Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Some Frequently Answered Questions

What work do you do?

Right now as a part of my training, I have been posted as a Block Development Officer (BDO). And the truth is I never knew before that government worked so much.

In last two months, I have handled jobs like conducting camps for differently able people, arranging for the visit of central government team, meeting political party leaders, facing deputations (that’s a gathering of hundreds of people which comes to raise their grievance), conducting inquiries, pushing up for the NREGS works, handling the never ending election work and the list just goes on.

In short, the spectrum in which the government works is unbelievable and each day comes with a new experience.

Can Civil servants work honestly in this environment of corruption?

This question comes with a bias that majority of people in government are corrupt. I have limited experience but till now I have never found any reason to believe so.

Nobody can force anybody to be corrupt or vice versa. Just like any other big organization, I have found all the colors in my office. So giving a certificate to all government employees that they are corrupt may be fashionable, but not always correct.

Deviating from this question, I would like to give an example. I have a clerk who shall be retiring in six months. He was inducted as a clerk; he shall retire as a clerk. His salary always was and is, meager. He was never given any training; he was never given any reward. But still he is the most hardworking person of my block, backbone of one of the important departments and even in this age he works on Saturdays and Sundays without any extra remuneration.

The truth is I am still searching the source of motivation of such people. I do not understand what drives them, and I feel really bad if somebody flatly brands entire government as corrupt.

Do Politicians let you work?

This question comes with a preconceived notion that you want to work but politicians do not let you do so. The truth is in many cases may be far from it.

One must understand that politicians are representatives of people. Their understanding of ground reality is much better than that of a civil servant. They also know man management pretty well since they ‘deal’ with lots of people.

Good work in field is necessary for them for being re-elected too. So most of the time, they genuinely help civil servants to do good work. They have some limitations as they must have a ‘please all’ attitude but if a civil servant makes sense no politician can stop him from doing good work.

Why do you like civil services?

1. More often than not, I shall be the boss in my office. In other words, I get a good amount of freedom. A senior civil servant once told me that the reason why our service class parents term this as the best job is that here you get least interference of your superiors and maximum freedom to do your work. Most of the time, you are the one who is managing the show, be it big or small.

2. In course of my job I have seen almost entire India, visited the Parliament, met President and Prime minister, learned entirely new language and came to know of opportunities to work in hundreds of fields where government is present with its ever unfolding spectrum. Which other job can offer me this? I end this answer here as I have already dealt this subject before.


Himadri Singha said...

Apropos to your answer of 4th point, is it true in every case??? then why so much corruptions!! take a note on politician like mayawati..!!!

drchahal said...

hello sir,dont know u will take interest or not.i am a medico,recently passed out destination younger brother is in IIT BOMBAY,he forwarded me ur blogs address as a source of inspiration.i have some confusions,regarding the preparations, my email address is"".it will be very kind of u,if u send me ur email address.WONT TAKE MUCH TIME.

Anurag said...

@Himadri: Nothing is true in every case. I am in no position to comment about any specific person concerned.
Remember, its a big world. There are good doctors, there are bad doctors, good civil servants, not so good civil servants and same holds good for politicians.

@drchahal: sent it :)

arun said...

Most of the time, bashing the politicians as an entity is also a mere fashion..In democratic society it is they who acts as the buffer between the ruling machinery and the people and nothing can replace them...and as you said there are good one`s and bad one`s...
Good to see that you have put pointers to the old post.i had missed that one..

Astronomical salaries and relative ease of admission when compared to top posts in civil services still attracts a section to prefer private sector but I guess the views are pretty old when compared with the present scenario.

Akanksha said...

Sir,I m in 2nd yr of my engg. n want to try sincerely for civil services...plz suggest me how should I prepare along with my engg. syllabus in a best possible way...

Prabha said...

Hi Anurag...nice to see your blog after a long time. You have given really positive replies for the questions. Felt good. :-)
Im not sure if the answers are 100% valid in all circumstances,but they do make an aspirant feel hopeful; to enter civil services with a positive and optimistic mindset.

BTW, I have given interview on 23rd mar(1st day 1st show). Parveen Talha's board, interview went ok.

Anurag said...

@Arun: Precisely that is what I want to say. Though I will not try to rate public sector better than private sector.

@Akansha: I am no right person to comment as I started preparations after passing out. You may start reading newspapers and whatever interests you, that me be enough for the time being.

@Prabha: The world is a shade of grey with a percentage of black and white and nothing is 100% :)

Anyways best of luck for the results, the wait for the result is really unnerving

Pranay said...

Hey Anurag,
Nice to read your blog after a long time. Even better was to know that you experienced the things first hand what we have been only reading about for the exam. Things like NREGS, BDO etc...
This entry of yours has been a great inspiration like many others. To so much of us working in the corporate sector, what happens in the government (many would question if anything happens at all) is quite hazy and its nice to know from the horse's mouth himself. I have been trying for IAS as well and it would be great if you could send your e-mail id to "". Promise not to bug you much ;)

sanket-77 said...

Hi Anurag sir
i m a UPSC aspirant....from last 3 yrs i just had a thought abt it, but now i m giving it a serious consideration, i think i have that drive in me to crack UPSC Exams, i did my engrring in IT from pune university ,and did my PG in business management in Marketing nd Finance, right now i m workin in a software firm in the sales dept............but i m not enjoyin wat i m sciences have always amazed i have finalised my two optionals as history and geography....many say its a tough combination but i dont care....i believe i can crack it with these two subjects....i plan to quit my job in near should i go about i on a right track......need ur advice


Vikas Gupta said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences and views. Keep doing the good job, Mr. Anurag.

Anurag said...

@pranay: sent :)

@Sanket: I cannot help u on this. Everybody has to take her/his own decisions. I had also quit my job to prepare but that was what 'I' wanted to do.

So just think what 'you' want to do and do that.

@vikas: thanks

Shwetank said...

Nice post( Good to see that you are posting again after a long hiatus!). I hope it helps people in shedding the myths they have in general about the civil services(especially about corruption & political intervention). As you said, no one, no matter how mighty he might be, can force any civil servant to become corrupt or not let him work.

And finally, your blog is quite inspirational. Makes one think about going for the civil services! Keep writing.

Pilani Pictures said...

Great dude!!!! Esp the example of the clerk..very true. And also...the last answer..

Reg politicians - more or less everyone says that politicians cant be corrupt unless the civil servants connive.
Rite? No?

Anurag said...

@Shwetank: Thanks :)

@Pilani Pictures: I am not totally sure of that.

To quote an example, consider MPLAD scheme. It is said that some people take cut in that. Everything can be perfect and civil servant wont be able to find a single fault.

But I do agree that a good amount of corruption can be curbed if bureaucrats do not connive.

Dreamer said...

I 'discovered' your blog only 2 weeks back but now really addicted. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

-An aspiring English August.