Jobs: UPSC introduces strict rules for photo on application form to tackle AI-driven frauds –

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has started the registration process for UPSC CSE Prelims 2024 this week for the Prelims scheduled in May. The Commission has introduced stricter rules for uploading photographs on the registration forms. As per the new guidelines, the UPSC has asked the candidates to upload photographs not older than 10 days from the start of the online application process. Therefore, candidates will have to make sure that the photographs are not taken before February 4, 2024.

While the rule has baffled the aspirants and a few have dubbed it is an unnecessarily long and expensive process, experts claim it will control misuse of technology and other related frauds during the exams. In Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, several cases have been registered by the state against candidates for impersonation and technology-related crimes.

Retired senior IAS officer JK Dadoo says this initiative will control misuse of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI). With AI, there is a possibility to morph photographs and documents, which can pose serious challenges in the public examination. “It is difficult to distinguish between photographs of candidates on different forms and also match them against the candidates appearing in the exam. New technology and AI can easily morph photographs and documents. With the new UPSC guidelines, identification-related issue will get largely resolved,” says Dadoo.

“Several cases have come to the fore where candidates juxtaposed their photographs. With technologies like AI and deepfake, the challenges are rising each day. Identity issues are a major problem the Commission is facing. As per the new instructions, the candidate must upload a photo clicked within 10 days from the start of the online application process. This will make it difficult for the candidates to fudge the application data. The new process may pinch pockets, especially of aspirants from rural areas, but it will ensure the identity is correct, easing the future procedure,” adds Dadoo.

UPSC and state PSCs have received multiple complaints of impersonation where the photo of the person in the admit card and the one appearing for the exam were different. “Often, the admit card has the younger brother’s photo while the older brother appears for the exam. The recent instructions will just eliminate such possibilities,” says Dadoo.

Ease of doing business
Senior IAS Rajesh Kumar Pathak, secretary, Technology Development Board, Department of Science and Technology, says, “The new initiative will just ease the process of doing business. It will also help in crosschecking the age and appearances of the candidate as very often they upload older photos. On numerous occasions, it becomes a challenge during the Personality Test, when the interviewers find little or no resemblance of the candidate with the photo he has uploaded during the registration, raising doubts among examiners.”

“The new system comes with a bit of challenge for the candidates, but it will increase transparency and control impersonation. Through the new system, the candidates will also not face any issues at any level during the exam. The aspirants from rural areas are not likely to face difficulty as all facilities are available in every nook and corner,” says Pathak.

The Commission said that the name of the candidate and the date on which the photograph was taken must also be mentioned clearly on the photograph. The faces of the candidates should also occupy three-fourths of the space in the photograph, the official notification said.

The Commission has also asked the candidates to make sure that their appearance matches their photograph at each stage of the examination process – Preliminary, Mains (written) and Interview or Personality test. For instance, if a candidate uploads a bearded photograph, he must appear with the same look in the Preliminary, Mains (Written) and Interview/Personality Test. Same would be the case with spectacles, moustaches, etc.

Candidates who wish to apply for the Civil Service Examination=Preliminary 2024 for about 1,056 vacant posts, can visit the official website at and submit the application form. Candidates scoring above the cut-off marks in CSE prelims will become eligible to register for the main examination. The mains will be descriptive and will be conducted from September 20 for five days.

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