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Fate of All India Services after indepndence

After independence in 1947, Pt. Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent india and many other important leaders like Pt. G.B. Pant, etc., did not like the idea that for building up a new India, the very machinery that was till now hampering and countering the freedom movement should be used. Pt. Nehru is on record to have said:

But of one thing I am quite sure that no new order can be built up in India, so long as the spirit of ICS pervades our Administrative Public Service. That spirit of authoritarianism is the ally of imperialism and it cannot coexist with freedom. It will either succeed in crushing freedom or will be swept away by itself. Only with one type of State, it is likely to fit in and that is the Fascist type. Therefore, it seems quite essential that the ICS and similar services must disappear completely, much before we can start real work on a new order.”

However, Sardar Patel, the then Home Minster, however, held an opposite view. He foresaw the dire necessity of “All India Services” in independent India. Therefore, he convened a “Provincial Premiers Conference” in October, 1946 to take a decision on All India Services. While presiding over the Conference, he said:

My own view, as I have told you, is that it is not only advisable, but essential, if you want to have an efficient service, to have a Central Administrative Service, in which, we fix the strength as the Provinces would require them and we draw a certain number of officers at the Centre, as we are doing at present. This will give experience to the personnel at the Centre leading to efficiency and administrative experience of the district, which will give them an opportunity to contact with the people. They will thus keep themselves in touch with the situation in the country and their practical experience will be most useful to them. Besides their coming to the Centre will give them a different experience and wider outlook in a larger sphere. A combination of these two experiences will make the service more efficient. They will also serve as liaison between the Provinces and the Government and introduce certain amount of freshness and vigour in the administration, both at the Centre and in the Provinces. Therefore, my advice is that we should have an All India Service.”

Again speaking in the Constituent Assembly, he warned:

There is no alternative to this administrative system…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 that you will stand by your work…. If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution. Substitute something else…This Constitution is meant to be worked by a ring of service, which will keep the country intact. There are many impediments in this constitution, which will hamper us. But in spite of that, we have in our collective wisdom come to a decision that we shall have this model, which in the ring of a service will be such that will keep, the country intact….. these people are the instrument. Remove them and I see nothing, but a picture of chaos all round the country.”

Despite the strong arguments put forward by Sardar Patel, it was not an easy job to gain provincial acceptance for the proposed All India Services. Some important national leaders like Nehru, G.B. Pant, etc, and a few states like Punjab, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir were very critical of it. They preferred to have their own `Superior Services’. However, All India Services were pushed down their reluctant throats by Vallabhbhai Patel. With great efforts, Sardar Patel succeeded in securing an agreement for two All India Services—namely the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS)—as successors to ICS and IP, respectively.

Another reason for continuation of All India Services was that during the last days of British rule, many problems, such an communal tension, lawlessness, Railway and Postal strikes, short-supply of goods and the danger of another famine in near future, arose. This was followed by departure of British and Muslim officers from higher services, partition of the country, Pakistan’s incursion into Kashmir and annexation of widely spread conglomeration of provinces and princely states in the Union of India, which made the situation worst at the dawn of independence. Events, invariably unplanned, were moving so fast that there was no question of even attempting to supervise their course.

Therefore, the nation had no alternative but to leave the things to time. Besides, British Government also insisted that the Government of free India should give guarantee to safeguard the interest of the then existing All India Services.

 

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June 18, 2009 - Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services

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