UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) results are out and IIT Bombay alumnus Shubham Kumar has secured AIR 1. So, an engineer has topped the UPSC, which proves his mettle and ability to understand a large diversity of subjects.
Engineers taking up Civil Services more frequently
However, an engineer cracking the UPSC CSE is not a rarity. Engineers account for 60 per cent of the new civil servants in the country, though the UPSC wants to encourage diversity in the elite services. Every year, several engineers prepare for the exam and many of them clear it.
ThePrint quoted the Mussoorie-based Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) director Sanjeev Chopra as saying, “Those from an engineering background have continued to dominate. Sometimes, the numbers go marginally up or down, but there is no major change in the trend of engineers coming into the civil services.”
Why more engineers becoming civil servants is not a thing to celebrate?
If an IITian or any other engineer cracks the UPSC CSE, then it is a thing to be praised. But still, it is not a reason for celebration.
There is nothing to celebrate. If you analyse the trend of engineers turning into civil servants and read between the lines, you would realise that there is something seriously wrong with India’s engineering education sector. It raises an important question- why are engineers not willing to get into entrepreneurship and why do they prefer a government job instead?
After all, the UPSC CSE is not the only method to serve the country, and on top of that, the civil services hardly offer the kind of research and innovation opportunities as the engineering branches do.
The individual growth of thousands of engineers graduating every year gets restricted because they are not willing to get into innovation. Remember, every single engineer who pursues civil services could have become another Sridhar Vembu, the CEO and founder of Chennai-based tech firm Zoho. So, why should we celebrate the fact that several brilliant minds did not take up innovation?
National growth demands tech & innovation
Make no mistake, the nation needs engineering minds to get into research & innovation as almost everything from the defence sector to governance, and economic growth is dependent on technological progress. We need engineers to become innovators, wealth creators and CEOs, and the civil services simply do not offer this opportunity.
True, UPSC is labelled as the most difficult exam in the country. Many feel like taking up the challenge. However, if thousands of engineers keep pursuing civil services every year instead of advancing further in their academic background, then it would be a massive loss for the nation.
Moreover, the institutes working hard to create so many engineers are also at a big loss. They try to create a strong base for the nation with rigorous teaching and training. So, it is only appropriate that this effort goes in the intended direction. Also, if engineers advance in their academic field, then it would create a great alumni network that ultimately helps the institute improve its global standing.
PM Modi too, is subtly hinting that there are many diverse opportunities to explore, and those that did not make it must widen their horizon. UPSC is not everything.
The PM is giving a very important message as gently as he can. Widen your horizons: the world is your oyster. At the same time the reality of young smart adults making these choices for years also tells us something about the incentive system in our bureaucracy that needs reform. https://t.co/X18S2vazu8
— Harsh Gupta Madhusudan (@harshmadhusudan) September 25, 2021
Why are engineers pursuing civil services?
The fact remains that we as a nation have been infected with a colonial hangover, followed by a non-liberal economic system till 1991. Both these systems have created a misconception- a government job is the best thing that you can achieve in life. This is why even engineers seem to be more interested in getting into government services.
Also, since India’s market economy is relatively new, there is a cultural lack of willingness and readiness to take risks for the sake of making it big.
Also, if 80 per cent of the engineers in the country are unemployed, we cannot blame the individual choice of such graduates to look for a government job. The governments and institutes need to quickly transform engineering education and make it market-friendly to increase employability. After all, not every engineer will be naturally shaped to become an entrepreneur and therefore employability of engineers also becomes important.
While many engineers are cracking the UPSC CSE, we ought to keep in mind that it is a matter of introspection and not celebration.