JOBS in the Government — State and Central
[Editor’s Note: In these days of pandemic, when we see things around us, two things strike
us. Besides the doctors, nurses, sanitation workers and policemen who are warriors in our
fight against the pandemic, we also see the Government administration (that includes
secretaries, district collectors and other higher officials) in the centre stage making
First, do you aspire to reach one of those leadership positions that have the power to
influence the lives of lakhs of people?
Second, in these days of uncertainty, do you not want a job which is more secure and stable?
Ms. P. Padmalatha, the author of this article, shares her knowledge on the
different types of Government jobs available and how one can aim to get
into one of those! Padmalatha did her B.E. (Civil) from Alagappa College of Engineering,
Karaikudi, and attended one year of coaching at Shankar IAS Academy during 2017-2018.
She has appeared for UPSC Group I exam and has cleared both TNPSC Group I and Group II exams
in the first attempt. Now she has cleared SBI exam and is waiting for her posting.]
Everyone loves to get a job which is more stable and secured. Many of the graduates even do
not hesitate to jump out of their own core field. Many government jobs do not need a
specialised degree. Before taking up exams one should be sure about two things, nature of
jobs and types of exams.
1. Nature of Jobs
Nature of Jobs differ depending upon the sectors and organisations. For example, jobs in
banks, revenue department etc have direct contact with people while some jobs,
say in RBI, do not have direct contact with people. Some people like to sit before a
computer even for the whole day and some hate to do so. Hence before choosing a career, one
should know where he/she fits in.
2. Types of Exams and their Syllabi
Nowadays, almost no exam has only one stage. Mostly, there are two stages even
for clerical cadres and the number of stages increases with the nature of the job.
Initially, there is a screening test called preliminary exam, the marks of which is not
normally counted for the final merit list. Successful candidates in the preliminary exam
have to undergo another written exam and an interview (may include a group discussion
in some exams). The syllabi for various exams differ from one exam to the other.
But we can group them into two, one which gives importance to mathematics (called as
quantitative aptitude) and another with lesser importance to it. Mathematics does not
include topics like trigonometry, geometry, algebra. It has only basic mathematics such as
simple interest, measurements, relation between speed time and distance, time and work which
everyone can do with the knowledge of high school mathematics.
Various exams which are annually conducted are given below:
(i) Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) Exams
TNPSC website contains syllabi for various exams it conducts.
For TNPSC exams one has to concentrate on the Tamil Nadu State Board books (besides other
books, importance is given to 6th std to 12th books ). For Group I
exam, there are 3 stages, (i) preliminary exam (objective type questions), (ii)
main exam (descriptive type questions) consisting of 3 papers (Papers 1,2,3) and (iii) an
interview. Again, the Group II exam also has 3 stages and the group IV has only
2 stages but the pattern differs for each. For these exams, simple mathematical
knowledge is required; everyone, even without preparation, can attend many
questions. Only in Group I main exam, one needs good preparation for
mathematics, that too, from school books only. Reading newspapers is a must for these
exams. To add up to your knowledge, you can also refer to websites like TNPSC Thervupettagam
for current affairs. Many institutes such as Shankar IAS academy, Apollo, provide good
coaching for these exams.
Besides the TNPSC, High Court of Madras also recruits for the post such as Assistant,
Computer operator, Typist etc.; these posts also come under the Government of Tamil Nadu but
working rules are based on the court guidelines.
(ii) Civil services exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission
Many call it as an IAS exam but it is not so. It is an exam for about 20+ posts such as IAS,
IPS,IFS,IFOS, IRS. This exam has three stages, preliminary exam (two objective papers-
general studies and CSAT), mains (9 descriptive papers including 2 optional subject papers)
and an interview. The question papers used to have both dynamic and static questions. So one
has to go through NCERT textbooks, latest news of national importance etc. to crack this
examination. Here too, quantitative aptitude comes along with English comprehension
questions in one of the preliminary exam papers. This CSAT paper is just a qualifying
paper. There are many candidates who have passed this toughest exam without coaching.
But many aspirants need a streamlined guidance to prepare for the exam; such candidates may
take up the coaching. Shankar IAS Academy is one among the few good coaching
centres in south India. Many coaching centres are available in cities like Hyderabad, Delhi.
(iii) Bank exams
Bank exams are held regularly for probationary officers (PO) and clerical cadres. It is
conducted by IBPS for all public sector banks except SBI. PO examination has 3 stages
(preliminary exam, main exam and interview) and clerical cadre examination has 2 stages and
it does not have the interview. But the syllabus remain the same for both PO and clerical
exams. To pass these exams, one has to do the mathematical calculations at a faster rate.
But that does not mean that people who are not good at mathematics cannot pass the exam.
Everything comes in handy once you practice a lot because quantitative aptitude here
includes only basic concepts and not higher grade mathematics that everyone fears. Reasoning
ability and English are the other two topics of the preliminary exam. More or less all three
sections carry equal marks. Each section has a sectional time and one should get sectional
cut off mark and overall cut off mark to pass. But SBI exam has no sectional cut off mark.
Main exam contains a section for general awareness (GK, financial awareness, current
affairs, etc) for which regular careful reading of newspapers is a must. For
some exams like RBI computer awareness also shares a good percentage of marks.
Sources you can refer to practice
Websites like Crack with jack, Grade up, ibps guide, affairs cloud, bankersadda,
bankersdaily, testbook, oliveboard, govjobadda, ixambee will help a lot. Many of these
also have YouTube channels and also provide test packages at low price. It’s not compulsory
to attend coaching institutes as the shortcuts needed to solve problems and strategies to be
followed are posted by these websites and YouTube channels.
(iv) Combined Graduate Level (CGL) exam conducted by Staff Selection
Commission (SSC) (Central Govt.)
The posts for which the exams are conducted include Group B (both gazette and non
Gazette posts) and Group C. The posts are in the departments of Central excise, Income tax,
Audit and Accounts, postal etc. Each year the vacancy is around ten thousand. This
exam can be taken by graduates of any stream. But this exam needs good knowledge and
interest in mathematics as the syllabus contains advanced topics in mathematics such
as trigonometry , algebra, coordinate geometry. The syllabus also has reasoning
ability, English and general awareness, which even includes questions in physics,
chemistry and biology. Nowadays, due to high competition, the toughness of the exam has
(v) Other Exams
Exams conducted by Food corporation of India (for the posts of Manager and Assistants), CBI,
Food safety and standards authority of India(FSSAI), Airport authority of India (AAI),
Central warehousing corp. (CWC), and various other Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) resemble
the banking exam patterns and syllabi. Hence if one prepares for bank jobs then he/she
can also try for these exams.
Summary: It is always better to try for high posts. But the good idea
is to cling on to anyone Government job that comes to you first and then climbing on the
ladder to get your goal. The exams are highly competitive. Some aspirants have a
single examination in their mind and they move towards it even if it takes many years. Some
IAS aspirants take five or six attempts; they may attain their goal or not; if they
are not successful, then they may be around 30 and hence they may not be able to sit for
other exams because of age. But many aspirants may not spend too many years on
preparation for a single exam due to financial problems or they may be interested to
do any job in the government sector. There are many candidates only in the second
category. Hence, in my opinion, simultaneously make preparations for bank exams,
UPSC, TNPSC etc. After preparing for these exams simultaneously aspirants can manage any
competitive exam easily.