A Sarkari naukri, or Government job has maintained its stable presence since its origin, especially among the middle-class Indians. And why not? It is stable, pays relatively well, and comes with a slew of perks that almost feel like entitled benefits rather than the benevolence of bosses above.
Even today, the government is one of the largest employers of this massive population. Besides the obvious administrative government offices, you have the railways, public sector banks, schools, hospitals, electric and water boards, defence, telecom, and various public-sector undertakings (PSUs), that is, companies in which the government holds more than 50% share.
In fact, the Reserve Bank of India estimates government employees to be at 17 some million, based on data from 2011-12, leading the formal private sector by nearly 6 million employees. Being one of the most attractive employment choices, among a majority of this nation’s citizens, a large number of young fresh graduates still look towards ways to step into the cosy future promised by a secure public-sector job.
Government jobs, unlike others, are usually preceded by an entrance examination. After all, this is the only way to select a handful of candidates from an applicant pool that is almost as large as the population of the country in that age group.
The examinations are categorized by the job function. A selection entails a training period, followed by a job posting to a location of the big brother’s choosing.
In this article, we will list out some of the typical options to head into the government employment system, namely some of the heavy-weight examinations. Examinations for higher, or technical, designations fall under the category of Group A & B, while Group C & D are usually the non-technical posts.
You need to bear in mind that there are other avenues, besides the state or national level examinations, available to secure a position in the public sector.
However, such positions are opened up, what seems to be, quite randomly and one of the best ways to keep a tab on the vacancy calendar is to subscribe to employment news or the classifieds sections of all the major newspapers, both State and Central.
Most government positions have an age cap to limit the number of applications, and vacancy announcements occur only a few times, if at all, in a year, making it really an exercise in vigilance for you to scoop out the opportunity when you can.
As the name suggests, the Union Public Service Commission organizes various national level Civil Service Examinations (CSEs) to recruit Indians to the various Civil Services of the Indian Government, under Group A or B employment.
This one is a big deal and graduates spend months, if not years, attempting to crack the code to some of the most coveted jobs. The exams occur in three stages – a General Studies Paper 1, a Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT, and an interview.
The three of them take upwards of a year to complete before the results are announced. Details are available on the UPSC website. The CSE exams qualify individuals, aged between 21 to 32 years, to be employed in one of the following departments.
|Indian Administrative Service (IAS)||Indian Police Service (IPS)||Indian Forest Service (IFoS)|
|Indian Audits and Accounts Service (IA&AS)||Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)||Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)|
|Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)||Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)||Indian Foreign Service (IFS)|
|Indian Information Service (IIS)||Indian Ordinance Factories Service (IOFS)||Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS)|
|Indian Postal Service (IPoS)||Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)||Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)|
|Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)||Indian Revenue Service||Indian Trade Service (ITrS)|
|Railway Protection Force (RPF)||Armed Forces Headquarters||Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar, and Pondicherry, Civil and Police Services|
The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection conducts exams for posts of Probationary Officer (PO), management, Regional Rural Bank Recruitment (RRB), and clerks. These qualify candidates to work in public, private, and even foreign banks.
The application dates, and exam, information is available in the IBPS Recruitment website. The State Bank of India conducts a separate examination for its managerial posts.
Teaching positions, at government schools, are obtained by qualifying a teaching eligibility test, or TET. This test is conducted at both national (central) or state level. Exam dates are available on the CTET (or corresponding state level TET) websites, or employment news sections.
The UPSC conducts these to select technical and management employees for the Government of India. This too happens over three stages with the tests labelled as the Engineering Services Examination or ESE. Over 150k candidates appear for vacancies of the order of a few hundred, making this a highly competitive examination.
The age limit constricts the number of applicants to the ones between 21 and 30 years, with some exceptions for certain minorities.
The following table lists few of the various positions that fall under the purview of the selected candidates, classified under Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics & Telecommunications Engineering.
Various other PSUs also recruit IES qualified applicants. The recruitments are usually under the technical Group A category. The preliminary exam, preceding the subsequent stages, are conducted in the month of January. All application related information is available on the UPSC website.
|Border Roads and Construction||CPWD & Ministry of Roads and Highways||Indian Defence Service|
|Indian Ordinance||Indian Railway||Central Electricity & Water Authority|
|Indian Army & Navy, Engineering Services||Indian Inspection Service||P & T Building Works Service|
|Indian Supply Service||Indian Telecommunication Service||Indian Radio Regulatory Service|
Graduates with a major in Statistics, or Economics, can appear for these UPSC conducted examinations, to be hired into the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation or the Economic Services of the Government of India. The applications are announced around August and the test is conducted in December. For more information, you are advised to follow the parent website.
Besides the above popular ones, the government also offers its citizens the opportunity to establish a career in the Insurance industry through various LIC examinations, non-technical grade C & D Railway occupations through separate exams offered by them, medical services examination organized by the UPSC, the Short Service Commission Combined Graduate Level Examination (SSC CGL) for Math, Statistics, or Economics, majors for a myriad accounts related positions in the government, and others that we may have missed in this article.
The University, or research institutes, funded by the government Department of Science & Technology (for example, The Indian Association of the Cultivation of Sciences, Kolkata), Department of Atomic Energy (for example, The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai), and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (for instance, the IITs), conduct separate recruitment into their administrative or faculty positions. Their individual hiring advertisements are available on their respective websites.
Clearly, if one is interested in pursuing a career in the public sector, the decision and preparation should well precede the action. The competition is stiff and the rewards are strong, especially since the revisions to the compensation structure offered in the latest updates to the Indian Pay Commission. Word of advice is to watch for updates on schedules, advertisements, dates, and more.