Due to sudden change in the age cut-off date this year from January 1 to August 1, a lot of aspirants will not be eligible to sit for the SSC-CGL (Staff Selection Commission-Combined Graduate Level) 2023 exam.
According to a notification issued by SSC-CGL on April 3, candidates only in the age bracket of 18 and 32 will be able to apply and their age will be calculated as on August 1, 2023, instead of January 1, 2023. The candidates have been given a deadline of May 3.
If the date is not changed, a lot of aspirants born between January 1 and July 31, in 1991 (for SC/ST), 1993 (for OBC) and 1996 (for general), and who have been preparing hard for the exam, will not be able to apply for the 2023 exam.
The candidates affected are therefore protesting and campaigning on social media, demanding that the SSC-CGL revert to the old criterion. Many applicants have protested outside the CGO Complex, Delhi, and urged the central government to modify the cut-off date. But they allege that no one is listening to them.
Notably, last year, the outer age limit for the exam was January 1, 2022.
Now, even a person born on July 31 is not eligible to attend the exam.
For example, Sandeep Chaudhary will not be able to attend the exam due to a gap of 10 days caused by the new criterion of SSC.
His date of birth is July 23, but as per the new limit of August 1, he will be deemed overage.
Chaudhary, a native of Palwal in Haryana, who had taken coaching in a top institute of Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi, told Patriot, “In the last CGL attempt, I couldn’t crack the exam because of just one mark. So, I was hoping that this time I will surely crack it and realise my dream of becoming an Assistant Section Officer (ASO). My preparation is also at its peak.”
However, following the latest notification, he has been rendered ineligible.
“But now, I am out due to a 10-day gap. A lot of students will be out of reckoning. When I heard about this change in age criterion, I was in shock. Bas ye laga lo ki heart beat hi nahi ruki thi (The only saving grace was that my heartbeat didn’t stop). I am staring at future which looks totally blank now. Already, a lot of money has been spent on my preparation. My father is the sole bread-winner in the family. So, the family has huge expectations from me. They also call me daily and take updates about it. We went to the [ruling party] Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s headquarters and five members met Union Minister Piyush Goyal. They noted down our demands and said they will forward it to the SSC chairman.”
Aspirants who have been preparing for many years are concerned a lot and want the government to change the decision. Besides meeting Goyal, they have also written to Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh, who is also the minister in-charge DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training), requesting the change in age cut-off date. They also met with other Union ministers but no concrete solution has emerged from their efforts.
Another aspirant, Shashank Sharma, who has been preparing for the exam since 2015 in Delhi told Patriot, “According to the latest notification of CGL, they are counting the age of candidate from August 1. In eight out of the last 10 years, they counted it from January 1, so a lot of students including me are not eligible to apply not only for this but other upcoming SSC exams too. We are out of race due to the date being reduced by seven months. What kind of decision is this?”
Shashank, a B.Tech. the graduate has taken coaching from a top institute in Delhi.
He said further, “We are trying to put our demands to the government but nobody is listening to us. We staged a protest outside SSC headquarters but nothing has happened. Our issue is not being covered [enough] by the media channels. We are in trouble, and have made no plan ‘B’. A person who has worked hard for this particular exam, what else can he do now?”
On social media
Some aspirants are raising the matter on Twitter.
A student, who was unhappy with the suddenness of the change, tweeted, “Sudden change why… It’s a kind request to SSC for SSC CGL 2023. Accept our demand of changing the crucial date from 01-08-2023 to 01-01-2023.”
Another aspirant, Dhruv, told Patriot, “By this decision, lakhs of students will be unable to make their planned final attempt at the SSC CGL exam. There was no time given. There was no information revealed before they suddenly changed the date. I have been preparing for it since 2016. I also attended the 2022 exam and unfortunately, it turned out to be my last attempt. So, we are raising our voice via protests or campaigns on Twitter. On April 13, a delegation met a member of SSC, Rajeev Shrivastav, who said, ‘we will consider your issue’. However, there has been no response yet. We want the SSC to listen to us.”
The authorities had changed the cut-off date earlier also. But they relented following protests from students.
“Earlier in 2012, 2015 and 2016, the SSC-CGL did the same thing. It changed the cut-off date from August 1 to January 1 but had to relent following outrage by the students,” said Dhruv further.
Dhruv revealed that students from multiple states are protesting now and he is hopeful something good will come of it as earlier.
“Students from Kerala, Bihar and Chhattisgarh are sitting at the CGO Complex and protesting peacefully. No chanting or anything. The police still detained them on many occasions. One day, the students spent the whole night there and burned candles, but the police removed them. On April 18, some teachers also reached there in solidarity but they were also detained. The last date of application was May 3. Nothing has happened, bas taal-matol chal rahi hai (there is only delay from their side),” he said.
Some organisations are also supporting the aspirants.
Yuva Halla Bol (YHB), a youth organisation which has raised the issue of ‘employment’ also came in support of the aspirants. Its national chairman wrote a letter to the SSC chairman on this issue. Many members of the organisation were detained by the police.
Apart from him, Prashant Kamal, the national general secretary of YHB, reached the SSC headquarters to meet the chairman and support the aspirants.
YHB tweeted, “Statement by youth leader @prashant_kamal1 from outside the SSC headquarters in Delhi. Prashant is leading a delegation to meet the chairperson & hand him over a letter written by @AnupamConnects. The youth delegation also wants to know the chairperson’s response. #SSC_CGL_1JAN.”
Kamal said that as many as 3-4 lakh students will be affected by the decision.
He said in a statement, “By this decision, around three to four lakhs students will be affected. We are trying to meet the chairman but they are not permitting. The security also threatens [saying] that in this area, section 144 has been imposed, so we can’t stand here. We will follow the law but want to send out a message that the chairman should accept our demand letter and fulfil students’ demands.”
SSC is an important organisation that conducts exams for various posts under many government departments.
As per the latest notification asking students to register, the commission has asked aspirants to file the online application process for SSC CGL 2023 by May 3 – it began on April 3 — for about 7,500 vacancies in various ministries, departments and offices of the Government of India and various constitutional bodies.