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I.A.S. Examination Faqs
Q1.Tell me something about Civil Services Examination?
Q2.What does it take to opt for civil service?
Q3.What is the Cadre System in civil services ?
Q4.What is the Selection Process ?
Q5.What are the Job Prospects ?
Q6.What is the Remuneration ?

Q1.Tell me something about Civil Services Examination?
A1.Civil Services Introduction A country as vast and thickly populated as India needs a well organised government machinery for proper governance. There are two facets to the administration of a country. One is security for which the country has its defence services and the other is the non-military part, which is taken care of by the Civil Services.

The origin of the IAS can be traced back to the year of India’s independence, 1947. The IAS operates at three levels -central, district and divisional. Work at the central level involves the framing and implementation of policies. The functions of the IAS at the district level encompass all district affairs with special emphasis on development. General administration and development work is the responsibility of the IAS at the divisional level. The post of an IAS officer carries a lot of responsibility. The work definition of an IAS officer would encompass framing, modifying and interpreting policy matters in consultation with the concerned Minister. Implementation of policies calls for supervision and also travelling to the places where the decisions taken are being implemented. Implementation entails disbursement of funds, which calls for personal supervision. The officers are answerable to the Parliament for any irregularities that may occur. At the top of the hierarchy of IAS officers is the Cabinet Secretary followed by Secretary/ Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary, Director, Under Secretary and then the Junior Scale Officers. These posts are filled according to seniority.

The Indian Police Service (IPS) As the name suggests, the main responsibility of the IPS is public safety and security. The Indian Police Service is divided into various departments like the Crime Branch, the Criminal Investigation Department, Home Guards and the Traffic Bureau. The area of functioning for the IPS can be broadly divided into: maintenance of law and order, crime prevention and detection, traffic control and accident prevention and management. The IPS also has several policing agencies like the Intelligence Bureau, the Central Bureau of Investigation, Cabinet Secretariat Security, Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force. After the initial probation of two years, an IPS officer is given charge as an Additional Superintendent of Police of a district. This post is usually held for two years and then comes the next appointment, that of the Superintendent of Police and then the post of the Deputy Inspector General (DIG). The hierarchy in the IPS cadre is like this - the Director General of Police (DG) is the head of the entire Police force of a state. Special divisions of the Police force like the Border Security Force, the CBI, etc., have a Director General at the helm.

The Indian Forest Service (IFS) The maintenance of the natural resources of the country is very essential for a balanced all round development of the country. Maintenance of forests is so important for maintaining the ecological balance that the Indian Forest Service has been set up for this very purpose. The All India Forest Service came into being in 1966. The areas of functioning for the Indian Forest Service include protection and conservation of forests, wildlife and forest produce.

Q2.What does it take to opt for civil service?
A2.Mental alertness; interest in a variety of subjects; good intellect in order to be able to tackle any subject or situation; an ability to sift, weigh and apply differing opinions from various people; leadership qualities; the ability to inspire others and to channelise available talent; tact and diplomacy; and, integrity. These are some personality traits that you should look for in yourself when you consciously make a decision to opt for civil service.

Q3.What is the Cadre System in civil services ?
A3.The Civil Services has been divided into various grades to facilitate functioning. The grade determines the area of work. Junior scale officers work in the states that they are allotted to. Senior scale officers work as Under Secretaries in the State. Officers in the Junior Administrative Grade, which is reached after nine years of service, hold the position of a Deputy Secretary. When officers make it to the Selection Grade, which is reached after fourteen years of service they hold the position of Directors or Deputy Secretary. The next scale is known as the Super Time Scale or the Senior Administrative Grade and the officers in this grade hold the post of a Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, Secretary or Cabinet Secretary. The Civil Services can be broadly classified as All India Services and Central Services.

Q4.What is the Selection Process ?
A4.Eligibility for the Civil Services Preliminary Examination The minimum age requirement for appearing for the Civil Services Preliminary Examination is 21 and the upper age limit is 28 years. The minimum academic requirement is graduation in any discipline from a recognised Indian University or an equivalent academic qualification. All candidates are allowed four attempts. There is a relaxation for SC/ST candidates on the number of attempts, if they are otherwise eligible.

For entry to the civil service, there’s a multi-step examination process. The entire process takes a full calendar year. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) first conducts an objective type preliminary examination for screening candidates. The Preliminary Examination: There are two papers for the preliminary round. There is one on general studies and another on an optional subject. The question papers are set in both Hindi and English. Each paper is for a duration of two hours. General study covers history, geography, economics and so on. The question papers have objective type multiple choice questions. The general studies paper carries 150 marks. The syllabus for the optional subject is the same as that for graduation level. The question paper for the optional subject carries 300 marks. The optional subject for the second paper may be chosen from the following- ¨ Agriculture ¨ Animal Husbandry and veterinary science ¨ Botany ¨ Chemistry ¨ Civil Engineering ¨ Commerce ¨ Economics ¨ Electrical Engineering ¨ Geography ¨ Geology ¨ Indian History ¨ Law ¨ Mathematics ¨ Mechanical Engineering ¨ Philosophy ¨ Physics ¨ Political Science ¨ Psychology ¨ Public Administration ¨ Sociology ¨ Statistics ¨ Zoology

The Main Examination: The preliminary round is basically a screening round. The marks obtained are not counted for in the final stage of the examination. For candidates who clear the preliminary round, there is the main round. The second stage is the main examination that includes written tests and an interview. The written test consists of nine papers (essay type answers to be written) – ¨ Paper I: One Indian language that is included in the Eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution. These languages are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Pali, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. This paper is of a qualifying nature and the marks obtained are not counted for ranking. This paper is not compulsory for candidates from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. ¨ Paper II: English. The English language paper is also of a qualifying nature and the marks obtained are not counted for ranking. ¨ Paper III: Essay ¨ Paper IV &V: General Studies ¨ Optional Subject I (two papers) ¨ Optional subject II (two papers). For papers VI, VII, VIII, and IX two subjects are to be chosen. The list of subjects from which the choice may be made is - ¨ Agriculture ¨ Animal Husbandry and veterinary science ¨ Anthropology ¨ Botany ¨ Chemistry ¨ Civil Engineering ¨ Commerce & Accountancy ¨ Economics ¨ Electrical Engineering ¨ Geography ¨ Geology ¨ History ¨ Law ¨ Management ¨ Mathematics ¨ Mechanical Engineering ¨ Philosophy ¨ Physics ¨ Political Science & International Relations ¨ Psychology ¨ Public Administration ¨ Sociology ¨ Statistics ¨ Zoology ¨ Literature in one of the following languages -: Arabic, Assamese, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Marathi, Malayalam, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu Except English, the question papers are set in both Hindi and English.

The total marks secured in both the written tests and the personal interview determine the rank of a candidate. The Interview This is the last hurdle to be cleared. The interview carries 250 marks and there are no stipulated minimum qualifying marks. The main aim of the interview is to assess a candidate's overall personality. The interview is conducted by a board. The board is fully informed about the candidate and they base their questions on a record of the candidate's career, which is provided to them. The aspects that are generally looked into are the candidate's grasp of academics and general awareness as in current affairs, social issues, etc. It is basically a test of the potential of a candidate. The board tries to assess whether he or she can rise to the demands of the job of a Civil Servant.

Q5.What are the Job Prospects ?
A5.Depending upon his rank, a candidate is recruited to services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and other departments including Finance, Post and Telegraph, Revenue, Secretariat and so on. The appointment offers executive power. Promotions are time bound and increase in privileges are automatic. Selected candidates are first put through a training session for a short period. He is usually sent to an academic staff college associated with the service to which he is allocated. The greatest thing about civil service is the job security. Special facilities include subsidised accommodation, telephone and transport facilities, medical benefits, leave travel concession, etc. After retirement, there are very good social welfare facilities. Last but not the least is the immense satisfaction one derives at being able to participate in the development process of the country.

Q6.What is the Remuneration ?
A6.
The Government of India has fixed salary grades for Civil Servants. Approximately the range of salaries drawn at various levels is as follows:

Secretary/Cabinet Secretary: Rs. 26,000/30,000 (The above scales only provide an idea of the pay scales. Different branches of the service have different scales of pay.)

In addition to the salary civil servants receive various allowances such as Dearness Allowance, City compensatory Allowance, Leave Travel Allowance, Medical and subsidised housing.

 

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