Dr. Awdhesh Singh (Retired IRS Officer) has made a lasting contribution as a civil servant, author & mentor. Not only he inspires civil service aspirants by his vast achievements, but also by his never-bruise attitude and significant values.
In this blog, he shared his views on many aspects with us. How is the life after becoming a government officer, how was his experience in IITs, his post retirement life, current projects etc. Here are the excerpts…
How was your life in early 20s when you were in IITs?
I did my B.Tech. in Mechanical engineering from IIT (BHU) Varanasi during 1983-1987.
It was the first time that I was pitted against some of the most brilliant minds of the country. The competition was tough but studies were mostly fun.
We enjoyed the freedom, the games, the cultural programs and the movies which we used to see together in Hall G 11. We used to study near just before the exams and used to have fun most of the time. Later, I joined M Tech in IIT Delhi in 1988, where I was more focused for the Civil Services.
When did you decide to pursue career in civil services?
After doing my B.Tech, I joined Larsen & Toubro (L&T) as Graduate Engineer Trainee (GET). I enjoyed the financial freedom and even the work in the beginning. However, soon the monotony of the work set in. I realized that I won’t like working in a factory. Hence, I decided to pursue my M.Tech in IIT Delhi for further education.
I wanted to become either a civil servant or a teacher/professor. Fortunately, I got selected in IRS (C&CE) in the first attempt itself and I joined it in 1991. Now, I have resigned from the IRS after working 25 years and I am pursuing my dream of being a writer and educator.
Work culture of C&CE & IT: How do IRS keep themselves motivated for the job?
The jobs of IRS officers, particularly those who are working in Customs & Central Excise, are very challenging and interesting. We have virtually four different departments integrated into one.These departments are:
- Central Excise
- Service Tax
We are a uniformed service and hence quite disciplined. We work like a police officer on the border areas and protect our borders from illegal economic activities like smuggling and drug trafficking.
We also work in Central Excise and Service, which shall soon become GST, and deal with manufactures, traders and service providers. We conduct regular raids on the tax evaders and even arrest them if necessary. We are also responsible for prevention of drug trafficking and we supervise the legal cultivation of poppy in India for medicinal purposes.
What are your fond memories, you’d like to recall from your 25 years of service?
I worked in different parts of the country including Patna, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Gwalior and Chennai. This has given me an opportunity to understand and appreciate the diversity of India. I was the Course Director for the IRS (C&CE) Probationers of the 2008 and 2009 batch, where I had the opportunity to work as a teacher, motivator and guide.
I also enjoyed the anti-smuggling and anti-evasion job of our department. During my tenure in Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), we used to be on surveillance for several days and nights to intercept the vehicles with smuggled goods. It was tough but exciting work.
My best memory had been of receiving of the Presidential Award from the Honourable Finance Minister of India on 24th Februray 2016.
What is your advice to the civil service aspirants?
Civil services is still one of the best career in India. You serve your country directly by joining civil services. Don’t join civil services for making illegal money or enjoy power as these things won’t keep you happy or motivated for long.
If you wish to become a civil servant, you should do the following:
Start your preparation as early as possible.
Study 8-10 hours daily.
Plan for 2-3 years of preparations.
The more attempts you write, the better chances you have for selection.
Join a good coaching at least for your first attempt for comprehensive preparation.
Keep a backup plan as the success rate is less than 1% in CSE.
Prepare with positive mindset for the exam.
How is the social life of a Civil servant in India?
Our interaction is mostly with other civil servants, particularly with IRS officers. In some places like in Muzaffarpur (Bihar), we had close interaction with IAS and IPS officers as well. We have many friends in different civil services and we meet regularly on each other’s function.
What encouraged you to pivot your career from civil services to a published author?
After working for around ten years as an IRS officer, I felt that I was not growing intellectually since the work had become repetitive and boring.
Hence, in 2002, I decided to take two years of study leave to do PhD in the area of E-governance which was an emerging field then.
I joined IIITM Gwalior for the PhD course. I was required to write research papers and get it published on international journals and conferences as part of PhD curriculum. I soon developed keen interest for writing and research work.
I wrote and got eight papers published during my PhD. Soon it became a passion for me and I kept on writing at least two articles every week, usually on the weekends, and get it published online.
My first book ‘Practising Spiritual Intelligence’ was published in 2013 and my second book ‘The Secret Red Book of Leadership’ was published in 2015. My next book ‘Myths are Real, Reality is a Myth’ was released in 2017.
In order to give my complete attention on writing, I took voluntary retirement in October 2016. I am now a full time author, educator and speaker.
How is your post-retirement life?
I have not actually retired as I am working more than I ever worked in my life. It is like a second life and a second career for me.
I am writing 4-5 answers daily on Quora. I have already become the seventh most followed author in the world with around 130 K followers, 50 Million answer views with 4-5 Million views per month on my answers.
I am also an educator on Unacademy where I have posted 12 courses including the complete course for GS-Paper IV (Ethics, Integrity and Attitude) for Civil Services Examination. I am also taking live sessions in English and Hindi on the YouTube channel of Unacadamy every week.
I am reading the best books of the world daily to enhance my knowledge and get new ideas.
I am also working on my next book.
Apart from writing, what entices you the most?
I am a great learner. I believe that life is the best teacher and we can learn daily lessons from our everyday incidences, if we closely observe it.
I love music, particularly I am fascinated by the old Hindi songs. I am also a fitness freak. I never miss my morning and evening walk.
What are your future plans?
I have many plans for the future.
I want to publish one or two books every year.
I want to become a great speaker and travel the world on lecture tours.
I am learning painting and I wish to make beautiful paintings soon.
I wish to write poems in Hindi as well as in English.
I wish to learn music and compose songs.
This post can be ended by going on and on about Dr. Awdhesh Singh‘s achievements & his sharp fluency, but, let’s Confucius end it with his wise words, hoping that it encourages you all to stay motivated for civil service examination.
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… These are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.
Want to get success in career?