New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust lakhs of civil service aspirants across the country in the lurch and silence on part of the authorities concerned, they complained. They alleged that they are struggling to cope with lack of study material, coaching facilities and general anxiety in the run-up to arguably the most important examination of their lives.

Though it is yet to take a final call on the civil services preliminary exam, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is continuing with its preparations to conduct the exam on the scheduled date of May 31.

This year, 10 lakh people have registered for the exam, but their preparations have been hampered by the uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hindustan Times quoted BS Bassi, a member of UPSC Commission, saying, "The exam is conducted all over the country and nearly 10 lakh people apply. On an average, 7 lakh people finally appear for the exam. We will take a call on the exam after May 3, depending on the situation.”

The report also stated that preparation for the exam, however, began six months ago, according to a UPSC official.

“District collectors and district magistrates identified venues, mostly schools and colleges, where the exam can be conducted,” the official said. “From that list, nearly 2,500 venues have been chosen.”

“With many of the venues being schools that may have been turned into quarantine centres, the Commission may also have to consider moving aspirants from one state to another,” the official added.

One of the major concerns about postponing the exam, said an official, will be that students may get less time to prepare for the Mains.