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Career Guidance

CAREER IN HOSPITALITY SECTOR

If you love to look after people, bring a smile to their faces, cook them a nice dish, and give them an experience to remember, then the hospitality industry is the place for you. Today, hospitality education is a coveted career and the National Council receives four times more applications than its fixed intake. India has nearly 150 institutes in the approved category, both in the government and private sector. And there are 25 craft-level institutes, which impart short courses. Hospitality institutes produce 14,000 graduates, of which 4,000 are diploma and certificate holders. So, 18,000 trained professional’s are produced every year, 22 percent at the skills level and 78 per cent at graduate level. A survey by the Ministry of Tourism indicates that there is a demand for 2.03 lakh trained hospitality professionals every year of which 66 percent is at skill level, and 34per cent at managerial level.

The hospitality sector is essentially divided into four broad functions: Food Production, where food is designed and created, Food & Beverage Service (F&B), where the guests needs are looked after in a restaurant or in an office cafeteria, Front Office, that welcomes a guest and tries to make the stay as hassle-free as possible and Accommodation Management, where the staff sees that you feel at home in your room. In fact, the wellness industry that includes spa and fitness is becoming a popular service in hospitality. Food production, where chefs work in smoky, steamy rooms was ones a big attraction for many young people wanting to join the industry. But now young people prefer front office job and F & B service to food production.

While hotel management institutes prepare students for a managerial role, the industry wants to hire them as waiters, to begin with. While the industry needs people with managerial qualities, it’s only after a few years that young graduates can step into that role. “People have to walk in with the right attitude. No job is big or small. Period. You must have a positive outlook, always, “You have to anticipate the needs of your guests and how else can you do that if you do not love your work? You cannot fast-track in this line of work. The only way to do it is by working hard and being very good in your work: that comes with years of hard work, ”. The work pressure is high and there are occasions when you may be shouted at by a senior. “Either you look at it as a punishment or an opportunity to learn, ”. The same people who shout at you are the ones who reward you as well. This is no ordinary industry. You have to be motivated, passionate and energetic and it has to come from the heart.

OPPORTUNITIES

There are jobs available on land, at sea and in the air. You could work at hotels, organizations such as Mind Tree, Maruti Suzuki, in hospitals, the retail industry, defense establishments, banks and even the insurance sector. Within the hotel industry, there are options of joining HR or sales and marketing. In fact, hospitality is an indispensable function in every sector. Also, there’s a demand for outsourcing managers as most corporate and hospitals outsource their support services and needs a person with management skills and a good understanding of the hospitality industry to manage Food Production, F & B, Front Office and Housekeeping.

Once in the industry, you could be shaking hands with Rahul Gandhi or taking pictures with Sachin Tendulkar and Katrina Kaif , but don’t forget here’s work to be done too. Many come here thinking that it’s glamorous job. No other industry offers such refund working environment and dignity. Hospitality is not a job, it’s a life style. So, in addition to an over view of how and where to study we will give you an insight to international exposure.

ADMINISION INFO

The admission to the programme is done through the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Candidates can get admission in 21 Central Institutes of Hotel Management, eight State Government Institutes of Hotel Management, 12 private institute of Hotel Management affiliated with the National Council of Hotel Management and Catering Technology and five Food Craft Institutes located in different parts of the country. There are approximately 6,000 seats combined in all these institutes for admission to BSc Hospitality and Hotel Administration programme . In all, there are 41 institutes in the country that are affiliated with the National Council of Hotel Management and Catering Technology. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

• Pass in 10+2 or equivalent examination with English as a subject. Those who are appearing for class 12          exams can also apply.
• Also a candidate should not be more than 22 years of age (25 years for SC/ST) as on July ,1 , 2010.
• Selection for PG programmes is merit based.

TENTATIVE DATES

• Date of Entrance Examination: May 2nd week.
• Availability of Application Forms: February 3rd week.
• Last Date for receipt of completed application forms: April 2nd week.
• Declaration of Results: June 1st week.
Please note that the dates are only tentative and are not final.

EXAM PATTERN

The paper will be of 3 hour’s duration consisting of multiple choice questions divided in the following sections :
• Numerical Ability and Scientific Aptitude-30 questions.
• Reasoning and Logical Deduction-30 questions.
• GK & Current Affairs-30 questions
• English Language-80 questions
• Aptitude for Service Sector-30 questions.

There will be negative marking up to ½ marks for all the sections except Aptitude for Service Sector.

HOSPITALITY EDUCATION AROUND THE WORLD.

Countries like Switzerland are traditionally renowned for their topnotch hospitality programes . With approximately. 5,600 hotels and more than 35 million guest every year, it has ensured quality schools, here. The Swiss Hotel Schools Association (ASEH), a major body, ensures high standards of professionalism in the hotel schools, “The Swiss have a long tradition of innovation and skill based training and this has resulted in the alumni reaching successful positions internationally. Internship-model schools, is another traditions, which allows a student to work and learn, alongside. For instance, the Cornell University campus houses the The Statler Hotel & JW Willard Mariott Executive Education Center. Hence, it’s like a “laboratory for students on campus which offers state-of-the-art equipment and a real-life hotel to practice their skills”. Gilion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland also has a very strong internship model.

When choosing a programme , especially at the graduate level, explore if the institute offers internships. For instance, the Les Roches , International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland requires students to do their internships in the second, fourth and sixth semesters of the eight-semester programme , and students intern with world-class hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Shangri-La. Some institutes offer a job-hunting module, which includes resume writing, interviewing skills and marketing yourself to the industry. For instance, EHL runs an online job platform for alumni with a searchable database of current jobs in the industry. The IMI University Centre, Switzerland, besides offering an online alumni database and careers fairs, also helps with campus recruitments. Also, check for institutional visits to hotels, resorts and learning new languages. Sniff out those perks. On an average, a graduate programme will cost between eight to 15 lakhs per year, including tuition and boarding in an international institute.

A WORD OF CAUTION

“Many hospitality management institutions are managed by private providers and not much benchmarking exists in it yet. So, it’s good idea to check with well-established professionals and alumni, and get their opinion before joining a school. Here is wishing you all the best in your quest.

PATRICK R BRAGGS
CAP CELL Co – ordinator & nodal officer
For further details visit- www.upscportal.com

Career in Indian Railways

Since the first flower and tilak -bedecked steam engine was flagged off amidst great fanfare from Boribandar in Mumbai on its maiden 34 km voyage to Thane on 16 April, 1853, the Indian Railways have come a long way. Covering a vast distance of 63,327 km, it is today Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest railway network. It is rightly considered the ‘lifeline’ of India since it still remains the principal mode of transport, having absorbed new advances in railway technology to keep pace with the ever-increasing demands of moving large volumes of passenger land freight traffic. No wonder, Indian Railways have emerged as the largest public sector undertaking in the country with an investment of Rs.37 ,905 crore for 2009 – 2010 Indian Railways employ over 1.6 million –much more than the combined strength of the Indian Army, Navy and Air force put together! About 10,000 personnel are recruited each year into four categories-Groups A, B, C and D. While some of these jobs entail a minimum qualification of matriculation (Class X), others require a degree in Humanities, Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, etc. The range of employees thus includes officers, engineers, financial experts, technicians, office clerks and unskilled labour . Even computer scientists can find a foothold in this service, as Indian Railways are increasingly using computers for ticketing and processing information in various spheres. There are ample job opportunities for both young men and women with attractive emoluments, perks and retirement benefits, Indian Railways, virtually a mini society in itself-considering the plethora of jobs it offers, also provide several avenues for self-employment by sanctioning licenses for running bookstalls, canteens, platform-vending facilities f various types, supply of stores and works contracts Whereas in western countries, switching of jobs is a routine matter, for most of us in India the first job-be it in a government or in a private organization, still remains a lifelong commitment. Before you make your choice, it is vital to know as much as possible about the organization you wish to join. This article attempts to do just that. So go ahead….soak it all in.

Indian Railways, which is fully owned and managed by the Central Government, has the onerous task of catering to the multiple needs of a large population and a developing economy. Added to this, it has to overcome the various geographical constraints to link up remote places in the country. In order to provide proper coordination and control, Indian Railways exhibit a distinct structural mechanism and management style. Some Key Statistics The IR network has a route length of 63,465 km and a total track length of 1 ,08,920 km. While most of the rail traffic is carried on what is known as Broad Gauge (1667 mm), there are also Metre Gauge (1000 mm) and Narrow Gauge (762mm) and (610 mm) tracks as well. The IR have decided to adopt a unigauge policy, and plan to convert all metre and narrow gauge tracks to BG. Currently 63.2% of the total route length is already in broad gauge, handling 95% of the freight output and 88.7% of the passenger output. 28 states and 1 Union Territory have a railway network with routes varying in length from 1 km to 8,944 km – only Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have no railway lines. Also, 6480 million passengers traveled by train and 730 million tonnes of freight was carried by the Indian Railways. Over one per cent of the population travels by train daily. Earnings from passenger traffic formed 26.9 per cent of the gross earnings of the Indian Railways. Suburban passengers, who constitute 62 per cent of the total passengers, account for only 11.7 per cent of the passenger revenue because of heavily discounted monthly season tickets. While the freight revenue amounted to 68.1 per cent, the remaining 5 per cent of the earnings were from parcels and other services.

Personnel

Railway employees are divided into four groups: Group A, B, C and D. Management personnel (Group A & B, i.e. gazetted posts) make up 0.85% of the strength, while Group C and D comprise 55.09% and 44.06% respectively of the total work force. Of the employees in Group C & D, 5.13 lakh (31.40 %) are workshop employees and artisans and 11.22 lakh (68.60%) form other categories including running staff (Drivers, Shunters , Assistant Drivers, Firemen, Guards, etc.). The Railway protection Force and special Force totaled 63,906 personnel. With the technological changes taking place at a rapid pace in the last three decades the railways have been reducing the number of Group D staff who are predominantly unskilled labour and correspondingly there has been a gradual increase in the number of skilled staff belonging to Group C. This trend will continue and in the next ten years there will be very few unskilled personnel in the IR.

The Railway Organization When compared to other modes of transportation, IR have a distinct unity of organization since it is owned and worked by a single agency with organized preventive maintenance, unitary control system and a strict code of operation for all operators across the board. The transportation of goods and passengers is the end product of the railway system and a large number of departments coordinate with each other in this endeavor. For administrative convenience there is well-defined functional and territorial division in the IR. There is a three-tier central management comprising of Railway Board, Zone and Division.

Other Areas of Activities There are a number of other activities conducted by the Indian Railways besides the ones already described. These activities fall, under six major heads: 1. Production Units
2. Research
3. Railway Electrification
4. Human Resources Development
5. consultancy
6. Specialized Services.

Segmentation
World over the Railway Organizations have common labour market scenario. The requirement of skills of the Railwaymen and their career progression have great similarities with the advantage that most of the Railway employees could be acceptable in any Railway Organization world over. There is a strong sense of departmentalism is the Railway hierarchy. Except at the level of Divisional Railway Manager and Zonal general Manager, which is roughly equal to 4 or 5 years of the career, the IR officers operate in nearly water tight compartments. Traditionally this has been the atmosphere in most of the World Railway Organizations. The objectives of the Railway Organization have continued to be achieved by synchronization of the excellence of the teams of the various disciplines. This arrangement has disallowed the predominance of certain skills, expertise and knowledge of a group of personnel over others. Therefore, the new entrants in the various disciplines feel at home right from the beginning and their movement up the ladder of their career is virtually the same for everybody. The career progression is predictable and there is a sense of security and assurance, which basically are the reasons for anybody joining the Government service.

Loyalty
Railwaymen have a strong sense of loyalty maybe like the personnel of Armed Services. In India there have been generations in the Army and similar is the case in the Railways. Being born and brought up in Railway colonies it is but natural for the children of Railway persons to appreciate the atmosphere of brotherhood which is quite evident in most of the places. Railway administration has been keeping alive the tradition to give preference to the wards of Railway employees at the time of recruitment. This has won the loyalty of the Railway employees. Except in the case of certain categories of group A engineering officers, there are hardly cases of Railway persons leaving their jobs for better opportunities elsewhere. The turn over is very low and this feature is again common with the foreign Railway Organizations. Railway employment is virtually a life long employment contract.

Recruitment
The officers and staff of Indian Railways are recruited according to their group classification. The gazetted positions comprise all Group A posts and Group B posts. These form the officer cadres which perform executive functions. The Union Public Service Commission is the recruiting agency for the gazette ranks. While Group C forms the skilled labour , clerical staff and supervisors, Group D is characterized by the unskilled/semi-skilled labour .

Group A services of the Indian Railways as follows :
1. Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
2. Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS )
3. Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS )
4. Railway Protection Force (RPF )
5. Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE )
6. Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers( IRSME)
7. Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers( IRSEE)
8. Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE )
9. Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS )
10. Indian Railways Medical Service (IRMS).

Recruitment to these services is done by the Union Public service Commission every year. However, this recruitment is not done exclusively for the Indian Railways, The process is clubbed with the recruitment of Group A services of other Central Government Organizations. The selection for the first four services is done as a part of the Civil services Examination popularly known a IAS and Allied services. Selection for the service from numbers 5 to 9 is held by the UPSC as part of the Engineering Services Examination. The Selection for IRMS is held by the UPSC together with the medical services of other central government organizations. Special class Railway Apprentices Examination

A separate examination is conducted by the UPSC for the recruitment of junior officers in the service of Technical Engineers, called the Special Class Railway Apprentices. These candidates are selected at the pre-graduate level (10 +2 with Maths and Physics). After selection they are trained by the Railways and paid a stipend. Candidates appear for an examination conducted in two parts:

Part I : Consists of a written examination of a total of 700 marks; 100 marks in each of the seven subjects including English, General Knowledge, Physics, Chemistry, Math I, Math II and Psychological Test.

Part II: Comprises a personality test, with a maximum of 200 marks.

The questions are approximately of intermediate level. All selected candidates have to execute a bond/agreement to serve in the Indian Railways on completion of their training, failing which they have to refund the amount paid to them. The apprentices have to undergo practical and theoretical training for four years. The training is given in railway workshops in four periods of one year each, six months in a workshop being followed by six months in the Indian Railway Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur . At the end of each session, an examination has to be passed. After successful completion of training, they are appointed as assistant mechanical engineers.

Group C staff constitutes about 54% of the total strength of about 16.5 lakh manpower and they are the backbone of the Indian Railways. Skilled technicians, technical, and non-technical supervisors, drivers, station masters. Booking clerks, office staff, teachers, Para-medical personnel, etc.from this group.

Recruitment for Group C posts in Railways is done through:
i ) direct recruitment
ii )Promotion
iii) transfer from other government offices.

The Staff Selection Commission of UPSC, which deals with the recruitment of Group C staff of all Central Govt. agencies, recruits the staff for Railway Board Secretariat also. Recruitment for the rest of the Indian Railways is done by the Railway Recruitment Boards for the various Zonal Railways, Production Units and other railway centers.

Pattern of written test Written tests for the selection of candidates for all Group C categories follow one basic pattern. In 2 hours time, about 160-175 multiple choice objective type questions are asked. The standard questions vary according to the levels-Metric, 10+2, Graduate, Diploma, and Degree, as per the minimum qualification required. For non-technical posts the questions are equally divided into 4 groups :
i ) General English,
ii) Arithmetic,
iii) General Knowledge, and
iv) General Intelligence.
For technical posts, besides the above, a fifth set of questions is added to test the requisite technical, specialized aptitude of the candidate.

Technical skill test For the posts of typists and stenographers, a practical test is held to judge the speed and accuracy of the candidate. After passing the skill test, the candidate is required to appear in the interview. Psychological test While recruiting Assistant Engine Drivers and assistant Station Masters, the Railways make the candidates pass a psychological test conducted by their own specialists of the Research, Designs and standardization Organization (RDSO), Lucknow , which judges the level of mental stability and safety consciousness of the candidates.

Interview Approximately equal to two and a half times the number of vacancies, the candidates are called for the interview as per the merit in the written examination. Wherever a skill or psychological test is to be held, the number of candidates declared passed in the written test may be five times the number of vacancies. I hope now you have got a fair idea as to how to go about entering Railway Service. Good Luck to your quest. Patrick Braggs Cap Cell coordinator and Nodal officer. For further details visit- www.upscportal.com CAREER IN TELEVISION AND BROADCASTING

When you think of television, the faces that flash upon your mind are Dr Pranoy Roy, Barkha Dutt , Rajdeep Sardesai , Cyrus Broacha , Larry King, Oprah Winfrey, Rajat Sharma, Jaaved Jaffrey. Yes, television is a medium that spells glamour with a capital G, big money and instant fame. It’s also the medium that brings virtual reality into your home-events as they happen, when they happen. In fact, television creates its own reality by seizing the inner space of the viewer’s mind and dominating it. Undoubtedly the most powerful medium of modern technology, it determines the success or failure of political campaigns, the battle of economic ideas and the launching of new products and events. Such is the power of television that what does not appear on television does not exist for the new generation. Why, even the seating in most Indian homes is arranged the idiot box!

The unprecedented boom in the Indian television and broadcasting industry caused by the proliferation of channels and entry of multinational media networks has created a great demand for skilled talent at all levels; on the creative side as well as on the business front, both in front of the camera as well as behind it.

Opportunities are unlimited both for the flamboyant extrovert and the shy introvert, for actors, performers, designers, marketing and management whizkids , political pundits, economic forecasters, writers, news commentators, engineers and technicians. This industry offers careers for anyone with the desire and ability to succeed.

If you are creative, enterprising, tenacious and a good team player, you can become a celebrity basking in the limelight. On the other hand, you could opt for equally interesting and varied jobs behind the screen. Just run your eyes through the array of career opportunities that exist and choose the one that best matches your talents, temperament and aspirations: Producer, Director, Announcer, Cameraman, Correspondent, Costume Designer, Dressmaker, Floor Manager, Graphics Designer, Lighting Director, Make Up Artist, Music Composer, News Reader, Presenter, Production Assistant, Programme Coordinator, Researcher, Script Editor, Scriptwriter, Set Designer, Sound Operator, Studio Manager, Recording Operator, Transmission Controller, Videotape Editor, Vision Mixer (online editor)… In the early 90’s when Zee TV was launched, nobody thought it would become a force to reckon with in the Indian satellite television industry. Today not only does the group have multi channels in its fold but it is also set to launch many more. Also, Zee TV has been launched in the US and UK to cater to the growing demand in these markets throwing up some exciting opportunities for overseas jobs. The other interesting case is that of the Murodoch -owned News Corp group which has been sinking money in the Indian market with Star Plus as its main channel. They have realized that language is a very critical factor in order to sustain operations in the country and hence moved to the usual soaps and entertainment format to break-even.

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When a second Hindi entertainment Channel Sony Television was launched following the success of Zee TV, nobody gave it a chance, in the light of the clout that Zee had garnered in the few years of its existence. Not only did the channel survive, but it has also managed to make a tidy profit. Nonetheless, most of the channels are pay channels and hence create new employment opportunities in the area of distribution and collection. Nothing can be sustained in perpetuity; television is no exception. With the rise of the great television boom, market dynamics too have changed. The war has begun. Some years ago when television experts talked about the many choices available in a multi-channel world, little did they realize that all those channels would be owned by just a handful of players battling it out for supremacy. Consolidation is now the name of the game.

Having explored the vast gamut of opportunities in television and broadcasting, we shall now explore the working conditions and the essentials required to succeed in this booming industry. So, if you’ve got what it takes, fasten your seat belts and get going……! Before deciding upon a career in television and broadcasting, you must critically evaluate your personality and aptitude to make sure you’ve got what it takes. It would be unwise to get swayed by the impression of glamour, money and stardom that television creates. Remember that a great deal of hard work goes into each project. The standards are exacting and the pressures immense. Individualistic styles of working do not find acceptance here and considerable time, even years, must pass before you are acknowledged as a professional in your field. The competition is intense and only the best win. Errors could cost you very dearly.

If you believe that you are cut out for a career in television or broadcasting, go for it. But only after matching the area of specialization which will suit you best. As we have seen, television programmes , come in a variety of styles and formats. Working for a game show or a soap opera is vastly different from contributing to a news and current affairs programme . It would be unwise to stray into an area too far removed from your aptitude and interest. Examine the programmes screened, decide on the genre which fascinates you, and then zero in. If any grey areas remain, do not hesitate to check them out. And at all times, be open to learning: remember that even a spot boy or a lighting assistant could teach you a thing or two.

Working in television and radio is as demanding as it is exciting. As against the standard 8-hour shift in the film industry, a TV shift consists of 10-12 hours. You would have to work while the world sleeps or relaxes on holidays. But it would be a very different kind of toil. Labouring with you would be the entire team and the studio which is a world in itself, manned by production professionals tirelessly piecing together the programme , soap opera or documentary feature with exacting detail. If you thought these crazy hours are a bane, you thought wrong; dead wrong. Because at the end of a hard day/night you will be bone tired, but very pleasantly so. The sense of creative satisfaction, of fulfillment, the sheer joy of seeing your name recorded forever in the credits, would more than amply make up for stiff backs. Another wonderful aspect about working in television, is the democratic, equitable atmosphere. There are no formal “Yes Sirs” here. Everybody, no matter how young or old, senior or junior, is addressed on a first name basis. The world of television is a world of excellence tempered with informality. Not that hierarchies don’t exist. They do, and in a very will defined sequence. But they are not overpowering; they are enforced in a subtle fashion.

Since ideas dominate this business, you can always be sure that your views and opinions will be encouraged and may even merit acceptance and implementation if they make sense. It is the idea which reigns supreme here, and ideas are never dull or boring. No matter how many decades you spend in this industry, you will find yourself doing something new, something different ever so often; a different story, programme , set graphic or a different voice-over. Now compare this to that of a stiff corporate job and the contrast is uncomfortably sharp. In the electronic media, your success is determined predominantly by one thing-how good you are. If you prove your ability, you could be on an upward spiral which would multiply your rank and compensation package far quicker than any other career. To keep pace with technical advancements in this field, formal training has become a necessity although in some cases, on-the-job experience would suffice. Besides, with the entry of the private sector into radio and televisions, the prospects for aspirants have multiplied. It is estimated the television industry will require at least 90,000 trained professionals. Television jobs are rarely advertised. So, try and crack an entry by approaching studios and production houses, even well know television personalities companies and talent scouts directly. Networking is the name of the game. If you don’t have personal friends in the business, tap family friends and acquaintances to see if they have any connections, however remote. All the Central and State Ministries have their independent Public Relations and Audio Video Departments. From time to time, these departments advertise their requirements for empanelment of independent Producers, Directors and Storywriters. Consequently, several institutions offering short and long – term courses have emerged. One way to start is to first undertake a suitable course. Alternately, you could try and directly find work as an assistant. For those of you who are in a hurry to get a job, you could bypass the formal training and straight away seek apprenticeship, provided you are prepared to accept the slow and steady movement up the ladder. For FM, it is a good idea to temper your CV with a C.D. of your voice in different styles and speeds. Languages too, if you can. But don’t sham your voice; be natural, be yourself. Speak clearly, precisely and naturally. Make sure that your CV expresses you sufficiently as a person; do not skip details in an effort at appearing modest or considering certain details as trivial. You have a right to be proud of your abilities and achievements.

As you continue to advance in your profession, it would be a good idea to compile a C.D carrying recorded copies of your work. This will be quiet helpful since every project you work on, will carry your name in the credits. In this industry, your showreel matters far more than your C.V. An Impressive showreel makes all the difference since it is the most tangible proof and testimony of your professional competence. If you are serious about a career in this industry you’ve got to be in one of the major centers; preferably Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkatta or Bangalore so be prepared to move to one of these cities if you are really keen about getting your foot past the door. A final word: every success, no matter how big or small, is built on unflagging will. During World War II, the Allies raised crack troops called the Special Airborne Squadron ( SAS) who had an inspiring motto; HE WHO DARES, WINS. And win they did! To taste victory, you must realize your potential in the fullest possible measure, try your hardest and never give up. In this industry it’s not the lack of talent that trips people up, but lack of tenacity. So good luck in your quest.
Patrick Braggs Cap Cell coordinator and Nodal officer.
For further details visit- www.upscportal.com

You Too Can Be An IAS Officer

Sometimes in your childhood you would have dreamt of taking up a service, through which you can leave a lasting impression in the life of many people. The civil service is one such service that gives you such an opportunity. But you do not know the ways and means of joining the IAS. You may be seeking answers to questions like, what is the eligibility criteria , what is the competitive examination and what is the plan of examination. Some times you would have been discouraged by the fear that the competitive examination is too difficult to pass. You would have hesitated to write the exam on the suspicion that this service is meant for men & women of high social status, economic background and political connections. I shall clarify all these doubts of yours right now.

In order to become an IAS officer you should pass the Civil Service Examination, which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. This examination is conducted every year to select candidates for IAS and 21 other services, such as Indian Foreign Services (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Audit And Account Service (IAAS), Indian Customs and Central Exercise Service, Indian Revenue Service, Group A, Indian Postal Service, Indian Railway Traffic, Account or Personal Service, Indian Information Service.

The number of vacancies to be filled up each year in all the above services would be around 350 and that of the IAS is around 50. Eligibility Criteria
a. You should be a citizen of India.
b. You must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30. The 1st of August of the year is the reference date to calculate your exact age.
c.You should hold a degree of any University. However to appear for Preliminary examination, you are eligible if you are appearing for the Final Year examination. You are eligible, if you are degree holder in a professional course like MBBS, BDS, BE etc. In the case of MBBS, even if you are doing the Internship you are eligible for writing the Civil Service Examination FEE

You don’t have to pay a large sum of fee. It is only Rs.50/-.

HOW TO APPLY
The application form developed by the UPSC is available in the Head Post Office. The filled in application form should be submitted directly to the Secretary, Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi. You should write on top of the envelope the name of the examination

VIZ
Civil Services (Preliminary examination. Last date for receipt of application for the examination would usually be the first week of January. PLAN OF EXAMINATION The Civil Services Examination is a competitive examination, which comprises two stages. They are
1. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination for selection of candidates for main examination. This is an objective type examination. You should qualify in this exam.
2. Civil Services (Main) Examination comprises a written test and an interview. This is for selection of candidates for various services and posts.
Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination
This consists of two papers of objective type multiple choices questions and each question should be answered. This exam would carry 450 marks. Paper –I General studies carries 150 marks and Paper –II optional subject carries 300 marks. The list of optional subjects for preliminary exam are Agriculture, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Indian History, Law, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Sciences, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics and Zoology. Each paper will be of two hours duration. The Question would be of objective type. Question papers will be set both in Hindi and in English. The Course content of the syllabi for the optional will be of the degree level only. This Examination is only a screening test for admitting candidates for main Examination. The marks obtained in preliminary examination would not be counted for determining their final order of merit. Approximately 5000 candidates are selected. You should pass the preliminary examination to be one among this group.

Civil Services ( Main) Examination The Main Examination will consist of
a. Written Examination (Main) and
b. Interview
The written Examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type. They are:
Paper-I One of the Indian Languages 300 marks
Paper-II English 300 marks
Paper-III Essay 200 marks
Paper-IV General Studies-I 300 marks
Paper-V General Studies-II 300 marks
Paper-VI Optional-I Part-I 300 marks
Paper-VII Optional-I Part-II 300 marks
Paper-VIII Optional-II Part-I 300 marks
Paper-IX Optional-II Part-II 300 marks
Here you must remember that in the Civil Services (Main) Examination, you should select two optional subjects for four papers, Paper-VI to IX. Your degree subject could be one of the optionals (but it is not a must that you choose your degree subject) and you should carefully select a second subject. The optional subjects for main Examination are Agriculture; Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Sciences, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce & Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science & International Relation, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology and Literature of any one of the Indian languages. I will advise you to choose the subject of your graduation as optional-I; and you may choose another subject Optional – II; based on your interest in the subject. However, if you are good at language, you may choose mother tongue, as second optional for, it is easy to score high marks in language subject than others.

1. The paper on Indian language and English will be of matriculation standard. They will be of qualifying nature and marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
2. The paper on Essay, General Studies and Optional subjects of only such candidate will be evaluated as attained such minimum standard for their qualifying paper on Indian language and English.
3. The question papers of the exam will be Essay type.
4. Each paper will be of 3 hours duration.
5. Candidates have the option to answer all papers except language paper (Paper I and II) in any of the language included in the 8th schedule of Constitution or in English.
6. The question paper other than language paper will be set both in Hindi and English.

INTERVIEW
The result of the main exam will be announced in March. Once you have scored required marks in the main (written) examination; you will be called for an interview in New Delhi. You will be interviewed by a Board, comprising of a Chairman and 4 members. Your career record would be available with the members of the board. The members would ask you question on matters of general interest or on your subjects, in degree examination. You shall always remember that the object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service. This test is intended to judge the mental calibre of the candidate. Test is really an assessment of not only intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alterness , critical power of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement , variety and depth of interest, ability of social cohesion, leadership, intelligence and integrity.

The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross examination but of a natural-though directed-and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate. Interview would be held during the month of April – May in New Delhi.

WHEN ARE YOU A SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE?
The UPSC publishes a list of successful candidates subjectto reservation during June of every year. The marks that are counted for the final ranking is as follows.
Paper –III – 200 marks
Paper – IV – 300 marks
Paper – V – 300 marks
Paper – VI – 300 marks
Paper – VII – 300 marks
Paper – VIII – 300 marks
Paper – IX – 300 marks
Interview Test – 300 marks
Total 2300 marks
If you have scored the highest marks. You will be in the top and if your mark is the lowest among the 350 selected candidates, your name would be in the bottom of the list of successful candidates. The candidates in the top of the list usually prefer IAS and IFS. I am sure you have a fair idea of how to go about joining the IAS. Here’s wishing you all the best in your quest. Patrick Braggs Cap Cell coordinator and Nodal officer.
For further details visit- www.upscportal.com

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