As the most recent batch of civil service inductees wait get to work, Sanchayan Bhattacharjee takes a look at the UPSC exam process.
It is easy to criticize the government for its shortcomings from the outside. However, not many have the will to become part of the system and contribute towards its betterment. The civil services exam conducted every year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) gives students across the country a chance to do just that.
More than 3.2 lakh students appeared for the exams in 2013 out of which 1122 candidates were shortlisted after a year-long selection process involving an objective preliminary test, a subjective main exam and a personal interview.
UPSC has an extremely broad qualification criterion for these exams. Any Indian graduate between 21-32 years of age may apply for these exams. A successful candidate may opt for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) or other services based on their all India rank. Each job has a dynamic work profile and all the perks and security associated with a government job.
Although the preliminary exams have just two objective papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II), the syllabus is quite extensive. “It covers almost everything we have studied thus far. However, the topics are more in-depth as compared to school or college,” says Vinny Bhatia who is preparing to appear for the exams in 2015. The syllabus covers a wide range of topics like history of Indian freedom movement, current affairs, Indian polity and Constitution, economic affairs, mental ability, logical reasoning etc.
The number of topics increases for the main exam wherein a candidate is expected to write elaborate answers in a relatively short period of time. According to Abhilasha Sharma, who secured 87th rank in this year’s exam, the most important thing is to study smartly. “Since the mains are conducted for five days at a stretch, it was a challenge to revise everything before the exam. However, there was enough matter available on each topic in the textbooks. So I just made point wise notes on each topic which acted like an index before each exam,” she says.
There are a number of coaching classes, mostly in Delhi and Pune which provide guidance to students on this exam. “The need for classes depends on a candidate’s home atmosphere and educational background. I needed 11/2 years of coaching to understand the structure of study,” says Bhagyashri Navatake, who secured 376thrank in her second attempt.
In addition to the lure of a government job, a candidate must have a sense of service before opting for such a career. “I have always admired administrators like Kiran Bedi. After completing my engineering, I wanted to do something for the society and civil services seemed the best option,” signs off Navatake.
The following are the three main civil services categories:
IFS: These are diplomats who act as representatives of the country in different foreign lands and organizations. A candidate opting for this service will travel all over the world throughout his/her career and might even get an opportunity to serve as an Indian ambassador in a foreign country.
IAS: IAS officers always play a leading role in policy implementation at the state and central levels and also keep a tab on the law and order situation within their jurisdiction. It is generally the first choice for all the successful aspirants; hence a high rank is generally required.
IPS: officers are in charge of the law and order situation in their respective jurisdictions and are involved in the deployment strategy and functioning of different police forces in the country.
The other Group A services are:
1. Indian Audit and Accounts Service
2. Indian Revenue Service
3. Indian Defence Accounts Service
4. Indian Postal Service
5. Indian Civil Accounts Service
6. Indian Railway Service
7. Indian Information Service
For more details, visit: http://www.upsc.gov.in/