Over the past seven years, IAS officers from these two disciplines have outnumbered their humanities peers at the highest levels of the Gujarat cadre. The tipping point was 2013, when six of the seven new IAS hires under Gujarat were doctors and engineers.
Between 2013 and 2020, of the 72 newly recruited IAS agents, 61% belonged to the engineering sector while 14% were doctors. There was only 25% for other fields such as arts and commerce.
Between 2005 and 2012, of the 106 new recruits to the IAS, only 27% were engineers while a meager 5% were doctors and the remaining 68% were from the humanities. Experts say profitable opportunities for “hardworking” engineers had shrunk considerably during the 2011-12 period. The number of students choosing the humanities at colleges has also plunged.
In this context, many engineers turned to the public service. Interestingly, in 2012, of the 18 new IAS officers who chose Gujarat as their state cadre, only four were in engineering, while none had a medical degree.
An additional collector of the IAS 2020 bundle said that one of the main reasons was the change in the UPSC exam model after 2010. From that point on, aspirants could choose one optional subject instead of two. “When there were two electives, the humanities had the upper hand,” said the officer. “When a single optional subject became the norm, engineers and those with a technical background could compete with those in the humanities. ”
Dinesh Dasa, Chairman of the Gujarat Civil Service Commission (GPSC), said: “In a competitive world, the employability of engineers is not as high as it was two decades ago. Dasa added, “Instead of struggling to find jobs in their fields, new engineering graduates are now opting for work with a broader horizon. Administrative jobs in government are an attractive choice in this context.
In the case of medical students entering the civil service, Dasa said: “They opt less for administrative services because there is still a good demand for doctors in society. He adds: “Only a few medical students opt for administrative services. They generally studied medicine because of pressure from family and peers. But once they mature, they find themselves fit for something other than the medical profession. ”
Adharsh Rajeendran, an IAS manager of the 2020 batch, holds a BTech in Mechanical Engineering. “I had a close friend who went into the public service and he told me about the career possibilities,” he said. “I didn’t think twice before the dive.”
A senior official in the Department of General Administration (GAD) said the period between 2006 and 2012 was the era of dot.com and the computer boom sent many into engineering. A total of 23.6 lakh places were available in engineering courses across the country for 2021-2022, according to AICTE, the regulatory authority for technical establishments in the country.
This is the lowest since 2012-13, when 26.9 lakh seats were available. The peak of the last 10 years came in 2014-15, when 31.8 lakh places were offered by engineering schools. Since then, however, the number of seats has declined.