Civil Services aspirants were given an insider's view of how the world of bureaucracy functions as well as some well-heeled advice on how to crack the preliminary examination at a seminar here on “CSAT: Changes and Challenges” organised by Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E.) in association with The Hindu .
“If you enjoy authority, there is no other job that gives you this much authority…or power,” said former IFS officer Aveg Aggarwal detailing the advantages and disadvantages of a civil servant and cautioning students to remain level-headed at all times. “As a common man, you may run into red tape or get frustrated with the system occasionally, say when you want a passport, but as a civil servant you will face it everyday,” he said, explaining that disinterested colleagues and lazy subordinates were all part of the job and the real challenge was in getting the job done despite all these issues. “It is so easy for a civil servant to change lives, hundreds of lives a day,” he said, giving an example of how an entire village with no access to water is saved by one decision of the IAS officer to sanction a scheme to provide water.
The students were also made to think about what type of civil servant they aspired to become. “If you are an IFS officer, important decisions are taken while sipping wine in an air-conditioned office, whereas the IPS officer will be sitting in some small town interrogating a criminal. The IAS officer will have the most generalised service and will be made to deal with a variety of things,” he said, asking students to really think about what sort of work that were up against before making the immense commitment that is needed to get through any of the civil services. “As a civil servant all your necessities are provided for and you don't have to worry about housing or bills and your children will get admitted to the best schools that even rich businessmen's children don't get, but even after 20 or 30 years it is very likely that you will be in the same position no matter whether you are good or bad at your job...there are no rewards and no punishments in this job.”
The seminar also served to acquaint students with the changes introduced for the exams from 2011 and an industry expert, Dhrubajyati Banik, explained the changes and how to deal with them in minute detail as well as the best methods to be employed while answering specific type of questions. He laid special emphasis on dealing with subjects like decision-making and problem-solving and the interpersonal skills including communication skills. “The decision-making and problem-solving paper will have questions like what will you do if a goonda visits your house, there is no negative marking for such a question, but you are being tested as to how well you deal with certain situations,” he said, adding that interpersonal skills including communication skills test is always a tricky one as most people who aced other subjects always lost out on this particular subject. “Please remember your tone at all times, it is not what you say but how you say it that counts.”