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L.Srikumar Pai
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Success stories spur on rural IAS aspirants to babudom

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Civil services examination is fast emerging as a cause of migration of rural students to the city. With the last year seeing an increase of 20 per cent in the number of students from a rural background, it seems more and more people are succumbing to the charm of bureaucracy.

Experts attribute the surge to contributing factors such as increased awareness, the role of media, and motivating parents. Also, the elitist aura of the civil services has eroded which has acted as a big morale booster for rural students.

“The myth that only toppers can become IAS officers has been busted. Past results show a steady rise in academically average students cracking the examination,” said Shilpi Gupta, a teacher at a local coaching centre.

“If earlier only one or two students chose to pursue civil services, coaching centres now have 15 to 20 such students in each batch,” said Subhash, administrator of a coaching institute.

Another reason for rural students opting for the civil services is increased exposure from the media. “Every year, reams of pages and airtime are devoted to the winning candidates of the examination. This has acted as a driving force for students to aspire for the prestigious posts,” said Uday Saharan, a sociologist.

As these students come from the interiors of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, most have parents who are either illiterate or with elementary education. Interestingly, this factor, instead of acting as a deterrent, has been a motivating factor for the aspirants.

“Students come to us with the zeal to excel. They say they want to make their parents proud by clearing the test. The misconception that only children of educated parents can be part of civil services has been laid to rest. In fact, in most cases it is the parents who encourage their children to join the field,” said Praveen Bansal, another sociologist.

The case of Anil Kumar, son of a vegetable vendor, who cleared the examination four years ago is one such success story. Even Virender Kumar, who has secured the fourth rank in this year’s examination, also hails from a village in Punjab. “Having studied in a small school in my village, it was not a cakewalk for me to reach this pedestal. However, I never let my background, or lack of it, dampen my spirits. With consistent hard work and a focused mind, I have achieved what I always aspired to,” said Virender.

Apart from providing coaching for academic subjects, these centres also give lessons in personality development and grooming to enable students to overcome their inhibitions. “Students who have never stepped out of their small-town cocoons are generally shy and reserved. Polishing their soft skills is one of the main areas that need to be worked upon. Regular groups discussions and one-to-one sessions help a lot in this regard,” said Sachin Goyal, director of a coaching centre in Sector 24.

( courtesy: CHHAVI BHATIA )

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