Strategy to crack Civil Services Prelims Exam

Civil Services Prelims exam is the first step in achieving your dream of becoming a civil servant. It is the first of the three levels of exams that one has to crack in order to be recruited by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) for various posts in the Central and All India Services. 
ias tips 2018,how to crack ias prelims 2018
The UPSC exam is conducted annually for recruitment of candidates for the offices of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Forest Service etc. 

IAS exam is considered one of the toughest exams due to the vastness of the syllabus. 

An aspirant can clear the exam in his first attempt given that he follows the right strategy with utmost sincerity and dedication. Formulating the right strategy reduces half the burden. 

Read on to find out five easy tips to prepare for the prelims exam.

1. Be serious about your preparation:
As clichéd as it may seem, it is important for you to be very serious about the exam. About 10 lakh candidates register for the examination and only about half of them take the civil services prelims test. 

Among the 5 lakh candidates, only about 15 thousand make it to the mains examination. Make sure you are one of the serious candidates who badly want to get into the civil services in one attempt. 

Be sincere in your studies and most importantly consistent. Ask yourself why you want to clear this exam and keep reminding yourself of your reason to clear the examination.

2. Prepare a standard book list:
History, Polity, Economy, Geography, Science & Technology, Environment & Ecology are the important subjects to be covered for the prelims.

 There are certain standard books available in the market for these subjects. Do some research on which books you are comfortable with and prepare a final list of book to be followed. 

Read these books over and over again instead of reading multiple books. It will surely yield better results.

3. Follow a newspaper:
Current affairs is an important part of UPSC prelims and Newspaper reading, an indispensable part of your preparation. 

Select any newspaper of your choice and read all the relevant news thoroughly on a daily basis. 

It is also advisable to make short notes which would come handy at the time of revisions.

4. CSAT preparation:
The CSAT paper i.e, Paper-2 of civil services prelims is now made a qualifying paper. A candidate has to score 33% marks in order to qualify in the prelims.

Though it might look like a cake walk, it is essential for one to practice reading comprehension and basic mathematics for this paper as it is mandatory to clear both the papers to qualify prelims.

5. Revise regularly
When the syllabus is too huge and a large number of topics are to be covered, it becomes essential to revise the topics over and over again in order to remember the details. 

Prelims exam is a test of knowledge and hence it is important to remember factual details as well. Make sure you prepare your timetable in such a way that there is ample time for at least 2 revisions before you appear for the prelims.

The UPSC syllabus is indicative; therefore plan your studies well within the boundaries of the syllabus to get rid of the unnecessary burden.

For more guidance on UPSC Civil Service examination and for tips and tricks to crack the IAS exam, subscribe Byju’s YouTube channel


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 Motivation plays a very important role in our achievements in all spheres of life, including studies and career achievements. As psychologists say, motivation is a crucial element in setting and meeting our objectives. If we really have a desire, we can move mountains. But if not, if we are seized by apathy, no tangible achievements can be expected. When we study motivation, we can get surprising and to some extent unbelievable results. Motivation is often the result of some action, but not the cause of it. The most difficult task is to begin. It is always easier to finish any task than to start doing it.

There are many methods of motivation and also techniques for increasing it, but the motivation for students has its peculiar features. Let’s reflect on the question what motivates students in the highest degree and what the teacher can do in this regard.

Here are several effective ways to motivate students:

·        Believe in the undergraduates, and they will have more faith in themselves. If we believe in our students’ potential, we get a clear vision what their progress can be in a year or two. Our attitude will influence our treatment.


·        In the first place, young people should see your devotion to the subject you are teaching them. That way, they will indulge in it too.

·        Have the patience and don’t expect the immediate results. Everything in our life takes time. You haven’t become a professional in one day either, and to remain a good specialist you have to study during the whole life. The same situation is with your students.

·        But you should not leave the situation to chance. Monitor the atmosphere within the classroom and draw the conclusions, maybe it is the right time to change your motivation techniques if there are no tangible results.

·        Encourage open communication in class on the subject. Let people see that they are not passive listeners and play an equal role in the process of study. Make them understand that their opinion and thoughts are very important to you.

·        Do whatever it takes to make the atmosphere in the group positive and friendly. Attitude and encouragement from their peers are very important for young people. It is also essential that the undergraduates spend a lot of their free time together and communicate with each other outside the classroom.

·        Learn your students to set goals for them or do that together. If they clearly see the way forward and achieve progress step by step, analyzing at the same time their results that will help them a lot.

·        Offer your students incentives for making progress. It is good if at your university or college there is a practice of encouraging good students by cash rewards, decreasing the volume of tuition or offering them free trips etc. But you as a teacher also can offer them something like that, for example by organizing a small party or an interesting weekend. But be careful not to discourage in the meantime those who have very small results.

·        Be creative and make the studying process more entertaining. Use tutorial videos, films, different learning applications. Make the classroom a pleasant place to stay in and involve your students in the process of creating an encouraging environment.

·        Convince your students in the necessity of things you are doing in class. Show them how important the subject is for their future career and their achievements in life. Their studies should not be detached from real life, young people should be convinced, over and over again, that they will be able to use things they learn in practice, not to forget the next day or the day after passing the test.

Your role as a teacher is crucial in providing the undergraduates’ with all the necessary incentives. Increase motivation of your students, and it will be easier for you to teach them and easier for them to study your subject.

Alyssa Johnson is a qualified psychologist that writes scholarly articles at She has been studying the psychology of motivation and ways of increasing it for several years already. Currently, she is working on her first book.
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Any aspirant irrespective of their academic background can realise the dream of clearing the Union Public Service Commission’s civil service examination (CSE) and join the most elite services of the country by preparing well.
UPSC Civil Services Exam 2018: 10 mistakes most aspirants make

Any aspirant irrespective of their academic background can realise the dream of clearing the Union Public Service Commission’s civil service examination (CSE) and join the most elite services of the country by preparing well.

But there are some mistakes that most UPSC CSE aspirants makes and thus fails to clear the hurdle.

Here are the 10 mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Not sticking to the syllabus

One of the biggest myths every CSE aspirant carries with him at some point in time is that the syllabus of CSE is unlimited and anything can be asked under the sky. To some extent this is true but taking your eyes completely off the syllabus can prove fatal in long run and can cost you your resources, time, money, and energy. Most of the aspirants start off without going through the syllabus prescribed by the UPSC and within no time find themselves in no man’s land.

The syllabus is the roadmap of preparation. It should be the Bible of any aspirant’s course of preparation for this highly coveted exam. Therefore, it needs to be followed and referred at every step of preparation.

2. Not referring to previous years’ question papers

If the syllabus is the roadmap, referring to previous years question papers is like indicators for the right turn at the right time during the journey of the CSE preparation, which most of the students realise at a very later phase of the time.

Every step of preparation (unit/section/chapter) should be followed by an instant reference to the questions asked in the recent years (both prelims and mains) pertaining to the respective article. This helps the aspirant to mould his/her preparation in accordance with the latest trends of the questions put up by the board.

3. Collecting books

Mukherjee Nagar and Old Rajinder Nagar are often termed as the ‘Mecca and Medina’ of UPSC preparation in India and the local markets of these UPSC hubs are flooded with various books of numerous authors and publications. However, only handpicked books are genuinely relevant for the effective preparation of the examination but due to incomplete knowledge of the UPSC CSE preparations most of the students end up piling books in their room turning it into a junkyard instead of an ideal place of learning.

An aspirant should consult seniors who have cleared the examination (preferable), experienced mentors and genuine/reliable sources and then go for buying of resources and study material so that instead of becoming a ‘waste’ it turns into a proper ‘invest’ment.

4. Underestimating NCERT

This is the most microscopic and grave mistake committed by almost a huge majority of the competing crowd. Ignoring NCERT and directly jumping on a heavyweight book can be the ‘beginning of the end’ of your UPSC CSE preparation.

For example, if an aspirant directly starts up with DD Basu for Indian Polity and Constitution of India, he is bound to end up in a soup. Instead, it has to be steadily initiated with basic reference from Class 8-12 NCERT social science textbooks, a subject which is popularly termed as ‘civics’.

5. Lack of writing practice

The preliminary stage of the examination is not considered as selection criteria for enlisting the final merit list for service selection and cadre allocation. The Mains stage is the ‘main’ part of the whole selection process which does not only require mere writing answers but the aspirant has to equip himself with a fluent flow of knowledge, facts and wisdom in a very precise and skilful manner. Lack of writing skill, which aspirants find it to be the most difficult part to overcome, if not rectified within correct time, is a sure guarantee of failure.

To avoid this, writing practice on daily basis rigorously and religiously is a must. However, for real-time results, aspirants must stick to exam oriented writing instead of blogging which will definitely increase the typing skills instead of writing skills.

6. Illicit manner of choosing optional

Availability of books and study material in the market, ongoing marking and scoring trends of the subject, length and extent of the syllabus and last but not the least, overlapping with the general studies paper. These are the views and opinions which generally run around an aspirant’s mind while choosing an optional which at the end may cause utterly disastrous results.

‘Interest’ and ‘inclination’ towards the subject should be the core entities of thought process while choosing the optional. Have a look at the syllabus, go through the previous year’s question papers and most importantly if you can invest hours after hours with the subject without looking at the ticking clock, your inner conscious itself will give you the answer of UPSC CSE preparation’s most important answer of ‘choosing an optional’.

7. Not understanding the crux of newspapers

Trying to go through multiple newspapers with an overview instead of creatively surfing anyone. Collecting and relying on magazines for current affairs (except The Yojana) as magazines can be a supplement to a newspaper but not a substitute for it. And not understanding ‘how to read’ and ‘what to read’ in a newspaper reaps low yields in the long run.

Every newspaper has 3 components if viewed from examination point of view.

Events: This gives you facts. For example, Booker Prize of the year

Issues: This provides you with views and reviews and helps to develop your individual understanding and opinion over various subjects conventional and contemporary. For example, Syrian war crisis and refugee rehabilitation (IR), Naxalism and insurgency in the northeast (internal security).


In addition to this, newspaper articles can be categorised under various segments of news viz. international, India and the world, national, states, business, science and technology, defence, space, sports, persons in the news, prizes and awards and many more which will also enable an aspirant to frame well structured Essays (Paper I). 

Therefore, effective utilisation of newspaper can provide soul to the whole body of an aspirant’s UPSC CSE preparation subject to careful and persistent efforts.

8. Not analysing SWAT

In the long run, students not only fail to maintain the tempo and enthusiasm but also often find themselves in the middle of unbalanced wrong directional preparation because they don’t undergo the analysis of their strength and weakness as the nature and the requirement of the examinations demands high dynamism and adaptability from the candidates as every subject has to be approached in their own unique ways (For example, history and geography).

Therefore, it becomes indispensable for an aspirant to consistently keep cross checking the progress and depressions, the grip over strong areas and loose fist over the weaker sections of the syllabus through regular mock tests and classroom test series from time to time.

9. Lack of proper time management

Any ambition without a time frame is nothing more than a fantasy. Since aspirants invest years for this prestigious examination, time management and completing the targets within the stipulated time frame is one of the most essential necessities for clearing this examination which most of the students fail to cope up with due course of time. 

Time management can act as a horse or a hurdle; it all depends on the rider (the aspirant).

To cleverly clear up with this parameter, every aspirant should have a very sound difference between a task or a target which is ‘URGENT’ and ‘IMPORTANT’. 

The day an aspirant realised the crystal clear difference between the two, it will eventually result in comfortable prioritising of short-term tasks and targets to gain long term fruits and benefits.

10: Avoiding consistent revision

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. But the essence of reliving information on the examination day is to making a habit of retaining the information first. In simple words, students read, read and read but very often don’t revise what they read which may result in poor information retention and to the point delivery of the facts and figures on the day of examination.

Revision is the key. There has to be a very well maintained cohesion between what you read and ‘revise’ what have you read till date. Video lectures, subject audios and group discussions (group study) can prove to be a boon for an aspirant of UPSC CSE.

About Author-AK Mishra 
He is the founder and chairperson of Chanakya IAS Academy. Views expressed here are personal
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Do’s and Don’ts in UPSC preparation for self-study students

UPSC CSE exam is a difficult task yet an exciting journey. UPSC CSE exam is unlike other competitive exams. The exam tries to assess your knowledge, attitude, opinion on various issues of governance, leadership abilities, ability to stick to your decision and your uniqueness.

These are qualities, which no coaching institutes can teach you; these have to be developed by an aspirant on his own. What you miss by not joining a coaching institute is the knowledge component but certainly, if you feel you can manage to own your own, it reflects your self-belief and confidence.

Having said about the essential qualities needed for the exam let me enumerate some the Do’s and Don’ts for a self-studying aspirant.

Some essential Do’s that you must follow for IAS Exam

1. Follow a Daily routine
The daily routine is an essential component for a student preparing on his own. You must read the entire syllabus and break the syllabus into daily, weekly and monthly targets. Try to mix different subject in your daily plan so that you do not get bored and maintain a decent concentration level. The daily routine will help you keep track on your progress and ultimately you do not need to rush your preparation during the final weeks of the exam.

2. Use authentic Study material
Since you are doing self-study you may have some doubts about study materials and its resource. To begin with, you have to start with NCERT books, NCERT books are easily available on www. which will help build your foundation. Later you can follow reference books on relevant topics of the exam. You can buy those books using online portals.

3. Cultivate a habit of Notes making
Notes making is essential as when you write notes you simplify the topic and it also helps you develop an understanding of a given topic. The other thing which comes handy with a proper note is a revision, you can easily revise multiple time, which strengthens your knowledge base.

4. Use Internet wisely
The Internet has become an important tool to prepare for UPSC CSE exam, you can follow daily newspaper, current affair analysis, videos for doubt resolution, daily quiz practice, and answer writing practice and also for availing free study material. But one thing you should be cautious about does not overuse it. Your books and notes are your essentials, the Internet is just supplementary.

5. Form a Peer group
Try to form a peer group of like-minded people either online or with close friends with similar goals. This will help you to clear doubts or keeping up your motivation when you feel low.

6. Join mock test both for prelims as well as mains stage
Writing mock test helps you understand your preparation level, your understanding of a given topic, time management, the pattern of the exam and highlights your weak areas. These are valuable investments as all aspirants begin somewhere and develop expertise with practice.

7. Develop a Hobby and indulge in some extracurricular activities
Hobby and extracurricular activities help you develop an all-round personality, which is an essential quality UPSC interview board looks for. Since you are just starting your preparation try to dedicate some to develop a hobby.

Some don’ts that you must avoid for Civil Services Exam

1. Overuse of social media
Limit the use of social media like Facebook and What’s up, even when you are using try to use it, do it productively by subscribing to pages relevant to UPSC preparation and groups related to UPSC preparation.

2. Excessive dependence on online source
Use online resources judiciously, there is no point being online 24X7 as it will definitely distract you and hamper your preparation. Limit your time for internet uses. Secondly, books, newspaper, and notes are your mainstay for UPSC preparation. This is where you have to devote maximum timing.

3. Fall for Internet debate
Do not fall for an internet debate, which aspirants invariably fall for when they have given their opinion on certain topics. This leads to lots of wastage of time and sometimes becomes a habit, which completely jeopardizes your preparation.

4. Follow a number of resource for one subject
Many aspirants think that if they follow more resources for a subject they will have better knowledge content and they will be at an advantage but the truth is opposite, following minimum resources and revising it regularly helps in more knowledge retention which finally helps in the exam.

5. Compare yourself with your batch-mates
This happens to every aspirant at some point of time during the UPSC journey. A few failed attempts and we start questioning our decision to prepare for the exam, we start comparing our journey with our friends which is a useless exercise. It invariably a self-sabotage exercise with no benefit. Do not compare, your journey is different and its result will also be.

6. Procrastinate on daily plans and writing practice
Never procrastinate on your daily plan and keep buffer time, as perfect execution is not always possible. During buffer period, finish up your backlogs. Secondly, do not procrastinate on writing practice as finally, your success depends on your mains exam.

Every UPSC aspirant has its own journey and they are the best judge of their abilities and weakness. But at any point of time, you feel that you are losing track and finding it difficult to concentrate do seek help from your peers, some senior preparing for the exam or even coaching institutes. Because at the end what matters is whether you achieved your goals or not.
Best of Luck!!


Author:Anish Passi

This is a guest post by Anish Passi. Anish is the Director at Neostencil, an Ed-Tech startup funded by the Times Group.Anish has extensive experience in the Education industry, with past exposure to investment banking, technology, real estate, and retail consulting. He is an Engineer from McMaster University, Canada and an MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad.


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Get relevant study aid and reading material

This  is the first task that should be done without this you will soon discover yourself running around and wasting your crucial time for books and study material without sufficient progress in the reading itself. You must ensure that you are using only the suggested or listed books for civil services exam.

Do not go all out for the market notes, guides etc
It is always better to read from the authentic books than notes and guides because they notes and guides are badly copied   version of either standard books or other with lots of mistakes, error and inconsistencies.

Make your own notes
The greatest advantage with your personal notes is that you know very well why or what you have written. Also, since you feel your labour has gone in making the notes you would be able to read your notes with a lot of attention and concentration which is the proper method of study. But if you are too hard pressed for time, you should suspend making notes as it is time consuming. You should make the proper notes of at least those areas which form the common portion in the syllabus of the prelims and mains.

Keep the standard guide book handy
Before buying it should be ensured whether a standard guide book is available in the market because
It’s better not to read a guide book which is more likely to misguide.

Standard Books-use only the suggested or listed books for civil services exam.
Notes-notes and guides are badly copied version of standard books.
Make own notes-  you read your notes with a lot of attention and concentration which is the proper method of study
standard Books-Always look for standard books
TEST - Test yourself in the beginning before you start your preparation in full swing. 
WEAK AREA -read again and again till you have a complete command over it.
Update-adapt yourself with changes
Memorise-Make a list or note of all those things which you have to mug up or remember.
Relate-form linkages between what you are reading now to the   studied contents
Discussion-  point will become clear in the course of discussion
strain-affect your efficiency
Revision- you have not merely got to complete your syllabus but also to ensure that you have mastered it.
Last minute- should be kept aside to renew and reinforce your past learning.

Test yourself in the beginning:
If possible get hold of a set of standard model questions paper.The nature and number of questions should tally with the paper as it comes in the examination.Test yourself in the beginning before you start your preparation in full swing.
The test should be in the actual exam conditions. The score will indicate where you stand before you began your preparation .The other advantage of the test is that you are getting familiar with the pattern of the exam in the beginning. This will alert you while preparing for the context and content in the reading material which is more important from the examination point of view.

Do not get discouraged by your low score.
The low score that you get in the beginning is only because you never dealt with the subject before .From now onward ,your score graph will go on rising provided you do your home work in the right earnest.
However you high score should not force you into complacency as in competitive test your aim is to achieve higher and higher.

Put more emphasis on your weak spots

While studying you will come to know your weaker and stronger areas. You cannot afford to neglect any area of the syllabus. Therefore ,you have to study even those areas which you find difficult or in which you are weak. This area should be read again and again till you have a complete command over it.

Keep on testing yourself on the regular interval of time
Keep on testing with the help of model test papers every week or every ten days. This will give you a fair indication of your progress over a period of time .

Update yourself with the current changes
Update yourself with the current changes for example you learnt the chief justice of India is X but do to some reason X is changed then you have to update yourself for your good.

Sometime it is necessary to memorise
You certainly do not need to memorise quotations and the long list of definitions .In civil services exam there is less emphasis on learning by rote. However , there are certain spheres where you cannot do away without memorizing. In fact memorizing become certain areas for example you need to remember various constitutional provisions,Article etc.
Make a list or note of all those things which you have to mug up or remember.

Do not cram or force yourself  too much
Some of the students have a negative habit of cramming when they fail to understand something .The prelims aims at testing the in-depth understanding of your subject. The crammed learning that you have done  may put you in difficult situation If the question is twisted or presented in novel style.
If you find difficulty in understanding a concept consult some other book ,teacher or someone else .

Be analytical
You should be alert to what you are reading .While reading itself you should be able to form linkages between what you are reading now to the contents in other chapters or what you have studied.

Discussion is essential
Discuss what you have studied with your friends or someone else ,many points that were not clear to you earlier will become clear in the course of discussion. The method of discussion method will be a good change as mere reading can get quite stressful after a certain time.It also tell you wher you stand with respect to others.

DO not strain too much
If you stress too much it is bound to affect your efficiency .This is going to affect your output and the final performance.

Revise syllabus often
Revise you syllabus many times. you have not merely got to complete your syllabus but also to ensure that you have mastered it. In the race there are  still thousands  second,third,fourth ,fifth timer,freshers  who have already studied the subject during the undergraduate course,who are head of you .

Final revision
The last few days before the examination should be kept aside to renew and reinforce your past learning. It often happens that students go on reading till the examination .This method is not advisable as there is very little learning in the last few days of the examination but,what you have already learnt ,which is quite voluminous, gets forgotten for want of revision and re-reading.The net result-you lose much more than you gain. The last few days should be strictly kept aside to consolidate what has already learnt.
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     Weekend Special

The Civil Service provides an exciting opportunity full of challenges. There are very few services which provide such a vast range of challenges, a mix of field and policy making opportunity and opportunity to act as a key player in the national growth process.

About the author
B K Chaturvedi
The author is Member, Planning Commission, New Delhi. He started his career in the Indian Administrative Services and retired as Cabinet Secretary to Government of India.

The two important issues facing the nation today are how the economic growth can be accelerated and how benefits of growth and development can flow to the citizens in an efficient manner. Issues of governance have increasingly come to centre stage while working out strategies for the above. There is a strong view that corruption in civil service is endemic and funds provided by government leak very badly. I recall a recent discussion during a book launch when it was argued that from the famous fifteen paisa reaching the poor man, the amount is now reduced to five paisa. There are large technological changes taking place in our society. The aspirations and expectations of citizens from the government system are of delivery of service of the highest order of excellence.

It has to be emphasized that the onus is on civil servants to strengthen public administration and good governance. 
However, while working as part of policy making or field responsibilities, it may be useful to understand the nature of the relationship between the political executive and the civil service. It is also necessary to appreciate the enormous inconvenience and widespread corruption faced by the people while availing public service.


The independence of civil service in giving advice in policy-making and in performing field responsibilities is an important issue which has affected the functioning of the civil service in recent years. In the Constituent Assembly of India, on 10th October, 1949, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel said:
Some norms for civil servants
First-Maintain high personal integrity.
SECOND-Be fair in administering law,policies and administrative decisions.
THIRD-Develop an analytical ability to fully assess and understand issues.
FOURTH-Your motto should be to deliver results and work as an effective field officer. 
FIFTH-Use innovation and adoption of best practices .

“If you want an efficient
all-India service, I advise you to allow the service to open their mouth
If you are a Premier, it would be your duty to allow your Secretary, or
Chief Secretary, or other services working under you, to express their opinion without fear or favour. But I see a tendency today that in several provinces, the services are set upon and told, “No, you, are servicemen, you must carry out our orders.” The Union will go, you will not have a united India, if you do not have a good all-India service which has the independence to speak out its
mind, which has a sense of security that you will stand by your word and that after all, there is the Parliament, of which we can be proud, where their rights and privileges are secure. If you do not 
adopt this course,
then do not follow the present Constitution.
” And further:

“Today my Secretary can write a note opposed to my views. I have given that freedom to all my Secretaries. I have told them, “If you do not give your honest opinion for fear that it will displease your Minister, please then you had better go. I will bring another Secretary,” I will never be displeased over a frank expression of opinion.


Some norms for civil servants
SIXTH- Do not hesitate to take decisions.

SEVENTH-Assume full responsibility for achieving the targets .

EIGHTH-Be sensitive to the needs of poor.

NINTH-While advising Ministers and working as senior civil servants, analyse all the reasonable policy options which can be considered on the issue under examination. 

TENTH-Do not criticise Government policies in public discussions.

" In the initial years of independence, in the 1950s1 and even the early 1960s,the relationship between political executive and civil service was of trust and non-partisan functioning of the civil service. This trust has gradually given way to segmentation of
civil servants and their politicisation in many cases.  

Two different types of relationships have emerged. 

First covers those, who try to maintain a degree of integrity and upright behaviour.

Second covers those senior civil servants, who cosy up to the political
executive and go along with them, irrespective of the civil service norms, good
conduct or ethical 

Often,the second category is bifurcated when the political power is transferred from
one political party 
to the other. Invariably, one group of the committed faction of civil service starts its innings in close proximity with the political executive and the other committed class is put in the dog house. Of the first category, the number is gradually dwindling. There is increasingly a feeling that civil servants who fall in this category may not be treated fairly by the political class in respect of their assignments, transfers or their other service matters.


Some norms for civil servants
ELEVENTH-Develop inter-personal skills.
TWELFTH-Adapt to IT use.
THIRTEENTH-Put forward your point of view concisely and in a focused manner.
FOURTEENTH-Develop the ability to listen to visitors and different points of view carefully and patiently.

FIFTEENTH-Develop the ability to integrate and form a consensus view point consistent with the policy objective planned.
An important point, which is often overlooked in the above context,is the requirement of citizens for good governance. This is invariably a casualty when the political executive and the civil service cosy up to each other forgetting the
norms for good administration.

Two different types of relationships have emerged. First covers those who try to maintain a degree of integrity and upright behaviour.
Second covers those senior civil servants who cosy up to the political executive and go along with them irrespective of the civil service norms, good conduct or ethical behaviour. Often, the second category is bifurcated when the political power is
transferred from one political party to the other.

Some norms for civil servants

SIXTEENTH- Make a well-informed judgement
of ground realities and policies which will work.

SEVENTEENTH-Accept challenging assignments.

of grave provocation, stand by your principles and convictions.

NINETEENTH-Identify key target
areas which you must achieve

The Civil Service provides an exciting opportunity full of challenges.There are very few services which provide such a vast
range of challenges, a mix of field and policy making opportunity and opportunity to act as a key player in the national growth process. One has to be proud of one’s work and dedication to get full satisfaction from
these challenges. These, however, require qualities which one has to develop.
Senior civil servants belonging to All India Services (AIS) have a special responsibility,
in case they are to live up to the commitment with which they have entered the service. Business as usual cannot deliver
results. The civil service has to live up to certain norms of behaviour which,
in the long run will bring them success, but may be painful in the short run.
At times, acting in 
accordance with laws and rules or pointing out their implications may be termed as risk-aversing behaviour.One may be assigned
inconsequential jobs. There can be others who may try to get short-run advantages by using their closeness to political masters. In the long-run, however, persons who have acted in accordance with norms and delivered
results are generally able to come up and be recognized. Such 
civil servants are
well-respected by peer groups, subordinates, the people 
and even the political parties across the spectrum.
Civil Service has to follow norms of professional conduct. These will not only bring good governance agenda on centre stage, but also once again enhance the reputation of the All India Service as that of a steel frame which serves the country for growth and prosperity. It will also help in development of confidence of people in the civil services and earn them new respect.

          Some norms for civil servants

The civil service has to live up to certain norms of behaviour 
First, maintain high personal integrity. The strength of civil service is people’s faith in their absolute incorruptibility and honesty. This is specially so in top civil
servants who should be absolutely beyond reproach. 
This gives you strength to get your way with the political executive who respect such officers.
Even in corrupt regimes, such officers are respected.

Second, be fair in administering law,policies and administrative decisions. The biggest strength of civil servants is people’s faith in their impartial and fair actions and transparent functioning. Do make positive efforts to ensure that your decisions appear fair and transparent in people’s eyes as well. It is worth several battalions of paramilitary forces.

Third, people respect you for your knowledge and skills. Acquire thorough knowledge and develop an analytical ability to fully assess and understand issues which need to be addressed with adequate attention to details. Decisions arrived at, after full understanding of issues, are likely to be implementable and deliver
expected results.


Fourth, field jobs, on which civil service often has to spend time, provide an opportunity for change in the system. Your motto should be to deliver results and work as an effective field officer. This may require taking tough and unpopular decisions. It often requires “out of the box” thinking and taking action against the
corrupt. Don’t 
hesitate while taking the right action. fair in administering law, policies and
administrative decisions. The biggest strength of civil servants is people’s
faith in their impartial and fair actions and transparent functioning to make
positive efforts to ensure that your decisions appear fair and transparent in
people’s eyes as well. It is worth several battalions of paramilitary forces.

But be fair and just in your decisions.You may have to face difficult times in some cases.

Fifth, Good Governance is a Fundamental Right of the citizen. Identify gaps in public service delivery and implementation of schemes.Identify rules and regulations which are hampering progress and suggest changes to Government. Use innovation and adoption of best practices in implementation and
encourage its 
development in your team. Be openminded and mentally receptive to new ideas. Delivery of public services, if done efficiently, leads to consumer satisfaction, optimum use of financial resources, economic betterment and
lower corruption.

Sixth, the biggest disservice to the governance structure is to hesitate in taking decisions or deliberately avoiding it. Do not hesitate to take decisions. If you have reservations on your ability or are worried about being responsible for its consequence, don’t join the civil service. The entire career in civil service is about taking decisions and making clear policy recommendations for decision taking. Acts of omission often may go unnoticed or not punished. These are, however, extremely harmful for good governance.

Seventh, in civil service you may invariably be the leader of the pack. Assume full responsibility for achieving the targets and key performance parameters of the organization which you are heading. Learn to delegate authority but ensure effective leadership. This can come if

...the biggest disservice to the governance structure is to hesitate in taking decisions or deliberately avoiding it. Do not hesitate to take decisions. If you have reservations on your ability or are worried about being responsible for its consequence, don’t join the civil service. The entire career in civil service is about taking decisions and making clear policy recommendations for decision taking. Acts of omission often may go unnoticed or not punished. These are, however, extremely harmful for good governance.
you are perceived by your organization as not prone to blaming subordinates for shortcomings in any targets. This will earn respect from subordinates,colleagues and even seniors. It is an excellent remedy for success of leadership. 

Eighth, be sensitive to the needs of poor, especially marginalised groups, women, SC/ST and minorities. These are the groups which need your support the most. By
effective implementation of programmes for them and your empathy for their
welfare, you can help build an egalitarian society. Affirmative 
actions in their
favour build confidence in civil service.

Ninth, the political executive makes policies in consultation with civil servants for attaining certain objectives for the welfare of people.While advising Ministers and working as senior civil servants, analyse all the reasonable policy options which can be considered on the issue under examination. Examine also whether a policy, that the government is wanting to implement, is under any political compulsion and has short-term benefits only and not in the long-term national interest. If so, put forth your views clearly and logically. Suggest quite clearly, with reasons, why you consider any policy option as the most appropriate and meeting the policy objectives.While giving advice, do not anticipate what the Minister may like to hear. State what you consider the most appropriate course of action. You will be respected in the long run by peers,as well as the political executive.

Tenth, do not criticise Government policies in public discussions. As a civil servant, the responsibility on you is to provide support to the government to enable it to defend the policies. By criticising it, you are undermining government, as well as yourself. If the issue is really serious and you do not think that you can live with such government policies, you should consider quitting the job and undertake other assignments. 

Eleventh,develop inter-personal skills. In the modern world with wide range of
organisations, private sector expansion and technological explosion, it is important that you have good relations with persons from 
different sectors to enable you to access them when needed. It increases your effectiveness while handling difficult issues in the field.

Twelfth, adapt to IT use, new technologies and their use to ensure good governance. Information technology can help reduce delays, ensure efficient delivery of public services and cut down corruption. You must be, therefore, fully cognizant of its use and potential. Simplifying administrative procedures promotes good governance. 

Thirteenth, prepare well in advance to ensure effective articulation of the view point of your Ministry. Put forward your point of view concisely and in a focused manner. It is important that you absorb fully the issues at hand and are clear in your mind about the approach which you wish to take in any inter-ministerial forum.

Fourteenth, develop the ability to listen to visitors and different points of view carefully and patiently. An enormous amount of feedback about problems in the field and different approaches can be had in this manner.This is the best
learning method. 

Fifteenth, develop the ability to integrate and form a consensus view point consistent with the policy objective planned. While doing so, you should be able to evaluate and assess the technical, social and
 ...don’t criticise Government policies in public discussions. As a civil servant, the responsibility on you is to provide support to the government to enable it to defend the policies. By criticising it, you are undermining government as well as yourself. If the issue is really serious and you don’t think that you can live with such government policies, you should consider quitting the job and undertake other assignments.

political dimensions of the problem.This is extremely critical at senior policy-making levels where different approaches and points of view have to be put together. You should not be shy of taking tough decisions in the interest of effective policy implementation. 

Sixteenth, make a well-informed judgement of ground realities and policies which will work. Have a feedback on the proposed policies from those working in different geographical area where the proposed policies or plans are supposed to be implemented. Ensure enough flexibility with ground realities in your plans. 

Seventeenth, accept challenging assignments. Do not try to wriggle out of
it. Often, these assignments involve tough decision taking and have risk of failure.
Success can be assured if you have accepted the challenging job and are working
diligently with all stakeholders as a team. This will give 
you visibility and
test your ability to handle tough assignments.

Eighteenth, in face of grave provocation,stand by your principles and convictions. Do not lose your cool. The administrative challenges are varied and involve wide varieties of people and organisations with vested interests. You can handle them only if you are considering all questions coolly and objectively.

Nineteenth, civil servants are accountable to Government. There is, however, public accountability also. Identify key target areas which you must achieve during your work based on face of grave provocation,stand by your principles and convictions. Do not lose your cool. The administrative challenges are varied and involve wide varieties of people and organisations with vested interests. You can handle them only if you are considering all questions coolly and objectively

Government policy and programmes.Identify people’s felt needs and enmesh them in your program too.
An interesting aspect, in the above context, is the relative responsibility of political
executive and the civil service in improving the governance system. It has to be emphasized that onus is on civil servants to strengthen public administration and good governance. However, while working as part of policy making or field responsibilities, it may be useful to understand the nature of relationship between the political executive and the civil service.

It is also necessary to appreciate the enormous inconvenience and widespread
corruption faced by the people while availing public service. 

For strengthening civil services following points,therefore, need special focus: 


For strengthening CIVIL SERVICES  points below need special focus

  1. Guilty of corruption have to be identified and punished quickly.
  2. It is necessary to make public service delivery procedures simple.
  3. Exercise of power has to be done with an independent application of mind.
  4. The civil servant is free to express his views freely, one cannot keep opposing a decision taken by the government .
  5. The civil servants have to be clear on their course of action for handling the serious situations. 

First, the corruption in governance system and delivery of public services is quite widespread. It has to be tackled initially by
preventing possibility of corruption. For this, it is necessary to make public service delivery procedures simple, use of Information Technology and bringing in
transparency in decision taking. Next, those guilty of corruption have to be identified and punished quickly.

Second, it is useful to recall that the All India Services are creatures of the constitution (Article 312). While the services have to follow the policies laid down by the Government headed by the political executive, they also have
legal obligations under certain statutes, whenever they exercise those powers. Such exercise of power has to be done with an independent application of mind.

Third, it is important that Civil Servants clearly bring out their views in writing while doing an analysis of the issues concerned when engaged in the task of policy making. If certain government policy is not in public interest and may lead to harmful results, this has to be clearly brought out in your notes and analysis. Once, however, you have clearly mentioned your view and a considered decision has been taken, it has to be implemented with full vigour. Thus, while the civil servant is free to express his views freely, one cannot keep opposing a decision taken by the government unless there are serious intellectual differences. In such cases, one should consider quitting the job and undertake new assignments.

Fourth, there may be complex situations in which Ministers and some civil servants try to push illegal orders on subordinates. This could be because of ulterior monetary interest or corruption. There could be Mafia. In all this foggy and unclear vision, the civil servants have to be clear on their course of action for handling these situations. The approach should be quite clear to them while handling these situations.

First, orders which are illegal or against any statutes or interfere with your exercise of authority vested in you under a law, have to be ignored. Second, administrative orders, if you find unfair or unjust, must be protested against with reasons. If reiterated, these have to be implemented. It may in some cases, cause damage to one’s career. In the long-run, however, peers and colleagues respect you for it. In many cases, colleagues and seniors come forward to undo the damage to your career caused by your not is useful to recall that the All India Services are creatures of the constitution (Article 312). While the services have to follow the policies laid down by the Government headed by the political
executive, they also have legal obligations under certain statutes, whenever they exercise those powers. Such exercise of power has to be done with an independent application of mind.

implementing unfair or unjust orders.Success has its price. It cannot be built on falsehoods, inequity and illegality.

The political executive which is responsible to the legislature has to also reconsider how the governance can be strengthened. The norms of conduct mentioned above will need a strong political consensus. They may need to discuss it across the
country and their readiness to act on it as Sardar Patel had advised more than
six decades back.

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