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What is lacking in present day civil servants & my thoughts on the new civil services exam format

Just read recently in the Hindu Business Line that the age old civil services examination is in for a change.Excerpts from the article

If you are a technology/management graduate and are interested in a career in All-India Civil Services, here is some good news.The Department of Personnel had recently announced its plans to make changes in the pattern of the Preliminary exam from 2011, based on a proposal from UPSC.About 1.5 lakh people take the exam every year.The proposed pattern would substitute the subject-based optional paper and another on general studies with an aptitude and decision-making papers respectively, carrying equal weightage.


The first Public Service Commission was set up on 1 October 1926 and it was purely done due to the demand by Indian politicians wanting to indianise the administrative system. Post independence and also till the late 80′s what I observed was civil services was taken by exclusively socialists who want to contribute something to the country. They were well rounded statesman who wanted to contribute to emerging India. They were not ambitious career wise i.e. they did not want to make money all that they wanted to do was serve the country as a loyal civil servant. I have known IAS officers who never owned a house, they were simple people with high values.But now the whole scenario is way different now. The underlying values and willingness to do something for the country is slowly waning off.

Coming to the Civil services entrance examination, this is one exam where there are a lot of takers from the rural milieu. Most of them are from diverse backgrounds other than engineering and management graduates. The exam being a very elaborate procedure, many of these  ambitious Management/Technology graduated stayed away from it. During recession and also now when the economy is going up , a lot of these technology and management graduated felt the pinch and start opting for bank and administrative jobs.

According to a director of a reputed New Delhi-based institute, the number of management graduates appearing for the Civil Services exam has been on the rise. “Of the 1,200 students in a single batch for prelims, we had nearly 200 from management/engineering. I expect this to go up significantly from next year, if the proposed change materialises,” he said.

It is surely a good news for the technology and management graduates but the thing is the Indian civil services is not exclusively for the ambitious lot.We need to cherry pick people for the Indian civil services who are well rounded , balanced and are willing to serve the country. To pick such people , the examination can be a little more than elaborate so that it caters only to those who are real Civil aspirants not for people who just want to give a try. Not only the analytical skills should be judged but also other skills have to be measured because this is not some corporate job where you work for a couple of years and you decide to change over. Things like administration particularly work only on a long term basis.

So my advice for all the students who are aspiring to take the civil services exam is do it only if you are love it and serious about it. Don’t pursue it like a side career option by just giving a shot at it. Because the government administrative servants are solely responsible and privileged to shape up the country. This is a huge and tremendous responsibility.

What are your thoughts on the UPSC? If the pattern of the examination is changed are you willing to take the exam?

Posted in Talent & Skill Development.

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