There is a distinct enthusiasm and fascination for the Civil Services entrance exam among the Indian Youth. Despite the slim chances of passing the three-level test, nearly 100,000 people from all over India sit for this exceedingly competitive exam each year. Let us decode this hype of UPSC through the perspectives of students. 

The craze for the UPSC is nothing new in our country, it’s something we’ve all seen but never given much thought to. We all have friends, family, and neighbours who occasionally encourage us to consider this field as a career option. Or, we have all probably seen viral clips on social media of officers performing their regular duties while a catchy sound or patriotic song is added, giving the image of the officer a completely different tone.

Delhi is known as the pilgrimage to prepare for such government exams. A large proportion of Delhi University students are UPSC applicants, with many having passed the exam and currently working in this profession. Being a student at Delhi University, I’ve encountered a lot of students who choose to complete their graduate degrees in the capital in order to simultaneously prepare for this exam.

Simply visiting Old Rajinder Nagar or Mukherjee Nagar, one might experience this atmosphere of stress. Here everyone from rickshaw drivers to tea vendors, teachers, learners, and residents are invested in this exam. From current affairs magazines hoarded in stalls to coaching centres claiming to have guided the rank holders. Aspirants’ rooms are set up with world maps, LBSNAA posters and sticky notes with capsule notes to memorise. The day seems to go on forever here. Some aspirants get up at four in the morning to study, while others stay up till the dawn. It’s popularly said that “UPSC is a marathon, not a sprint.” This determination of aspirants can be witnessed in such places.

After leaving my hometown for greater prospects in Delhi, I’ve dealt with the passive pressure to take the exam, and many others, like me, develop the same sense of insecurity that they will miss out on something amazing if they don’t sit for UPSC once in their lives. Many young people are motivated to apply for jobs in the government by both – the exam and the personality of the officers. I personally witnessed this during the first week of my college, when a well-known civil servant was brought to our institution and the auditorium was packed with young students; it was crowded, but the students were willing to sit on the floor only to hear the officer speak. This officer had just passed the exam two years before, and she had only just begun her actual journey, but she was already a star in the eyes of these young brains yearning to hear her views. It was like seeing a swarm of admirers adoring their favorite movie star; such is the allure of a civil servant.

We learnt from our conversations with students across Delhi that they view the job profile of a public servant as very dynamic. With the added benefits of being a government officer, a well-respected position in society, and the appreciation and love one gets after passing the exam as something many people desire. Many students nevertheless hold the view that what genuinely drives them is the chance to work at the grassroots level and the ability to change the world.

Before profession, the process itself makes most of the individuals disciplined, hardworking, diligent and responsible which then reflects in the work they do on field. The study for this exam is such that it gives you knowledge important to understand the working of the society and in turn makes you a well-informed citizens. The position demands a lot of responsibility from the individual which keeps him/her committed to the work.” – A graduate from Hansraj College, DU.

An aspirant from Jamia Milia Islamia adds,

I’ve analysed my skill-set and I hope to make an informed decision of going into the services and using them to the best of my ability. Apart from that, a will to give back to society in whichever way possible and the perks of a government job do not hurt the goal as well.”

One of the main reasons why the exam is so popular and hence favoured by students is that they believe the administrative positions thus offer exceptional benefits, as well as respect and plenty of possibility for advancement.

Even though thousands of students prepare for the exam each year, not all of them excel. The success rate for UPSC is less than 1%. The harsh competition makes it difficult to place everyone where they want to be, despite the fact that people may have ambitious goals. This is the reality of numerous competitive exams in India. The exam offers a certain number of attempts to the candidates, which is also dependent on their age and category. For the Civil Services, on an average, it takes candidates more than two years to pass the exam, or roughly three to four attempts to raise their chance of being chosen. There is a peculiar fascination to this exam even when only a small percentage is chosen. Many students simply ‘appear’ for the exam for the experience, but the pressure it produces is difficult to overcome

According to a Byjus study,

Among lakhs of candidates appearing for the exam, only a few thousand are serious about this exam, and we can roughly keep the number of serious candidates as 45,000.”

While students may be driven to work in administration, the quality of their preparation determines their success, therefore there is a fine line between those who dream of the UPSC and those who actually aim for it.

Taking career risks is still uncommon in our nation, where individuals prioritise employment security, rewarding careers, and recognition. In this atmosphere where a well-established career is valued, it’s surprising to see how students take multiple drops to try their luck again.

However, one cannot completely dismiss the other reasons why flocks of students prepare for the exam. It is also a sad reality that societal expectations and familial pressure influence the bulk of students’ decisions, with UPSC contributing a part in it. Schools and colleges sell the dream of UPSC to students without properly analysing the child’s interests. While many students wish to take this exam, some believe that even if their family influenced their decision, they finally came to like it. Among these two groups, we must not overlook individuals who are compelled to pursue UPSC as a career option without identifying what the work actually entails.

Once you tell your relatives that you’re preparing for UPSC, the respect for you shoots up but so do the expectations. This is because of the public image of the job. A common person can’t see the prime minister or Elon musk for that matter, but they’ve definitely been close to the DM or SDM of their area and saw their might. People believe what they can see.”– A student from Hindu College, DU.

We are bombarded with success and failure stories every year after UPSC results are declared. What stays hidden from us is that many people might clear the exam but are conflicted about whether they like their job or not. Not all successful candidates are happy and satisfied with their jobs. This field provides a lot of benefits, but it does not guarantee a happy and comfortable life for all. The actual groundwork necessitates a significant amount of strength, patience, and sacrifice, for which many students are unprepared.

Although social media has let us have a glimpse into their life, it has certainly made us glorify them and make them our staunch ideals. In this regard, we often forget that each person’s experience and journey would be different and while something may work for them, it may not work for another aspirant.”

The buzz around this exam is enormous, it is justified given the power and perks involved. Yet, Not every other bright child around is meant to sit for this exam. Along with money and fame, a person’s interests, personality, and, most importantly, how they intend to live their life are all crucial variables to consider while choosing a profession.

The Civil Services is a choice that students can make at any time, after assessing one’s own flaws and skills. However, there is no harm in exploring other viable options first. Students, particularly in places like Delhi, have a plethora of chances and experiences that can help them create a career in academia and business. Along with it, we are transitioning to a world where active learning and the development of diverse skills are given preference more. College-level students have the opportunity to study many areas of knowledge, hone their talents, adopt a growth mindset, and encourage creativity in their ideas. This can be Young India’s strength.

The appeal of ‘sarkari naukari’ persists in our country and many people still lack the freedom to pursue careers of their own choice. Yet, it’s critical to fully comprehend the requirements of any given exam and career before determining whether you are a good fit for it and whether the exam is a good fit for you.

Read Alsohttps://dubeat.com/2018/09/26/are-universities-culpable-of-glorifying-the-indian-civil-services-as-the-only-viable-career/

Featured Image Credits – Google images

Priya Agrawal

To most us, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services may mean getting into the esteemed government jobs such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) or the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), but the UPSC offers much more. Here is a piece on exploration of the 24 services which the UPSC offers and all of them give a huge canvas to an individual to serve the nation and develop their personality.

Every Civil Services aspirant is given the option to fill up their ‘choice’ services in the order of their preference and on the basis of the rank secured by them in the exam, one of the services is allotted from their preferences. To work in the field of one’s liking is definitely important for both effectiveness of work done and for the individual hence, it is important to understand the various services for which recruitment is done through the Civil Services examination.

The services can be divided into groups based on the nature of job.

  1. Administration: The job profile revolves around revenue administration amongst other issues of importance. The IAS offers a challenging job profile and the IAS officer plays the role of the change agent in the society. Many of the aspirants only want to be an IAS officer to ensure that they contribute to the people and the society at large. The other services in this group deal with a smaller canvas and a restricted area of administration. They are present in the Group B category and generally based on the vacancy position. The members of the Group B services are inducted after about 16 years into IAS. These include the ‘DANICS’- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service and the Pondicherry Civil Service.
  1. Policing and Security: The services under this group are involved in security of establishments, operation and policing for the general public. The IPS is a popular choice amongst aspirants due to the power the service offers to help people and to maintain a general law and order in the society. The other services in this group also are uniformed services. The Railway Police Service (RPF) is exclusively recruited police force for guarding the railway operations and properties. The other services are Group B police services in the union territories and after a time period of 16 years they get inducted as Group A in the IPS.
  1. Diplomacy: This service is one of great importance as it allows officers represent India abroad and also deal with all diplomatic engagements of our country. It’s a premier service and considered very elite. One gets the opportunity to travel and learn new languages and adopt to new cultures.
  1. Audit: The Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA &AS) is very unique as the opportunity to be into the fields of both accounting and auditing. The posting takes place all over India and is considered very important. Since the officers are constitutionally endowed with independence, they audit the government income expenditure and policy. There are opportunities to be posted abroad as well.
  1. Accounts and Finance: The Department of Posts and Telecom, Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Defence have lot of independence and extended powers and hence their accounts and finances are dealt by separate Accounts and Finance officers as indicated and they are posted all over India. The other departments and ministries are handled by Civil Accounts Department and this service posts are available mostly in Delhi. Each of the accounts and finance service is headed by their own cadre chief and are existing as a separate vertical in their respective departments. The services under this category include the Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts & Finance Service (IP&TAFS) and the Indian Defence Accounts Service(IDAS).
  1. Service oriented Ministries and Departments: This refers to the postal services which are delivered and administered in India and abroad by the postal service officers.
  1. Operations and Manufacturing: The operation of the Railways in all areas is done by IRTS (Indian Railway Traffic Service) officers. This is a very challenging job as decisions are taken and executed on real time basis. The ordinance factories which were established for supporting our country’s production of defence related equipments, arms and ammunitions is managed by this service.
  1. Support Services: The recruitment in railways is very large and the management of the huge workforce is also a great responsibility which supports the operation activities and is thus held by the IRPS (Indian Railway Personnel Service) and the defence lands and estates are managed by IDES (Indian Defence Estates Service). The Headquarters of Army, Navy and Airforce require administrative support and this is given by the AFHQCS (Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service), which is a Group B service.
  1. Media: This service, the IIS (Indian Information Service) manages the government owned media as well as government’s expenditure in media. The publicity of Government schemes is also done by the officers of this service.
  1. Taxation: The collection of both direct and indirect taxes is monitored and executed by these two services and they have their offices all over India. This includes the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
  1. Trade and Legal: These services are basically economic services focusing on trade and law. This includes the “Indian Trade Service” (ITS) and the “Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS).


Further to the above grouping based on the nature of work there is another classification based on the level of entry. There exists two classification as Group A services (19) and Group B services(5). All the above 24 services have the common examination and all the officers after completion of the period of service in the respective service can be impaneled in the Centre by the Department of Personnel and Training for holding the Director, the Joint Secretary, the Additional Secretary and Secretary posts in various Departments and Ministries of the Central Government.

Services like IAS and IPS are cadre based services and are allotted for specific states and union territories. Rest of all are based on the availability of offices of their respective service posts in the country. Hence, the civil service aspirant should fill up their preferences after understanding the nature of the services and their liking to the nature of the job profile.


Image Credits: Scopio

Abhinandan Kaul

[email protected]  

The moment a person decides to prepare for IAS, whether being the result of impetuous passion, careful persuasion, or a new formed excitement to ‘try their luck’, he/she is also well aware of the fact that they are now in the race of the largest, toughest and the most demanding competition in the entire world. Yet, at that moment, nothing seems to strike a chord with much intensity. It’s only after a few days, when the real fever sets in and the symptoms of a classic IAS aspirant begin to show

Here are a few common problems and their cures:-

1. I-have-already-achieved-something Syndrome: The mention of preparing for civil service examination has an unusual reaction on people. In the awe of such lofty goal, it gets you both extremely appreciative reactions from friends and relatives, so much so that it already makes you stand on a pedestal. This makes you slightly over-confident and proud.

 Cure: It is imperative to understand that these increasing dialogues are also forming a bridge to an ocean of expectations which will soon leave you burdensome with pressure. The same relatives who are now showering you with praises will also be the ones on the lookout of the result dates much before you, yourself. So keep your focus steady and be your own critic and your own teacher. Do not spoil yourself with others’ comments. Be your own constant source of encouragement and motivation from the beginning to the end.


2. Chasing the wrong side of the same dream: Keep your eyes on the prize? We agree. But when the list of the rewards only contain red-beaconed white ambassadors, king-sized houses with gardens, and being treated like royalty, then these dreams are only worth spending a few seconds or minutes on, and not to be “guided” with.

Cure: Concentrate on the real sense achievement of becoming a civil servant, which only includes your contributions for the country. Think of all the changes you can make with the powers you’ll gain, instead of the feeling you’ll get with being saluted by others. Think of how proud you’ll feel when you’ll get a chance to represent your own country and its rich heritage, instead of being fascinated by the shopping sprees and around-the-world tours. Instead of the materialistic pursuit, reflect on the satisfaction for the service of your nation and its people.

Want more motivation? Read this list of 5 Amazingly Badass Bureaucrats You Would Be Proud To Know

3. Live-in relationship with insomnia: “Neend ko maaro goli. Sirf padhai pe dhyaan do beta.” is a routinely dialogue, which soon becomes music to the ears of every civil service candidate. After acknowledging the incredibly large syllabus that UPSC has gladly gifted to all its aspirants, not only sleep, but even a few extra minutes spent on eating food or talking to someone on the phone appears to be a sinful waste of time; and why not? For a syllabus as vast and comprehensive as this, it would easily take an eternity to fully finish all the topics of all the given subjects.

Cure: Relax. You don’t need to become a zombie and sacrifice all of your personal time with others. Study hard but not so vigorously that it ends up affecting your health. Don’t get flustered by the amount of material that needs to be studied. Nobody can prepare all and everything. In the end, it’s all about how ‘well’ you have studied, and not ‘how much’. So manage your time correctly to each and every subject, and give your hundred percent to each topic you study, every time. Make every minute count. Don’t study for the sake of studying, to crack the exam. Instead, study to gain new knowledge with tons of curiosity and interest.

Read this quick 5 step guide to help you start your IAS Prep while in college.

4. The jack-ass of all trades and master of none: “Arrey, Mr.Sharma ka beta vahan se coaching leta hai, toh tum kahin aur se kaise?” “In books pe time waste kyun kar rahe ho? Maine jo books boli pehle woh padhke dekho.”- This is where the most confident ones also start sweating under the rays of uncertainty and soon get drowned in the sea of doubts. “Am I doing it the right way? Am I doing it from the right place?” An even worse problem is when even the smartest ones are unable to separate genuine wisdom from verbal toilet paper. Thus, leading to a state of profound perplexity, which if not treated on time can also result in a chronic state.

Cure: Early diagnosis is the best cure. Don’t ignore. Be on a lookout for all the signs/symptoms of wrong medication (also known as, advice). If you’re not feeling comfortable with the prescribed books or new study techniques, change them. Don’t be hesitant or embarrassed to speak out. Not everyone is you, and that is your power. It’s you who should decide what’s best for you and your capabilities. Stick to what you know and what you feel good studying with. It’s your journey, not theirs. Not every advice, freely available to you is right. So take your time to analyze what you can really do before believing all the advice given to you.

5. The fear of missing out (FOMO) Preparing for civil services not only brings about a change in one’s attitude, but also a gradual change in one’s lifestyle. Now this may not seem like a problem at first. But when you see your friends catching up on the latest blockbuster movie or attending a great party, while you’re at home reading about Prithviraj-Jaichand’s legacies or find yourself with bundles of topics in NCERT books yet to be covered, you are bound to feel a little envious. You start to feel cut-off from your friends or the world outside, and feel stuck in your web of responsibilities. Very soon, you start feeling exhausted and become greedy for a change. While some remain unaffected, for others, it becomes a huge problem.

Cure: With some being masters in the art of self control, others find it a little difficult to decline exciting invitations for outings, or don’t mind whiling away a little more time in just ‘chilling’ with others or alone. They feel that they can make up for all the lost time, but then that time never really comes. It is very easy for someone to resolve that they will do it, but very few have the ability to stick to it. It all depends on one’s mental strength to understand what is right and wrong at the deciding point of time and stick to their commitment. Without mental strength, your mind will start making excuses and you will end up putting off all the work that you must do. You need to distance yourself from everyone and everything that you feel are the main cause of your distraction. Realize the true importance of your goals- what made you decide to do this in the first place, and is wasting time on anything else worthy of it? Would you prefer a moment of satisfaction or a lifetime of happiness? This is what it all finally comes down to.

Start slow and Build upon your basics. If you are in college, we would suggest you build your basics on newspaper reading first. It is important to build a good rapport with current affairs and the Civilsdaily android app is a good way to keep up with UPSC related News.

Shagun Marwah

[email protected]

Picture Credits: www.civilsdaily.com

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.


Image Credits: helpgov.wordpress.com


Arushi Srivastava

[email protected]