PRAM IAS - an initiative started by Bihar State Service Officers - is an endeavour to provide free coaching and help to aspirants for Bihar state services examination. They are available on Facebook, Telegraph, and YouTube.
“Cracking the civil service examination is not a difficult task. All it requires is meticulous and smart studying,” says Abhijeet Raj, founder of PRAM IAS, a platform dedicated to helping students from Bihar and other states prepare and qualify for the civil service examinations. PRAM IAS is available across social media platforms, and one can access their Facebook, Telegram, Google Meet, and YouTube channels.
Having launched this platform in March 2020, Abhijeet says that one of the reasons was the imposition of the lockdown.
“I realised that access to study material would be hampered with the imposition of the lockdown. I knew of several aspirants who would spend hours in the library, and I wanted to find a way to help them. PRAM IAS came into being to bridge that gap and help aspirants.”
Abhijeet says, “While each civil service aspirant wishes to go to Delhi, enrol in some good coaching institute and prepare, it is not feasible for everyone to achieve. Moreover, the financial strain this puts on the families is very hard.”
He says that on average, accommodation in Delhi itself will cost an aspirant between Rs 10,000 to 15,000 and then the cost of the coaching centre, which is no less than Rs 1.5 Lakh.
He adds, “Over and above this, there is also the living expenditure and cost of study material that is additional.”
PRAM IAS launched with state services officers of the Bihar cadre. But soon, more than 50 officers from different State services and the central service have joined hands to provide the necessary guidance to the aspirants. Today over 80 officers from different batches are part of the initiative. The core committee consists of 11 officers – Mohit Raj, Rushda Rehman, Ujjawal Kumar, Divya Prakash Asthana, Manoranjan Kumar, Shruti Raj, Ravi Ranjan, Abhiram Kumar and Ashutosh Narayan.
They are already having an impact. The 65th Bihar Public Service Commission results saw one of PRAM’s candidates, Gaurav Singh, secure the top rank in the examination.
“These are the small victories for us to keep going. It is validation that we are on the right path doing the right things,” says Abhijeet.
‘For the Officers, By the Officers.’
“All we require from our subscribers is an internet connection with a minimum of 1 GB data available to be able to open up YouTube and access the study material. This way, we can reach aspirants from any part of the country. One does not necessarily have to travel to the metros to seek guidance,” he says.
“We are most active on Telegram and have multiple channels on the platform. Each channel has over 2,000 subscribers, and it is on this platform that officers can directly interact with aspirants and clear their doubts in real-time,” says Abhijeet.
“Since affordability is such a big thing for us, we have ensured that a majority of the material we provide is free of cost. For example, the test series is charged at Rs 300, and even that is waived off in cases where the student is unable to pay up,” he says. The money that we collect is used to develop the YouTube channel and compensate the technical team that works on the post-production of the videos.
“We work on a pay-it-forward model. Those who have qualified for the Mains help aspirants prepare for the prelims. This way, there is a constant churn of aspirants and officers within the organisation,” he says. From conducting mock interviews to solving queries, PRAM IAS has been able to help several thousand aspirants.
Speaking about starting a dedicated platform for UPSC aspirants, Abhijeet says, “Even now, there is overlap in the syllabus between the state exams and UPSC. However, we do intend to focus on the UPSC in a dedicated manner soon.”
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)