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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Being a Civil Servant, Still a Dream of Many

Article Collected by - Education is My Passion

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Author : Sekhar Rayaprolu

Economic downturn notwithstanding, a career in the Civil Services has always appealed to students for many decades. Young aspirants from various academic backgrounds continue to aspire and pursue their dreams to become a civil servant.  The power, perks and prestige associated with the Services, along with the added benefits of the recently adopted suggestions of the VI Pay Commission, have only enhanced the glamour of the profession. 

There are wide ranging options available for careers in the Civil Services.  Both the State and Central Governments offer ample opportunities, based on the aptitude of the candidate and also on the interest to work in a particular area. One can become a high ranking police official, a diplomat, a District Magistrate / Collector, an Income Tax Officer, Revenue Officer, Treasury Officer, DEO, Forest Officer, an Excise Officer, Transport Officer, Municipal Officer, Provident Fund Administrator and many more subordinate service memberships.  The range is indeed vast and exciting to choose from.   

Around the world, the Governments are on a downsizing spree, but the Indian scenario is different.  With a huge populace to serve, the Government can ill afford to be understaffed.  With increased focus on welfare schemes, greater efficiency in delivery mechanisms requires huge workforce of able hands.  Perhaps this realisation, has led to the increased intake in Government recruitments.  We are back to the era of late 80’s, where in the UPSC used to recommend an intake of nearly 1000 personnel annually into the echelons of the Government Administration.  Add to this the various subordinate board, state board and Railway Board recruitments, not to miss out the Public Sector Banking recruitments, provides a wonderful opportunity for youngsters to steer their way into coveted services. 

Most departments of the State and Central Governments hire their staff through the respective Service Commissions, Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board and the UPSC.  The UPSC does not miss its calendar whereas the other recruitments are not necessarily an annual affair. Every year lakhs of students prepare for the coveted positions.
The increased focus on Police, Teacher Recruitments and Healthcare Professionals and administrators, opens up more career avenues for aspiring youngsters.  

The UPSC website offers a comprehensive list of all the examinations it conducts on behalf of the Central Government. This portal lists out the eligibility conditions, and other details like age, quota, calendar and syllabus of the examination, along with relevant and in vogue recruitment rules for respective examinations. The UPSC accepts a user friendly application form available at all major post offices, as the first step in the examination application process.  Candidates are advised to scrupulously follow the instructions and submit an error free personal profile, so as to avoid any inaccuracies later.   

Students should appraise themselves of the examination related authentic information from the websites/ portals of the respective recruitment boards. 

Most of the examinations require a Graduate Degree as a minimum academic qualification.  Some positions would require a mandatory professional or specialised degree or knowledge of Typing or Shorthand.  The syllabus for all the examination is widely available in the public domain and the recruitment process is very transparent.  There are very few instances of any malpractices in the recruitment process. 

The pattern of examination followed by UPSC for the Civil Services has been the Preliminary Test followed by Mains.  This holds good for the recruitment to IAS, IPS, IFS, Group IA and Group II A positions.  The Preliminary examination is of objective type and has two papers, one in General Studies and another in the candidate’s preference of the optional subject.  The choice of the Optional subject is entirely of the candidate only.  In the Mains examination, the candidate is required to take subjective, written, examinations in two Optional Subjects, General English and General Studies papers. 

 The marks scored in the English paper are not used for ranking.  The clearing of Preliminary Examination results in the candidate’s eligibility to take the Mains Examination.  Success in the Mains examination results in the candidate being called for a Personality Test, which is an Interview that assesses the candidate in aspects not covered in the earlier evaluation. Most State Boards also follow the above pattern, but with certain changes.  Some may have a one stage examination procedure followed by Interview and others may have Two Stage examination followed by Interview. 

Recently the Administrative Reforms commission has suggested some changes to the eligibility and recruitment patterns of the Civil Services.  They are yet to be adopted.  But the recommendations have sought a graduate degree in Governance as the minimum requirement and the focus is being shifted from knowledge of optionals, to knowledge in Constitutional Law, Human Rights, IPR, Local Language Skills, Science and Technology, Computers and other contemporary subjects. These are far reaching changes and may take some time to be implemented.  Till then, candidates can safely follow the existing pattern and start preparation.  
So, where does one begin in his or her preparation for these examinations?  Though the structure of the exam could vary from one test to another, there are certain fundamental aspects that need to be focused while treading this path.  

Success can be achieved by sincere hard work. Intelligence is important but knowledge and skill without commensurate effort would not yield any positive result. By putting in 16 – 18 hours of daily academic schedule for a minimum period of a year would definitely help. 

Before working on the reference text books for any subject, or optional, it is very important to be strong in fundamentals. A thorough understanding of the CBSE / NCERT syllabus of classes VI to Classes XII, is mandatory.   

General Studies plays a crucial role in the selection process.  It is important to be in touch with Current affairs and the habit of regular newspaper reading of a high quality publication would definitely help. 

Knowledge of Geography, History, Culture, Social Practices, Constitutional Provisions, Human Rights, Intellectual Property and Patents, Popular IT software knowledge cannot be ignored.  

Practice of making notes while reading any material need to be inculcated.  It has been scientifically proven that any written word has higher retention in our memory yard, compared to the read word. 

Practice of reading good books, ability to assimilate thoughts, conceptualizing and presentation of ideas with clarity are always useful skills.  Students aspiring for a career with Governance need to inculcate these skills.   

Above all, a very important and significant aspect that is often ignored while choosing a career with the Government is that of Personal Integrity and Empathy with the common man.

The unlettered and impoverished in this country look to the Government with awe and hold it in high esteem.  The Officers of the Government are the face of the Constitutional Guarantees that every citizen is provided with.

 Youngsters seeking to make a quick buck in the corruption-ridden system should realise that not all are corrupt and it is only a few black sheep out there.  Passion to serve, being upright and honest, will always hold the Officers in good stead and no amount of political or parochial interests can influence or disturb the good work they chose to do. 

Hyderabad has been a very cost effective destination for many civil service aspirants.  It has overtaken Delhi as the Mecca of Civil Service education.  Many students from North India, North East India and other parts have found Hyderabad as the ideal place for their Civil Service preparation.  The leading providers of training in this area are Brain Tree, RC Reddy, Hyderabad Study Circle and a host of other institutes, with subject specific competencies.

Students are advised to talk to the faculty and students before taking a call on the institute they choose to join.

Source : The Career Guide

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