New Delhi: Hoping to
touch a patriotic chord, private coaching academies are
increasingly looking at Indians settled abroad and their children
and selling them the idea of taking the civil services exam to
serve the motherland as a career bureaucrat.
It may be a novel idea for the NRI community - those with Indian
citizenship of course - but some institutes are confident that it
is one that will hit home.
The New Delhi-based Chanakya IAS Academy, for instance, last month
held an interaction session in Dubai for NRI civil services
"The concept of preparing their children to serve as Indian
bureaucrats excited many NRI parents in the Gulf," said A.K.
Mishra, chief of the academy.
"Many NRIs and their children agreed that joining Indian civil
services was an ideal way to serve their motherland," Mishra, who
is also a motivation and success guru, told IANS.
According to Mishra, civil services exam coaching was a
multimillion rupee industry, fuelled by over 500 institutions
spread across the country. Metro cities, especially New Delhi and
Chennai, have a high density of such specialised service
The fees for coaching ranges from Rs.10,000 to a few lakh rupees,
depending upon the duration and features of the capsule on offer.
For civil services coaching academies, attracting the NRIs, a
cash-rich segment, makes good business sense.
"Enrolling NRIs means getting cash-rich students for our
specialised services. Also, they are not a very price sensitive
group," said Deepti Sharma, who manages the IAS Training Academy
"Traditionally, NRIs have sought professional courses like
engineering, medical and MBA in India. The civil services don't
really figure high on their agenda," she said.
But it could be changing with coaching institutes turning their
gaze on NRIs as a special segment of students.
"Engineering and MBA students have also been on our radar," Sharma
The nationality criteria for the Union Public Service
Commission-organised exam for the Indian Administrative Service,
Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service lays down
"citizen of India" as the basic requirement.
Union Public Service Commission Member K.K. Paul told IANS: "We do
not have an exam centre abroad...the basic eligibility is citizen
A subject of Nepal or Bhutan or a Tibetan refugee, who came over
to India before Jan 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently
settling in India, can also appear in the civil services exam.
A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma,
Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United
Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia and
Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India, can
also appear in the exam with the Indian government's approval.
It's a market waiting to be tapped. Mishra said NRIs need to be
made aware of opportunities in civil services as, at present,
their interest is mainly in professional courses.
Other coaching institutes are also catching on.
Said Vinay Kumar, who heads a civil services coaching institute in
Ranchi: "We do get queries from NRIs' relatives here on civil
services exams but we have not really made a conscious pitch to
attract students from this category. Now, we plan to do so."
Industry insiders said there is no ready data on the number of
NRIs appearing for the test that qualifies a candidate to join the
bureaucracy. Of the 243,003 applicants in 2011, 910 were
recommended for appointment against 1,001 vacancies.
It's a growing business with students admitting that they need
"Apart from an individual's own ability, the training imparted by
a coaching institute makes a huge difference," said Sneh Dubey,
who qualified for the Indian Foreign Service in the just concluded
civil services recruitment.
(Rahul Chhabra can be contacted at email@example.com)