ISLAMABAD - The federal government has increased the upper age limit of general candidates for the Central Superior Services (CSS) exams.

Well-placed official sources informed The Nation yesterday that the Cabinet Division had approved a summary of increase in the upper age limit for the next CSS exams for all general candidates from 28 to 30 years.

The federal cabinet under the chair of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in its meeting held on July 15 in Lahore had approved increase in upper age limit for CSS exams from 28 to 30 years. Later, the Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had announced the decision through his tweet.

According to sources of the Cabinet Division, the government has issued a notification of the increase in the upper age limit of general candidates in the light of cabinet decision from 28 to 30 years but has not mentioned further increase in the upper age of government servants from 30 to 32 years. The notification will apply to all general candidates as well as candidates of scheduled castes, minorities, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK).

At the start of this initiative, the Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had announced that the upper age limit for the candidates appearing in CSS exams would be increased from 28 to 30 years from 2017. He had said that this was being done after a series of meetings and prolonged consultations as part of government’s initiative to reform civil services.

The Senate had also written to the government to do necessary legislation for increasing the age limit of CSS candidates to protect the rights of people of the small federating units and of less privileged classes.

Later, the Planning Division moved a summary to the Establishment Division for approval of the proposed increase in age limit. However, Prime Minister in March disapproved the summary. At that time PM office explained that the increase in the number of academic years from 14 to 16, as a condition to appear in CSS exams, was no justification to enhance the upper age-limit.

Prior to military dictator Musharraf regime, the upper age limit for all general candidates appearing in the CSS examination was 30 years, and for government servants was 32 years. A meeting of the National Security Council in 2000 had decreased the upper age limit up to 28 years for general candidates and 30 years for government servants.