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Saturday, November 24, 2007

With service on their minds

With service on their minds
Prathima Nandakumar

A career in the Civil Services can be a rewarding experience for those who want to serve the nation.

If you think only MNCs with their fat pay packets attract Young India, brace yourself for a revelation — 'Civil Service' is still synonymous with a dream job for most youngsters. The hardwork, lower remuneration, frequent transfers and red tapism, not withstanding. One look at the list of 27 achievers from Karnataka in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams held in 2005, is enough to convince you about this.

Destination: IAS

From a chemical engineer, a veterinary doctor, an environment engineer, computer engineer to an ayurveda doctor, UPSC is emerging as the destination for those who want to taste power. That is also the reason why not many from the final list might become IPS or IRS officers. Most winners are vying for the IAS, and are raring to reappear for the exams next year.

A qualified electronics and communication engineer, D Randeep succeeded in getting through the civil services exams, in his third attempt. "In 2003, I made it to the Indian Revenue Service but resigned after I was selected for the IPS. And now, I am happy to be selected for the IAS. I worked really hard amidst my busy training schedule," says Randeep, who bagged the 28th rank in the UPSC examinations conducted in 2005.

"People are crazy about engineering and medicine. But I am keen on nothing but IAS," says Shilpa, who was selected as assistant commissioner in the Karnataka Public Service Commission exams held in 2005, but still chased her dream of becoming an IAS officer. Shilpa Ramesh, a qualified computer science engineer, bagged the 228th rank in the UPSC exams, in her third attempt.

It was no cakewalk...

Says Amit Javalgi (25), an environment engineer with K R Puram City Municipal Council, who bagged the 147th rank in his third attempt. "I chose subjects like public administration and psychology, which are both new to me. Moreover, hailing from a small town, it was important for me to work on my language fluency and confidence level," says Javalgi, who believes that proper planning, time management and persistence is the key to success.

"For the last three years, I have been preparing for the Civil Services Exams. I attended coaching classes at Hyderabad and Delhi. I will be reappearing for the exams if I do not get into the IAS owing to my poor ranking," says Shilpa.

"The argument that Civil Services examinations are a domain of the urban elite who have consistently scored high marks is a myth. I was an average student during SSLC, PUC and BAMS. I passed the Civil Services Examination as I took it up as a challenge," said Dr K M Prafullachandra Sharma (28), a BAMS graduate from Honnali who secured the 23rd rank in the IAS examinations.

Says Upendra Shetty, director of Universal Coaching Centre, Vijayanagar, "Ideally, most candidates devote 8-10 hours for coaching. Choosing the right optional subjects, fine tuning your English language, preparing for current affairs and general knowledge is a must. A personality development programme and mock interviews give them enough confidence to face the panel."

Only for the elite?

The Civil Service is no longer the forte of the urban elite. Siddalingappa Theli from Hajigunda village in Belgaum, who bagged the 308th rank and N S Sridharamurthy, a post-graduate in history and resident of Nagamangala village in Bangalore Rural district, who bagged the 344th rank are only two of the many instances where youngsters from average middle-class rural families have made it big in the UPSC exams. "I am proud because I appeared for the exams in Kannada medium," said Theli, a qualified electronics and communication engineer.

"I have been placed 344th, but I'm happy that my hard work has paid off. Now, I am hoping to get an opportunity to serve Karnataka," says Murthy.

"IAS coaching will cost you anywhere between 20,000 and Rs 25,000 in Bangalore and about Rs one lakh in Delhi. What one needs is focus, above average intelligence and the will to work hard," adds Shetty.

Dr Kottra Swamy (28), a veterinary doctor who bagged the 176th rank and Deepa Rao (22) who stood 388th, are first-time champions, who don't mind going through the same drill — till they get a good ranking and into the IAS.

Why IAS?

"Power is incidental, but the opportunity to serve is what attracted me to the IAS", says 26-year-old Shilpa. Says Randeep, "It is definitely not the pay packet, but the opportunity to serve people that is attracting me to the IAS."

"In North India, students start preparations for the IAS when they are still in their PUC. In South India, most students secure a job or qualification that can provide them an alternative if they don't succeed in the Civil Services Exams owing to limited number of posts. However, times are changing and we find very focussed candidates too. We get nearly 600 applications every year," says Shetty.

Facts about the union public service commission

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Service Examinations every year regularly and transparently for selection of candidates required by the government.

One month's time is given from the date of announcement to send in application forms.

The intention of the Commission is to attract young talent. So a graduation is enough qualification to take the Civil Services Exam. Candidates who have completed their education from an open school/University (recognised) are eligible to attempt the exams. Even those who have done their graduation without passing Class X and XII are eligible to apply.

Candidates can choose an optional subject which he has not studied at the graduate/PG level. It is not even necessary for a candidate to take the same optional subject in the Main and Prelim Exams.

Candidates have the option of writing their answers either in English or in any one of the scheduled languages. If the candidate opts for an Indian language for the Mains he will have the option of taking the interview in the same language or in English.

General candidates are allowed four attempts and OBCs seven, while SC/STs are allowed unlimited attempts.

The Commission follows the reservation policy adopted by the Central Government. According to the existing policy, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, defence personnel rendered handicapped in action, short and emergency commissioned officers and other handicapped persons are entitled for benefits of reservation.

Coaching is very essential to get through the Civil Service Examination. The depth and the vastness of the syllabus demand that one undergo coaching. Hardwork, single-minded devotion and proper coaching can help even an average student get through the Civil Service Examinations.

After clearing the Preliminary and Main Examinations, candidates are appointed as probationary officers.

Institutional training is offered in the first year and practical training in the second year.

The UPSC website ( has all the details regarding the exam.

Courtesy: Deccan Herald - Internet Edition


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