The UPSC mains GS -4 paper of Ethis is one of the major components of UPSC syllabus. Aptitude plays is a major role in character and career development. Aptitude is a natural talent or inborn ability that makes it easier for us to learn or do certain things/tasks. For instance, the ability to paint, produce music, or learn languages, ability to lead and perform administrative functions, etc. Learning some skills comes more easily to some people and others require greater effort and practice. When we say that someone is ‘gifted’ or has a talent, it means he/she has aptitude for that particular skill/action. Let's understand its importantance in Indian civil Services


  • Aptitude
  • Aptitude for Civil Servants


Aptitude is a natural ability or innate potential to learn or acquire a skill. It is a natural tendency for successful learning of some specific set of skills, which can be further enhanced with adequate knowledge and training. It indicates aptness/suitability to succeed in a particular field.

Aptitude is different from interest, skill or intelligence as:

  • Interest is something that attracts us without the need to have any particular skill for a thing. A person may be interested in a particular activity, job or training, but may not have the potential/aptitude to perform well in that particular area and achieve success. For example, one may have an intense interest in music, but not enough ability to succeed in a career as a performer
  • Skill is the knowledge or ability to perform a given task with ease and precision, aptitude on the other hand, denotes the potential to get skilled if training is done. While skills are the abilities that can be acquired by way of reading, observation, practice, and training, aptitude is inborn and unique
  • Intelligence is capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity. It is the ability to learn and apply skills. On the other hand, aptitude is specific ability of a person to master a skill. However, aptitude requires a degree of intelligence to do the job well



With the advent of the new public administration and increasing diversity in the administrative field, an administrator needs to adorn both physical and mental aptitude. He should have both General Mental Ability (basic thinking capacity and learning ability to perform any intellectual task) as well as desired value system of public administration to perform his duty, not only efficiently, but also effectively. Roughly the kinds of aptitude desired in a civil servant include:

  • Good communication/interpersonal skills
  • Leadership, management and organizational skills
  • Critical thinking and listening ability
  • Skill to effectively manage and raise resources
  • Ability to establish collaborative networks and successful teamwork
  • High level of professionalism
  • Ability to think on their feet and develop innovative solutions
  • Skill of persuasion and ability to negotiate with difficult people

Role and Importance of Aptitude in Civil Services

  • The civil services form the permanent structure and backbone of the A qualitative, professional, skilled and committed workforce is, hence imperative to maintain the high standards of public administration.
  • In Indian public administration, the civil servants are entrusted with a diverse set of responsibilities such as from simple administrative and clerical tasks to complex decision making, policy implementation and serving as a link between government and Hence, it is vital for civil servants to possess diverse skills such as grasping capabilities, good analytical skills, and ability to establish collaborative networks and successful teamwork.
  • In public administration, leaders face different kind of problems and challenges every day such as high unemployment, and insufficient government spending, fast changing socio-economic scenario, Laws and administrative rules cannot explain everything and leaders cannot always mimic previous successes because the elements affecting each challenge change day to day. In such cases a civil servant needs abundance of impromptu decision making skills and critical thinking ability to exercise discretion with conviction.
  • The emerging concept of e-governance and motto of ‘Less Government More Governance’, demand transformational changes in the machinery of government as well as in the work style and orientation of government With the role and functions ofadministrators having become swiftly changing and increasingly challenging, civil servants must be equipped with the necessary skills and capabilities to meet these new challenges. They must have the aptitude to master new technologies and new styles of functioning. They should serve as the ‘Agents of Change’ to catalyse reform initiatives.
  • In a diverse country like India, the civil servants often face complex and often contrasting socio-economic objectives and challenges often creating a deep sense of moral/ethical dilemma in them about their own duties and functions. This demands an inherent aptitude to prevail over contradictions, solve the dilemmas and keep up the spirit to perform in spite of adverse circumstances
  • Under the framework of ‘inclusive governance’ administrators need to build teams across diverse stakeholders. For example, to create a favourable business climate in a city, an economic development director needs to bring together local business leaders, the Chamber of Commerce and also environmental advocates. This demands a civil servant to possess an ability to receive and act upon feedback as well as effective interpersonal skills to bridge the gaps and encourage collaboration for a common objective.

This is a small article which tells you very clearly how moral and political attitude shapes a persons thoughts and behaviour. To read more articles on ethics , click here