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Analysis of IAS results
By Saeed Suhrawardy

There is a tendency among Muslim intellectuals to refer to IAS results for knowing the condition of the community. The number of successful Muslim candidates in the list and their ratio to total number of successful aspirants is treated as an indicator of the level of their achievement in the employment market.

The importance of IAS in the state structure of the country cannot be underrated. Politicians may come and go but bureaucrats are there forever. On account of its instinct for survival, its rigid posture and rugged resistance to change, it is rightly known as the ‘steel frame’ of the country. Policy decisions are credited to the politicians as legislators, but in practice they are formulated and finalized by bureaucrats, drawn mainly from IAS cadre.

Indian Administrative Service is the successor of erstwhile Indian Civil Service of British regime. Entry into Indian Civil Service, popularly known as ICS was the cherished dream of the scions of feudal class. That class had very close affinity with British rulers. For that reason they were sent to England for higher studies. Legal practice was another option for them. ICS was the main arm of British rulers in India. It was divided into two cadres, according to its colonial character. The emoluments and terms of service of Indian officers of ICS cadre were less than their counterparts of European cadre, which carried higher emoluments and better terms of service. However that cadre and class is extinct now.

The central services, IAS being one among them, evolved over years, after the British Government took over administration from East India Company. Initially appointments were by nomination, but that was replaced by competitive examination, held in England.

After independence, appointments to IAS, which replaced ICS, are made on recommendations of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). UPSC selects candidates on the basis of their performance in written examination and interview. Originally it was a two-tier process, written examination and interview. When the number of candidates increased substantially, selection has become a three-phase process. Preliminary examination is held some time in May. Those who qualify, appear for the final written examination. A large number are weeded out in that process. The lucky few are called for interview. That is no guarantee of success. After the final round of the game of musical chairs, the list of successful candidates is published.

UPSC has prior information about vacancies in each cadre. The number of selected candidates conforms to the requirements of each cadre with provision of a few dropping out. Viewed in that background an aspirant for IAS job should have excellent academic record supplemented by adequate preparation.

According to the analysis of IAS results by Mr. Saiyid Hamid, Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard University, (Times of India, June 15, 2001) ‘The percentage of successful Muslim candidates over past 17 years has varied between 1.38 per cent and 3.72 per cent. For the first six years, on an average it is 1.75 per cent, and for subsequent 11 years, it works out to 2.87 per cent. There has thus been a slight improvement in results over the last decade but viewed against the 12 per cent Muslim share in the country’s population, these are unsatisfactory. The poor performance deprives the community of a sense of participation in the governance and management of the country. They are, in the process, denied a role in the exciting adventure of national reconstruction and development.’

It is difficult to agree with the distinguished educationist, that Muslims can play a meaningful role in national reconstruction only if they are in the list of successful IAS candidates. In spite of several handicaps their contribution in various spheres has been significant.

Occasionally there have been bright spots in IAS results also. Twice, Javed Usmani and Aamir Subhani topped the list of successful IAS candidates in their respective years. For the first time, a Muslim lady, Shahla Nigar from Bihar, who received higher education in Delhi, secured second rank among successful candidates this year.

For dismal performance, Mr. Saiyid Hamid rightly refers to the findings of the High Power Panel, headed by late Dr Gopal Singh. Its findings were endorsed by National Sample Survey Organization in the 43rd Round (1992-1993). The fact of educational backwardness of Muslims was conceded by the government in the document Programme of Action relating to the New Education Policy-1986. It conceded that Muslims and Neo-Buddhists are educationally most backward. The yardstick of the Human Development Index evolved and applied by the National Council of Applied Economic Research to different communities yielded similar findings.

The findings have been there, but remedial action eludes Muslims. The optimist in Mr. Saiyid Hamid would hope for a ‘sympathetic government’ to come forward with a policy for ‘positive discrimination.’ But as the driving force behind Hamdard Study Circle, he took a step in the right direction. His efforts have so far yielded tangible results. That has to be emulated and repeated at many places with the same spirit of commitment and education.

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