Uttar Pradesh may still be reigning supreme as far as recruitment to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is concerned, but Bihar has emerged a not- so-surprising second, leaving civil services nurseries such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh far behind.
The latest personnel ministry figures for 4,443 IAS officers show that while 671 (15 per cent) of them are domiciled in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar contributes 419 (9.4 per cent) officers to the service.
Most of these bureaucrats are working outside their home states, and that is expected under the recruitment rules of the IAS, an all- India service.
Although the figures include names of state service officers promoted to the IAS towards the end of their tenure, the data convincingly shows that bureaucracy continues to be a major draw for the youth from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The total number of IAS officers in the country is more than 5,500.
Tamil Nadu ranks third with 290 officers, 129 less than Bihar, while Andhra Pradesh occupies the fourth slot with 269, followed by Delhi ( 233), Rajasthan (233), Punjab (228), Maharashtra (222), Haryana (158) and Madhya Pradesh (152).
" While Uttar Pradesh has always been on top, the swell in numbers from Bihar is mainly because of the absence of other career options in the state. In the underdeveloped Bihar, government service has always enjoyed a premium," a senior IAS officer from Bihar said.
" Bureaucracy, just as other top- notch competitive exams such as IIT- JEE, is an easy and legitimate way to gain social mobility and recognition in Bihar, a state which still carries remnants of its feudal past. Tamil Nadu has seen a rapid expansion of the private sector while youth in businessoriented Gujarat prefer nongovernment options quite early in their life," he added.
The observation is not off the mark because only 76 IAS officers are domiciled in a state such as Gujarat while ' tiny' Kerala has contributed By Ashish Sinha in New Delhi UP and India's top IAS churners 143 bureaucrats to the pack and the Left Front- ruled West Bengal accounts for only 117.
The Bengal youth used to opt for civil services in good numbers before Independence and the years immediately after, but the numbers have diminished over the years.
Besides the Hindi heartland, the sheen of the civil services has grown in other north Indian states as well. The number of IAS officers domiciled in agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana is 228 and 158. While a relatively larger Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh account for only 150 and 152 officers respectively.
Delhi is another interesting case. The number of IAS officers domiciled in the national capital is an impressive 233.
" This is expected because parents of a large number of aspiring civil servants are based in Delhi. Most of them are already in government service. Delhi also happens to be the education hub of the north," an official posted with the Union Public Service Commission said.
Experts say that 27 per cent reservation for the other backward classes ( OBCs), which was implemented in the early 1990s, has also made a qualitative difference to the recruitment trend. For instance, the number of OBC entrants to the civil services has been going up in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The benefit of reservation for the scheduled tribes ( STs) is more remarkable in Rajasthan, which has seen a good number of Meenas joining the IAS. Candidates from the North- East have also made good use of the ST quota. Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland have contributed more than 20 officers.