Guessing Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

On March 10, 2010, we all read in the newspapers that Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Prithviraj Chavan has informed in the Lok Sabha that “Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) is expected to come into effect from Civil Services Examination, 2011.

The Proposal which has got the PM’s nod explained that the changes were suggested by various committees, including the second Administrative Reforms Commission, in their reports submitted over the years. Most of the panels had advocated laying greater emphasis on the “aptitude” of candidates than their knowledge of a subject, arguing that specialists or experts in any particular subject may not necessarily be good civil servants.

In this context, I would like to suggest the candidates that they will given due time for their preparations and as of now, since there are no official statements in this regard except the minister’s statement in the Lok Sabha, the candidates should not panic and run here and there for more informations.

The proposed Civil Services Aptitude Test is expected to provide a level playing game for all candidates. As per my views based upon reading bits of a report from the ,

  • Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) paper is going to have a major shift from the present general knowledge paper which mostly tests memo based learning with focus on bits of information.
  • This proposed CSAT paper is expected to test the analytical, logical reasoning and problem solving abilities of the Candidates.

The nature of this preliminary examination may be to select the candidates on the basis of the following:

  • Basic Awareness (Nation and World) having the objective questions on general awareness in current affairs which are related to public life in India.
  • Problem solving and analytical skills, logical reasoning and Decision Making Skills (Situations from civil service arena be taken to test reasoning and understanding of problems related to the same).
  • Elementary Arithmetic, Data analysis ability, Data Interpretation/graplis/charts etc. & Quantitative Aptitude.

The term Basic Awareness may have some topics as following:

  • Social awareness broadly comprising Nature and Historical aspects of Indian Society, Unity amidst diversity, Social Reforms Movements, Rise of nationalism, India’s Independence movement, Public Role Models, Oppression and Injustice
  • Socioeconomic Awareness: comprising distribution of resources, inequality, caste and religion problems, various social conflicts, Role of state Social Indicators, India’s social development, constitutional amendments related to social development, Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment etc.
  • Economic Awareness broadly comprising state of economy of India, various economic indicators, primary, secondary & tertiary sectors of Indian economy, India’s economic development, economic reforms, industrialization, urbanization, distribution of resources, disparities, marginalization, market economy. Various development programmes and their achievements, scarce resources & their conservation. Various models of economic development, Planning in India, Budget and economic surveys.
  • India’s Constitution comprising broadly constitutional development, Fundamental rights, basic features, executive, Judiciary , various amendments, laws, contracts, Panchayat, Elections, Judicial Review, Public Intersst litigation, Various commissions like minority commission etc.
  • Science & Technology: Science and technology including biotechnological developments. Information technology comprising emergence of information technology & India’s role as an IT power. Application of science and Technology, status and opportunities and societal implications
  • India’s Agriculture: Agro climatic conditions, land and water management strategies, Land use and cropping patterns. Suitable organizations and policies, production organization. Growth of agricultural science and scientific research in India, including latest advances in biotechnology. New technology and applications in agriculture and allied sectors: soil fertility, irrigation and water harvesting structures, mechanization, etc., Implications by size of farm, resource utilization, income distribution, employment, social inequality. Technology missions: Green revolution, White revolution, Oil seeds mission, Waste land reclamation – assessment of success and failure in t e r m of social and economic costs and benefits. WTO agreements & their impacts. India’s Industry – organized and unorganized sectors, formal and informal sectors.
  • National Security: Structure and functions of Defense forces, Para-military forces. police. Origin, growth and dimensions of fundamentalism, militancy and terrorism. Food security, energy security, water security, technological self-reliance as a part of security
  • Environment: Environment conservation, Management of Ecology, Calamities, Disasters and Crises Legal and administrative framework for conservation of natural resources like land, water, air. forest, coastal zone.
  • Some topics from Public Administration broadly covering Basic principles of management science in relation to public systems , Financial management, costs of services,
  • International Awareness comprising: Challenges of Globalization and Liberalization: Implications for the public. public policies and management Management of technology, environment and people’s livelihood. Global governance, Critical understanding and appreciation of global institutions and their role. India’s role in current global conditions, India’s bilateral relations, United Nations, Various agencies,

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  • Mav

    Does it sound a death knell for the ubiquitous coaching institutes?? What about the postal courses that mint money selling cheap xeroxes of university notes?
    I hope the Mains exams continues to remain as academic (rote learning) as is now!!

    CSAT is no wonder a novel step in recruiting smarter babus :P

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    A right step taken by the UPSC. The Mains exam should also be made more analytical and logical.

  • sundar

    it wil be very much convinient for engineering students…but why should they have optionals in main?? its sucking.!

  • vadivukarasi

    Mains should not be a level playing ground. Even that should have common syllabus for all.That common syllabus should be announced only two years before the actual examination for the year. That common syllabus should change once in two years depending on the current importance.