Civil Services Reforms

Civil Services Reforms

Actions that corrode the steel frame of India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 311

Mains level : Paper 2- Civil Service reforms

Context

A letter war between two sets of retired public officials (civil servants, judges and army officers), concerning the prevailing political and social situation in the country, has been widely reported in the media.

Role of civil service

  • It is the police and magistracy, judicial courts and other regulatory agencies — not politicians — which have been authorised and empowered by law to take preventive action against potential troublemakers, enforce the laws relating to criminal, economic and other offences, and maintain public order.
  • In mature democracies, self-respecting public officials normally discharge their constitutional and legal responsibilities with honesty, integrity and their own conscience, firmly resisting the dictates of the vested interests.

Deterioration in the standard of civil service

  • The deterioration in standards was very visible during the National Emergency declared in 1975.
  • The civil services, like other institutions including the judiciary, just caved in; the trend might have accelerated over the years.
  • Now, no one even talks of civil service neutrality.
  • Earlier, during communal or caste riots, the Administration focused on quelling the disturbances and restoring peace in the affected locality, without ever favouring one group over the other.
  • Now, there are allegations of local officers taking sides in a conflict.
  • A civil servant’s pliant and submissive behaviour means an end to civil service neutrality and the norms and values that this trait demands, does not seem to bother either the political or bureaucratic leadership.
  • Despite the protection and safeguards in Article 311 of the Constitution, politicians could have a civil servant placed in an inconvenient position or even punish him.

Norms and values associated with a civil servant

  • Norms: The norms that define neutrality are: independence of thought and action; honest and objective advice; candour and ,‘speaking truth to power’.
  • Values: Associated with these norms are the personal values that a civil servant cherishes or ought to cherish, namely, self-respect, integrity, professional pride and dignity.
  • All these together contribute to the enhancement of the quality of administration that benefits society and the people.

Conclusion

Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment,” wrote B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution and added, “It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.”

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Civil Services Reforms

What are the rules for resignation and reinstatement of an IAS officer?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Civil Services

Mains level : Resignation and reinstatement of an IAS officer

A decorated Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and UPSC CSE topper from 2010, who resigned from the service in protest against the “unabated” killings in Kashmir in 2019, has been reinstated.

What rules apply when an IAS officer chooses to resign?

  • A resignation is a formal intimation in writing by an officer of his/her intention or a proposal to leave the IAS, either immediately or at a specified date in the future.
  • Guidelines of the Department of Personnel, the cadre controlling department for the IAS, say that a resignation has to be clear and unconditional.
  • The resignation of an officer of any of the three All-India Services — IAS, the IPS and IFoS — is governed by Rules 5(1) and 5(1)(A) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958.
  • There are similar rules for resignation of officers belonging to the other central services as well.
  • Resignation from service is entirely different from accepting the government’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).

To whom must the resignation of an IAS officer be submitted?

  • An officer serving in a cadre (state) must submit his/her resignation to the chief secretary of the state.
  • An officer who is on central deputation is required to submit his/her resignation to the secretary of the concerned Ministry or Department.
  • The Ministry/Department then forwards the officer’s resignation to the concerned state cadre, along with its comments or recommendations.

What happens after the resignation is submitted?

  • The state checks to see if any dues are outstanding against the officer, as well as the vigilance status of the officer or whether any cases of corruption etc. are pending against him/her.
  • In case there is such a case, the resignation is normally rejected.
  • Before forwarding the resignation to the central government, the concerned state is supposed to send information on the issues of dues and vigilance status, along with its recommendation.
  • The resignation of the officer is considered by the competent authority, i.e., the central government, only after the recommendation of the concerned cadre has been received.
  • The competent authorities are: Minister of State at the DoPT in respect of the IAS, the MHA in respect of the IPS, and the MoEFCC in respect of the Forest Service.
  • Being the minister in charge of the DoPT, the Prime Minister himself takes decisions currently in respect of the IAS.

Under what circumstances is a resignation accepted or rejected?

  • A circular issued by the DoPT on February 15, 1988 regarding resignation says that it is not in the interest of the government to retain an officer who is unwilling to serve.
  • The general rule, therefore, is that the resignation of an officer should be accepted — except in certain circumstances.
  • The references are made regarding the merit of the disciplinary case pending against the Government servant and whether it would be in the public interest to accept the resignation.
  • In some cases, resignations have been rejected because disciplinary cases were pending against officers.
  • In such cases, concurrence of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is obtained.
  • The government also checks whether the concerned officer had executed any time-bond to serve the government.

Is an officer allowed to withdraw a resignation that has already been submitted?

  • Rule 5(1A)(i) of the amended DCRB Rules says the central government may permit an officer to withdraw his/her resignation “in the public interest”.
  • An amendment in the Rules in 2011 states the member is allowed to resume duty as a result of permission to withdraw the resignation is not more than 90 days”.
  • The request for withdrawal of resignation shall NOT be accepted where a member of the Service resigns to be associated with any active politics/ political parties.

And under what circumstances is the withdrawal of an officer’s resignation accepted?

  • The 2011 guidelines say that if a resigned officer resignation sends an intimation in writing withdrawing it before its acceptance by the competent authority, the resignation will be deemed to have been automatically withdrawn.
  • The officer under discussion had resigned on January 9, 2019, but his resignation was not processed.

 

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Civil Services Reforms

Vacancies in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IAS

Mains level : Read the attached story

Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions told  the Lok Sabha that as on January 1, 2021, there were 5,231 IAS officers in the country — 1,515 (22.45 per cent) fewer than the sanctioned strength of 6,746.

About IAS

  • The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the administrative arm of the All India Services of Government of India.
  • Considered the premier central civil service of India, the IAS is one of the three arms of the All India Services along with the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service.
  • Members of these three services serve the Government of India as well as the individual states.
  • IAS officers may also be deployed to various public sector undertakings and international organizations.

Functions of the IAS

  • Upon confirmation of service, an IAS officer serves a probationary period as a sub-divisional magistrate.
  • Completion of this probation is followed by an executive administrative role in a district as a district magistrate and collector which lasts several years.
  • After this tenure, an officer may be promoted to head a whole state administrative division, as a divisional commissioner.

How are officers recruited in the IAS?

  • Direct recruits are selected through the Civil Service Examination (CSE) every year; the number of recruits is decided by a committee that takes several factors into account.
  • Since 2012, 180 IAS officers have been recruited every year through the CSE.
  • A committee has been constituted to arrive at a suitable formula to determine the intake of IAS officers every year from CSE-2022 to 2030.
  • Some officers are promoted from the State Civil Services (SCS), and a limited number are promoted from among non-SCS officers.
  • Filling of vacancies through induction from State Services is a continuous process.
  • The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) holds Selection Committee meetings with state governments.

Is the shortage a new trend?

  • The shortage has been a constant feature ever since — it was the least in 2001 (0.79 per cent), and the most in 2012 (28.87 per cent), as per available data.

How is the sanctioned strength decided?

  • There is a provision for quinquennial cadre reviews for every cadre of the All India Services under the relevant Cadre Rules.
  • The Cadre Review Committee (CRC) is headed by the Cabinet Secretary with the Secretary DoPT, Secretary Expenditure, Secretary Administrative Ministry, and the senior-most member of the service/cadre in question as its members.
  • Cadre review is an ongoing process, and some states are taken up by rotation every year for review — in 2020-21.
  • For example, it was decided to revise the strength and composition of the IAS in UP and Bihar, and of the IPS in Manipur.
  • The sanctioned strength, therefore, keeps changing.

What impact can a shortage of IAS officers have?

  • IAS officers are given a wide range of high-level responsibilities.
  • In states, their work relates to the collection of revenue, maintenance of law and order, and supervision of policies of the central and state governments.
  • They function as executive magistrates in revenue matters, and as development commissioners.
  • They supervise the spending of public funds and, at a senior level, contribute to policy formulation and decision-making in consultation with Ministers.
  • They serve the central government under deputation.

Other issues

  • State governments have sometimes refused to send IAS/IPS/Indian Forest Service officers to the Centre saying they are short of officers.
  • The Centre has recently proposed amendments to the IAS (Cadre) Rules in order to exercise greater control in central deputation of IAS officers.

Why can’t we have more IAS officers?

  • The B S Baswan Committee, said in its report submitted in 2016 that “any number above 180 would
  1. Compromise quality
  2. Exceed the LBNSAA’s (Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration’s) capacity and
  3. Lead to a distortion in the career pyramid of IAS officers, particularly for senior posts in the Government of India
  • The Committee recommended that “vacant posts in the Centre and states can be filled by deputation where the number of deputationists would be less than the present.”

Issues with shortage of Officers

  • Bureaucracy deficit is, perhaps, compelling states to take recourse to such means as appointing non-cadre officers to cadre posts.
  • States allow them to continue in such posts beyond the permissible time limit besides giving multiple charges to serving officers.
  • Such measures compromise the efficiency of administration.

Way ahead

  • The DoPT should increase the annual intake of IAS officers significantly keeping in view the evolving needs of Indian administration.

 

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Civil Services Reforms

What is ‘General Consent’ for CBI?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CBI

Mains level : General consent to CBI by states and issues in CBI investigation

Meghalaya has withdrawn consent to the CBI to investigate cases in the state, becoming the ninth state in the country to have taken this step.

General Consent

  • Unlike the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is governed by its own NIA Act and has jurisdiction across the country, the CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
  • This makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting an investigation in that state.
  • There are two types of consent: case-specific and general.
  • Given that the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a given state only after that state government gives its consent.

When is Consent needed?

  • General consent is normally given to help the CBI seamlessly conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned state.
  • Almost all states have given such consent.
  • Otherwise, the CBI would require consent in every case.

What does the withdrawal of consent mean?

  • It means the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving a central government official or a private person stationed in these two states without getting case-specific consent.
  • Withdrawal of consent simply means that CBI officers will lose all powers of a police officer as soon as they enter the state unless the state government has allowed them.

Under what provision has general consent been withdrawn?

  • In exercise of the power conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the government can withdraw the general consent to exercise the powers and jurisdiction.
  • Section 6 of the Act says nothing contained in Section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union Territory or Railway, area, without the consent of the Government of that State.

Does that mean that the CBI can no longer probe any case in the two states?

  • The CBI would still have the power to investigate old cases registered when general consent existed.
  • Also, cases registered anywhere else in the country, but involving people stationed in that particular state would allow CBI’s jurisdiction to extend to these states.
  • There is ambiguity on whether the agency can carry out a search in either of the two states in connection with an old case without the consent of the state government.

Why such a move by the States?

  • If a state government believes that the ruling party’s ministers or members could be targeted by CBI on orders of the Centre, and that withdrawal of general consent would protect them.
  • This is a debatable political assumption.
  • CBI could still register cases in Delhi which would require some part of the offence being connected with Delhi and still arrest and prosecute ministers or MPs.
  • The only people it will protect are small central government employees.

Legal Remedies for CBI

  • The CBI can always get a search warrant from a local court in the state and conduct searches.
  • In case the search requires a surprise element, there is CrPC Section 166, which allows a police officer of one jurisdiction to ask an officer of another to carry out searches on his behalf.
  • And if the first officer feels that the searches by the latter may lead to loss of evidence, the section allows the first officer to conduct searches himself after giving notice to the latter.

Back2Basics: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The Bureau of Investigation traces its origins to the Delhi Special Police Establishment, a Central Government Police force, which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India.
  • It then aimed to investigate bribery and corruption in transactions with the War and Supply Department of India.
  • It then had its headquarters in Lahore.
  • After the end of the war, there was a continued need for a central governmental agency to investigate bribery and corruption by central-government employees.
  • The DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution dated in 1963.

Mandate of the CBI

  • The CBI is the main investigating agency of the GoI.
  • It is not a statutory body; it derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
  • Its important role is to prevent corruption and maintain integrity in administration.
  • It works under the supervision of the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) in matters pertaining to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • The CBI is also India’s official representative with the INTERPOL.

Cases to investigate

  • Cases connected to infringement of economic and fiscal laws
  • Crimes of a serious nature that have national and international ramifications
  • Coordination with the activities of the various state police forces and anti-corruption agencies.
  • It can also take up any case of public importance and investigate it
  • Maintaining crime statistics and disseminating criminal information.

Issues with CBI

  • Caged parrot: The Supreme Court has criticized the CBI by calling it a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”.
  • Political interference: It has often been used by the government of the day to cover up wrongdoing, keep coalition allies in line and political opponents at bay.
  • Investigation delay: It has been accused of enormous delays in concluding investigations due to political inertia.
  • Loss of Credibility: CBI has been criticised for its mismanagement of several cases involving prominent politicians and mishandling of several sensitive cases like Bofors scandal, Bhopal gas tragedy.
  • Lack of Accountability: CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act, thus, lacking public accountability.
  • Acute shortage of personnel: A major cause of the shortfall is the government’s sheer mismanagement of CBI’s workforce.
  • Limited Powers: The powers and jurisdiction of members of the CBI for investigation are subject to the consent of the State Govt., thus limiting the extent of investigation by CBI.
  • Restricted Access: Prior approval of Central Government to conduct inquiry or investigation on the employees of the Central Government is a big obstacle in combating corruption at higher levels of bureaucracy.

Reforming CBI

  • Need for autonomy:   As long as the government of the day has the power to transfer and post officials of its choice in the CBI, the investigating agency will not enjoy autonomy and will be unable to investigate cases freely.
  • Selection of director/ Officers: To ensure that the CBI is a robust, independent and credible investigation agency, there is an urgent need to work out a much more transparent mechanism for selection and induction of officers on deputation.
  • Lokpal scrutiny: The Lokpal Act already calls for a three-member committee made up of the PM, the leader of the opposition and the CJI to select the director.
  • Bifurcation of Cadre: CBI should be bifurcated into an Anti-Corruption Body and a National Crime Bureau.
  • Develop own cadre: One of the demands that have been before Supreme Court, and in line with international best practices, is for the CBI to develop its own dedicated cadre of officers.
  • Annual social audit should be carried out by ten reputed, knowledgeable persons with background of law, justice, public affairs and administration and the audit report should be placed before the parliament.

 

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Civil Services Reforms

New Rules for Deputation of DIGs

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : New Rules for Deputation of DIGs

Mains level : Appointment of civil servants

After its proposal to amend the All India Service Rules that would allow it to call any IAS, IPS or IFoS officer on central deputation with or without the state’s consent, the Centre has issued another order on central deputation of Deputy Inspector General-level IPS officers.

What is the order?

  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said that IPS officers coming to the Centre at DIG level would no longer be required to be empanelled at that level with the Union Government.
  • According to existing rules, a DIG-ranked IPS officer with a minimum experience of 14 years could only be deputed to the Centre if the Police Establishment Board empanelled them as DIGs at the Centre.
  • The board chooses the panel on the basis of officers’ career and vigilance records.
  • Only Superintendent of Police-level officers do not require empanelment at the Centre.
  • The new order makes the entire pool of DIG-level officers in a state eligible for central deputation.

Why has it been issued?

Ans. Huge Vacancies

  • The move is aimed at increasing the pool of DIG-level IPS officers for central deputation in the backdrop of massive vacancies in central police organisations (CPOs) and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
  • Out of 252 posts reserved for IPS officers at DIG level at the Centre, 118 (almost half) are vacant.
  • IPS officers have a quota of 40% in CPOs and CAPFs.

How will the move help?

  • The idea is to ease up the process of central deputation as verification of records takes a long time.
  • Also, it increases the size of the pool of officers available to the Centre.

So why would states have a problem?

Ans. Relieving the Officers

  • States would have to be willing to relieve these officers.
  • The new order may be seen by many states as the Centre’s attempt at pushing the envelope further on increasing its powers over officers serving in the states.
  • With these orders, the Centre would have powers to demand, within a stipulated time frame, a certain quota of officers from the state for central deputation.
  • It may also call any IAS officer on central deputation in “public interest”.
  • In case the state failed to relieve the officer, he/she would be deemed relieved following the date fixed.

Why don’t states relieve officers?

Ans. Vacancy in states

  • There is a serious paucity of officers in the states too.
  • In a cost-cutting move during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, the size of IPS batches among other government staff was reduced even though sizeable vacancies existed even then.
  • From 80-90 officers each, IPS batches were cut to 35-40 officers (in 1999-2002, the average was 36).
  • The average attrition rate of IPS officers due to superannuation is 85 per year.
  • The strength of IAS officers too had been impacted due to low intake during the 1990s.

How has this impacted the services?

  • The anomaly in IPS recruitment adversely affected cadre management over the years.
  • At some levels, there are fewer officers than sanctioned posts, while at others there is a glut. For example, UP has a shortage of DIGs and IGs, but too many officers at the level of ADGs.

 

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Civil Services Reforms

Upsetting the Centre-state balance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 312

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with changes in IAS rule

Context

The proposed amendment to Rule 6 of the IAS (Cadre) Rules 1954, seeks to do away with the consent of both the officer and the state government.

What makes All-India services different?

  • Article 309: Under Article 309 of the Constitution, the Centre and states are empowered to erect and maintain services for running their administration.
  • Both the Centre and the states exercise full control over their services independently of each other.
  • Article 312: Unlike a central service or state service, an All-India Service is compositely administered under Article 312.
  • While recruitment and allotment to a cadre (state) are determined by the Centre, the states determine the work and posting.
  • Balance between Centre and states: Hence, All-India Services are carefully balanced between the Centre and the states.
  • The Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Forest Service (IFS) are the three All-India Services.
  • Being an All-India Service, officers of the IAS are posted to the states, from where they are deputed to the Centre with the tripartite consent of the officer, the state government and the central government.

Issues with the proposed changes

  • The proposed amendment to Rule 6 of the IAS (Cadre) Rules 1954, seeks to do away with the consent of both the officer and the state government.
  • Reasons for amendment: The reason for the amendment, as declared by the central government, is to ensure adequate availability of IAS officers for central deputation, which at present is “not sufficient to meet the requirement at the Centre”.
  • However, the central government has gone beyond its declared reason and stretched the cadre rules to also allow for appropriation of IAS officers “in public interest”.
  • The Centre has virtually conferred upon itself the plenipotentiary power to pull out any number of IAS officers from the states.
  • States may divest IAS officers of key posts: To protect their administration from becoming paralysed, states may resort to altering their Transaction of Business Rules to divest IAS officers of key posts in the state, and vesting the same with the state officers.
  • Alternately, states may conjure provisional berths for retired bureaucrats to re-enter administration as special appointees, outside the cadre rules.
  • Flouting of cadre rules by States: As it is, the implementation of cadre rules is left to the mercy of the states, with the Centre showing a disinclination to enforce them.
  • Some states openly flout the cadre rules with impunity in matters of postings and transfers.
  • The Civil Services Board has been rendered impotent, non-cadre officers are being unilaterally appointed to IAS cadre posts, and the minimum tenure guarantee is openly flouted.
  • Against federalism: Not only could it allow distrust to fester in Centre-state relations, it would also result in the functional depreciation of the IAS in the states.

Conclusion

It is important for the states to be reassured that they are in control of their administration, and for the service to not lose its relevance.

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Civil Services Reforms

Finding a way to share IAS officers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Amendment to IAS cadre rules

Context

There are recent reports in the media about serious concerns of several state governments on Government of India’s proposed move to amend the IAS service rules to meet the shortage of officers at various levels at the Centre.

How does central deputation work?

  • Voluntary: Under the current dispensation, officers opt for central deputation from the states voluntarily.
  • The Centre then makes a selection from among these officers for posts which are vacant or are likely to be vacant in the near future.
  • While doing so, it considers the suitability of the officer based on his/her past experience.
  • Once the selection is finalised, orders are issued, requesting the state government to relieve the officer concerned.
  • Quota for each state: Each state has a certain quota beyond which its officers are not accepted by the Centre.

Shortage of officers on central deputation

  • In the last decade, there has been a gradual decline in the number of officers who opt for central deputation.
  • Generally, of the total cadre strength of the states, about 25-30 per cent used to be on central deputation.
  • Currently, less than 10 per cent are working in various central ministries.
  • According to certain reports, in states like UP, Bihar, Odisha and Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the number is between 8 per cent and 15 per cent.
  • One of the reasons for this non-availability of officers for central deputation is the inadequate recruitment more than a decade and half ago.
  • But an important reason is also the comparatively better service conditions in the states.

So, what do the proposed rules seek to achieve?

  • While fixing the cadre strength of states, about 40 per cent posts of senior duty are earmarked for central deputation.
  • Shortage to be shared equitably: Considering that recruitments in the past were not adequate, the proposed change in rules provides for shortage to be shared equitably between the Centre and states.
  • Time limit to relieve officers: Also, since vacancies need to be filled in time, there is a suggestion of a time limit in which states must respond and relieve the officer selected.

Way forward

  • Respect the views of State: It has to be clearly understood that when states give the list of officers they wish to offer for central deputation, it will be the decision of the states alone.
  • The Centre, if it wishes to have an officer work for it, can suggest so to the state. 
  •  If the state does not wish to suggest his name for deputation, the Centre should respect their views, even though they have the power under cadre rules to do so.
  • Improving working conditions for officers: The Centre has to realise that improving working conditions for officers at the deputy secretary and director levels is critical to the success of cadre management.
  • Many of the officers at this level have concerns regarding education of their children, transport and the higher cost of living in Delhi.
  • A deputation allowance for the period of deputation in Delhi could be an option.
  • Non-adversarial manner: The states also have to look at this issue in a non-adversarial manner, where needs of both the Centre and the state have to be matched and met.
  • The Centre should dispel fears of states about misuse of central power.

Conclusion

Proposed amendment to service rules is needed to meet shortage of personnel, but Centre must dispel states’ fears about overreach.

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Civil Services Reforms

Drop the IAS cadre rules amendments

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : All India Services

Mains level : Paper 2- Amendments to IAS Cadre rules

Context

The Central Government has proposed four amendments to Rule 6(1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954 dealing with deputation, and has sought the views of State governments before January 25, 2022.

Historical background of All India Services

  • It was Sardar Patel who had championed the creation of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) as “All India Services” (AIS) whose members would be recruited and appointed by the Centre and allotted to various States, and who could serve both under the State and the Centre.
  • Speaking to the Constituent Assembly on October 10, 1949, Patel said, “The Union will go, you will not have a united India if you have not a good All India Service which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security….”.

Central deputation of All India Service officers

  • Consultative process: AIS officers are made available for central deputation through a consultative process involving the Centre, the States and the officers concerned.
  • The Centre would choose officers only from among those “on offer” from the States.
  • Concurrence of the State government: The existing Rule 6(1) states that a cadre officer may be deputed to the Central Government (or to another State or a PSU) only with the concurrence of the State Government concerned.
  • However, it has a proviso which states that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government.
  • Unfortunately, both the Centre and the States have at times flouted these healthy conventions for political considerations.

The politicisation of the deputation process

  • In May 2021, the Centre unilaterally issued orders for the central deputation of the Chief Secretary of West Bengal just before his last day in service.
  • Some States used to vindictively withhold the names of some of the officers who had opted for central deputation or delay their relief after they were picked up by the Centre.
  • The proposed amendment to rule: The Central Government has proposed four amendments to Rule 6(1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954 dealing with deputation.

Two of the four proposed amendments are disconcerting

  • 1] Providing a fixed number of IAS officers for central deputation: One is a new proviso making it mandatory for the State government to provide a certain fixed number of IAS officers for central deputation every year. 
  • The proposed amendment more or less compels a State government to offer IAS officers for central deputation even when these officers themselves may not wish to go on central deputation.
  • Reasons for shortage of  IAS officers: Poor working conditions in junior-level posts, an opaque and arbitrary system of empanelment for senior-level posts, and lack of security of tenure at all levels are the real reasons for the shortage of IAS officers, which the Centre should address.
  • 2] Requiring states to release the officer: The other is a proviso that requires the State government to release such officers whose services may be sought by the Central Government in specific situations.
  • Based on experiences of the recent past, State governments have a justified apprehension that this proviso may be misused for political considerations. 

Issues with the proposed amendments

  • The contemplated changes have grave implications for the independence, security and morale of IAS officers.
  • Infringement of rights of States: States are right in perceiving the proposed amendments as a serious infringement of their rights to deploy IAS officers as they deem best, especially when the cutting edge of policy implementation is mostly at the State level.
  • States may prefer officers of the State Civil Services to handle as many posts as possible.
  • . In course of time, the IAS will lose its sheen, and the best and the brightest candidates will no longer opt for the IAS.
  • Against cooperative federalism: In S.R. Bommai vs Union of India (1994), the Supreme Court held that “States have an independent constitutional existence and they have as important a role to play in the political, social, educational and cultural life of the people as the Union. They are neither satellites nor agents of the Centre”.

Consider the questions “What are the proposed amendments to IAS Rule 1954? What are the concerns with the proposed changes?”

Conclusion

In a federal setup, it is inevitable that differences and disputes would arise between the Centre and the States. But all such quarrels should be resolved in the spirit of cooperative federalism and keeping the larger national interest in mind.

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Why India’s bureaucracy needs urgent reform

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 312

Mains level : Paper 2- Reforms in bureaucracy

Context

The bureaucracy that took India through the last 75 years can’t be the one to take it through the next 75 — we need a proactive, imaginative, technology-savvy, enabling bureaucracy.

Role of bureaucracy and challenges it faces

  • The civil services, and the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in particular played important role in holding India together post-Independence.
  • Much of the impressive nation-building across sectors happened because of their dedication and commitment.
  • It is also forgotten that the bureaucracy, unlike the private sector, is a creature of the Constitution and is bound by multiple rules, laws, and procedures.
  • Understaffed: As per estimates compiled by the Institute of Conflict Management, the government of India (GOI) has about 364 government servants for every 1,00,000 residents, with 45 per cent in the railways alone.
  • About 60 per cent and 30 per cent are in Groups C and D, respectively, leaving a skeletal skilled staff of just about 7 per cent to man critical positions.
  • We are grossly understaffed.
  • Inaction: Further, faced with extensive judicial overreach reporting to an often rapacious, short-sighted political executive, and a media ever ready to play the role of judge, jury and executioner, the bureaucracy has in large part found comfort in inaction and ensuring audit-proof file work.

Suggestions

  • Get out of business: That we need not be in many sectors is well-recognised — leave them to the markets — and politicians must get bureaucrats out of business, in more ways than one.
  • Prevent punitive actions: To increase the officers’ willingness to take decisions, one possible solution is to legally prevent enforcement agencies from taking punitive action, like arrest for purely economic decisions without any direct evidence of kickbacks.
  • Lateral entry: The toughest challenge is to change an inactive bureaucracy to one that feels safe in taking genuine risks.
  • Lateral entry needs to expand to up to 15 per cent of Joint/Additional and Secretary-level positions in GOI.
  • Recruitment process: Changes in recruitment procedures, like the interview group spending considerable time with the candidates, along with psychometric tests, will improve the incoming pool of civil servants.
  • Evaluation: Most importantly, after 15 years of service, all officers must undergo a thorough evaluation to enable them to move further, and those who do not make it should be put out to pasture.
  • Adoption of technology: Every modern bureaucracy in the world works on technology-enabled productivity and collaboration tools.
  •  India procures about $600 billion worth of goods and services annually — can’t all payments be done electronically?

Consider this question ” The civil services held India together after Independence, but if the country’s potential is to be realised, existing problems of inefficiency and inaction must be fixed. In light of this, examine the factors reasponsible for inefficiency and suggest the reforms.”

Conclusion

India cannot hope to get to a $5-trillion economy without a modern, progressive, results-oriented bureaucracy, one which says “why not?” instead of “why?” when confronted with problems.

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Dismissal of govt employees: What the Constitution says

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 311

Mains level : Civil services reforms

Lt Governor has dismissed 11 Jammu and Kashmir government employees for alleged terror links under provisions of Article 311(2)(c) of the Constitution.

What is Article 311?

  • Article 311 of the Constitution deals with ‘Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State’.
  • Under Article 311(2), no civil servant can be “dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges’’.
  • Subsection (c) of the provision, however, says this clause shall not apply “where the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State it is not expedient to hold such inquiry”.

Remedy available

  • The only available remedy to a terminated employee is to challenge the government’s decision in the High Court.

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WB Bureaucrat Transfer Issue

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Civil services reforms

West Bengal CM has announced that the outgoing Chief Secretary would be appointed Chief Advisor to the Chief Minister.

Story so far

  • A senior IAS officer has been the subject of a tussle between the Centre and the state government over the last few days.
  • He was due to begin an extension of three months after retiring as Chief Secretary, but the Centre instead asked him to report and join the Government of India.
  • He did not do so.

How officers get an extension?

  • Rule 16(1) of DCRB (Death-cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules says that “a member of the Service may be given an extension of service for a period not exceeding three months in the public interest, with the prior approval of the Central Government”.
  • For an officer posted as Chief Secretary of a state, this extension can be for six months.

Central Deputation

  • In normal practice, the Centre asks every year for an “offer list” of officers of the All India Services willing to go on central deputation.
  • Rule 6(1) of the IAS Cadre Rules says an officer may with the concurrence of the State Governments concerned and the Central Government, be deputed for service under the Central Government or another State Government…”
  • It says “in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government or State Governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.”

Issues with such deputation

  • Because of the Rule, states have to bear the brunt of arbitrary actions taken by the Centre, while the Rule makes it difficult for the Centre to enforce its will on a state that refuses to back down.

What next

  • The Centre cannot take action against civil service officials who are posted under the state government unless the latter agrees.
  • Rule 7 of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, states that the authority to institute proceedings and to impose penalty will be the state government.
  • For any action to be taken against an officer of the All India Services, the state and the Centre both need to agree.

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Civil Services Reforms

The outdated nature of bureaucracy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with the bureaucracy

The second wave of Covid has exposed the inherent weakness of the bureaucracy in India. The article highlights the necessity for reforms in the way bureaucracy functions in India.

Features of traditional bureaucracy

  • Preference to generalist: Weberian bureaucracy still prefers a generalist over a specialist.
  • Preference to leadership of position: The leadership of position is preferred over leadership of function in the traditional bureaucracy.
  • The leadership of function is when a person has expert knowledge of a particular responsibility in a particular situation.
  • The role of the leader is to explain the situation instead of issuing orders.
  •  Every official involved in a particular role responds to the situation rather than relying on some dictation from someone occupying a particular position.
  • Lack of innovation: The rigid adherence to rules has resulted in the rejection of innovation.

Covid exposed limits of traditional bureaucracy

  • A generalist officer IAS and State civil service officials are deemed an expert and as a result, superior in traditional bureaucracy.
  • Specialists in every government department have to remain subordinate to the generalist officers.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weakness of this system.
  • Healthcare professionals who are specialists have been made to work under generalist officers and the policy options have been left to the generalists when they should be in the hands of the specialists.
  • The justification is that the generalist provides a broader perspective compared to the specialist.

Is privatisation and private sector managerial techniques an answer?

  • The reform often suggested in India is new public management.
  • This as a reform movement promotes privatisation and managerial techniques of the private sector as an effective tool to seek improvements in public service delivery and governance.
  • But this isn’t a viable solution in India where there is social inequality and regional variations in development.
  • It renders the state a bystander among the multiple market players with a lack of accountability.
  • Further, COVID-19 has shown that the private sector has also failed in public service delivery.

Way forward: Collaborative governance

  • The most appropriate administrative reform is the model of new public governance.
  • Work together: In collaborative governance, the public sector, private players and civil society, especially public service organisations (NGOs), work together for effective public service delivery.
  • As part of new public governance, a network of social actors and private players would take responsibility in various aspects of governance with public bureaucracy steering the ship rather than rowing it.
  • As part of new public governance, the role of civil society has to be institutionalised.
  • It needs a change in the behaviour of bureaucracy.
  • Openness to reforms: It needs flexibility in the hierarchy, a relook at the generalist versus specialist debate, and an openness to reforms such as lateral entry and collaboration with a network of social actors.
  • All major revolutions with huge implications on public service delivery have come through the collaboration of public bureaucracy with so-called outsiders.
  • These include the Green Revolution (M.S. Swaminathan), the White Revolution (Verghese Kurien), Aadhaar-enabled services (Nandan Nilekani) and the IT revolution (Sam Pitroda).

Consider the question “What are the weaknesses of bureaucracy in India? Suggest the measures to improve the quality of public service delivery in India.”

Conclusion

New public governance is the future of governance, especially public service delivery.


Back2Basics: The Weberian Model of bureaucracy

  • The classic model of bureaucracy is typically called the ideal Weberian model, and it was developed by Max Weber, an early German sociologist.
  • Weber argued that the increasing complexity of life would simultaneously increase the demands of citizens for government services.
  • Therefore, the ideal type of bureaucracy, the Weberian model, was one in which agencies are apolitical, hierarchically organized, and governed by formal procedures.
  • Furthermore, specialized bureaucrats would be better able to solve problems through logical reasoning.
  • Such efforts would eliminate entrenched patronage, stop problematic decision-making by those in charge,, impose order and efficiency, create a clear understanding of the service provided, reduce arbitrariness, ensure accountability, and limit discretion.

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Article 311 of the Indian Constitution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 311 of the Indian Constitution

Mains level : Read the attached story

A suspended Maharashtra police officer was dismissed from service by Mumbai Police Commissioner under Article 311 (2) (b) of the Indian Constitution without a departmental enquiry.

What is Article 311?

  • Article 311 says that no government employee either of an all India service or a state government shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to the owner that appointed him/her.
  • Section 2 of the article says that no civil servant shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which s/he has been informed of the charges and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.

Various safeguards under Art. 311

  • Article 311 is meant to act as a safeguard for civil servants that give them a chance to respond to the charges in an enquiry so that he/she is not arbitrarily dismissed from service.
  • The article also provides exceptions to these safeguards under subclause 2 provision b.
  • It states “when an authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such enquiry”.

What is the process of a departmental enquiry?

  • In a departmental enquiry, after an enquiry officer is appointed, the civil servant is given a formal chargesheet of the charges.
  • The civil servant can represent himself/herself or choose to have a lawyer.
  • Witnesses can be called during the departmental enquiry following which the enquiry officer can prepare a report and submit it to the government for further action.

Are there other exceptions where a person can be dismissed without departmental enquiry?

  • As per Article 311 subclause 2 provision a, if a government employee is convicted in a criminal case, he can be dismissed without DE.
  • Apart from this, under 311 (2) (c), a government employee can be dismissed when the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied in the interest of the security of the state.

Can the dismissal under section 311 (2) be challenged by the government employee?

  • Yes, the government employee dismissed under these provisions can approach either tribunal like the state administrative tribunal or the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) or the Courts.

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Civil Services Reforms

Civil service reforms in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Role of civil servants in implementing the development agenda

The article highlights the role bureaucracy can play in the development of the country and suggests the ways to deal with the challenges faced by the bureaucracy.

Background of the PSU’s

  • In the 1950s and ’60s, the private sector had neither the capability to raise capital to take the country on the path of industrialisation.
  • The state had to take on the role of industrialising the country by establishing PSUs.
  • The civil services became the natural choice for establishing and managing these units.
  • They delivered substantially, if not fully.
  • Even after privatisation, the bureaucracy would be required for the transition of PSUs from the public to the private sector.

Need for structural transformation agenda

  • The goal of making India a $5-trillion economy needs a coherent structural transformation agenda and extraordinary implementation capacity.

1) Dealing with crony capitalisms

  • Since Independence, the political survival of Indian regimes has required pleasing a powerful land-owning class and a highly concentrated set of industrial capitalists.
  • The elites of business houses and land owners share no all-encompassing development agenda.
  • Can the present regime find a way out of this conundrum?

2) Implementing the development agenda

  • While the agenda is an outcome of political choices, the thinking goes that market mechanisms should be used as far as possible to make economic choices.
  • This argument is at the heart of the privatisation of state assets.
  • However, markets operate well only when they are supported by other kinds of social networks, which include non-contractual elements like trust.
  • Particularly in industrial transformation, there must be an essential complementarity of state structures and market exchange.
  • Only a competent bureaucracy can provide this.
  • It is for this reason that Max Weber argued that the operation of large-scale capitalist enterprise depended upon the kind of order that only a modern bureaucratic state can provide.

3) Removing the constraints on the bureaucracy

  • The political and permanent executives had to work as a team through mutual respect for each other’s roles as defined in the Constitution.
  • Every deviation from these ideals has lowered the capacity of the state to deliver.
  • This is the result of electoral politics where the essence of the state action is the exchange relationships between the incumbent governments and its supporters.
  • All this is achieved by undermining the impartiality of the bureaucracy in implementing rules and giving opinions frankly.
  • The power to transfer is weaponised to bring the bureaucrats to heel and it works because authority sits with the position not the person.
  • The pressure on officials to behave contrary to the ostensible purpose of the department undermines to a great extent the ability of the state to promote development.
  • If privatisation is to work, then the corruption-transfer mechanism and its effects on the bureaucracy has to go.

4) Corporate coherence

  • Corporate coherence is the ability of the bureaucracy internally to resist the invisible hands of personal maximisation by undercutting the formal organisational structure through informal networks.
  • If this goes too far, then everything becomes open to sale and the state becomes predatory.

Consider the question “What are the issues facing civil services in India? Suggest the ways to deal with these issues.”

Conclusion

We need to fight the increasing tendency to grab public resources and restore to the bureaucracy its autonomy of action as envisaged in the Constitution by de-weaponising transfers.

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Civil Services Reforms

[pib] Mission Karmayogi

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mission Karmayogi

Mains level : Civil Services Reforms

The Union Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has informed about the Mission Karmayogi to Parliament.

Try this MCQ:

Q.The Mission Karmayogi recently seen in news is related to:

a) EPFO reforms

b) Labour laws reforms

c) Civil Services reforms

d) Artisans and Handicrafts

Mission Karmayogi

  • The mission is established under the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB).
  • It is aimed at building a future-ready civil service with the right attitude, skills and knowledge, aligned to the vision of New India.
  • It is meant to be a comprehensive post-recruitment reform of the Centre’s human resource development, in much the same way as the National Recruitment Agency approved last week is pre-recruitment reform.

Why such a mission?

  • The capacity of Civil Services plays a vital role in rendering a wide variety of services, implementing welfare programs and performing core governance functions.

Major undertakings of the scheme

  • The scheme will cover 46 lakh, Central government employees, at all levels, and involve an outlay of ₹510 crores over a five-year period, according to an official statement.
  • The programme will support a transition from “rules-based to roles-based” HR management so that work allocations can be done by matching an official’s competencies to the requirements of the post.
  • Apart from domain knowledge training, the scheme will focus on “functional and behavioural competencies” as well, and also includes a monitoring framework for performance evaluations.
  • Eventually, service matters such as confirmation after the probation period, deployment, work assignments and notification of vacancies will all be integrated into the proposed framework.
  • The capacity building will be delivered through the iGOT Karmayogi digital platform, with content drawn from global best practices rooted in Indian national ethos.

Apex bodies under the mission

  • The Prime Minister’s Public Human Resource Council will be set up as the apex body to direct the reforms.
  • There will be an autonomous Capacity Building Commission to be established to manage the reformed system and harmonize training standards across the country so that there is a common understanding of India’s aspirations and development goals.
  • A wholly government-owned, not-for-profit special purpose vehicle will be set up to own and operate the digital platform and its content.

Answer: C

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Changes needed in lateral entry requirements

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Making lateral entry a success

It has been a while since the government introduced the provision of lateral entry into civil services. This article suggests the changes that need to be made in the system to attract the best talent and facilitating their success.

Administrative reforms in India

  • The lack of administrative reform in India has frustrated many stakeholders for a long time.
  • One of the key focus areas of such reform is enabling lateral entry into an otherwise permanent system of administrators.
  • Eight professionals were recruited for joint secretary-level positions in various ministries.
  • Some other positions at the joint secretary and director-level have been advertised.

Changes needed

1) Entry requirements need to be relaxed

  • In the permanent system, IAS officers get promoted to joint secretary level after 17 years of service and remain at that level for ten years.
  • If similar experience requirements are used for lateral entry, it is unlikely that the best will join because in the private sector they rise to the top of their profession at that age.
  •  To attract the best talent from outside at the joint secretary level, entry requirements need to be relaxed so that persons of 35 years of age are eligible.

2) Facilitating lateral entrants for success

  • There are many dimensions to this. For a start, there are several joint secretaries in each ministry who handle different portfolios.
  • If assigned to an unimportant portfolio, the chances of not making a mark are high.
  • A cursory look at the portfolios of the eight laterally-hired joint secretaries doesn’t suggest that they hold critical portfolios.
  • There must also be clarity in what precisely is the mandate for the lateral entrant.
  • To be disrupters, lateral entrants need to be able to stamp their authority on decision making.
  •  For this to happen, there need to be more lateral entrants at all levels in ministries.
  • In the functioning of government, there is a long chain in decision-making and a minority of one cannot override it.
  • Also, it requires an understanding of the system and an ability to work with the “permanent” establishment.
  • No training or orientation is provided for this.

Consider the question “What are the advantages of lateral entry in the civil services? What are the challenges in the success of lateral entrants? Suggest the measures to improve it.”

Conclusion

Lateral entry, like competition in any sphere, is a good thing. But serious thinking is required on entry requirements, job assignments, number of personnel and training to make it a force for positive change. Some reform of the “permanent” system — particularly its seniority principle — may be a prerequisite.

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‘Lateral Entry’ into Bureaucracy: Reason, Process, and Controversy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Lateral entry

This newscard is an excerpt from the original article published in the Indian Express.

Background

  • Earlier this month, the UPSC issued an advertisement seeking applications for the posts of Joint Secretary and Director in central government Departments.
  • These individuals, who would make a “lateral entry” into the government secretariat, would be contracted for three to five years.
  • These posts were “unreserved”, meaning were no quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs.

UPSC begins lateral entry

  • The new ad is for the second round of such recruitments.
  • Earlier, the government had decided to appoint experts from outside the government to positions of Joint Secretary in different Ministries/Departments and at the level of Deputy Secretary/Director in 2018.

Q.In light of the growing need for Lateral Entry in top secretarial posts, discuss the need for enhancing the professional competence of Civil Servants in India.(150W)

What is ‘Lateral Entry’ into government?

  • NITI Aayog, in 2017 had recommended the induction of personnel at middle and senior management levels in the central government.
  • These ‘lateral entrants’ would be part of the central secretariat which in the normal course has only career bureaucrats from the All India Services/ Central Civil Services.

What are the ranks invited for this entry?

  • A Joint Secretary, appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), has the third-highest rank (after Secretary and Additional Secretary) in a Department.
  • It functions as the administrative head of a wing in the Department.
  • Directors are a rank below that of Joint Secretary.

What is the government’s reasoning for lateral entry?

  • Lateral recruitment is aimed at achieving the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augments the availability of manpower.
  • Government has, from time to time, appointed some prominent persons for specific assignments in government, keeping in view their specialised knowledge and expertise in the domain area.
  • Indeed, the first ARC had pointed out the need for specialization as far back as 1965.
  • The Surinder Nath Committee and the Hota Committee followed suit in 2003 and 2004, respectively, as did the second ARC.
  • In 2005, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommended an institutionalized, transparent process for lateral entry at both the Central and state levels.

Why is lateral entry sometimes criticised?

  • Groups representing SCs, STs and OBCs have protested the fact that there is no reservation in these appointments.
  • Some argue that the government is opening back doors to bring its own lobby openly.

Mentor’s comment: Why is lateral entry necessary?

For the sake of political economy

  • Pushback from bureaucrats, serving and retired, and the sheer institutional inertia of civil services has existed largely unchanged for decades have prevented progress.
  • The importance of economic effectiveness has risen concurrently.
  • That stagnation means the civil services as they exist today—most crucially, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)—are unsuited to the country’s political economy in many ways.
  • The need for having bureaucrats act as binding agents, no longer exist.
  • Others, such as socioeconomic development, have transmuted to the point where the state’s methods of addressing them are coming in for a rethink.

Conclusion

  • Pushback is inevitable since every smallest policy change is resisted in our country.
  • It is both a workaround for the civil services’ structural failings and an antidote to the complacency that can set in a career-based service.
  • The second ARC report points out that it is both possible and desirable to incorporate elements of a position-based system where lateral entry and specialization are common.

Way forward

  • India’s civil services need reform. There is little argument about this.
  • These are not entirely new in India.
  • Domain experts have been brought in from outside the services to head various committees, advisory bodies and organizations.
  • Internal reforms—such as insulation from political pressure and career paths linked to specialization—and external reforms such as lateral entry are complementary.

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Civil Services Reforms

West Bengal IPS Controversy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Read the attached story

Police personnel should not be made instruments of a political battle

Tug of war between political parties in West Bengal

  • The appointment of three IPS officers of the West Bengal cadre to various posts by the Union Home Ministry on Thursday has escalated the confrontation between the State and the Centre.
  • Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has termed the deputation order despite the State’s objection “a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954”.
  • The constant hostility between the State and Central governments is now taking a turn for the worse ahead of the 2021 Assembly election.
  • The tug of war began after a convoy of BJP President J.P. Nadda came under stone pelting in the State on December 10. The BJP apparently holds the IPS officers accountable for the incident.
  • After an initial move to recall these officials was resisted by the State, the Centre has invoked Section 6(1) of the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, which says that “in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government….”

Administrative instruments Vs. Political battles

  • The CM’s style of managing the police force has gained attention for the wrong reasons in the past.
  • Senior officials are seen as allied with the ruling govt and the oppositions determined drive to capture power in the State is multi-pronged.
  • The Supreme Court restrained West Bengal from taking any “coercive action” against several opposition leaders in criminal cases registered against them by the State Police.
  • The opposition continues to knock on the doors of the Court and the Election Commission of India to bring pressure on the State government.
  • By enforcing its writ on IPS officers, the Centre is sending a signal to all officers that their conduct will now be under scrutiny.

Never-ending issues between the state and the centre

  • The central schemes, Ayushman Bharat and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi are also a bone of contention.
  • The Bengal government has refused to implement them, demanding that the funds be routed through the State.
  • The CM has also complained of insufficient central assistance to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and cyclone Amphan.
  • The Centre’s earlier demand that the Chief Secretary and DGP attend a meeting in New Delhi on the State’s law-and-order situation increased tensions.
  • The partisan use of the personnel and instruments of the state by parties in power as is happening in this tussle is a disturbing signal for democracy and federalism.

Practice Question: The partisan use of the personnel and instruments of the state by parties in power is a disturbing signal for democracy and federalism. Elaborate.

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Civil Services Reforms

Our civil services need a reboot

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mission Karmayogi

Mains level : Paper 2- Mission Karmayogi

The Mission Karmayogi seeks to overhaul the bureaucracy in the country. The article discusses its aims and the challenges it could face.

Context

  • The Union cabinet’s approval of Mission Karmayogi has raised the hope of a national bureaucracy that is adequately responsive to the country’s needs.

Need for the overhaul

  • The system’s focus needs to be role- rather than rule-specific,
  • Coordination should prevail over battles for control, and IAS officers ought to be enablers instead of red-tape wrappers. 
  • There has been a near consensus in the country that our system of policy implementation needs an overhaul.

What  is Mission Karmayogi

  • It is an upskilling initiative for government officials that aims to fix and galvanize India’s administration.
  • As envisaged, the Karmayogi training mechanism will cover an estimated 4.6 million officials at all levels.
  • Due to the scale of the exercise elaborate multi-tier command structure is expected to be put in place for it.
  • At its apex would be a Human Resource Council, headed by the Prime Minister.
  • Human Resource Council shall approve and monitor various skill-enhancing programmes as well as review the performance of employees routinely.

Challenges

  • Given the way our bureaucracy has operated for decades, Mission Karmayogi is likely to prove disruptive.
  • The idea of being subject to continuous evaluation by a central authority could unsettle some officers.
  • There has been some disquiet within IAS ranks over the Centre’s lateral induction of people for senior roles, perhaps the new mission will resolve such disgruntlement.

Conclusion

Gentralized supervision of such large numbers does not promise to be easy. Globally, centralization has been observed to militate against diversity of thought. And that’s vital to the governance of a country like India.

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Civil Services Reforms

Mission Karmayogi for Civil Services Capacity Building

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mission Karmayogi

Mains level : Civil services reforms

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for Mission Karmayogi, a new national capacity building and performance evaluation programme for civil servants.

Try this MCQ:

Q.The Mission Karmayogi recently seen in news is related to:

a) EPFO reforms

b) Labour laws reforms

c) Civil Services reforms

d) Artisans and Handicrafts

Mission Karmayogi

  • The mission is established under the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB).
  • It is aimed at building a future-ready civil service with the right attitude, skills and knowledge, aligned to the vision of New India.
  • It is meant to be a comprehensive post-recruitment reform of the Centre’s human resource development, in much the same way as the National Recruitment Agency approved last week is pre-recruitment reform.

Why such a mission?

  • The capacity of Civil Services plays a vital role in rendering a wide variety of services, implementing welfare programs and performing core governance functions.

Major undertakings of the scheme

  • The scheme will cover 46 lakh, Central government employees, at all levels, and involve an outlay of ₹510 crores over a five-year period, according to an official statement.
  • The programme will support a transition from “rules-based to roles-based” HR management so that work allocations can be done by matching an official’s competencies to the requirements of the post.
  • Apart from domain knowledge training, the scheme will focus on “functional and behavioural competencies” as well, and also includes a monitoring framework for performance evaluations.
  • Eventually, service matters such as confirmation after probation period, deployment, work assignments and notification of vacancies will all be integrated into the proposed framework.
  • The capacity building will be delivered through iGOT Karmayogi digital platform, with content drawn from global best practices rooted in Indian national ethos.

Apex bodies under the mission

  • The Prime Minister’s Public Human Resource Council will be set up as the apex body to direct the reforms.
  • There will be an autonomous Capacity Building Commission to be established to manage the reformed system and harmonize training standards across the country so that there is a common understanding of India’s aspirations and development goals.
  • A wholly government-owned, not-for-profit special purpose vehicle will be set up to own and operate the digital platform and its content.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

Setting up of National Recruitment Agency

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NRA , its features

Mains level : NRA and its mandate

The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for conducting a Common Eligibility Test (CET) for various government jobs.

Try this question:

Q.Discuss the role and function of the newly setup National Recruitment Agency.

National Recruitment Agency

  • NRA will be a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, headed by a Chairman of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India.
  • It will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB and IBPS.
  • It is envisioned that the NRA would be a specialist body bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment.
  • The NRA will conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for recruitment to non-gazetted posts in government and public sector banks.
  • This test aims to replace multiple examinations conducted by different recruiting agencies for selection to government jobs advertised each year, with a single online test.

Salient features of NRA

  • The Common Eligibility Test will be held twice a year.
  • There will be different CETs for graduate level, 12th Pass level and 10th pass level to facilitate recruitment to vacancies at various levels.
  • The CET will be conducted in 12 major Indian languages. This is a major change, as hitherto examinations for recruitment to Central Government jobs were held only in English and Hindi.
  • To begin with, CET will cover recruitments made by three agencies: viz. Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection.  This will be expanded in a phased manner.
  • CET will be held in 1,000 centres across India to bid remove the currently prevalent urban bias. There will be an examination centre in every district of the country.  There will be a special thrust on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 aspirational districts.
  • CET will be a first level test to shortlist candidates and the score will be valid for three years.
  • There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit.
  • Age relaxation for SC/ST and OBC candidates as per existing rules will apply.

Advantages for students

  • Removes the hassle of appearing in multiple examinations.
  • Single examination fee would reduce the financial burden that multiple exams imposed.
  • Since exams will be held in every district, it would substantially save travel and lodging cost for the candidates. Examination in their own district would encourage more and more women candidates also to apply for government jobs.
  • Applicants are required to register on a single Registration portal.
  • No need to worry about clashing of examination dates.

Advantages for Institutions

  • Removes the hassle of conducting preliminary / screening test of candidates.
  • Drastically reduces the recruitment cycle.
  • Brings standardization in the examination pattern.
  • Reduces costs for different recruiting agencies. Rs 600 crore savings expected.

By Explains

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Civil Services Reforms

[pib] Appointment of the UPSC Chairman

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UPSC and other constitutional bodies

Mains level : NA

The President of India has appointed Pradeep Kumar Joshi as Chairman of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following statements:

  1. The Executive Power of the Union of India is vested in the Prime Minister.
  2. The Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (CSP 2015)

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Backgrounder: UPSC

  • Established on 1 October 1926 as Public Service Commission, it was later reconstituted as Federal Public Service Commission by the GoI Act 1935; only to be renamed as today’s UPSC after the independence.
  • The UPSC is India’s premier central recruiting agency responsible for appointments to and examinations for All India services and group A & group B of Central services.
  • The Department of Personnel and Training is the central personnel agency in India.
  • It is also required to be consulted by the Government in matters relating to the appointment, transfer, promotion and disciplinary matters.

Appointments to the UPSC

  • As per Article 316 of the constitution, the Chairman and other members of UPSC shall be appointed by the President.
  • In case the office of the Chairman becomes vacant his duties shall be performed by one of the other members of the Commission as the President may appoint for the purpose.
  • Under Art. 318, the President is empowered to determine the number of members of the Commission and their conditions of service.
  • As per Art 319, a person who holds office as Chairman shall, on the expiration of his term of office, be ineligible for re-appointment to that office.
  • But, a member other than the Chairman shall be eligible for appointment as the Chairman of the UPSC.
  • Also, the Chairman of a State PSC shall be eligible for appointment as the Chairman or any other member of the UPSC.

Removal of members/chairman

  • As per Art. 317, the Chairman or any other member of a UPSC shall only be removed from their office by order of the President on the ground of “misbehaviour” after the Supreme Court inquiry report.
  • The President may suspend the Chairman or other member of the Commission until a report of the Supreme Court is received.

Distinguishing features

  • The commission reports directly to the President and can advise the Government through him.
  • Although, such advice is not binding on the Government.
  • Being a constitutional authority, UPSC is amongst the few institutions which function with both autonomy and freedom, along with the country’s higher judiciary and lately the Election Commission.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

What is Civil Services Board?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Civil Services Board and its functions

Mains level : Civil services reforms

Punjab government notifying Civil Services Board providing for a fixed tenure of IAS officers has left its leaders in the state upset.

Practice questions for mains:

Q. Discuss how fixed tenure for Civil Servants helps provide better administration.

What is the Civil Services Board (CSB)?

  • Civil Services Board is responsible for the entry-level recruitment and subsequent job promotions below the rank of Joint Secretary.
  • As per a state government notification dated June 2, CSB will be headed by Chief Secretary, with Personnel Secretary, and either Financial Commissioner (Revenue) or Home Secretary (who so ever is senior in the pecking order) as its members.
  • The board provides for the state to follow the Centre’s guidelines on giving a fixed tenure of at least two years for cadre officers.
  • They cannot be transferred before that and if anyone recommends their transfer then the board will examine and affect it.
  • The final authority is the Chief Minister.

Why had the previous government in the state declined to follow the Centre’s guidelines?

  • The previous government had refused to follow the guidelines on the argument that appointment and transfer of IAS officers are a prerogative of the state.
  • If their term is fixed, it had argued, it will not only create functional and administrative problems but also overstep the authority and jurisdiction of the state government.

Why are the leaders upset?

  • The political leadership of the ruling party in the state has usually always had a say in postings and transfers of district officials in the state.
  • The opposition has been known to lend supremacy to its leadership over bureaucrats in the state.
  • But ever since the ruling government has taken over, the grouse of its leaders has been that they do not get due respect in their own regime.
  • This has led to several confrontations in the past.
  • With the fixed tenure rule and Chief Secretary’s board having all power to examine a recommendation for a transfer, the leaders feel their influence has been reduced to nought and all power handed to the CS.

How do they see the board to be lending officer’s supremacy over them?

  • If any officer is to be transferred before completing his minimum tenure, the board will record the reasons for the transfer.
  • It will seek views from the concerned officer and then give a judgement on whether the tenure of the officer is to be ended mid-way.
  • The final authority will be the CM.

What is the government’s argument in its favour?

  • It says if the officials have a fixed tenure they will be able to provide better administration.
  • They will also feel safe and try to stick to the rules instead of pleasing political bosses.
  • It says every official requires 3-6 months to get into the groove at his new place of posting.
  • If he stays there for two years, it would mean better delivery and stable tenure to people.

What do the officials say?

  • They feel the rules will not be followed in letter and spirit unless a few officers go to the courts and ensure that the guidelines are followed.
  • They say that neighbouring Haryana had the board in place but the guidelines were not followed.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

Private: [pib] Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CPGRAMS

Mains level : Various grievance redressal mechanism

 

The Union Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has recently launched the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) 7.0 version.

About CPGRAMS

  • CPGRAMS is one of the flagship initiatives for the reformation in governance started by the Indian central government through addressing the grievances of the general public.
  • The system has been designed in-house by the National Informatics Centre team.
  • It was created in June 2007 by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances.
  • Under the public grievance mechanism, any citizen of India can raise their problems, grievance or pleas to the central govt and state government Ministries and Departments.
  • Grievances can be submitted to all-important portfolio ministers and departments. It has a telephonic feedback feature also.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

[pib] Nagpur Resolution for empowering citizens

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nagpur Resolution

Mains level : Various good governance initiatives

The ‘Nagpur Resolution- A holistic approach for empowering citizens’ was adopted during a Conference on ‘Improving Public Service Delivery – Role of Governments’, in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Nagpur Resolution

The Conference resolved that Government stakeholders shall collaborate to:

  • To empower the citizens by policy interventions for better service delivery through timely updation of citizens charters, implementation of enactments and benchmarking standards for continuous improvement;
  • To empower citizens by adopting a bottom-up approach to bring massive improvements in quality of grievance redressal and reduction in timelines of grievance redressal;
  • To adopt a holistic approach of systemic public grievance reforms through improved mapping, formulation of monitoring matrix, data collection and evaluation in quality of grievance redressal;
  • To provide an enabling environment for States and Ministries/ Departments of the Government of India for creating web portals and to adopt a holistic approach for improved service delivery through digital platforms;
  • To focus on dynamic policy making and strategic decisions, monitoring of implementation, appointment of key personnel, coordination and evaluation;
  • To achieve a sense of common identity by exchange of technical expertise in the areas of Improved Service Delivery between the paired States under the Ek Bharat – Shresht Bharat Program;
  • To work towards long-term engagements in the areas of Improved Service Delivery for Empowering Citizens through greater cooperation between the DARPG and the participating States and,
  • To ensure timely publication of Good Governance Index to identify the quality of governance in 10 sectors especially those pertaining to welfare and infrastructure at the Union, State and District levels.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

[op-ed snap] Uncaging India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Civil Service Reforms

Context

There is a need for civil service reforms to transform our economy.

A short story

  • P N Haksar wrote a letter to J R D Tata saying that businessmen were not doing enough for India’s development. 
  • He responded, 
    • I began my 55-year-old career as an angry young man because I couldn’t stomach foreign domination.
    • I end it as an angry old man… because it breaks my heart to see the continuing miserable fate of the vast majority of our people.
    • For much of this, I blame years of ill-conceived economic policies of our government. 
    • Instead of releasing energies and enterprises, the system of licenses and controls imposed on the private sector, combined with confiscatory personal taxation, not only discouraged and penalised honest free enterprise but encouraged, and brought success and wealth, to a new breed of bribers, tax evaders, and black marketeers. 

Reforms in the economy

  • Reforms over 35 years since J R D’s letter — delicensing, deregulation, Aadhaar, UPI, inflation targeting, Bankruptcy, GST, lower corporate taxes, etc. — are India’s strong foundations for a $5-trillion economy. 
  • Reaching a $10-trillion economy and a per capita income close to what China has today needed a new human capital regime for India’s 20 million civil servants.

A $10tn economy – what it would be like

  • 80% of our labor force works outside farms. 
  • We have 200 cities with more than a million people (today – 52). 
  • Our cities meet the Marchetti constant (30-minute work commutes). 
  • Our government borrows at less than 4%
  • Our Aadhaar-linked land markets equalise rental yields and mortgage borrowing rates. 
  • PSU banks are governed by an independent holding company with no access to taxes. 
  • Our credit to GDP ratio rises to 100% (50% now) because our financial institutions know how to lend and recover money. 
  • Government school enrollment stops declining because learning outcomes improve. 
  • We have attracted China factory refugees that are going to Vietnam and Malaysia today. 
  • The global capital glut of negative interest rates chasing growth underwrites our investment needs. 
  • Fiscal discipline delivers low inflation. 
  • 50% of our college-going-age kids go to a diverse higher education system (25% in a homogenous system today). 
  • The policy encourages formal hiring. Our reformed social security system covers 60% of workers (today – 20%).

Problems in achieving this vision

  • Regulatory cholesterol universe for employers – 57,000 compliances, 3,100 filings and 4,000 changes a year. 
  • Hostility to private enterprises comes from toxic civil service thought-worlds like prohibited till permitted, know-it-all rather than learn-it-all, too small for big things but too big for small things, poor and jerky law drafting, contempt for execution complexity, immaculate conception over continuous improvement, stereotyping the private sector as big companies rather than MSMEs, only using punishment to enforce policy rather than design-driven by domain specialisation, and not viewing wealth creators as national assets. 
  • Listed PSUs have destroyed $150 billion in value over the last decade. 
  • Cutting this regulatory cholesterol needs a climate change for civil servants.

Reform

  • A new human capital regime starts with two projects each in six areas of structure, staffing, training, performance management, compensation, and culture
  • Structure 
    • Project 1 involves rationalisation: We don’t need hundreds of PSUs and departments in 55 central ministries (Japan has 9; the US has 14, the UK has 21). 
    • Project 2 involves reverting the cylinder to a pyramid – 250+ people in Delhi with Secretary rank.
  •  Staffing 
    • Project 1 eliminates the sanctioned and actual strength gap because this is possible only with good people being overworked, non-urgent work neglected or squatting on unnecessary posts. 
    • Project 2 creates cognitive diversity and competition with 20% lateral entry. 
  • Training 
    • Project 1 involves restructuring how courses are chosen – demand rather than supply-driven, how course nominations choose people, how the courses are evaluated, and how course results integrate with performance management. 
    • Project 2 involves making learning continuous rather than episodic.
  • Performance Management 
    • Project 1 involves a forced curve for appraisals of outstanding (20%), good (60%) and poor (20%). 
    • Project 2 involves replicating army thresholds where people retire at 50 if not shortlisted for promotion
  • Compensation 
    • Project 1 involves moving to a cost-to-government number by monetising benefits. 
    • Project 2 involves freezing salaries at the bottom (we pay too much) and raising them at the top (we pay too little).
  • Culture 
    • The tone from the top around corruption and differentiation. Too many civil service leaders overlook graft among subordinates or don’t question the processes that breed corruption. 
    • Leaders punish good performers by writing performance appraisals that don’t differentiate between gaddha (donkey) and ghoda (horse), giving top jobs by seniority, and allowing automatic promotions that create a pool of “promotable but not postable”. 
    • Differentiation needs fear of falling and hope of rising.

Conclusion

Cutting edge economics views development as a game of scrabble where vowels provided by the government enable the private sector to make more words and longer words. The current civil service fails to provide enough vowels; the steel frame has become a cage. For too long, the brain of the Indian state was not connected to its backbone. It’s time to connect the backbone to its hands and legs.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

In news: National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NRA

Mains level : Need for centralised recruitment

Context

  • The Finance Ministry has approved a proposal to streamline recruitment of some posts in the government along with various equivalent recruitment in public sector banks.
  • A new National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will be set up to conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for all these competitive examinations, in which an estimated 2.5 crore candidates appear annually.

National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

  • The proposed NRA will conduct preliminary examinations for all these recruitment, which are at present conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).
  • As per the proposal, the NRA will subsequently forward the list of qualifying candidates to the respective recruiting agencies to conduct the mains examinations.
  • The SSC and IBPS, it is learnt, will not be disbanded for now and will conduct the mains examinations as usual.
  • The basic idea behind this proposal is to shortlist qualifying candidates through a Common Eligibility Test before sending them for the mains examination.

Why a new agency is proposed?

  • The proposal for a new agency is meant to streamline recruitment process on subordinate-rank posts in the government.
  • The proposed NRA is expected to reduce the burden of SSC and the IBPS, among others, from holding preliminary recruitment exams, which is an extensive exercise.
  • Once up and running, NRA will work as a preliminary single-window agency to shortlist qualifying candidates from bulk of applicants and forward the list to SSC, IBPS, etc, to hold the mains.
  • According to an estimate, more than 2.5 crore candidates sit for these prelims, most of them conducted by SSC.
  • Recruitment conducted at present through the SSC and proposed to go to the new agency include the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) examination to enter government departments.

For clerical level

  • Similarly in line with CGL, recruitment tests for clerical-level recruitment in public sector banks are proposed to go to the NRA.
  • The proposed agency, however, will not be in charge of recruitment of Probationary Officers (PO) in banks.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

[op-ed snap] Forging the steel frame

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Mussorie Academy - Civil Services

CONTEXT

The 60-year-old Mussoorie Academy deserves some credit for producing officers who have contributed to nation-building.

Background

  • The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration was simply called the Academy of Administration when it was set up in 1959 in Mussoorie. 
  • It signalled to systematically train members of the higher civil services in order to equip them to be the change agents of a resurgent India. 
  • The two All-India Services, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service attracted some of the finest minds from the university system. 
  • The IAS motto, ‘Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam (proficiency in action is yoga)’, and the Academy song, ‘Hao Dharomete Dheer, Hao Karomete Bir (Be firm in your faith, courageous in action)’, symbolised the nation’s expectation from them. 
  • The Academy introduced in 1960 a common Foundation Course (FC) in order to “instil a shared understanding of government and build camaraderie among the civil services”. 
  • It is the professional training institution for the IAS and continues to conduct an FC for various All-India and Central Services.

Changing with times

  • In the last six decades, there have been transformational changes in the country. 
  • The civil servants have also had to constantly upgrade themselves.
  • The Academy has been steered in critical junctures by administrators such as A.N. Jha, P.S. Appu, B.N. Yugandhar and N.C. Saxena. 
  • The content and methodology of training have changed to meet the demands of time.
  • The pattern introduced in 1969 — of district training being sandwiched between institutional exposures at the Academy — has remained broadly unaltered. 
  • On successful completion, IAS trainees are now awarded an M.A. degree in Public Management by the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
  • The Academy also conducts mid-career training programmes for officers, in keeping with their varying job requirements from policy implementation towards policy formulation. 
  • The Academy now houses five national research centres on rural studies, disaster management, gender, public systems management, and leadership development and competency assessment. 
  • Pursuant to the Kargil Review Committee recommendations, a joint civil-military programme on national security was introduced in 2001.

Challenges remain

  • How much of its effort gets reflected in the performance of officers remains a moot question. The correlation between the training imparted in Mussoorie and the quality of public services in the Indian polity should be established. 
  • There has been no serious attempt to record the experiences of the trainees/officers at the field/secretariat levels and publish them in scholarly journals, enabling others to benefit from such exposures. 
  • The Academy Journal, The Administrator, does not seem to have any discernible impact on the academic discourse on the various facets of our governance. 
  • What have been the outputs of the five national centres? How does such research inform the training curriculum? 
  • The Academy hasn’t yet realised its potential to emerge as the main think tank for civil service reforms.
  • The public sometimes resent the bureaucracy, often for valid reasons. Politicians criticise the bureaucracy as blocking the course of development. The reputation of officers is being unduly tarnished. The Academy should help build a national consensus on these contentious issues.
  • Civil servants should maintain their integrity and efficiency while serving in a system that deals with power play and corruption. 

CONCLUSION

  • In defending and expanding the constitutional values and in adhering to the spirit of various progressive legislation, the IAS and other Services have played a significant role in nation-building. 
  • If one looks at the trajectory of independent India and compares it with that of our immediate neighbours, our higher bureaucracy appears to be a defining difference. 

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

Govt. sacks tainted officers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Civil services reforms in India

  • According to an official release, 15 IRS officers in the Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC) cadre, who had attained the age of 50 years and above, have been given retirement without notice.

Compulsory retirement

  • Under 56 (j), the performance of an officer who has turned 50 or 55 or has completed 30 years of service (whichever is earlier) is being reviewed to ascertain if he/she is liable for compulsory retirement.
  • Though the rule that provides for compulsory retirement of government staff in public interest has existed for several decades, it has sparingly been invoked.
  • The order said that the each official retired will be paid a sum equivalent to the amount of his pay plus allowances for three months equivalent to last drawn salary.

Rule 56 of Fundamental Rules

  • Rule 56 of Fundamental Rules states that the appropriate authority has the absolute right to retire, if it is necessary to do so in public interest.

Perform or Perish

  • In the case of officers who have entered the government service before the age of 35 years and attained the age of 50 years and in other cases where the officers have attained the age of 55 years or have completed 30 years of service, the government begins periodic review three to six months in advance and takes a decision on the basis of effectiveness of an officer.
  • This is a potent tool in the hands of the Union government as the top court of the country has upheld its validity.

Validated by the Court

  • Supreme Court has not only held the validity of Fundamental Rules 56 but it has also held that there is no need to issue a show-cause notice to such officers before serving a retirement notice to the concerned officer.
  • These people are those who have completed more than 50 years.
  • And the message has to be sent to others and that is why the government is sending the message.

For all services

  • The provision is there for all the services. It has to be done by the ministry concerned.
  • For the IAS officers it is DoPT and for IPS officers it is MHA so the decision has to be taken by them.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

Cabinet Secretary

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Cabinet Secretariat and its Functions

Rules amended to re-appointment

  • The government amended a six-decade-old rule to grant a three-month extension to a serving Cabinet Secretary.
  • According to All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement-Benefits) Rules, 1958, the government can give extension in service to a cabinet secretary provided the total tenure does not exceed four years.
  • This move has made him the longest-serving bureaucrat in the country’s history following the change in the rule.

Who is Cabinet Secretary?

  • The Cabinet Secretary is the top-most executive official and senior-most civil servant of the Government of India.
  • She/he is the ex-officio head of the Civil Services Board, the Cabinet Secretariat, the IAS, and all civil services under the rules of business of the government.
  • She/he is the senior-most cadre post of the Indian Administrative Service,[6] ranking eleventh on the Indian order of precedence.
  • She/he is under the direct charge of the PM and is appointed for a fixed tenure of two years. 
  • The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Transaction of Business and the Allocation of Business Rules 1961.

Functions

  • She/he facilitates smooth transaction of business in Ministries/ Departments of the Government.
  • This Secretariat provides:
  1. Secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and its Committees
  2. Assists in decision-making in Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination ,
  3. Ironing out differences amongst Ministries/ Departments
  4. Evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing/ adhoc Committees of Secretaries.

Origin of the post

  • Before the adoption of the portfolio system in India, all Governmental business was disposed of by the Governor-General in Council, the Council functioning as a Joint Consultative Board.
  • This procedure was legalized by the Indian Councils Act, 1861 during the time of Lord Canning, leading to the introduction of the portfolio system and the inception of the Executive Council of the Governor-General.
  • The Secretariat of the Executive Council was headed by the Private Secretary to the Viceroy, but he did not attend the Council meetings.
  • Lord Willingdon first started the practice of having his Private Secretary by his side at these meetings.
  • Later, this practice continued and in November, 1935, the Viceroy’s Private Secretary was given the additional designation of Secretary to the Executive Council.
  • The constitution of the Interim Government in 1946 brought a change in the name, though little in functions, of this Office. The Executive Council’s Secretariat was then designated as Cabinet Secretariat.
  • It no longer remained concerned with only the work of circulating papers to Ministers and Ministries, but developed into an organisation for effecting coordination between the Ministries.

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

9 professionals selected as joint secys in biggest lateral induction into govt service

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various appointments

Mains level : Lateral entry scheme

  • The government has selected nine professionals, largely from the private sector, as joint secretaries in various departments, signalling a major shift in the entry of professionals in shaping policies.
  • This is perhaps the first time that a large of group of experts with domain knowledge will enter the government through the lateral-entry process.

Appointment as Joint Secys

  • So far, the joint secretary-level officers are largely drawn from the pool of people who clear the civil services examination conducted by the UPSC.
  • To ensure the same standards, the entire process of the selection of these experts was conducted by the UPSC.
  • They will join their respective departments on a “contract basis”.

Not for the first time

  • Earlier, some experts had joined the government through the lateral-entry route in ministries such as finance, power and sanitation.
  • The list of professionals included those like Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Bimal Jalan, Vijay Kelkar (former petroleum and finance secretary), R V Shahi (former power secretary), apart from Parameswaran Iyer, who is currently sanitation secretary, and Rajesh Kotecha, who heads the Ayush ministry.

Assist this newscard with:

Burning Issues- Lateral Entry into Civil Services

By Explains

Explain the News

Civil Services Reforms

Explained: India’s Official Secrets Act, its history and use

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Official Secrets Act, RTI

Mains level: Utility and misuse of the aforesaid Act


Context

  • The Attorney-General has asked for “criminal action” against those responsible for making “stolen documents” on the Rafale deal public, has brought the Official Secrets Act into focus.
  • The colonial-era law meant for ensuring secrecy and confidentiality in governance, mostly on national security and espionage issues.
  • Governments have also faced criticism for misusing the law against journalists and whistleblowers.

The Official Secrets Act

  • The Indian Official Secrets Act, 1904 was enacted during the time of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905.
  • It was an amended and more stringent version of The Indian Official Secrets Act (Act XIV) of 1889, brought in at a time when a large number of powerful newspapers had emerged in several languages across India.
  • Fearless editors opposed the Raj’s policies on a daily basis, building political consciousness among the people, and facing police crackdowns and prison terms to uphold their mission and convictions.
  • One of the main purposes of the Act was to muzzle the voice of nationalist publications.
  • In April 1923, a newer version of the Official Secrets Act was notified.
  • The Indian Official Secrets Act (Act No XIX of 1923) replaced the earlier Act, and was extended to all matters of secrecy and confidentiality in governance in the country.

Ambit of the Act

  • The secrecy law broadly deals with two aspects — spying or espionage, which is dealt with in Section 3 of the Act, and disclosure of other secret information of the government, which is dealt with in Section 5.
  • The secret information can be any official code, password, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information.
  • Since the classification of secret information is so broad, it is argued that the colonial law is in direct conflict with the Right to Information Act.
  • Under Section 5, both the person communicating the information, and the person receiving the information, can be punished by the prosecuting agency.

Did the law undergo any changes over the years?

  • No. However, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (SARC) Report, 2006, suggested the Act should be substituted by a chapter in the National Security Act that incorporates the necessary provisions.
  • The reason: it had become a contentious issue after the implementation of the Right to Information Act.
  • The OSA does not define “secret” or “official secrets”. Public servants could deny any information terming it a “secret” when asked under the RTI Act.

Why it is problematic?

  • The SARC report stated that as the OSA’s background is the colonial climate of mistrust of people and the primacy of public officials in dealing with the citizens, it created a culture of secrecy.
  • However, confidentiality became the norm and disclosure the exception. This tendency was challenged when the Right to Information Act came into existence.

Is withholding information the only issue with the Act?

  • Another contentious issue with the law is that its Section 5, which deals with potential breaches of national security, is often misinterpreted.
  • The Section makes it a punishable offence to share information that may help an enemy state.
  • The Section comes in handy to book journalists when they publicise information that may cause embarrassment to the government or the armed forces.
  • The Delhi High Court in 2009 has ruled that publishing a document merely labelled as “secret” shall not render the journalist liable under the OSA.

Do other nations have similar laws?

  • Several countries including the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand continue to use the legislation to protect state secrets.
  • In 2001, Canada replaced its OSA with a Security of Information Act. The “official secrets” come under the Espionage Act in the U.S.

With inputs from:

The Hindu

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Civil Services Reforms

Government plans to rename Indian Forest Service

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Role of civil services in a democracy

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IFS and its mandate

Mains level:  IFS and its role in tribal development


News

  • The Centre has proposed a pro-tribal measure – renaming of the Indian Forest Service as Indian Forest and Tribal Service.

Why such move?

  1. The move follows a directive from the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) to this effect.
  2. Forest Service officials have always been the first point of government contact for tribals.
  3. But there is no awareness among the service officials on the different problems.
  4. In fact, tribals often complain of harassment like not being allowed to carry out their headloads of minor forest produce.

About Indian Forest Service

  1. IFS is one of the three All India Services of the Government of India after IAS and IPS.
  2. It was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951.
  3. The main mandate of the service is the implementation of the National Forest Policyin order to ensure the ecological stability of the country through the protection and participatory sustainable management of natural resources.
  4. An IFS officer is wholly independent of the district administration and exercises administrative, judicial and financial powers in his own domain.
  5. Earlier, the colonial govt. had constituted the Imperial Forest Service in 1867 which functioned under the Federal Government until ‘Forestry’ was transferred to the Provincial List by the Government of India Act, 1935.
  6. Thereafter subsequent recruitment to the Imperial Forest Service was discontinued.

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