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Mentors for aspiring bureaucrats

Retired, serving officers join hands to help Bihar, Jharkhand civil services aspirants clear UPSC interviews, finds out Rajesh Kumar Thakur

Published: 19th September 2021 10:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2021 10:00 AM   |  A+A-

Almost 1,000 retired and serving civil servants across bureaucratic circles of Bihar and Jharkhand from NACS are voluntarily helping aspirants.

Almost 1,000 retired and serving civil servants across bureaucratic circles of Bihar and Jharkhand from NACS are voluntarily helping aspirants.

BIHAR/JHARKHAND:  Bihar and Jharkhand continue to be perceived as laggards on the development scale. Widespread illiteracy and poverty are main reasons for the malaise. However, one thing that keeps the youth of both states hooked are the central civil services. It is a common refrain that almost every district in India has a district magistrate or a superintendent of police domiciled to Bihar.

At least 50,000 aspirants domiciled in Bihar and Jharkhand apply every year for Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams. In addition, over 2.5 lakh candidates apply for state civil services exams. In UPSC, India’s toughest civil service exam, only 40-60 qualify for the interview. But the small number is dipping even further in the two states. The reason: poor performance in interview round. 

Bihar-born Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer of 1983-batch BK Prasad (retd) is determined to help the aspirants. Prasad, with seven bureaucrats, formed the National Association of Civil Servants (NACS) in 2014. The bureaucrats are: KP Yadav (IRTS 1998), Ratnesh Jha (IRTS 1997), Santosh Kumar (IAS 2014), Rohit Jha (IRS 2013), Kumar Ravikant (IAS 2014), Awanish Kumar (IAS 2014) and Saket Malviya (2014). They are further helped by senior civil servants Arun Kumar (retired DG of RPF and 1983 batch IPS), and Vijay Kumar (IRTS, 2014), Madhukar Anand (IRS 2015). Today, almost 1,000 retired and serving civil servants across bureaucratic circles of Bihar and Jharkhand from NACS are voluntarily helping aspirants.

NACS programmes are provided free of cost to aspirants. The funds to meet the expenditure are contributed by 1,000 bureaucrats from their salaries as per their seniority. The NACS’ Interview Guidance Programme is conducted with 100 candidates from Bihar and Jharkhand each year after they qualify the main written examination. For the BPSC, around 300 candidates are roped in for the mock interviews in addition to those who qualify for the UPSC interview.  

It all started at BK Prasad’s residence in 2014: eight civil servants under Prasad’s guidance conducted mock interviews with 10 aspirants. Later, the venue shifted to Bihar Bhawan, conference halls of any department of Delhi government (on request) or conference halls of serving civil servants associated with NACS in Delhi.

This a first-of-its-kind initiative in India was registered in Delhi in 2017. “We move together to make the aspirants feel confident about facing the interview board after they clear the main exam,” says Prasad. Shreshtha Anupam, the 2020 batch IAS, now serving as additional collector in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, says NACS was godsend, as he is among hundreds of successful civil servants from Bihar who were groomed for the UPSC interview by NACS. Pratibha Rani, an IAS officer of 2018 batch and native of Ranchi, is a NACS product posted as DDC in Bhagalpur, Bihar. “Since NACS is run by officers, we get firsthand guidance about how to clear the interview,” she said.



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