Former and current civil servants, who participated at an interactive session organised by The Hindu on the Civil Services Main exam, felt the changes in pattern and new subjects introduced would help bring about better civil servants

The role of a civil servant in the country’s administration has been changing over years. While earlier, the onus was on law and order, revenue collection and development, changing times have expanded the civil servant’s role.

This year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) — the nodal body for the conduct of examinations for entry into the Civil Services — has introduced new topics and changed the format of the Main examinations, with emphasis on General Studies.

This would make civil aspirants more aware of the state of the country, said former and current civil servants, at an interactive session organised by The Hindu Education Plus and the Hyderabad Study Circle (HSC) on Sunday.

Changed pattern

The number of optional papers this year has been reduced from two to one, and their weightage slashed from 1200 marks to 500 marks. The number of General Studies papers, meanwhile, has been increased from two to four.

Former UPSC member K.S.R.V Chalem welcomed the new format, pointing out that it was in tune with the changing mandate of a civil servant. More Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode projects are being taken up, and hence bureaucrats are expected to have in-depth knowledge of the country’s social, general and economic conditions.

Former Union Finance Secretary C.S. Rao said that with different projects, policies and rules coming up, things have changed for the civil servant. The introduction of new topics in General Studies like Integrity and Aptitude will help aspirants a lot, Mr. Rao said.

HSC president and retired IPS officer C. Anjaneya Reddy hailed the UPSC’s move to increase weightage for the General Studies papers from 600 to 1,000 marks and for the Essay paper from 200 to 250 marks. There is now the possibility to score more, he felt. It would also bring in more diversity among civil servants, he said. He felt that gradually, the Optional paper would be removed from the Main examination.

“This is a good sign,” Mr. Reddy said.

Regretting that Civil Service officers were in the news for all wrong reasons, he said the introduction of Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude topics in the examination was a welcome move.

Ethics paper

Giving more insight into the Ethics paper, retired IAS officer V. Veda Kumari said it may include questions that test the candidate’s integrity, probity and his/her problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts in society.

Though there were apprehensions over the new format, aspirants will be tested for their command over general studies, ethics, social knowledge, she explained.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma asked the aspirants to work with determination and to not lose confidence.

Director-General (Vigilance and Enforcement) A. Sivanarayana, A.P. Police Recruitment Board Chairman J. Poornachandra Rao and HSC honorary Director K. Krishna Reddy also participated in the programme.

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