Engineers take Humanities route to crack civil services

Aundeep Durishetty, topper in the coveted civil service examinations (CSE), 2017—whose results were declared recently— had an engineering degree from BITS-Pilani, but he chose Anthropology.

Published: 19th May 2018 10:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2018 08:51 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI:  Aundeep Durishetty, topper in the coveted civil service examinations (CSE), 2017—whose results were declared recently— had an engineering degree from BITS-Pilani, but he chose Anthropology as his optional subject.

Nandini K R, who secured the first rank in the CSE, 2016, did her civil engineering from M S Ramaiah institute in Bangalore, but chose Kannada as her optional subject in the exams.

Athar Aamir Khan, second topper in the CSE, 2015, had an electrical engineering degree from IIT-Mandi, but he opted for Philosophy.

These examples might look surprising but are not one-off and indicate at a rather interesting trend—that engineers rule the roost in the coveted CSE, but more and more are opting for Humanities subjects. An analysis of profiles of successful candidates in the CSE by the Union Public Service Commission, which conducts the exams, has revealed that while 52.4 per cent of the total candidates had engineering background, 88.7 per cent of optional subjects chosen were r e l a t e d t o Humanities.

The report also says that others who qualified had Humanities, Medicine and Science background in that order and less than 2 per cent chose engineering as optional subject. It effectively means majority of the engineers chose Humanities subjects as their optional subjects. The analysis is part of a yetto- be-released annual report by the UPSC that has details of those who cleared civil service examinations in 2015.

A 2014 report by the Commission, too, had pointed out at a similar trend as 51.4 per cent of the successful candidates had B.Tech but around 85 per cent of them did not have engineering as optional subjects. A UPSC official explained that apart from five mandatory papers, every candidate who appears in Mains exam has to write two papers in the optional subject. “It is turning out that even though subjects like civil, mechanical and electrical engineering are there as optional subjects, most engineers overlook them.”

In 2015, 550 of the total 1,078 candidates who qualified had engineering degrees, the report expected to be released later this year says. Those in the coaching industry confirm it has been a trend since 2011 when CSE exam pattern was vastly changed. Kuldeep Kumar, centre head of Shriram IAS Academy in Delhi, said about 40 per cent of total students have engineering degrees.

“But each one of them has opted for subjects like Geography, Public Administration, Sociology or Anthropology as optional. It’s because those with engineering background find it easy to prepare for Humanities within the 6-month period they dedicate for the exams.” Arpana Singh, senior counsellor with Chanakya IAS Academy, said General Studies, which is a mandatory subject, has four papers and takes a lot of time to prepare. “Time management is a key challenge.”


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