These are exogenically induced pressures which are causing changes in the role of administrative institutions along the line of external demands. Similarly, endogenic forces are also exerting similar pressures on the administrative apparatus to respond to internal needs. These agents of change have a huge impact on these institutions to adapt to modern needs. As IAS officers are part of administrative instituions who are endowed with the responsibility to run the administration efficiently and effectively, so change in their attitude is the exigency of time and a must. It is in line with these required changes that the UPSC has been revamping its examination pattern and recruitment methods.
India attained independence from colonial power in 1947 at the midnight stroke of August 15 1947. Administration had simple tasks of maintaining law and order and consolidation of hard-won freedom. But with the passage of time, people began to expect more from the political system which responds to the expectations of people through administrative apparatus as it works as an enforcement agency of the political system. Earlier, state was responsible for both production and distribution of goods and services calling itself a welfare state. But having failed in this experiment of arrogation of all responsibilities to itself, state had to give more and more of space to market mechanism to supply the needs of people.
Thus, administrative institutions (IAS) had to assume the managerial role to manage the needs of people and response of market system to such needs. This big transformation from aloofness and ivory-tower attitude to roles of supplier, manager and regulator has taken place particularly over last twenty years. It is in light of this role, UPSC had to reformulate its examination. UPSC has become very wide-ranging in selection of questions for an IAS aspirant. As the preparation for IAS is known as pre-entry training in recruitment parlance. That is why syllabus of IAS becomes very relevant.
It has to include all those topics which make the aspirants broadly aware of each and every factor which affects the administration and every situation which an aspirant after, becoming an IAS officer, might have to face. 21st century is cruelly fast-paced and insensitive in throwing altogether new situations contingencies at the every step of an IAS officer. In this kind of scenario, an IAS officer is expected to be flexible and learn, unlearn, and relearn new things. He cannot do so unless he has broad intellectual horizon and comprehensive and profound knowledge of other sub-systems which are in continuous and rapid interaction with administrative sub-system. It is with a view to create such intellectual and psychological map in IAS aspirants, such method of exam and pattern of question are prescribed.
Scheme of the examination for IAS and allied services
There are three stages in recruitment process. First stage is known as preliminary exam. It contains two objective type papers held on the same day. First paper contains 100 questions each carrying two marks. This is also known as general studies paper. It includes questions on history, economics, polity, geography, general science, science and technology, ecology, biodiversity, panchayat raj instituions, governance and some G.K types of questions etc.
Second paper is known as aptitude test which contains 80 questions each two and a half marks. It includes questions on general English, elementary mathematics, reasoning, decision making and communication theories etc.
Second stage is known as mains examination. It is an essay-type examination and those who qualified the preliminary screening test are eligible to appear in the mains exam. In this exam candidates have to select two optional subjects from the prescribed list of the UPSC. Each subject has two papers.One paper carries 300 marks. Thus optional makes upto 1200 marks. And there is a compulsory general studies exam which has two papers each carrying 300 marks making upto 600 marks. There is also an essay paper carrying 200 marks.
In addition to two optionals plus one G.S paper plus one essay paper (marks of which are added in determination of final merit list) there are two qualifying papers on the languages, one English which is compulsory and another is any of constitutionally recognised language. Marks of languages are merely qualifying and are not added to the total of mains marks.
Third stage is called personality test. It is an interview type examination. Those who qualify mains exam are allowed to this stage. It carries 300 marks at this stage, the attitude and approach of a candidate is tested. It is not a test of knowledge.
Finally, total marks of mains exam are 2000 and total of personality test 300. These two totals are added to decide the final rank of a candidate in the merit list.
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