UPSC chairman D P Agrawal gave some thoughtful tips to the civil service aspirants who came for an interactive session at the Kerala State Civil Service Academy at Thiruvananthapuram on December 18, 2013.
Civil Service India summarizes them here for the benefit of its readers.
- Respect your culture, society and language to learn about your country and equip yourself before aspiring for civil service jobs, UPSC Chairman DP Agrawal said.
- He was very critical about aspirants who have the habit of reading only one newspaper. “Read more newspapers, including regional language dailies, to get a more balanced approach towards issues and to get more informed,” he advised.
- Avoid coaching centers was his advice. “Students, who have to be part of the universities, quit the universities for attending coaching centres but the coaching centres turn them into machines for mugging up things. One should study a subject in its depth,” he said.
- He stressed on in depth knowledge saying, 70 per cent of science and engineering graduates who aspire for civil services prefer humanities as an optional subject. In that case, one has to go beyond peripheral knowledge to score high. One has to study in-depth about his or her village, district, state and country before accumulating knowledge about the world. You should first be interested in knowing more about the society you live,” he said.
- He refuted the charge that the Commission was differentiating between languages. He said, ‘maximum freedom is given to choose languages. The Commission supports all languages in the 8th Schedule. We are committed to respecting languages. The conclusion that we are against a particular language is not true,’ the UPSC chairman said.
- Agrawal pointed out that irrespective of the language chosen for the main exam, there is an option to select any language for the interview. “There will be interpreters to translate. We take expert interpreters from Parliament. But one has to give clear answers. In case of interpreters making mistakes we will blacklist them,” he said.
- Commenting further on interview, the chairman said, “it is not the judgment of one’s expertise on a subject; however, if you don’t know or remember what you have studied a few years back, it cannot be taken lightly.” In the interview, normally, questions are simple. One has to speak from the heart with all honesty. However, candidates have a tendency to speak lies about even hobbies which will not do them any good. “So be yourself, face the exam and interview honestly. Only innate qualities will help you,” he advised the civil service aspirants.
Speaking about the newly introduced paper of Ethics, the UPSC Chairman admitted that the paper was a little tough this year. However, all the questions were about Indian ethos. “If you don’t know the country, the development scenario, you cannot mug up,” he said.