How to Make a Career in Civil Services in India

Every year, lakhs of students across India apply for the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and compete to make it their “dream career.” So, why is it such a popular choice among students?

Civil Servants are the people behind implementing government and developmental policies, ensuring law and order, and act as a link between the masses and the government. They hold power and are highly respected for the job they do. In addition to this, they are highly paid, provided plus accommodation and benefits by the government. On the other hand, there is also immense satisfaction in public service as it directly makes public servants the change makers in society.

Types of Services:

1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

This is one of the most coveted posts in the Civil Services. People in these posts are provided with amenities such as a house, servants, car, and their living expenses are taken care of by the government. IAS officers are responsible for the law and order, as well as the implementation of government policies in day to day life.

Job description – In the initial stages of their career, IAS officers join as the Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDM) in a state, and go on to occupy positions such as District Magistrate, Divisional Commissioner, etc. They are appointed as the heads of Government Organizations, Public Service Undertakings and also act as Secretary to the Government of India.

2. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

A life in foreign service is all about becoming a Diplomat, travelling the world all the while serving the nation. It may sound too good to be true, but Indian Foreign Services offers you just that, and more.

Job description – IFS officers are representatives of our country abroad, and are posted as Third Secretary, Second Secretary, First Secretary, Ambassador, High Commissioner, etc. in foreign embassies, and international organizations such as the UN. They are provided decent accommodation, a car, and other housing and basic amenities. Education expenses of children (up to 2) are borne by the Government of India, which are a few of the perks enjoyed by an IFS Officer.

3. Indian Police Service (IPS)

IPS Officers are the torchbearers of law and order in our country. With their intensive training, knowledge, and the power vested in them by the state, they are responsible for helping to run the country without chaos. After IAS, IPS is usually the preferred choice of position for Civil Servants, due to their active role in the administration.

Job description – IPS officers are often posted as Assistant Superintendent of Police and then Assistant Commissioner of Police at the beginning of their career. They go on to hold positions such as Joint Commissioner and Commissioner of Police. The Intelligence Bureau is always headed by an experienced IPS Officer.

4. Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

Indian Revenue Service is the largest service among the central civil services. They dispense one of the most important functions, i.e., the collection of taxes and other revenues for the development of the economy.

Job description – IRS officers are posted as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax once they are recruited. After serving for a few years and getting promoted, they work as the Joint Commissioner and Additional Commissioner of Income Tax. IRS officers go on to serve as the head of Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, and is responsible for implementation of economic laws in the country.

5. Other Services:

There are many other government services that one can apply for through the Civil Service Examination, such as Indian Trade Service, Indian Defense Accounts Service, Indian Information Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, etc.

Eligibility criteria for UPSC Exam:

Candidates interested in civil services write the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). If you are an aspiring civil servant, you can take this examination with a graduation degree in any subject. However, many aspirants like to take up Humanities in school as well as in college, since the pattern of the exam is based on subjects such as Indian Polity, Constitution, Geography, World News, History, etc. You can choose any degree and any subject of your choice, the only thing that matters is your interest in it.

  • You should hold a bachelor’s degree in any subject (or about to take final year examinations) from a recognised institution.
  • You must be a minimum 21 years of age and maximum 32 years of age on the date of the examination (Relaxation of 5 years for SC/ST, individuals holding a domicile of Jammu & Kashmir; 3 years for OBC and defence personnel; 10 years for blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped persons.)
  • Individuals from General Category are allowed 6 attempts at taking the examination, OBC candidates are allowed 9 attempts, and SC/ST candidates have an unlimited number of attempts at the examination.
  • You should be a citizen of India to apply for the IAS and IPS, and for other deemed posts, an individual should be a citizen of India/Nepal/Bhutan/a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962/a person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Pattern & Stages of Exam:

The UPSC exam pattern is crafted in a manner which is case study oriented, while giving importance to current affairs and trending issues in collaboration with past years government schemes and national policies.

  • Prelims: Preliminary exam tests the basic knowledge and general aptitude of the candidate. Therefore, UPSC demands the candidates to work on their personality and aptitude, right from the beginning of the preparation. Students often make a mistake to gain knowledge of almost everything under the sun and forget the basic requirement of UPSC, i.e., right aptitude and administrative traits. Therefore, to begin with, candidates should thoroughly study NCERT books to make a stronger foundation and then start solving previous years question papers. Current affairs should never be avoided and must be on fingertips of every candidate. Hence, reading newspapers is one of the most important parts of the preparation process.
  • Mains: The Mains Exam looks for in-depth knowledge of the candidates on different subjects. But, the preparation process in itself is a wonderful journey which transforms the candidate entirely; the thought process, the way of looking at the society, the way of interacting with people. Students should study efficiently and should not limit themselves to their rooms and books. It’s highly advisable that they move out and see things from higher perspectives and look at what and how they can change the society. This helps candidates in essay writing as it increases their thinking capacity.Current affairs should not be mugged up rather be discussed with other people; as the important discussions always stay in mind. The optional paper must be selected wisely and should be completely based on personal interest. Attaining efficient speed of writing is another crucial point for general studies, as UPSC gives stipulated time within which the candidate has to answer all the questions efficiently. Therefore, students must practice question paper of past years, literally by writing answers to each and every question. Apart from this, essay writing practice is mandatory and should not be neglected at any cost.
  • Personal interview: This is a personality test of the candidate and aspirants should keep this fact in mind during their preparation. Usually, around 5 to 6-panel members are present during an interview headed by the chairperson. The interviews are conducted at the UPSC office at Dholpur House in Connaught Place, New Delhi. Each panel member holds a specialized degree and knowledge in his or her particular field; they could be a retired judge, a
    lawyer or a former officer. Though there is no shorter way – good way or bad way, one’s way to prepare is to develop their zeal, passion, and ability to take pressure in order to achieve success for a lifetime.

UPSC 2019 Exam Dates:

Notification – February 19th, 2019

Last Date for submitting application – March 18th, 2019

Prelims Exam – June 2nd, 2019

Mains Exam – September 20th, 2019

IFS Main Exam – December 1st, 2019

(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We are into admissions management for schools, career advice and counselling services for students as well as recruitment services). 

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