There is a dearth of awareness about UPSC as a strong career option, not only amongst the rural population but also amongst the well-educated, urban middle class. When we utter the word ‘career’, people, especially anxious parents and their wards think of Engineering (with preference attached to software engineering), Medical, Management, Architecture so on and so forth. We generally read in the interviews of successful, meritorious students from 10th or 12th Boards that they would like to become engineers, doctors or these days – MBAs. However, very few of them as well as their parents are aware about UPSC or Union civil services as a robust career option, which not only can give name, fame as well as a secure, stable and enriching career path but also immense inner satisfaction of serving the society in true sense of the term. Union Public Service Commission is an autonomous constitutional body which recruits personnel for different Union Services (except Armed Forces). Civil Service is a crucial institution, which is responsible for implementing the laws made by the legislature as well as the policies formulated by the government. This is the higher class among the public administration, which includes domestic as well as foreign affairs. (However, it does not include judiciary or Armed forces). The Indian Civil Services are categorized as Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D services. Through a rigorous examination procedure, UPSC recruits personnel for about 24 services. The list is given below:
ALL INDIA SERVICES
- Indian Administrative Service
- Indian Police Service
- Indian Forest Services
GROUP A SERVICES
- Indian Foreign Service
- Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
- Indian Defense Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)
- Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
- Indian Postal Service
- Indian Civil Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Traffic Service
- Indian Railway Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Personnel Service
- Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force
- Indian Defense Estates Service
- Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
- Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III)
- Indian Corporate Law Service
GROUP B SERVICES
- Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade)
- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
- Pondicherry Civil Service
- Pondicherry Police Service
The candidates which are selected by the UPSC are recruited by the Government of India for these various services depending on their rank. The selected candidates are given training of their respective services and then they join their service in any of the state/zone in India, which is assigned to them.
There is a common UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) to name a few. However, different stages of the IAS exam have different syllabi. The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses on general and societal awareness which is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions. The UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive as this stage comprises nine theory papers.
The Civil services exam is conducted in three phases:
Phase 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)
Phase 1: UPSC Prelims Exam
The Preliminary Examination is composed of two components:
General Studies (GS)
2 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
2 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)
· Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)
- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and Indian National Movement.
- Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
- Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
- Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
- General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
- General Science
· Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper II)
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability
- Decision-making and problem solving
- General mental ability
- Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
Phase 2: UPSC Mains Exam (1750 Marks)
- The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying in the preliminary exam would the candidates be allowed to write the IAS Mains.
- The Mains exam tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth and his/her ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time-bound manner.
- The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, out of which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each.
- The two qualifying papers are:
- Any Indian Language
- English Language Paper
- The types of questions asked are:
- Essay: 100 marks
- Reading comprehension: 60 marks
- Precis Writing: 60 marks
- English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi): 20 marks
- Compulsory language to English: 20 marks
- Grammar and basic language usage 40 marks
The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.
Paper – I
Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)
Paper – II
General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
Paper – III
General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)
Paper – IV
General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
Paper – V
General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)
Paper – VI
Optional Subject – Paper I
Paper – VII
Optional Subject – Paper II
UPSC Mains General Studies Paper Syllabus (I, II, III, and IV)
Paper-I General Studies-I 250 Marks (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Paper-III General Studies-III 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Paper-II General Studies-II: 250 Marks (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Paper-IV General Studies-IV 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) Marks carried by General Studies was 4X250=1000
Syllabus for Mains examination
UPSC Exam General Studies- PAPER I
Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:
- Indian culture covers the salient features of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.