are not likely to be summoned for interview for a personality test on the basis of the general standard in order to fill up vacancies reserved for them.

What happens after Interview?

After interview, the candidates will be arranged by the Commission in the order of merit as disclosed by the aggregate marks finally awarded to each candidate in the Main Examination. Thereafter, the Commission shall, for the purpose of recommending candidates against unreserved vacancies, fix a qualifying mark (hereinafter referred to as general qualifying standard) with reference to the number of unreserved vacancies to be filled up on the basis of the Main Examination. For the purpose of recommending reserved category candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes against reserved vacancies, the Commission may relax the general qualifying standard with reference to number of reserved vacancies to be filled up in each of these categories on the basis of the Main Examination : Provided that the candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who have not availed themselves of any of the concessions or relaxations in the eligibility or the selection criteria, at any stage of the examination and who after taking into account the general qualifying standards are found fit for recommendation by the Commission shall not be recommended against the vacancies reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes.

Note:  While making service allocation, the candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes or Other Backward Classes recommended against unreserved vacancies may be adjusted against reserved vacancies by the Govt. If by this process they get a service of higher choice in the order of their preference.
Note:  The Commission may further lower the qualifying standards to take care of any shortfall of candidates for appointment against unreserved vacancies and any surplus of candidates against reserved vacancies arising out of the provisions of this rule, the Commission may make the recommendations in the manner prescribed in sub-rules (4) and (5).

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Rule 16 (4) & (5) of the Civil Services Examination Rules

(4) While recommending the candidates, the Commission shall, in the first instance, take into account the total number of vacancies in all categories. This total number of recommended candidates shall be reduced by the number of candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes who acquire the merit at or above the fixed general qualifying standard without availing themselves of any concession or relaxation in the eligibility or selection criteria in tenns of the provison to sub-rule (I). Along with this list of recommended candidates, the Commission shall also maintain a consolidated reserve list of candidates which will include candidates from general and reserved categories ranking in order of merit below the last recommended candidate under each category. The reserve list so maintained shall be treated as confidential till the process of recommendations(s) in terms of sub-rule (5) is 4 finally concluded by the Commission. The number of candidates in each of these categories will be equal to the number of reserved category candidates who were included in the first list without availing of any relaxation or concession in eligibility or selection criteria as per proviso to sub-rule ( I ).

Amongst the reserved categories, the number of candidates from each of the Scheduled Caste, the Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Class categories in the reserve list will be equal to the respective number of vacancies reduced initially in each category.

(5) The candidates recommended in terms of the provisions of sub-rule (4), shall be allocated by the Government to the services and where certain vacancies still remain to be filled up, the Government may forward a requisition to the Commission requiring it to recommend, in order of merit, from the reserve list, the same number of candidates’ as requisitioned for the purpose of filling up the unfilled vacancies in each category.

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Minimum Qualifying Marks for Physically Handicapped Candidates

The minimum qualifying marks as specified under rules 15 and 16 may be relaxable at the discretion of the Commission in favour of physically handicapped candidates in order to fill up the vacancies reserved for them : Provided that where a physically handicapped candidate obtains the minimum qualifying marks in his own merit in the requisite number for General, or the Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe or Other Backward Class category candidates, then, the extra physically handicapped
candidates, i.e., more than the number of vacancies reserved for them shall be recommended by the Commission on the relaxed standards and consequential amendments in the rules will be notified in due course.

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