Preparation for civil services exam by students is ‘waste of youthful energy’: Sanjeev Sanyal

Attention India
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Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister said that students should attempt the UPSC exam only if they aspire to be an administrator.

In a conversation with Siddhartha Ahluwalia on his podcast The Neon Show, Sanyal spoke on the ‘poverty of aspiration’ that India had suffered for decades and which, according to him, was now gradually changing.

Sanyal cited the examples of West Bengal and Bihar to make his argument. “Just like Bengal aspired to pseudo intellectuals and union leaders, Bihar aspired to small-time local goon politicians. In an environment where those are the role models, you can either become a local goon, if you don’t want to become a local goon, you know your way out is to basically become a civil servant,” Sanyal said.

He claims that too many young individuals are investing their prime years preparing for the UPSC exam, which he believes yields limited benefits given the small number of positions available. “I’m not saying you don’t want people to take the exam. Yes, every country needs a bureaucracy, that’s perfectly fine. But I think lakhs of people are spending their best years trying to crack an exam where a tiny number of a few 1000 people actually are going to get it makes no sense,” he said.

The need to generate Billionaires

Sanyal emphasized the need for more first-generation billionaires who can drive job creation and innovation. He advocates that young people should look at other alternatives. “At the end of it if you must dream, surely you should dream to be Elon Musk, or Mukesh Ambani, why did you dream to be Joint Secretary?” he said.

“We need to get used to Indian billionaires. Our problem is not Indian billionaires, but that we don’t have enough of them. I want more billionaires, new first generation billionaires, they will generate the jobs, they will generate the energy, and there should be a continuous churn of them,” Sanyal said.

Ex Bureaucrats condemned Sanyal’s Remark

Former bureaucrats described the comments of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) member Sanjeev Sanyal as “absurd” and “avoidable”.

Reacting to his comments, former IAS officer G Sundaram said, “It is absurd. India is a vast country. We are interested in a united India and that is why Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel created these services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), among others. It is all working well. There may be certain deficiencies which can of course be rectified”, he said.

“It is not a waste of youthful energy or resources. I don’t agree with his assertion,” said the 1979-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre. He said a lot of people aspire to be part of the government services. “These are the best services in India to contribute towards nation-building and development. His comments were avoidable.” Former IAS officer Sanjeev Chopra said Sanyal is entitled to his views but to be critical of youths who wish to be civil servants is not in good taste.

However, there is no clarification from the Sanyal’s side yet, and looks like he firmly stands on what he stated.

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