There is no easy way to attain success; yet, your goal should be clear. Many Indian students want to become an IAS officer1 . Our cultural environment encourages us to think about the public service, to work for public interest. However, not everybody think about the public interest while trying to clear UPSC2 exam to join Indian Administrative Services. Some people realize the importance of administrative power, they feel addicted towards that power and they want to grab it, and hence, they try their best to become an IAS officer. Some other people believe that they can bring a change by becoming an IAS officer and they can remove the corruption or at least they will try to do work for public interest. On the other hand, most of the people try to become an IAS officer because of the wanton facilities and money an IAS officer can make for himself. Obviously, your motive means a lot.
Recently, I found an IAS aspirant asking about ways to become an IAS officer on Yahoo Answers3 . His question wasn’t just an enquiry about the ways for preparation; it was much more than that. Below if the question (language edited).
Please please help…I wanna be an honest IAS officer….? I wanna be an honest officer, but the thought of challenges posed by corrupt politicians pushes me back.
Is IAS a good and clean career? I wanna serve the nation, but what if politicians don’t allow me to do so?
What is politicians interference in IAS officers work? Can IAS officer reject politicians decision? Please help! Can I prepare for this humongous exam? Is there any honest IAS officers in India?
I wanna be one of them. Are there any honest politicians? Name them i wanna work with them.
His question was answered in a reasoned manner that I found very effective and up to the mark. The questioner also liked that answer and chose it as the best answer offered.
If you wanna serve your nation then create some Capital!
We don’t need another bureaucrat, please.
Trying to become IAS officer to serve the country is like trying to serve women by becoming a rapist. It just doesn’t fit in.
My life as an average Indian is not improved by another IAS officer(honest or dishonest is irrelevant), my life is much more improved by an entrepreneur who can create wealth, like Azeem Premji and Narayan Murthy.
Creating wealth uplifts the hard working people of India, it makes the society better.
Becoming an IAS officer on the other hand is just another way to get authority and things for free. I know this because I know a lot of people who want to go to IAS.
You wanna serve your country, be a businessman, try to get rid of all the shackles around the businesses in India.
Being honest or dishonest is irrelevant, in fact the more dishonest you are, better it is for the public.
Ludwig von Mises explained the limitations of bureaucrats in his book Bureaucracy in an excellent manner. While analyzing the public administration, he explained why a bureaucrat or administrator, or an IAS officer cannot be given a free hand and why they are always required to follow a set of inflexible regulations.
Ludwig von Mises’ analysis explained why an IAS officer is just a slave bound to follow the orders.
His another book Human Action properly compared the role of businessmen, entrepreneurs, promoters, managers, technicians, and bureaucrat in a market.
In his book Human Action, Ludwin von Mises precisely and succinctly explained the limitations of administrators.
Things are different in public administration, in the conduct of government affairs. In this field the discretion of the officeholders and their subaltern aids is not restricted by consideration of profit and loss. If their supreme boss–no matter whether he is the sovereign people or a sovereign despot–were to leave them a free hand, he would renounce his own supremacy in their favor. These officers would become irresponsible agents, and their power would supersede that of the people or the despot. They would do what pleased them, not what their bosses wanted them to do. To prevent this outcome and to make them subservient to the will of their bosses it is necessary to give them detailed instructions regulating their conduct of affairs in every respect. Then it becomes their duty to handle all affairs in strict compliance with these rules and regulations. Their freedom to adjust their acts to what seems to them the most appropriate solution of a concrete problem is limited by these norms. They are bureaucrats, i.e., men who in every instance must observe a set of inflexible regulations4 .
Ludwig von Mises’ books Human Action and Bureaucracy are good read for all aspirants who are trying to become an IAS officer. In addition, IAS aspirants may also try the book The Virtue of Selfishness in which Ayn Rand mentioned the issue of public services and public interest and explained why public interest is nothing but a fraud which ultimately leads to robbery and oppression of some for the benefits of others.
Since there is no such entity as “the public,” since the public is merely a number of individuals, any claimed or implied conflict of “the public interest” with private interests means that the interests of some men are to be sacrificed to the interests and wishes of others. Since the concept is so conveniently undefinable, its use rests only on any given gang’s ability to proclaim that “The public, c’est moi”—and to maintain the claim at the point of a gun5 .