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Starting early does have its advantages especially for Civil Services e.g Tina Dabi (AIR -1), she planned her preparation meticulously and she was thorough in her approach, her mains marks are testimony to this fact. You can self pace your preparation in a continuous manner and can also work on your weaknesses. Many institutes today are offering this course where students can start as “Early bird”. However, it is important to work on it a following manner i.e.
I have created a plan for my undergraduates students in this manner:
Block 1: 6 months
Block 2: 6 months
Block 3: 6 months
Block 4: 6 months
Block 5: 6 months
Block 6: 6 months
You can also plan your preparation with weekly & monthly targets. Now remember execution is the key here.
Ideally, The Hindu is the most suitable newspaper for the aspirants. It covers issues extensively with reformative approach. However, most of the times they are over critical of government and system following an idealistic approach. Here candidates need to judge the situations putting their own opinions in a balanced manner. Remember they need candidates who can be a part of the solution for future.
Other is “Indian Express” , this is also a good paper infact issues are covered in a detailed manner even more than Hindu, many aspirants seem to be following this paper too. I would rather be conservative here and go with “The Hindu”.
TV Shows :
Some of the popular channels are:
Many other programs at Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are popular. Bit stick to these for now. Fortunately, the recorded version is readily available on YouTube updated almost on daily basis. Students can go for selective approach here.
Now comes the most important part here:How to follow them regularly?
A good student should make their own notes regularly devoting 1.5-2 hours on an average.This should include everything that includes) reading and notes both. Be precise here and jot down the important points. If the issues or articles are lengthy then Students can file the articles – subject – wise & issue-wise for future reference and revision. Do mark and highlight the points here in a meticulous manner.
Complement it with secondary sources : Apart from following these one can also go for selective reading of magazines and online E-resources and collate them properly.
Simultaneous Revision :Apart from following the above process , revise the notes and articles regularly. Also develop your own thought process on major issues covered here in gist form and update it regularly.
● Follow an organic approach – don’t predetermine the approach while entering the exam hall
● Think for few seconds, structure your answer in your mind and then proceed
● Always keep a tab on time while writing and stick to time and word limit
Answer writing for Civil Services Mains is a creative skill hence there is no standard template which ideally an aspirant should follow. In recent times the word limit is around 200 per question where in an entire paper, one is expected to write 4000 words. Its a challenge to write quality answer in a stipulated time 8–9 minutes that too within word limit.
There are still few points which needs attention :
Be specific : Be direct in your approach where sticking to the core of the question in a brief and precise manner should be the intention of the candidate.
Introduction is must: Even if it is one line, make sure you start the answer with introduction. Ideally 10% of the word limit can be utilized for introducing the answer. Intro sets the base of the answer and it should start making sense in reference to the question from the first word itself.
Body: It should cover the question in terms of all the dimensions. Anything upto 80% of the word limit should be utilized for this. Here it can be in paragraph mode, points form with diagrams and flow chart.
Always remember picture is worth thousand words, hence flowchart and diagram can actually push up one’s score especially if there is a word limit with limited time.
Conclusion : Again it should not breach 10% of the word limit. But content of the conclusion is important, it should be balanced with optimistic, positive and problem solving approach. It reflects one’s personality in terms of issues, a good administrator is one who has sagacity, foresight, optimism with emphatic and humanistic approach.
Other points to remember :
● Structure of the answer should be smooth with interlinkages and flow.
● Use simple and lucid language while explaining concepts
● Read the question properly and process in your mind ‘what exactly question is looking for’
● Practice answer writing a lot before exams – can devote 30 minutes daily on an average-500 words
● Underline important keywords if possible
● Use examples from contemporary trends
Always remember after a certain level its more about presentation and less about content.
IAS officers are considered to be a part of steel frame of the nation. The current system is largely part of British legacy has played an important role in the unity and the integrity of India.
As permanent executive they are expected to be the part of the problem solving group irrespective of the challenges or situations. However to understand the system one need to understand the political system where political executives are part of legislation and execute the policies with the help of the officials.
Thus, permanent executives work within the umbrella of political system to execute the will of the political parties in power. They are part of the executing wings though they do have a strong role in policy formulation inform of policy inputs through their unbiased, non-political and anonymous role. The real onus to bring change is through administrative reforms which requires political executives will. Yes, theoretically Civil servants can give policy inputs and execute them in letter and spirit and cannot bring major systemic reforms to cater to the needs of the citizenry.
However, by virtue of being at the top of the hierarchy they can certainly influence and ensure justice for the needy. There have been examples of activist Civil servants who have made real change to benefit the citizenry at large. Many famous government schemes like Direct Benefit Transfer, Smart card based identification and delivery of services like Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna have been the brain child of Civil servants. In fact there is so much scope to bring change within the system through delivery of services to intended beneficiaries that one doesn’t need to go overboard.Try to help the needy and poor , be compassionate and grounded. If one aims to be service oriented, is innovative in approach with problem solving attitude then Sky is the limit.
Being a entrepreneur and pursuing Civil Services are both service to the nation. In fact every one contributes to the nation in some or the other way. However, one should be more concerned about one’s own personal preference, areas of interest and love for the work. Let’s analyze the role of both :
Entrepreneurs are the guiding lights of the nation, they innovate, create and set the transformation for the future. The progress in the society or development of the humankind can be attributed to some inspiring people who invented and led the change. Similarly, new age entrepreneurs are also doing the same, if we talk about start ups like uber, ola or unacademy i. e. free learning initiative they are doing something either to organize market, facilitate free learning and set the new benchmarks.
Civil Servants are the harbingers of hope and change in the society. They ensure positive and desired change through development process especially in a country like India which is still entrenched in ills of poverty, unemployment, uneven stratified society, caste system and patriarchy. Change can be brought through social legislation, awareness and literacy. As society is empowered i. e. especially weaker sections, it not only facilitates growth but also brings equity and social justice. And here no one is better equipped to bring such change than Civil servants. We have examples for e. g. recently in Aurangabad District in Bihar the District Magistrate Kanwal Tanuj ensured the job of a cook in a midday meal scheme as she was suspended from her job because of her caste. Mr Tanuj ate the cooked meal by her along with his team of people and also suspended the officials involved. We can find numerous such examples where Civil servants are silently doing service to the society.
Similarly we have ilks of Roman Saini who left their job i. e. IAS to work for his passion. His Unacademy initiative is making its mark silently. So we have examples of IAS turned entrepreneur too.If you really feel that deep down taking a detour to innovate and create something out of the box is the calling then go ahead. It will certainly be an uphill task but again entrepreneurs are different league they are the futures only hope. They not only create ideas but jobs, economic growth and development of a culture of curiosity and enterprising attitude. So take a plunge and be the change you wish to bring.