Mr. R.A.Israel Jebasingh IAS was born in Chennai, and completed schooling in Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Perambur. Graduating from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering in the stream of Mechanical Engineering, he entered into the profession of teaching, serving as Lecturer in SriRam Engineering College.
In the year 2000, he wrote the Civil Service Examinations and got selected for Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS). In 2004, he appeared for Civil Service Examination yet again and got selected for Indian Administrative Service (All India Rank 59). During his tenure working under several capacities, he has the merit of rolling out the prestigious PURA project of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, heading rural infrastructure SREI Sahaj e-Village Limited. He has also served as CEO of Cethar Energy Limited.
He has been felicitated as “Effective SDO of India” by National Academy of Administration in 2007 and 2008.
As the Director of Officers IAS Academy in Chennai, hecoaches civil service aspirants.
Mr. Israel Jebasingh IAS shares with Marie Banu his tips for civil servant aspirants.
About your childhood, family and education?
My father was a Judicial Magistrate and my mother was a school teacher. I have an elder brother and a younger sister. My wife is a home maker and we have two sons.
As a student,I was average in academics, butinterestedin sports.I represented my school basketball team at the State Level.
I wanted to pursue Civil Services while at school and my father motivated me.I did my graduation in engineering at Venkateswara College and worked as a lecturer while preparing for my Civil Service examination.
In 2000, I scored all India Rank294 and was selected for Indian Railway Traffic Service. I realized that to clear theCivil Service Examination, one need not have to be ‘academically intelligent’. When I entered Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administrationin Mussoorie,I learnt that almost 90 percent of the candidates who made to Indian Administrative Service(IAS) were average students from middle class or lower middle class background, and from rural areaswithout much knowledge of English.
I attempted Civil Service Examination yet again, and this time cleared it with All India 59th Rank qualifying for IAS. My experience taught me that this examination was not meant for academic gold medalists alone.
My parents were very happy when I cleared the examination. It was their dream!
During your tenure as Sub Divisional Officer in West Bengal, you had launched tribal programmesin naxal affected areas. Please tell us more about this?
In West Bengal I was posted in a place called Midnapur, a naxal affected area bordering Jharkhand. We aimed at rehabilitating the naxals and at the same time worked towards making tribals notfalling prey to naxals.The naxals gave the impression to the poor that the government were not taking care of them,hence they were offering support. The tribals reciprocated by giving them food and feedinginformation.We started filing up this vacuum.
We launched a programme ‘Apna dhwarae prashas’, meaning administration at the door step. I used to go along with my entire team of officers—Sub Divisional Police Officer, Sub Divisional Land Reforms Officer, and Sub Divisional Medical Officer—and camp at the village. The tribals started believing in the administration and were happy to receive their community certificate and ration card at their door step.
The government offered reimbursement for medical expenses, but the tribals could not afford to buy the medicines. Being a junior officer, I could not change the government policy, but networked with the local medical shops and requested them to provide medicines to the tribals and claim reimbursement from the government later.
Can you talk about the development programmes in West Bengal and in Tamil Nadu in general?
Tamil Nadu is 20 years ahead of West Bengal. Tamil Nadu is one of the most developed states in our country and can’t be compared with states like West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, or Rajasthan.
For example, MNREGA is a big programme in these states as there are not much industries. This is not the scenario in Tamil Nadu.
Can you share your experience meeting Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and your engagement in the PURA project?
I was implementing Dr. Abdul Kalam’s PURA project under public private partnership. Under IAS, we have the opportunity of having lunch or dinner with the President of India.He gave us a lecture on the PURA project and told that if one of us implemented the PURA programme in a district, then his time would have been worth spending.
When I moved to Chennai due to my mother’s illness, I had the opportunity to work for PURA programme. PURA is the project of Professor Indhiresan who believed that whatever amenities are available in the urban areas, the same should be made accessible to the rural community. Dr. Abdul Kalam was fascinated by this thought and started propagating it amongst Members of Parliament and administration.
I was involved at the conception stage and the pilot phase was implemented in five states — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa.This project was aimed at providing basic amenities like: access to good health services, clean drinking water, rural mall catering to requirements like fertilisers, etc. The project also aimed at economic viability where industries would invest and people could offer their quality servicesat a nominal rate. This led to reverse migration!
What is yourguidance for teachers?
It is no longer a time wherein whatever the teachers say, students accept. One has to become a student and talk in their language. You need to know what their expectation is.We can’t sit on an ivory tower and start lecturing. Live in their style! Teaching is a continuous process. It does not begin and end in class. We need to be friendly with our students.
I have students clarifying their doubts through whatsapp. It has become a discussion forum.A student should look at a teacher as his role model. Periodic tests and constructive feedback is the success mantra for clearing competitive examinations.
What is your advice for those who aspire to pursue IAS?
My simple advice is: “Don’t think that the Civil Service Examination is meant for intelligent persons.” If that was the case, I would not have cleared!You need to work sincerely for one year.Study consistently for 8 hours a day,and read the base books —government budget documents, NCERT books, government of India publicationsthat are available online, India year book, etc.— that are available for rural poor students in their local library.
From Officers IAS Academy, 7 students have cleared the IAS examination this year. They have worked hard and appeared for periodic tests in our Academy which made them succeed.
For qualifying in Civil Service Examination, you need to read with clarity. Instead of reading ten books, read one book ten times. Let that book be a government publication.Understand the question asked, and give the right answer instead of vomiting what you know.