UPSC, you must have heard this several times. There are certain career fields every Indian parent want to see their children in. Besides a doctor or engineer, an IAS officer is also one of them!
What are civil services?
The civil services refers to civil servants who form the permanent executive branch of the government. The civil service system or bureaucracy forms the backbone of the administration machinery of the country. It includes All-India services(IAS, IPS), central services(IRS, IFS, etc..) and state services.
Eligibility and path
Any undergraduate (of any field), of age 21-32 years can appear for the Civil service examination (CSE), conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the different services are given according to rank and preferences.
The exam pattern of UPSC CSE I quite complicated. As per the IAS exam pattern, candidates who clear the Prelims are eligible for Mains and candidates who clear the Main reach the interview stage.
1. Prelims: It is a MCQ based objective questions and consists of two papers
The marks secured at this stage are not counted towards the final merit list, as it is a qualifying exam. However, this is the most essential, as it is the gateway for you to enter in the race to be a civil servant!
2. Mains: The UPSC mains consists of 9 papers conducted over 5-7 days. This is a pure subjective exam, demanding answers in word limits of about 250-500 words.
1st and 2nd paper of languages are of qualifying nature.
3rd one is an essay paper.
The 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th ones generally referred to as GS I, GS II, GS III, GS IV AR compulsory papers related to topics with much diversity including history, geography, science culture, polity, environment, ethics, technology, etc..
The last two papers are optional ones, based on the subject chosen by the candidate from the multitude of options, some being, anthropology, economics, sociology, zoology, pol.science, civil engineering, etc..
3. Personality test: About 2000-3000 candidates aspiring to be officers soon are called for an interview round in Delhi. The UPSC board assess the candidates’ suitability for a civil service career and associated responsibilities. Some qualities the board expects from a candidate are logical exposition, intellect, confidence, mental alertness, way of presentation of answers, general awareness, etc..
Civil cervices as a career for students
There are about 10 lakh aspirants who appear for the exam every year. After being filtered through the different stages,about 2000 of them get a chance to attempt the interview! UPSC CSE is , no doubt, one of the most toughest exams of the country. It tests aspiring candidates on a number of fronts. You must have heard people saying, ‘IAS banna hai? 18 ghante padhna padta hai!‘ Although one really requires immense dedication for this exam, people usually become frightened by such ‘hyped numeric’ and refrain from entering the game, sometimes they even lose hope, break down and give up in the mid of their journey . This is mainly due to the insecurity of this exam, the mental motivation it needs, the vastness of the syllabus and the need of a secured future being more important than following dreams! The success percent is just 0.1%. As SK sir said in Aspirants, ‘If you don’t succeed the first, second, third…. final attempt, you’ll turn back to see that you wasted six years of life’.
There is another side to it. Nothing is impossible with constant efforts and hard work. If you were from humanities in +2 level, clap..clap.., you already have a base in most subjects! But, we’ve seen increasing no. of engineers in the UPSC toppers list, in the past few years. You know, why? Being an engineer, they get a good job, they earn enough to support their families…but what lacks in a job, is dynamism along with the ability to make a big ‘impact’. Besides, becoming an IAS is the childhood dream of many. So, other than earning money, if you want to have satisfaction in life, if you want to do welfare to the society, if you want to have respect and power but also serve as a servant to the society, if you are ready to put your 100%, be dedicated, patient and determined to reach heights, surely, go ahead.!!
There are many jobs Giving you a good income, but civil services are a career. The satisfaction of this job is incomparable. We all see lacks and lacunae in our country, we have, in some way or the others devised solutions to such challenges in our mind. Going into the Indian Administrative Service, you get the power to bring a change. Just be very clear on, ‘Why do you want to become an officer?’, ‘Why did you left your safe job to enter this uncertain game?’ ‘Seeing what makes you feel, the need for change and reforms?’ and answer to more questions Iike these.
Tips for beginners
- Newspapers are the backbone of your preparation. Keep yourself updated with current happenings.
- You need to merge the static and current part to present your answers.
- You can watch interviews of toppers who are officers now.
- Start reading, reading to gain more and more knowledge.
- Besides, work on your problem-solving skills, decision making ability, start being opinionated in important matters concerning the nation, start having a clarity of vision and thoughts, and bring a strong foundation in the subjects by reading NCERT’S.
Remember, ‘It’s only our dedication towards our passion that distinguishes a champion from a crowd.’