Civil Service Reforms

Domain Knowledge

The liberalisation of the economy and policy taking place since the 1990s has made the government allow private entry into its traditional sectors such as health, education, railways, defence etc. and the government in turn has extended to new avenues such as Cyber security, telecom services, mobile governance etc., this has completely altered the policy making dimension and its subsequent implementation.
This has created several consequences.
  1. The bureaucrats are now facing complex issues due to the demands of the new domains. For example, Telecom services requires officials to know about spectrum, wavelengths, their health hazards and pricing policy required to maximise revenue, create a level playing field, promote investment and innovation.
  2. The composition and characteristic of the public has also changed. They are more demanding now. The services are compared to developed nations and hence officials have to be more accountable and updated about world happenings. The previous delivery mechanisms will not be suitable and adequate to the new society.
  3. The management of private entities, entering contracts with them, regulating their activities, eliminating loopholes etc. require a new interactive paradigm and domain expertise for the officials. Unless they know the ground realities and technical knowledge, suitable policies may not be evolved.
Though the officials are given training at the administrative academy but that is not sufficient as it is too general. Hence, the following measures have to be adopted:
  1. Officers should be asked to complete a diploma in whatever sector they desire a posting in. The ARC, Hota committee both emphasised on domain specialisation to be developed in CS through providing compulsory training, Diploma etc. in area of interest.
  2. The time period of posting has to be fixed to allow officials to understand the technical aspects. Frequent transfers are inimical to good governance.
  3. Need to think about lateral entry into services by domain experts.
Administrative Services: Issues
Indian administrative services being the back bone of country is suffering from crisis of credibility and are in serious need of transformation. The reasons are rooted to-
  1. Fundamental issues– Indian bureaucracy is older than democracy. There is need to reform the spirit, attitude, motivation and direction in this regard. Since it has to accommodate the concerns of federalism, rising aspiration of people and Constitutional values at same time.
  2. Politicisation – in transfers and promotions. For e.g.- Ashok khemka being transferred more than 45 times in his career of 34 years, even scoring Excellent in annual confidential review
  3. Article 311 protection has become debatable due to the dishonesty of some of the IAS officers. 2nd ARC report clarified that protection must be given only to honest officers and offences with clear evidence like when caught while taking bribe must be directly prosecuted.
  4. Cadre management has also been dismal. Numerous posts are lying vacant. No proposals being sent to the upsc to recruit. State bureaucracy is being promoted instead, this goes against the constitutional spirits of uniform administration across the country.
  5. Gender inequality is one problem. Women constitute only a fifth of the officers
  6. There is also general disenchantment in the service about how the cadre is managed, especially at the State level. Many States have posts reserved to “punish” uncooperative officers. This leads to mindless victimisation of the IAS on change in political power.
The SC has mandated the government to constitute a civil services board to determine transfers and appointments. Mandatory time limit of 2 years in any post and advised bureaucrats to follow only written orders. The upsc in its part has introduced an ethics paper and made sure only candidates with integrity and honesty are selected. To accompany these initiatives and for a sustainable solution, the most important ingredient is political will.
Role of AIS
All-India Services, namely IAS, IFS and IPS have helped in maintaining the unity, integrity and stability of our nation. They were created in accordance with Article 312 of our Constitution and it makes no distinction among the All-India services, in status and importance.
IAS and IPS are recruited through same examination civil services examination, however due to difference of a few marks, aspirants are allotted these services and there onwards the rift between status and importance increases between two. IFS candidates are selected by different exams and are considered even inferior than IAS and IPS in status and importance. Also, IPS officers shall report to IAS officers in constabulary system
  1. Advice to Policy formulating
  2. Implementing programmes at govt. Programmes on health, education etc. are translated to reality by them
  3. Since they are of all India character, they serve in the states in best interest of the people and not form nexus with local politicians. They rise above party politics to perform their function
  4. Help in maintaining law and order
  5. Conservation and scientific management of forests
  6. Act as channel of communication between centre and states
  7. The All-India Services officers have also offered their services in various other national government agencies such as IB, RAW, Forest Survey of India, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, etc.
  8. Help in conducting elections peacefully
  9. Maintain rule of law
The All-India Services does suffer from various challenges. Caste and regional considerations have become an important factor in the  posting of IAS and IPS officers. The various services no-longer enjoy equal status & importance. IAS officers are believed to be holding most of the posts in the Central Staffing Scheme, which provides the pool of officers for senior posts in the Central government.
Representation of IPS officers is negligible in the posts requiring their domain expertise such as Serious Fraud Investigation Office and the Enforcement Directorate.
Therefore, there is a need to have a proactive, responsive, accountable, sustainable and efficient administration at all levels of the government. We should follow-up with the recommendations of the Second Administrative Commission’s recommendations.
Some Recent Steps:
It is argued that the complexities of day-to-day administration are such that senior civil servants are often handicapped by a lack of in-depth knowledge of the subject and domain of their postings. Elaborate and examine what needs to be done to address this problem. (200 Words)
“The Indian Administrative Service (IAS), which is the backbone of the administrative machinery in the country and is critical to ensuring the delivery of the services and welfare schemes of the government to end users, is grappling with multiple problems that do not have quick-fix solutions.” Critically analyse. (200 Words)
It is said that though the Constitution makes no distinction among the all-India services, each of them do not enjoy equal status and importance in India. In the light of the statement, critically analyse the role of all India services in ensuring smooth functioning of democracy in India. (200 Words)



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