Cracking the IAS exams: Is it just a rat race?

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Cracking the UPSC examinations is the real deal for hundreds of students. Who wouldn’t want to have a job that is secure, prestigious and gives you ample power. But at what cost does it come?

The Indian Administrative Services is considered to be one of the most prestigious career options in our country. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s central recruiting agency responsible for all the appointments to the All India Services. Students crave to crack the UPSC examinations and make it through, in order to become an elite jobholder of the government sector. Regardless of the rigorous studying and piling pressure, students give their all just to make it among the few hundreds who successfully crack the examinations. Apart from job security, who wouldn’t want to have all the power and authority of regulating the daily affairs of the government, along with the many incentives? But wait, it isn’t exactly a smooth-sailing as it seems.

India is home to quality education and has produced excellent professionals in various fields. And when it comes to competitive environments, UPSC exams are no different. As of 2016, around 11.37 lakh students applied for the IAS prelims test. More than 500,000 students appeared for the examinations, out of which, only 15,445 managed to make it through to the Mains. These numbers speak tell us what the scenario is. But is it, in fact, okay that so many students give these examinations though only a few hundred get to successfully complete it? It is argued in favour of for being a lucrative career, thus being worth all the effort. But 11 lakh students getting through annually, and the famous coaching institutes charging huge fees to rope in as many students as they can, is a bleak scenario. The students need to be present in these institutes an hour before their coaching time so that they get the front seat. A single batch of students consists of more than 300 students, at the very least.

Is it truly fine that thousands of students queue up every day in front of these institutes, study rigorously for hours, and get back home to complete assignments and keep up to date with the current affairs? All these things take time and manpower. Just imagine how mentally and physically draining it is for the students. Is any career option above one’s health?

Health is neglected and hardly considered to be an important factor nowadays. No matter what people say, it is evident in the way they are rushing into the best institutes and exhausting themselves, day in day out, trying to crack these examinations.

It is concerning that the way these preparations take place and the number of students who are a part of this process is seriously going out of proportion. Parental pressure may be one reason why so many students are preparing for these. Any parent would want their child’s future to be secure, and what better than a prestigious government job. Another reason may be the lack of scope in vocational fields in India. Career options relating to fields other than Management and Science are hardly considered, and even if they are, to reach the level where one’s future can be secure seems difficult, acting as a demoralizing factor. And if none of these reasons play a part, the lack of courage among students to pursue something else in such a compact environment restricts them from even considering any other option.

We might need to reconsider our choices and look into other options. Not everyone is capable of everything. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and maybe, one should prepare accordingly. If nothing else, it can help minimize a lot of chaos.

Yes, a government job is secure. Yes, there are endless benefits of a government job. Yes, the power associated with such jobs is incomparable. Yes, the prestige one achieves with such jobs cannot be questioned. But at what cost?


Image credits: gatessciascoachingdelhi.in

Karan Singhania

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Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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