India has been home to a preferential caste system for centuries. With such a system, only a few sections of society could progress, leaving many behind. After Independence, to provide fair opportunities for all sections of the society, reservations became necessary.

Concerning this, Other Backward Classes, popularly known as the OBC, enjoy certain reservations in the UPSC civil service exams. Hence, before the UPSC preparation, it is important to understand the eligibility criteria for the UPSC OBC category and see if you qualify for all the conditions. Read this article and learn about the number of attempts, age limit, creamy layer and non-creamy layer and more information about the reservations in the UPSC OBC category.

How many Attempts are there for UPSC for OBC Category?

The maximum number of attempts permitted for a person to clear the UPSC exam is different for different categories. Appearing for one of the papers in the preliminary examination will be counted as an attempt, including disqualification/ cancellation for any reason. Anyhow, applying to write the exam but failing to attend the exam is not counted as an attempt.

If you want to appear in UPSC under the OBC category, you can start at the age of 21 until the upper age limit for the UPSC OBC category and take nine attempts in all. Hence, there is a limit of 9 shots per person for the UPSC for the OBC category.

Additional Conditions for OBC Category 

Some of the eligibility criteria are the same for all the caste categories. Those criteria include nationality, education, etc.


This is common for all the categories, including the OBC category. A candidate must fulfil one of the following criteria:

#1. Citizen of India

#2. Citizen of Nepal or Bhutan

#3. Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1 January 1962 and settled permanently.

#4. A person of Indian origin migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, or Vietnam, intending to settle in India permanently.

Also Read: IAS vs PCS: Which is Best IAS or PCS? What should you choose?


The educational qualifications are also the same for all caste categories. However, the eligible candidates must submit proof of educational qualification from a recognised institute/ university before the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam. Candidates should possess any one of the following certificates.

#1. A qualification equivalent to a graduate degree, recognised by University Grants Commission

#2. A degree from an open university

#3. A graduate degree received through correspondence or distance education

#4. A graduate degree from a central, state, or any university

Age Limit

The maximum age limit for OBC category candidates is 35 years, i.e, as of 1 August in the year of attempting the exam, the candidate’s age should not be more than 35 years. The minimum age for writing UPSC is 21 years for every category. The maximum age limit is determined by the caste category of the candidate, like 32 for the general category, 35 for OBC, and 37 for SC/ST.

Eligibility for OBC Category

Minimum Age 21
Maximum Age 35
Education Any degree
No. of Attempts 9

Creamy Layer and Non-Creamy Layer  

The creamy layer and non-creamy layer are the two different sections of the OBC category in India. It is essential to understand the creamy layer and non-creamy layer to know more about the OBC reservation in UPSC.

Creamy Layer

It refers to the forward, financially well-off, and better-educated members of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Hence, they are not eligible for government benefit programs, both educational and professional. People belonging to the creamy layer are deemed to be better off than the other section of the OBC category, and hence, are not eligible for reservation.

(a) Income Limit: The creamy layer income criteria covers the annual family income from all sources. A person with a family income of more than 1,00,000 INR per annum qualifies as OBC creamy layer as per the regulations in 1993. The ceiling has been subsequently revised to ₹ 4.5 lakh p.a. in 2004, Rs 6 lakh in 2013, and Rs 8 lakh in the year 2017.

Non-Creamy Layer

Non-creamy layer is used for people much weaker in terms of financial stability, education, income than the other people of the OBC category. If the total family income is less than 8 lakh per annum, then the family is considered to come under the non-creamy OBC category. Such families are qualified for an OBC certificate. Any person belonging to the non-creamy OBC category will enjoy all the benefits like the relaxation of age in competitive exams. Citizens who fall under the non-creamy OBC category will get reservations while applying for government jobs, for particular posts, and higher education.

Eligibility for the OBC Certificate

There are certain predefined eligibility criteria to ensure only the deserving person gets the benefits of the non-creamy layer relaxation. The conditions to get an OBC certificate are:

Income Limit

A person is qualified to get an OBC certificate only if the annual income of the whole family is less than eight lakhs rupees per annum. If it is more than that, then they will not be eligible for the non-creamy category certificate or the OBC certificate.

Also Read: Can You Give State PSC and UPSC in Same Year? 4 Tips to Crack UPSC or State PSC

Parents Employed Under Central Government

If a candidate’s parents work in the central government and are working under Group C and Group D category under the central government of India, the person is eligible to apply for the non-creamy OBC certificate.

An Employee Under Central Government

If a person from the Other Backward Classes is working under the central government’s group B category, that person can apply for an OBC non-creamy layer certificate. This is valid only if the person’s parents do not receive any income, including pensions.

The Non-creamy Layer Certificate – Benefits


To avail of all the benefits offered to a non-creamy layer candidate, one must obtain the OBC certificate. The certificate’s validity is for usually one year, and it starts from the very day of receiving it. With the help of this certificate, candidates can get reservations for jobs allocated in Central Government and Public Sectors to the weaker sections of the OBC category.


Students having Non-Creamy Layer Certificate also enjoy certain allocation in top educational institutions like IIT, and IIM apart from benefits in the UPSC civil services exam. The rules for obtaining the Non-Creamy Layer Certificate differ from State to State and the rules do not apply in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Major Differences for Creamy Layer and Non-Creamy Layer

OBC Creamy Layer OBC Non-Creamy Layer
Income: above 8 lakh per annum

(Total family Income)

Income: below 8 lakh per annum

(Total family Income)

Equivalent to general category Beneficiaries of government policies for OBC
Income from farming not included Income from farming not included

Before starting UPSC preparation, aspirants should make sure that they are eligible for the Civil Service Examinations’ eligibility criteria with respect to their caste category. The number of attempts for the OBC category is nine in total, and the candidates must plan accordingly to make the best out of it. To claim reservation, documents and certificates will play a crucial role in your enrolment in Civil Service Examinations. Candidates must check every guideline to provide appropriate documents to UPSC.

Continue reading UPSC Pathshala’s numerous blogs and articles that will help you in gaining a clear perspective on the topic. UPSC Pathshala’s personal mentors with years of experience will help you in every step towards your UPSC goal. They help solve your doubts, keep track of your progress, and help to improve in weak areas. Don’t Miss the Free Demo Class and experience the teaching methodology of UPSC Pathshala before you make the next-best decision of joining them. For more details, visit the UPSC Pathshala website now.

Content Protection by
How many Attempts for UPSC for OBC Category? UPSC Eligibility Criteria for OBC Category
Article Name
How many Attempts for UPSC for OBC Category? UPSC Eligibility Criteria for OBC Category
How many attempts are there for UPSC for the OBC category? Know everything about the eligibility, age, number of attempts and the benefits for creamy layer and non-creamy layer.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo

About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

View All Articles