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Yet another opening to the administrative services in Government is in the form of State Civil Services (SCS) also known as Provincial Civil Services (PCS). Every State Public Service Commission carries out a competitive examination usually every year for recruitment to the State Civil Services. The categories of services to which candidates are selected through the SCS examination are as under:
All the above services offer excellent avenues in the middle level administration. After putting in a certain number of years in the State service, the officers of SCS and SPS may expect to be nominated to the IAS and IPS respectively, with some antedate seniority. In the SCS, the officers get posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrates/Deputy Collectors, Land Acquisition Collectors, Additional District Magistrates, Municipal Administrators, Under/Deputy Joint Secretaries, Deputy/Joint /Additional Directors or Assistant Commissioners in the State administration. Similarly, SPS officers are appointed as Deputy/Additional Superintendents of Police. One major advantage these services has is that one may expect to remain within that particular State and gain valuable experience before getting nominated to the IAS/IPS. This enables these officers to excel in their higher postings. A candidate joining SCS/SPS at a favourable age may expect to reach the level of the Secretary or DIG Police. However, the promotional avenues vary from State to State. Moreover, these services have built-in higher scales like senior and selection scale before getting into the IAS/IPS.
Most of the other posts enumerated above are class-II services and have their promotional avenues through the SCS class-I and the officers may subsequently get nominated to the IAS before retirement.
Most of the openings in the State Civil Services are executive in nature and the officers in these services are directly responsible for implementing all schemes, plans and programmes of the Government. The mental satisfaction of being at the centre-stage of implementing the Government policies is the hallmark of this career.
The examination for State civil services is conducted by the State Public Service Commission concerned. The number of vacancies is dependent on the requisition by the Government which varies every year. The number of vacancies is also dependent on several other factors like promotions, retirements and expansion of cadre in a particular year in the concerned State.
All graduates are eligible to take this examination. Minimum age required is 21 years but the upper age limit may range between 28 to 35 years, varying from State to State. The State Governments usually allow relaxation in upper age limit to the scheduled castes/scheduled Tribes, Ex-Servicemen, physically handicapped and the employees of the State Government. Some vacancies are reserved for various other categories which differ from one State to another State. The examination is conducted as an all-India competition but during the interview it is desirable for the candidates to know the language, culture, customs etc of the concerned State. The number of vacancies being limited, the examination offers a tough competition to the aspirants and only the candidates with thorough preparations may expect to be successful.
(b)Scheme of Examination:
The pattern of this examination is similar to the civil services examination conducted by the UPSC. Most of the bigger States follow the practice of holding a preliminary examination to short-list the candidates. Preliminary examination is almost on the lines of preliminary examination for the civil services examination conducted by the UPSC, with the exception that a few questions may be asked about the custom, traditions, planning and problems of the State concerned. The smaller States with relatively lesser number of vacancies and lesser candidates may skip the preliminary examination. The Centres for examination are determined by the concerned public service commission considering the geographical area of the State and the number of candidates taking the examination. Preliminary examination is followed by the main examination (Smaller States usually go in for main examination straightaway). Most of the States have adopted the syllabi and pattern of the Civil Services examination. The only difference usually is that the language papers i.e. English and regional language papers are full-fledged papers and marks obtained in these subjects are also included for preparing the final merit list. Moreover, in the General Studies paper some questions on socio-economic conditions, planning, customs, culture etc of the particular State may also appear. The details regarding optional subject for preliminary and main examination are given in the instructions for the examination given along with the application form. The candidates may also refer to the question-papers of the previous few years which will normally clarify the trend of the questions.
Main examination is followed by personal interview. In proportion to the number of vacancies, the candidates are called to appear before an interview board. The competition being very keen, the interview conducted by the State public service commissions assumes significance. The purpose of the interview is to judge the suitability of the candidates for the State civil services. On the basis of the marks obtained in the main examination as well as the interview, a final merit list is prepared and the candidates are declared successful on the basis of their rank and choice of service after providing for reservations.
How to Prepare
Since the pattern, subjects and syllabi of the State civil service examination and the civil service examination conducted by the UPSC are almost same; it is recommended that the candidates must appear for both these examinations simultaneously. Only minor changes in the preparations would be required. The State public service commissions usually try to ensure that the dates of examination do not clash with those of the civil services examination.
There are several academies/institutions which offer guidance and coaching facilities to the interested candidates. While it is advisable to get some guidance, the candidates must be very selective while choosing an academy for this purpose. Formalised coaching suffers from one big drawback same standards are fixed by the academy for all candidates and no attention is paid to the existing level of preparedness of a particular candidate. Hence, self-study has the advantage of proper planning for the distribution of time among various subjects as per one's level of preparation in each subject. For preparing, the books on optional as well as compulsory subjects must be chosen with great caution. It is recommended that the successful candidates of the previous years should be contacted and details about the books for various optionals are obtained from them. The candidates must also see for themselves that the prescribed syllabus is also covered by the books they wish to consult. Even while choosing optionals one should be careful and the subjects already read should be preferred. If a new subject is required to be chosen as optional, subjects like Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, History, and Public Administration are the ones which can easily be prepared without any previous background. Of course the final selection would depend on one's aptitude for a particular subject.
Special attention needs to be paid to the compulsories, particularly General Studies and English. For General Studies special preparations are required particularly for making preparations for the "State-specific" questions as no readymade material is normally available. Special efforts are required to procure and compile this part of General Studies. For rest of the contents, a standard General Knowledge Refresher, supplemented by the year book published by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, regular study of a good national as well as regional newspaper, Economic Survey, Plan Document, Economic Review/Survey of the State concerned etc are some of the essential aids. In addition, a good introductory book on Modern History and a good introductory book on Indian Constitution may also prove to be useful.
Once all the above material and standard books are arranged, the candidates must start preparing thoroughly. In-depth studies would not only help in the written examination, but will also add to the self-confidence of the candidate during the personal interview. Since there is no substitute to hard work and studies, a well-prepared candidate may find his/her name in the final merit list.
Further information about the subjects, syllabus, centres of examination etc is given in the advertisement and in the "instructions" for the candidates. In some States the examination is not conducted every year. In such States the candidates may have to remain prepared for longer durations and to grab the opportunity when it comes their way.