Desire to serve society wins over high-paid jobs

Pranita Roy
Sunday, 28 April 2019

Many doctors and engineers quit their profession and opt for UPSC to become civil servants

Pune: Well, stories of former IAS or IPS officers training students to become doctors and engineers have been often heard. But now it is an observed trend that many doctors and engineers aspire and appear for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) with the sole intention of serving the society. 

Sakal Times spoke to doctors and engineers who have turned their back on high salaried professions to join civil services. They have stated that while becoming doctors and engineers were society chosen good professions, civil services have been a learned profession of their choice. 

Professions add value to the position
Former IAS officer Dr Vijay Pingale who recently retired as private secretary to Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, stated that 10 per cent recruits were of doctors from his IAS batch in 2003. “I am not sure about the recent trend but there were at least 9 to 10 doctors who would qualify UPSC then. Certainly, doctors’ profession is considered to be secured and noble one but today when the profession has also headed towards commercialisation, becoming an IAS and serving people gives a selfless satisfaction,” said Pingale.

“However, many who appear for UPSC after completing MBBS, fail to realise that there is a lot of hardship while holding the post of an IAS officer,” added Pingale.

Speaking about MBBS and Bachelors of Engineering degree holders contribute in decision and policy making, Pingale said, “Indeed doctors come from a background where they are exposed to vulnerabilities of human beings, therefore given their experience from the past profession, they are able to provide valuable inputs in policymaking. But we cannot generalise the factor. Instead, professional in any stream can be a great contributor in administrative services.”

With job comes the power
Harshal Rawade left his job as a professor at College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) to prepare for UPSC.  

Rawade said, “The kind of prestige and credibility one gets in civil services, it’s hard to achieve in any other job. Same goes with job satisfaction. More than any other jobs, administrative services give us a better chance to interact with people directly. It also gives us the power to make a difference through policies and then directly find out whether or not the people have liked it.”

“This is one of the main reasons why even doctors, engineers and professors tend to opt for UPSC over their own professions. Job experience gives more maturity as well as knowledge and it sometimes, gives us an edge over others in the preparation for competitive examinations,” said Rawade. 

While it was reported in the first part of the series by Sakal Times that maximum candidates were from rural areas, even here it was also observed that those who quit their comfortable jobs belonged to rural areas or underprivileged areas. 

Crisis provokes for the upliftment
Dr Shrenik Lodha, who qualified in UPSC 2018 with an all India rank (AIR) of 133, hails from Beed district. Lodha said, “One of the factors could be that those who belong to rural areas have seen less or limited resource for development. Villages lack proper guidance in education for students, leaving them in the lurch. There are no improved amenities. All these factors count in building up the baggage that one carries even after achieving a successful work life. This was also one of the reasons which strengthened my social responsibility.”

“I have witnessed several helpless and vulnerable cases when I was interning at Sassoon Hospital. Being a doctor, I could only help one patient or patients who visited a hospital. Being an IAS officer enables me to extend my service to a larger audience. Also, medical studies helped me gain scores easily because I had opted medical science subject in my written examination,” said Lodha.

For Alok Singh, a mechanical engineer and former employee at Steel Authority of India said, vulnerable conditions of the tribal population had intrigued him to become an IAS officer. “I was posted in Bokaro, Jharkhand one of the worst-affected Naxal areas where I realised that the tribal population had no access to even basic facilities for living. As a technocrat, I couldn’t have managed to change even a bit. It was then I chose to prepare for UPSC,” said Singh who qualified UPSC 2018 with AIR 628.

Singh who is currently working as an enforcement officer at Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, Pune, also stated that he was aware of the challenges of an IAS officer. “I was 21 years old when I had joined my first job. My seniors had advised when I told them about my aspiration to become an officer that I will get to travel a lot being a part of the company. But I was determined to do what I had decided,” he said.

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