• One may have heard, or read, about an increasing number of central civil services officers leaving midway through their careers for more rewarding or lucrative opportunities outside of the services. But the craze for the services among the aspirants is not on the wane. In fact, it appears to be on the upswing, if the number of aspirants registering for the preliminaries is any indication.

AK Mishra, Founder and Chairperson of the highly successful Chanakya Academy Group training aspirants for civil services exams, who was in the city on Sunday, along with two toppers from their academy in the 2016 exams, Anmol Sher Singh Bedi, Punjab - All India Rank 2 and Saumya Pandey, Uttar Pradesh - All India Rank 4, to participate in a “Art of Success” seminar organised by the academy for aspiring Civil Services Exam students at their Chandigarh centre, said for the first time the number of aspirants registering for the prelims crossed the 10 lakh mark (11 lakh-plus) in the last exams in 2016.


Mishra, who claimed that aspirants trained in his academy group accounted for 435 of 1092 successful candidates in the all India services in 2016, informed that among the aspirants who actually take the exam, the strength of females continues to be roughly one-fourth, though they are increasingly outsmarting their male counterparts in success rate and in securing top rankings in the exams.

Answering a query, he said, “From my experience, I would estimate that 30 percent of the qualifiers in a particular year qualify in the first attempt, which is considered a golden attempt. Either you get your ‘fundas’ straight in the first attempt itself, or you take more time to straighten them out, that’s what makes the difference.”

On whether students with engineering and medical backgrounds are at an advantage vis-a-vis others, he replied, “Yes, students from engineering and medical backgrounds have an advantage as far as the objective approach of the exams are concerned, not in the syllabus. Being very familiar with the objective approach to subjects, they are able to quickly grasp the humanities subjects. In advanced countries the system of examination in humanities is very comprehensive, while UPSC approach is very concise.

“Having an educationist parent/s also helps. But then all parents, whether they are educationists or not, who are supportive of, and are closely involved in the preparation process of their children, prove advantageous for their wards. I consider the success of every child as the success of the family.”

Reacting to an observation regarding more and more central civil servants opting out of the services midway through their careers, for what they consider as more rewarding or lucrative options, Mishra said, “there is increasing dynamism in the field. Change is always welcome. Having contributed their bit to the civil services, if some people feel at any point of time that they their aptitude would be better suited to another field, they should be welcome to pursue their calling. It’s an attraction of opportunity, whether it be more for professional, or for monetary gains, it should be respected.”

His advisory for central civil services aspirants: “If your strategy is right, and if you are able to receive right guidance, half the battle is won. Cracking civil services needs a diverse approach and not an in-depth study of any one subject.”

Sharing his experiences with civil services aspirants at Sunday’s seminar, Mishra said “There are several confusions, fears, myths in the minds of aspirants regarding the exams. They are not sure whether they have the calibre, or they have that factor of being extraordinary. There are also issues of time and stress management.

“But in my view all these apprehensions and fears are a result of lack of clarity regarding the exams. You need not possess extraordinary qualities to qualify for the civil services. You need to have your basics right, plan systematically, remain focussed and have confidence in your abilities. The right guidance will see you through,” he said, adding that strong corroboration of these principles of success by the two toppers, Anmol Sher Singh Bedi and Saumya Pandey, both first time qualifiers, was enough to convince the gathering of aspirants to give it a go. 

Gurneet Kaur, Centre Head, Chanakya IAS Academy, Chandigarh informed media persons that recently they had started coaching programmes for state civil services as well, for which they were receiving an encouraging response from the region.