City Montessori School ,Lucknow organised Careers Day on May 3,2015(Sunday).The audience was about 2000 students of classes 11 and 12 , and their parents. What I spoke there as a Guest Speaker is as below.
1.Do you want to be a job provider or a job seeker?
2. If you are a job seeker(as opposed to a job provider), do you want to seek job in government sector , private sector or the non-government sector(NGO).?
3.If you want to seek job in government , do you want to seek a job in armed forces or civil services.?
4.If you want to seek a job in civil services, do you want to join All India Services, Central Services,or you want to join Provincial civil services?
5.If you want to seek job in All India Services, do you want to join IAS , or IPS or Indian Forest Service?
6.If you want to join central services , do you want to join Indian Foreign Service , Indian Revenue Service , Indian Customs and Central Excise Service, Indian Railway Traffic Service or Indian Postal Service or Indian Audit and Accounts Service?
7.If you want to join Provincial civil service , do you want to join PCS, or Agriculture or Transport or Trade Tax or Cooperatives Services.?
At present , most of applicants opt for IAS as their first preference because this service occupies most of the important posts at the centre as well as in the states.Many applicants also opt for Indian Foreign Service as the first option .A few also opt for IPS as the first option .
The main positive factors in the favour of IAS and civil services are the security of tenure under article 311 of the constitution of India.All India services (IAS,IPS , I Fo.S) have a constitutional status under article 312 of the Constitution of India.Most of the posts at the level of Secretary , both at the centre and at the states are manned by IAS.They get rich experience and opportunity to formulate the policies and laws in all areas of governance , giving them wide and variety of jobs.No other Service has such opportunities.The IAS officers become District Collector and Magistrates at a young age, giving them opportunities to develop leadership and serve people.They sustain democracy by conducting fair and free elections under the Election Commission of India.
The downsides of IAS are nexus with political corruption,frequent transfers for not obliging the authorities, getting insignificant posts if they do not bend rules to fulfil the wishes of Ministers, increasing politicisation which is a threat to fair governance and to democracy.There are hardly any rewards or punishment based on performance resulting in mediocrity.Sometimes IAS officers doing very good work are punished because they adversely impact some powerful vested interests.As TS R Subrmanian has said in his piece "Belling the Mice"in the Indian Express;"As our democracy has evolved, the root of the issue is that the politics is now an unregulated business,largely aimed at the generation of illegal wealth-- do the states have the will to fight corruption? .Take any state and one will find that the polity is heavily dependent on the sand , land , liquor, excise , forest and/or builder groups, which call the shots I our far flung districts and state headquarters, politics is not for public service-it is a passport to unheard-of riches." It is in this scenario that the IAS officers have to operate.Any upright and honest IAS officer has to do a really tight-rope walking to survive and to do his main job of governance , development and public service.
The odds are high that bright young persons may get deterred from joining the IAS.But that would be unfortunate , because our country(India) desperately needs youth with character , integrity, competence , compassion to join the IAS, because without them, democracy and governance cannot survive in India. they can help the democracy to survive in India