Civil Services Reforms

Making IAS officers effective in dealing with manufacturing sector


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: India's manufacturing sector and role of IAS officers



  • The Make in India and Ease of Doing Business policies were framed because Prime Minister Narendra Modi correctly believed that the problems of poverty and unemployment could only be solved by the rapid growth of the manufacturing sector. Despite these efforts, manufacturing has till now not shown any significant increase in its growth. Investments in the sector remain inadequate.

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Background: Manufacturing sector in India

  • Development strategies and failures: The development of strategies and plans for implementation and their execution is done by individuals. Repeated failures in this area point to the necessity of identifying the root causes for why existing personnel charged with policy execution have been failing.
  • Reasons could be: The reasons could be inadequate knowledge and skills, lack of motivation, environmental constraints or weak supervision and monitoring.
  • Vision by political leaderships, implementation by IAS officers: While the political leadership lays down the vision, the responsibilities for translating these into ground realities are that of IAS officers.

IAS officers in manufacturing

  • IAS officers ensures adequate skills and training: Most of the senior posts in the secretariats and districts are held by officers from the IAS. They are responsible for ensuring that subordinate civil servants are adequately trained and skilled, motivated and guided to deliver good outcomes.
  • Frame rules for implementation: They create the framework of rules that constitute the environment for implementation. Therefore, if policies are to be more effectively implemented, IAS officers need to be better equipped.


How should be the role of IAS officers in manufacturing?

  • Officers should have adequate knowledge: Achieving global levels of cost and quality competitiveness in the sector requires that officers working in areas relevant to policy-making in the central and state governments understand how laws, regulations and procedures impact the competitiveness of industry.
  • They must know the ways of cost-efficient manufacturing: They should specifically be aware of the various ways in which these add to or reduce the costs of manufacturing.
  • They should ensure the demand and investment strategy: They need to appreciate the importance of demand creation for enabling industry to achieve economies of scale and how the stability of policies is required for companies to make long-term investments.

What needs to be done?

  • Need to understand the resources, demand and growth: The importance of profits and the generation of internal resources for growth has to be understood.
  • Joint efforts and trust are required: This is only possible if the concerned civil servants in the ministries have good domain knowledge of the manufacturing sector and appreciate that government and entrepreneurs have to work jointly and trust each other.

Can IAS officers do this work? What are the challenges?

  • Gap in policies and implementation: While policies are largely made in Delhi, much of the implementation is done in states.
  • More trust on public sector while a distrust on private sector: Effective implementation has become complex because of our past history of only trusting the public sector and distrusting the private sector.
  • Even laws and procedures are based on suspicion: Many of the laws and procedures were based on the suspicion of private-sector industrialists.
  • Legacy of distrust on civil servants: Equally, the system of checks and balances, inherited from the British, is based on a distrust of civil servants and leads to implementers preferring procedures and correct paperwork over producing results.
  • Civil servants are not private sector friendly in general: Civil servants are generally not private sector friendly when dealing with issues that have financial implications. This results in long delays, higher costs and loss of competitiveness.

How to equip IAS officers to become more effective in dealing with the manufacturing sector?

  • Bringing in the best global practices: We need to reform our system of human resource development and bring it in line with the best global practices.
  • Dedicated wing to be created: A wing be created in the Department of Personnel & Training, and its counterparts in the states. This should be manned by professionals in human resource development whose function would be to select officers on the basis of aptitude from the IAS and other services, and train them to frame and implement policies relating to manufacturing and industrial development.
  • Experience must be considered: The selection of officers could be made after they have completed around 10 years of service. Thereafter, selected officers would need to be trained and given postings that would enable them to gain more knowledge and experience. This could include secondment to selected private companies so that the officers could get actual working experience. They would then be better able to understand the finer points of competing in the marketplace.
  • Periodic Capability evaluation should be made: Officers so trained should not be moved to other unrelated areas of work. Periodic evaluations could be made, again by professionals, to identify those capable of moving to the highest levels for making policies and strategies.

The Maruti case study

  • A system that exists in Japan, and was implemented in Maruti, was to de-link salary scales from job responsibilities.
  • The most suitable person for a job is selected and his pay did not change upon assuming higher responsibilities, though his designation changed.


  • IAS officers can deliver results if they are motivated, trained and allowed to work in the area of their expertise. The recruitment system for the higher civil services ensures high-quality entrants. However, that does not automatically mean good results when posted in jobs that require specialized knowledge and experience. They need to be properly equipped to work in the manufacturing sector.

Mains Question

Q. Despite of the efforts to boost manufacturing sector, it has till now not shown any significant increase in its growth. In this context discuss the role of  IAS officers and suggest what can be done to improve their role in manufacturing sector.

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