The rising number of candidates from minority communities cracking Civil Services exam has given hopes to other aspirants eyeing the most coveted government job. Helping them chase their dreams is the Zakat Foundation India (ZFI) in Jamia Nagar, which was established in 1997, that funds for their coaching.
Every year 35-40 candidates between the age of 22 and 27 are shortlisted for the fellowship. As soon as the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) results were declared for the 2015 batch, where 17 students supported by the foundation featured on the list, it received numerous calls from aspirants seeking their help. For the 2016 examinations, the ZFI has established four centres Srinagar, Kerala, Kolkata and Delhi to conduct the test to shortlist candidates eligible for funding. The last exam for free coaching is scheduled to be held on June 21.
The foundation launched Sir Syed Coaching and Guidance Centre in 2007. The foundation helps the shortlisted candidates from Muslim and Christian communities to be coached at various institutes and are accommodated in three boys hostels and a girls hostel in Mukherjee Nagar. The organisation has already received 1,500 applications this year. The number is likely to rise further.
“Most of the people drop their plans to appear in civil services exam because of financial problems. The foundation has helped many students crack the country’s most prestigious exam. Even those who are financially sound are applying for it now,” said Mohammad Ashraf Mir, who has applied for coaching this year.
During its eight years long journey, it has produced many successful stories, where candidates from different backgrounds have excelled in the exam. So far around 76 candidates including 68 Muslims and eight Christians have cracked the exam with the help of its funding.
Shah Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top Civil Services in 2009 was also a ZFI fellow. It also helped Waseem Akram, an IPS from 2012 batch too. He was the first from Takhtpurallah, a remote village in UP’s Moradabad district, to make it to the final list.
In the previous examinations (2014 and 2015), half of the shortlisted candidates cracked the Civil Services examinations, while a few of the remaining students got selected in various state level civil examinations.
The scheme of providing coaching to candidates has been named after Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who had initiated the idea of helping students crack civil services in 1883 and founded Mohmmadan Civil Services Fund Association which had 500 members. All the members donated two rupees each annually to send 15 students to England for Indian Civil Service (ICS) exam, said Syed Zafar Mahmood, founder of ZFI.
“Every year we receive around 1,100 applications for the fellowship. It is challenging to ensure 90% of tuition fee is paid. Earlier, we used to fund 100% fee but due to some reasons we curtailed it by 10%,” said Syed.
Candidates who join various services come back to donate money for the better future of other students,” he said. “It’s overwhelming to hear success stories year after year. Helping students is not possible without people’s contribution,” said Zafar.