The burning question in the mind of every CSE aspirant right now is, will the UPSC remove the Optionals in CSE 2021? Is it true that there will be no optional subject for UPSC? As of January 2021, UPSC has not yet mentioned anything regarding the removal or keeping the UPSC optional syllabus.

In 2017, the Baswan Committee came up with issues in UPSC rules. They pointed out changes in the maximum age limit for appearing in the exam and the optional subjects in UPSC CSE. Let’s know about it in detail.

Baswan Committee

Bhartendra Singh Baswan, a former IAS officer from the 1967 batch, is to date considered one of the best IAS Officers of the country. After his retirement from the service, a committee was formed, named the Baswan Committee.

The Baswan Committee is not the first committee that is involved in the regulations of the UPSC exam pattern. In 1976, there was the Kothari Committee, later in 1989, there was the Satish Chandra Committee.

These committees are constituted by the Government and the UPSC to stop unfair practices and improve the selection process of aspirants into the administrative services. The earlier committees had proposed a three-stage selection process and the involvement of an essay writing in the mains paper.

Similarly in 2019, the Baswan Committee proposed to the NDA government to change the optional subjects. From past experiences, we can say it usually takes 12-13 years to implement a decision. The removal of the optional subject in the UPSC 2021 exam date has been kept on hold, and till date, it is still in consideration but has not been acted upon.

The Statements

The Baswan committee has proposed a few changes in the UPSC optional syllabus. The Government has kept the report confidential, but through unconfirmed sources, it has come to be known that the main changes suggested by the committee are as follows.

  • They came up with the issue with the maximum age limit for appearing in the UPSC examination.
  • The committee approached the government to remove the UPSC optional syllabus.
  • Reduction in the number of attempts for appearing in the exam.

Before the COVID-19 lockdown, there was speculation among the aspirants that the government was thinking about the changes in the UPSC Optional 2021 onwards. But as of yet, there is no clear answer to the question whether the UPSC will remove the optional paper in 2021.

Is It True, That There will be No Optional Subject for UPSC?

As mentioned above, UPSC has not come up with a decision of removing or changing the optional subject yet, but there is a high possibility of changes in the optional subject by 2022.

Scraping of optional subjects from UPSC is possible and can be implemented in one go. It was once done in 2012, which makes it a possibility. This is because there are many claims that the marks awarded in certain optional subjects are very high at times. This becomes a disadvantage for those who choose other optional subjects.

But there are people against the removal of optional subjects too. They consider the exam will then favour the urban youngsters.

The Procedure of Application of Law

Once the decision is made and changes are considered, at least two years of time will be given to implementing the change. It will give the students time to manage their syllabus and preparations.

The suggestion on removing the optional subjects is based on feedback from the aspirants. More than 68% of students agreed to the removal of optional subjects from the UPSC CSE.

Due to the COVID-19 scenario, many aspirants didn’t get the right resources and coaching to prepare for the exam. So, the chances of UPSC implementing changes in 2021 are very scarce.

Number of Vacancies

The total number of vacancies in 2020 was only 796, which would be increased in UPSC 2021. The increase in vacancy is due to a higher number of IAS officer retirements in 2020. We can expect a minimum of 190 IAS officers, 150+ vacancies for IPS, and 40+ vacancies for Foreign services.

The Baswan Committee also considered the time frame of 2010-20, so in 2021, there is a huge chance of increased vacancies for IAS and IPS.


For the prelims of the IAS exam, there are two papers in the exam. The IAS prelims is a qualification exam that includes General studies paper 2. The test includes comprehension skills, general mental aptitude, and decision-making skills. Most of the students coming from either English medium classes or Engineering backgrounds find it easier to qualify for the exam. On the other hand, it is difficult for the Hindi medium and the non-engineers.

CSAT was introduced in 2011, and since then, it has become the backbone of UPSC CSE. At the same time, it is a bone of contention for the candidates with Hindi medium background.


There are speculations among students about age limit restrictions, which presently is a hoax. The Baswan committee has put up the point in 2017, but the possibilities of scraping the optional subjects in 2021 are very thin. At most, the government can modify the recommendation and implement in a phased-out manner.

For any further queries on UPSC CSE, aspirants can visit the UPSC Pathshala website. We also have blogs and articles on various other topics on our website that can help in clearing doubts regarding UPSC preparations and updates.

Will the UPSC Remove the Optionals in CSE 2021? Will there be No Optional Subject Exam for UPSC?
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Will the UPSC Remove the Optionals in CSE 2021? Will there be No Optional Subject Exam for UPSC?
Is it true, that there will be no optional subject for UPSC? Will there be no UPSC optional 2021? Click here to find out what Baswan Committee decided.
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