An application for the civil services examination should be counted as an attempt to the test, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has proposed to the government in a bid to save resources, officials said Friday. The move comes after it was noticed that only about half of over nine lakh aspirants who apply for the exam actually take it. A candidate gets six attempts to take the civil services exam. This restriction is not applicable for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), according to the notification for the civil services exam, 2018. Officials said if the proposal is accepted by the government, it would result in saving the UPSC's efforts and resources. "If we get about nine lakh applications, we have to prepare for nine lakh candidates to sit for the exam. But only about half of them turn up. if this recommendation is accepted, we will save a lot of money, time and effort," an official explained. UPSC has sent its proposal to the Ministry of Personnel, officials said. The civil services examination is conducted annually by the UPSC in three stages- preliminary, main and interview- to select candidates for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) among others. According to existing norms, if a candidate actually appears in any one paper (of the total of two) in the preliminary examination, he\/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the examination. Notwithstanding the disqualification\/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination is counted as an attempt. Candidates have to be at least 21 years old and can attempt the exam six times till they are 32 years old. However, there are age and limit relaxations for candidates of various categories. For instance, nine attempts are permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes. The upper age limit is also relaxable to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to SC or ST. In 2017, 9,57,590 candidates applied for the civil services examination and 4,56,625 candidates actually took it. In 2016, 11.35 lakh candidates had applied for the 2016 exam and 4.59 lakh candidates actually appeared for it.