Civil Service as a career option

Oinam Nabakishore Singh *

Pooja Elangbam felicitated by Thangmeiband Kendra Development Org (TAKDO) on May 06 2018
Pooja Elangbam felicitated by Thangmeiband Kendra Development Org (TAKDO) on May 06 2018 :: Pix - TSE

This week, we have read a lot of encouraging and happy news about the success of Ms. Pooja Elangbam (81st Rank in merit list of Civil Service Examination-2017), John Ningthoujam and others from Manipur, who have figured in the list of successful candidates for entering the career of civil services.

The toppers ofthis year’s 12th Class examination of Council of Higher Secondary Education, Manipur have also expressed their desire to be IAS officers in future. It may be a good idea to understand the motive behind such desire to join the civil service examination.

Ms. Pooja Elangbam in her interview in Manung Hutna of Impact TV mentioned among others her desire to be a part of decision making as a woman, to bring changes to the society by being in position of power, to influence decision in the right direction, to get exposed and involved in multiple sectors. The topper of 12th Class examination wants to fight corruption in education by being an IAS officer.

Indeed, the thoughts and desires of these young minds are not only worthy of appreciation, but also should be taken note by people in all walks of life, especially by those in power.

In the past, the first choice of most of the bright students in Manipur used to be medical or engineering courses. That trend continues with some exception. During my time in the nineteen seventies too, the first choice was medical course for obvious reasons like security of job, growth in career, respect in the society and perhaps earning as a medical practitioner.

Pursuing a general line course like BA, B.Sc., MA, M.Sc., etc. was the first choice of very few bright students in Manipur. That is the main reason for negligible entry of Meiteis in IAS, IPS or Central Services through Civil Service Examination in the past.

The first Meitei to join IAS through UPSC conducted Civil Service Examination was Shri Falguni Rajkumar in 1972 after 25 years of independence in 1947. I was the second Meitei to be selected in IAS examination in 1984 after a gap of 12 years. The third Meitei IAS officer through UPSC Exam was Shri R.K. Dinesh Singh in the year 2000 after a gap of 16 years.

Now, we have seen more and more Meiteis and Meitei Pangals joining the IAS and other Central Services. However, the number of Meitei officers in IPS is very few now. The reason for mentioning these facts is to highlight the presence or absence of Meiteis in decision making in Governments-State or Central.

Every group would like their people to be in positions of decision making as those decisions affect them socially, economically and politically. It may be for various reasons like their pride, trust or similar attitude.

Nevertheless, it will be wrong to conclude that officers from other community will not make right decisions for the people belonging to other groups. Civil Service, especially, IAS offers excellent opportunity to officers to learn, grow and influence decision making both at the Central and State Governments.

They are also in a position to highlight the weaknesses and backwardness in their respective states while working in Government of India. Such inputs certainly help in evolving better policies to address the problems of states especially those in the North East. In fact, the approach of one size fits all in formulating programmes has drawbacks as the country is very diverse.

The remunerations in terms of salary and perks has increased over time due to generous recommendations of Pay Commissions in intervals of ten years. The entry level pay of an IAS officer now is Rs.56,100.00 which was Rs. 700.00 when I joined service in 1984.

Besides, All India Service Officers including IAS working in the North East get an extra 10% Special Duty Allowance and extra 20% Special Allowance. If other allowance like House Rent Allowance, Special Compensatory Allowance and Perks like free transport, telephone, etc. added, the salary of an IAS officer at entry is quite competitive with packages offered by private sector.

At the highest level of Secretary to Government of India and Chief Secretary at State Government, the fixed pay is Rs. 2,25,000.00 per month. In Manipur, an officer at the apex pay scale of Rs. 2,25,000.00 gets more than Rs. 3,00,000.00 per month now.

Civil Service also provides excellent opportunity for training and higher studies. Government of India nominates a fairly large number of IAS and Central Service officers to undergo both long-term and short-term training at leading Universities and Institutes in various countries at their cost.

The officers have the opportunity to continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills so that they are conversant with new knowledge, developments and challenges. As of now, the youths of Manipur may consider choosing civil service as a career option early in life so that they are continuously oriented towards the requirements of learning/studies for Civil Service Examination.

As demonstrated by many, what is required is hard work, long term goal setting, preparation, interest in all topics and subjects listed in the syllabus. Aspirants can certainly talk to those who have cleared the civil service examination recently for tips. I hope more and more Manipuris join Civil Service in future and be a part of governance.

Note: Views expressed here are personal. The writer may be contacted for any queries/comments.

* Oinam Nabakishore Singh, IAS, wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer may be contacted at oinamsingh(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 12 , 2018.

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