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Home » Reward for brilliance

Reward for brilliance


The success of 19 candidates from Chandigarh, including one from Panchkula in the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission this year, is remarkable. Our candidates ó Mr Abhishek Jain and Dr Dinesh Arora ó have bagged the third and fifth ranks respectively at the all-India level.

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The 46th, 47th, 50th and 62nd ranks have also gone to our boys and girls. With their brilliant performance, they have not only won laurels for themselves but also for Punjab and Haryana. The fact that most of the successful candidates hail from humble background, some of whom failed to clear the Punjab Civil Service (PCS) examination, as they reportedly could not offer hefty bribes to the scam-tainted Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, speaks volumes about their merit, distinction and, above all, the credibility and impartiality of the UPSC.

This time too, the civil services continue to attract engineers and doctors. One reason why professionals are able to do well in this examination is that they are bright and diligent compared to arts students. Often they take arts subjects and are able to compete with arts students with ease. There is a general impression that the former have an edge because while they are invariably thorough with science subjects and quickly grasp humanities and social science subjects in the run-up to the examination, the latter find it difficult to catch up with science subjects.

Engineers and doctors continue to prefer the IAS because the higher civil service in India constitutes the super-elite cluster in the social pyramid and the status attached to it is unique. They get top level policy-making positions in the government only by joining the IAS even though the cost is the sacrifice of their technical degrees. A career in the IAS promises security, status, time-scale promotions, power and authority. Moreover, the IAS is a compendium of services and the variety of experience it offers stands in sharp contrast to the private sector job (despite attractive salary) with only one kind of work all oneís life. In the IAS, even a superannuation may be the beginning of a second career. In Japan and France, candidates for civil services examination can take only social science subjects, the governing philosophy being that students should decide at an early age whether they would like to be specialists or seek a generalist career.

India, however, allows professionals to take engineering and medicine subjects in the civil services examination with a view to injecting technical and scientific output in public policy-making. This is good from the administrative point of view. At the same time, suitable measures are also needed to streamline the engineering and health services because it costs a lot for the country to prepare an engineer or a doctor. The focus should be on the optimum utilisation of doctors and engineers who are the permanent assets of society. The career prospects in the specialist services should be substantially improved and the emolument structure bettered so that these services are able to at least match, if not outshine, the IAS. Moreover, as in France, in India too, the middle and senior level positions in the technical departments of the Centre and in the states should be manned by members of specialist services alone.


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