The ailing Indian Bureaucratic System needs reforms to counter obstinacy and silence assumed by the officers.
Kannan Gopinathan, Former Indian Civil Servant, told The Hindu in October 2019 that, he was ‘more disturbed by the silence of good people than atrocities committed by the administration’. A few days after the abrogation of Article 370, Gopinathan resigned from the services as a mark of protest. This raises an important question: Why are Indian Bureaucrats silent?
The Civil Services Examination holds the responsibility of assessing these bureaucrats before they become one. To sail through, candidates must be well versed with subjects like polity, history, and geography, among others. Most of the candidates eventually get ‘manufactured’ in order to clear the examination, owing to a humongous syllabus. These candidates, therefore, have become word-perfect in Indian Polity and the holy book which is supposed to steer it, the Constitution of India. The Civil Servants of India have an innate responsibility of guarding the Constitution. But, silence is the weakest weapon in times of crisis. Except for Gopinathan, diplomats of India have assumed utter silence.
Historically, civil servants have been at one with the Government, owing to laws that prevent them from taking a stand. The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, clearly state that “no Government servant shall resort to or in any way abet any form of strike in connection with any matter pertaining to his service or that of any other government servant. It provides for disciplinary action.”
Silence is one thing, obstinacy is another. Civil servants are known to be inflexible and stubborn when it comes to ideological preferences. They tend not to alter their leanings, and history is a witness to that.
Harsh Mander, Former Civil Servant, who quit after 22 years in Service, told the Outlook India Magazine, “There are two factors that guide the bureaucracy: conscience and obedience. I’ve always believed one’s conscience has a higher value as obedience pushes you to fascism. Bureaucrats are servants of the people and not of the Government. How can one be faithful to partisanship especially when it is part of state policy? Bureaucrats enjoy a lot of power. It is in these moments their services are called to test.”
Harsh Mander protested against many laws enacted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government. So did S. Sasikanth Senthil, a 2009 batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer, who resigned in 2019, when he felt that his fundamental Right to Expression was being hindered by being a part of the Bureaucratic System.
Their ability to dissent lies in resignation. The system is shaped in such a manner that there is no way for a people’s servant to exercise Freedom of Expression. Naresh Chandra Saxena’s book, What Ails The IAS And Why It Fails To Deliver: An Insider’s View explains why the Indian bureaucratic system is flawed.
Structural reforms in the system are required to counter the injustice faced by the officers. It is time for bureaucrats to speak up.
In October 1949, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, in his speech to the members of the Constituent Assembly, said “You will not have a united India if you do not have a good All-India Service which has an independence to speak out its mind.” Ever since then, civil services have known to play a crucial role in all the administrative systems of the state, with its persistent influence affecting all the citizens, in some way or another. Today, as a result, millions of ambitious students aspire to make their voices heard, and are determined to create a difference in the society by contributing towards the betterment of the Indian governance system in whichever way they can, and as much as possible.
Although mostly considered as a ‘dream career’, the road to success to this safe haven is anything but a dream ride. It does not only require a significant show of talent, intelligence and ambition to get it, but also an enormous amount of passion, dedication and perseverance to make it (Or break it!) for a career which is just as challenging and attractive in the beginning, as it is rewarding and satisfying in the end.
The aspirants of Indian civil services thus, favor the top three services such as IAS, IPS and IFS for which UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) conducts an exam for recruitment. These services are much sought after due to their recognition of being bestowed with great power to bring about societal development, and encompassed by all means one can ever aspire for such as prestige, status, honor, salary amount, job security, foreign tours, etc.
However, every now and then, speculations abound and one reels under confusion. Thus, in an attempt to remove this uncertainty of whether or not to choose civil service as a career, following is a brief comparison between the 3 main kinds of services and why each of them should ever be considered by different kinds of people.
IAS (Indian Administrative Service):-
Being an IAS officer, one is entrusted with the responsibility of administering laws of the land, development schemes and each and every affair of the district. They are the policy makers and executors of all final decisions of the state. This service also provides them with an opportunity to work in a tremendous variety of fields such as social sector, security, law and order, agriculture, finance, etc. Thus, this service is best suited for aspirants who like working in different spheres and love interacting with all kinds of people, as compared to those who are limited in their area of work and get satisfied by excelling in one particular field only.
However, the job’s routine is pretty unpredictable. Along with long durations of travel postings, one also always needs to be on his/her toes in the times of any unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, intellectually sharp people with a tough and reflexive attitude would make for some great IAS officers.
IPS (Indian Police Service):-
Being an IPS officer, one is entrusted with the authority to look after some of the most essential issues of the state such as public safety and security, law and order, traffic control, crime detection and prevention, etc. IPS officers can also go on to work with many central police organizations or head intelligence agencies such as CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) or CID (Crime Investigation Department) to solve crime investigations, provide security for VIPs or tackle counter-terrorism.
In the wake of increasing terrorist threats, criminal attacks and trafficking, a job of an IPS officer may seem like the most dangerous one of all. However, after solving an unpredictable case or serving justice to the wrong doers, the satisfaction brought to their soul is unmatched to any other feeling in the world, and worth all the efforts and dangers put in to complete their job. Therefore, those who are incredibly goal oriented, intellectually stimulating, can think ‘outside the box’ and possess a burning desire to serve the people of the society in the best possible way, will be the ones considered for this type of career.
IFS (Indian Foreign Service):-
As an IFS officer, one deals with all the external affairs of the country that involve framing and implementation of foreign policies, and issues related to diplomacy, trade and inter-cultural relations. An IFS officer spends most of his/her time abroad (almost two-third of his/her entire career) and only one third of career in India to serve at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs. IFS officers get to chose three places of their choice out of the number of vacant posts circulated, and are also allowed to take their parents abroad with them.
By being given a full opportunity to travel the world, embrace new cultures and enjoy life to the fullest, the job of an IFS officer may actually turn out to be tons more exciting and life-changing than it sounds. However, it is both equally strenuous and time constraining as well, therefore highlighting the qualities of being extremely punctual and responsible with all the work, and giving more than hundred percent in every task. Therefore, this proves to be the most difficult and performance-oriented career out of all the three services, and if one feels confident and strong willed enough to handle it, then they should definitely go for it.
Nevertheless, one also needs to be extremely fluent in English-both spoken and written, for IFS officers are always required to handle lots of delegations from various countries, and therefore constantly involve having easily understandable communications between people of different embassies of the world.
Therefore, this was our selective take on the top 3 services (IAS, IPS, IFS) of civil services. We hope that we could do some justice with the content and your expectation setting. For more information on how to start preparing for Civil Services while juggling college, then, we suggest you to start with theCivilsdaily’s Android App to get a daily dose of IAS-Exam specific newsfeeds to build on your current affairs, and any further help in the future. Good luck!
Civil services, unanimously considered to be the most prestigious services in the country since the times of British imperialism, is the singular job attracting millions of Indian youth to participate in the administration of the country. Over the course of time, the government of India has set up a strict merit based recruitment process to churn out the most dynamic and intelligent youth for about 1000 vacancies with number of applicants over 10 lakhs.
The Union Public Service Commission every year conducts the exam for recruitment to different services like Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), Indian Revenue Services (IRS) etc. The recruitment process is a three stage elimination procedure starting with a Preliminary Exam in August with Mains in December followed by the final interview. Like the extensive examination process, the preparation for civil services is like climbing the Everest since UPSC tests the candidates on myriad subjects from economy to polity, science and technology to geography etc.
Opposed to the general myth propagated by many that cracking this exam relies on rote learning of about 100 books, newspapers, etc., in the present scenario it has become the most challenging exam in the world requiring analytical test of everyday events and objects around you on a day to day basis. Not only learning, but the ability to logically decipher the understanding of current events, history, scientific and geographical facts is necessary to get into civil services today.
It needs utmost patience and determination on the part of the candidates to devote at least 6-8 hours daily to the preparation that should ideally start during the final year of graduation or just after graduation. While most candidates are confused in the initial stages about the preparation regarding coaching classes, which books to refer, how to make notes, what to skip and what to read etc. with the plethora of options floating in the market, it’s better to take advice from the right person to save you from further roadblocks. This saves you from unnecessary wastage of time and money and helps in further preparation which is an uphill task.
Like the preparation stage, the time needed to clear the exam takes about a year which once you succeed through places you with the Union Public Service Commission for your training. While most of the countrymen aspire for this service to gain a better position in career, social prestige, etc, there is a real scope of contributing to the process of nation’s development and societal growth through this service. Today our country is plagued by many lacunas which can be eradicated with the selfless service of able and honest officers who are both meritorious and talented to deal with the current problems of the country.
“The journey towards civil services is an immensely enriching experience. At each step, we need to prove that we genuinely deserve what we aspire. The heartfelt conviction, the undying passion, the much needed consistency and the incessant desire to learn is all it takes to reach the acme.”, says Ayushi Dube, a student at Jawaharlal Nehru University aspiring for civil services.
For a young graduate, aiming for civil services needs enthusiasm to learn, patience, maturity to let go of failures and the nationalistic fervour to contribute to the country. There are many hindrances that one may face in their UPSC journey but the right strategy, the right time management and the right path always guides you towards the goal which is a dream of many but achieved by a few passionate young fellows every year.