Treading the 'civil' path

Changing Preferences

Treading the 'civil' path

When the country threw open its doors to liberalisation, corporate jobs rushed in. Somewhere along the way, government jobs lost their sheen. That was more than a decade ago. The wheel has come full circle. With the meltdown, civil services are once again being wooed. Jumping into the bandwagon of regular candidates are engineering, medical and management specialists. And the ‘drain’, it looks like, is gathering momentum.

While this can be described as recession-induced insecurity, the subject of specialists entering civil services continues to be a matter of debate. The perks and retirement benefits, besides the salary, have turned out be a major charmer. With the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission report recently promising better pay package, the civil services’ value has gone notches higher.

Aditya Prasad, a former employee of a software firm and an engineering graduate, has cleared his preliminaries and is preparing for the mains. “I always wanted to get into government service. Although, I worked with a software firm for two and half years after finishing my electrical engineering, I couldn’t see myself in the corporate world,” he says.

Coaching centres too have been registering an increase in enrollment. Pradeep Menon, CEO, JTS Institute, describes how high-level employees from the software industry are now enrolling. “The quality of students coming in is very high. Apart from the security factor, the students feel there is less pressure in government jobs. But then, that is their perspective,” he adds.

“We have candidates from IIT Mumbai and Chennai, from IIM Lucknow and Bangalore, who are now working in private companies. A 50th rank holder at the IIT entrance exam too has joined this year. But what I see as a new trend is the entry of IIM students,” Menon adds.

But it’s not just the management graduates, doctors at the undergraduate level too are going ‘civil’. Since they are not specialised and may need to work in rural areas, they look at civil services with its variety as a good option.

But is the climate better now to join the ‘elite’ services? Former Ambassador Alan Nazareth emphasises the importance of civil services at this point of time as the quality of politicians is at an all-time low. “It is good that professionals are taking it up and there is a wider intake. However, this is an administrative job and the truth is, one is depriving somebody of a seat in engineering or medicine,” Alan adds.

Aditya, on the other hand, feels, “In a scenario where technology is scarce, qualified engineers opting for the service is a matter of concern. However, that is not the case. I feel, there is no dearth of engineering students and them joining the services is a welcome move.”

Meanwhile, an expansion in the administrative set-up has led to an increase in the number of districts and posts. “Candidates are absorbed as district collectors and allied posts, and they later get upgradation. A civil servant can get up to five promotions in a 35-year-career,” informs B Sankaran, who retired from Central Service.  

But getting through the mains is no smooth ride. Aditya says, “The motivation level could be different every day. The competition is not with anybody else. But with yourself.”

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