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Education and training of bureaucrats in India

 

Introduction

Bureaucracy/Civil Services may be considered to be all the Government services – Financial, Technical and specialists as well as managerial and generalist – engaged in the governance of a nation, professionally recruited, permanent, paid and properly trained in various disciplines of administration. It assists the elected representatives of the people in matters of governance. Since bureaucrcy/Civil Services are the only permanent link between successive elected governments, they play a vital role in governance of the country and guiding the social changes and economic developments in desired direction, specially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.

Task of governance

Of all acts of civilized society of modern times, governance is one of the most difficult tasks despite there being many changes in the strategy, structure and management techniques. It has become so difficult and complex, because it has to deal with issues – political, economic or social, that directly affect public life of living human beings, which are full of psychological and sociological complexes and prone to unpredictable behavior.

In governance of a country, there are two players – governing-body/government and people. Quality of governance depend on variables like characteristic of the nation, form of government, social structure, nature, behavior and value system of people. Governance, usually done by the civil services of a nation, relates to process of implementing decisions and organizing activities of government according to a set of rules and precedents, which govern relations between individual citizens and state.

Expectations of masses

After French and Industrial Revolutions, the values of mankind changed considerably. Misery and poverty, once regarded inevitable, were no longer acceptable and thus came into being the concepts like `Welfare State’ and `Developmental Administration’ – the former being the objective and the later the machinery to achieve these objectives.

Concepts of ‘Welfare state’ and ‘development Administration’

While a welfare state takes care of its people from `womb to tomb’ and aims at improving the quality of life of its masses, the instruments deployed for achieving welfare goals – national reconstruction and development – is that of the Developmental Administration through the institution of Civil Service. Continuous modernization, higher productivity, rapid advance in social justice, demand to improve the quality of service and rising aspirations of the people with spread of education and awareness have been continuously posing new problems for governance.

Role of pre-entry education

Learning/education before entering into various jobs is to develop mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. It embraces within itself reading, observation and thought. Education is usually given for increasing knowledge and understanding. It cultivates attitudes of the students, so that they are better adjusted to their working environment.

Formal education can be provided at three levels – School, University and Job. Education is meant not only for a fixed period or for theoretical or academic pursuit of knowledge leading towards award of degrees. In its wider sense, it is a continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death.

Role of training

As against this the training is primarily concerned with preparing the trainees for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the organization, in which he works. `Training’ improves the administrative output – quantitatively and qualitatively. It is a function of helping trainees to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, which they do not possess, but are needed by the organizations, of which they are a part.

Importance of training to meet the challenges

There has been a growing realization, in the recent years, all over the world that after recruitment into civil services, training is necessary for gearing the bureaucracy to meet the challenges of modern times and make the services more effective, efficient and goal-oriented.

It is training that imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work-habits. Training becomes more important because education of the recruits before entering into different branches of civil services is mostly degree-oriented instead its being job-oriented. Training fills up the gaps between learning and practical requirements.

Types of training

Training could be both, formal and informal. Formal training may further be divided into four categories –

  • pre-entry training,
  • foundation training,
  • in-service training, and
  • Post-entry training.

Purpose

Each one serves a different purpose. The pre-entry training prepares candidates for all sorts of jobs including civil service. Foundation training equips new recruits to Civil Services with understanding of political, social and economic infrastructure of the country as well as familiarizes them with the atmosphere, in which they have to work. In-service training takes over the training tasks initiated by foundation training and fills in the gaps inherent in informal training. Post-entry training is not directly related to the work of a trainee, but helps him in a long run. Informal training is to train the officials on job, so that they could acquire administrative skills through practice.

Training strategies

Training strategies developed, so far, are that of academic strategy, laboratory strategy, activity, action program strategy, person-development strategy and organization development strategy. The selection of appropriate strategy depends on factors such as training goals, resources available for training.

Methods or techniques

Various methods or techniques deployed for giving training are field training, lectures and talks, study-tours, delegations, syndicate method, conferences, seminars and group discussions, case-study, role play exercise, management games, simulations, sensitivity training etc.

How to choose a training method?

Choosing a training method for a program depends on the training objectives, training needs, available time, skills and facilities. Right diagnosis of training needs thorough job-evaluation and research, clear objectives, right selection of training method, top level support, selection of right type of personnel for right type of program and proper evaluation help in making a training program successful. Training of civil services in Modern India

Civil Services in India

The Indian Civil Service has a long historical background and is a product of centuries, and so is the case of its Education and Training. The system of Indian Civil Services has progressed slowly but steadily under three regimes – the East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic. In matter of Training, it has passed through the system of Education and Training in pre-independent India, mixture of the legacy of the colonial past and the requirements of Independent India and then the existing system.

Training system during East India rule

Lord Cornballs (1786-1793) was the first to realize the importance of training the higher civil servants, and drew the attention of the Directors of the Company towards this issue. As a result, thereof, an East India College was established on May 12, 1805, at Halleybury, England. It had closed it in June 1855, due to opposition and criticism in responsible quarters. With the closure of Haileybury College, a system of competitive examination was introduced, in 1855, for recruitment to various Higher Civil Services, under the Crown.

Training system under the Crown

Amongst all the civil services under government of India, emphasis was given only to the Initial/foundation training of ICS & IP Officials, which were responsible for maintaining law and order throughout the country. Recruits to central services were trained on the job under the supervision of senior officers during their probationary period.

ICS recruits were given formal education and training for one year in one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin. They were, then, sent to India to have field training for a year or so. IP recruits were sent to provincial training institutes for their formal education, after which they were also given field training. The probation period for all the services was two years. These services during British-India were exclusively trained to retain the Imperial Power and were manned mainly by British people. These two services were the `Steel-frame of the whole structure’ of British Empire.

Scene after Independence

The post-Independence era brought about fundamental changes. The Indian Government now became the Government of a Welfare State bent upon socio-economic development of the masses rather than attending routine regulatory functions. The leaders of free India were suspicious of the capacity of the civil services of British India to carry out the welfare plans. They wanted to re-organize the administrative structure.

But the events immediately after the independence, such as partition of the country into India and Pakistan, migration of civil servants to Britain and Pakistan, unification of states etc., made it imperative not to disturb the then existing administrative structure. Consequently, save minor changes here and there, the administrative machinery set up during the Raj moved into the post-Independent era with many traditions of Imperial past.

General framework of the Civil services, recruitment system, training system, generalist supremacy, anonymous character procedure oriented system, salary-structure, centralization of power, caste considerations in recruitment to higher services and apathy towards masses were some of the legacies of the British India.

Training System after Independence

Independent India recognized the role and importance of Education and Training for inculcating the qualities of leadership, supervision, efficiency in communication, decision making etc. in its higher officials and also for changing their attitudes. Such a recognition is evident from the successive Five Year plan documents, reports of Administrative Reforms Commission and other Committees – all stressing the need for planned and systematic programs of training for officials at various levels.

As a result, there has been a quantitative expansion of training institutes and courses, as well as qualitative improvements in the schemes of Education and Training. A bold step, in this direction, was taken by creating a cell, in 1968, known as ‘Training Division’ in the Ministry of Home Affairs for general coordination and stimulation of the training system.

Grouping of training Institutes

Various Training Institutions created for stimulating foundation/in-service and refresher training courses can be grouped in three categories –

  1. Institutes run by the Government of India,
  2. Institutes run by the State Governments, and
  3. Autonomous/Private Institutes.

These institutions impart foundation as well as in-service through plan and non-plan programs to senior officers of different departments at various stages and in various disciplines. Training in those areas, where adequate facilities are not available within the country, is given abroad under bilateral agreements and aid-programs.

Training system for IAS

Government of India pays maximum attention to the training of IAS personnel even today as they occupy practically all the strategic and top-level posts at the center and states. Immediately after selection, the successful candidates of IAS are sent to the National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, for induction training. The probationary period for them to get professional training is divided into Phase I, field, and phase II training.

The Academy portion of the phase I training

The Academy portion of the phase I training gives them theoretical understanding of their job. The focus of this course is on the organization and functioning of the district administration, both, in its developmental and regulatory aspects. Special emphasis is given to the role of administrator in rural development. Winter study tour of two months is a part of the seven months phase I training, during which they are attached to Public Sector Undertakings, Agricultural Universities, Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and National Development Board. They also spend a week amongst tribals to understand their problems.

Field training

Then comes the field training for a year or so, which is the most important part of their training. The components of field training are – Institutional training in provincial staff colleges, training at district headquarters (treasury training and collectorate training), village attachment, block attachment, revenue attachment, sub-divisional attachment, independent development charge, survey and settlement training, agriculture training and secretariat training etc. The Academy as well as state governments are supposed to watch the performance of the trainees during various facets of field training.

Professional training phase II

After the field training, the professional training phase II starts. It is designed to bring together their theoretical understanding and practical field observation. It also prepares them to hold posts in real life. After it they are sent for army attachment also. The performance and involvement of the trainees in different training programs, their participation in co-curricular activities and their general bearing, behavior and attitudes is taken into account for the purpose of assessment.

In-service Training

The Government pays equal amount of attention to their in-service training, so that they could be exposed to latest theories, methodologies, concepts etc. developed either within the country or abroad. It is ensured that each and every IAS officer gets in-service training at appropriate time.

Training System in Indian Railways

Amongst other services under government of India, the system of education and training in Indian Railways is worth to be seen. Indian Railways is a training conscious ministry, which has made many efforts to improve the health and wealth – mental as well as material – of its employees. It comprises of almost fifty percent of the cadre strength of government employees. It is the only department in the government of India, where a large number of class I and II services under one umbrella are there, each serving to different functional areas like finance, operation, health engineering, security etc.

Specialized training institutions of its own

Indian Railways have set up their own specialized training institutions for higher supervisory cadres such as Indian Railway traffic Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Indian Railway Protection Force and Railway Board Secretariat Service etc. These are Railway Staff College Baroda, Indian Railway Institute of Advanced Track Technology, Jamalpur, Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications Secunderabad and RPF training college at Lucknow.

There are some managerial services, where only a graduate degree is required. For Technical Service, graduation in that particular discipline is required such as Indian Railway Service of Engineers (Civil Engineers) Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers, Indian Railway of Service of Mechanical Engineers, Indian Railway Services of Signal and Tele-communication Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Stores, Indian Railway Medical Service.

Intensive formal training

After their selection into various services through competitive examinations, the recruits are given intensive training – initial as well as in-service – to equip them with necessary knowledge of their specialized discipline in particular and of others in general. The probation period for all the services is of two years except Indian Railway Traffic Service, where it is three years and Railway Medical Service, where it is three months.

Foundation training is given to the recruits of all the services at National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. After that they are given professional training – theoretical as well as practical – for their respective disciplines in various institutions of Indian Railways. There are adequate arrangements for in-service training also.

Education and training system not up-to satisfaction

Although considerable attention has been paid so far by the government to the Education and Training of civil servants in government of India, yet it has been far from being satisfactory or not able to bring out the desired results.

Civil services still represent people’s collective hopes for a better and fairer future. Politicians usually remain ill-equipped to manage the nuances of everyday governance. A well-trained, disciplined dedicated, efficient civil service having sense of spirit- de- corps could rise to meet the challenges of twenty first century. It could still continue to provide a steel-frame to hold together an otherwise fissiparous idea of India. Article 311 of the constitution reflects the faith of constitution makers in human virtue over greed, faith in sense of public service over private gains and faith in moral and intellectual integrity over weak character. Somehow, that generation born and bred in an atmosphere of social sensibility has withered away.

Bureaucrats are already protected by the Constitution. The constitutional protections were provided to guarantee the moral and intellectual resilience of steel frame. The people of vision, hard work and meticulous scholarship are replaced mostly by scrupulous persons with low morals. The continuation of the privileges and powers led them to non-performance, incompetence, corruption and acts of outright criminality. It is the most profound betrayal of ideals of Indian Republic.

Most of the officials, at present, are high in intelligence but low in integrity. They treat powers granted to them with the base instincts of dishonesty and exercise their mind for private gains at public expense. They manage their authority to get high returns. Result is numerous scams and scandals. Many ambitious bureaucrats have collaborated with political bosses and business class. There are low demands on their accountability and efficiency. A few of them in order to play safe simply look the other way while some irregularity is being committed. There are a very very few courageous officers amongst bureaucrats, who dare to be different and do not succumb to temptations and listen the call of their soul and conscience. Such persons are the hopes of the nation.

In an era of globalization and liberalization, where the rationale of the services is being questioned by public -the voters and taxpayers, the faith of public in institutions of governance needs to be restored.

How to build a responsible and efficient civil service?

Building up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, they join the civil services, but right from the day they start their education. The pre-entry education has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the prospective citizens, whether or not they join the civil services. The pre-entry education should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of higher civil servants.

Weaknesses of pre-entry education system

The general pre-entry education system, especially the higher education in India is increasingly becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations, in-efficient, wasteful and non-functional. If the pre-education is not up-to the mark and training after their recruitment is correctional in nature, effectiveness and efficiency of work-force would receive a set-back. A much more massive effort for training would be called for.

Weakness of present day recruitment system

The present system of recruitment seems to be suffering from grave weaknesses, which is adversely affecting the efficiency of civil service itself. It is frustrating the effort of national reconstruction.

Present system of recruitment is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented. It is  academic in nature and favors the examination minded candidates. Assessment of different subjects offered for competitive examination poses difficulties in evaluation of comparative merits.

Post-entry Training System

Training system after recruitment into the civil services also suffers from grave weaknesses. The training system is too general in nature. Duration of initial training is insufficient. There is lack of time and interest among senior officers towards training of young officers. Government does not pay enough attention to the services of technical nature. Generalist supremacy in the services is hampering technological advancement. Selection of trainers is not always satisfactory. Usually unwanted/unsuccessful officers are posted to the training institutes. Contrary to it, usually armed forces send to its training institutes some of its best officers as trainers.

Suggestion

Question arises as to how to make the system effective. Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education and training system + recruitment system, it is suggested that the recruitment to various Higher Civil Services should be made immediately after higher secondary education at a raw age, when the minds of candidates are in a formative stage.

Advantages

It could be done through an open competitive examination as is being done for Defense Services or some mechanical engineers of Indian Railways. It would facilitate the Government to arrange properly for their continuing education and intensive and comprehensive training at various administrative colleges and training institutions.

It would not only make it possible to have the intellectual knowledge and qualities required for performing their specific jobs, but would also inculcate in them emotional qualities and capacities required for doing their jobs such as social purposefulness, ability to understand the administrative and political implications of a problem and resourcefulness in solving them, capacity for team work and flair for leadership, which are basic requirements of any welfare administrators.

The idea of such an Education and Training is not new to India and has proved to be successful in Defense and Railways.

Other organizational changes

Some other organizational changes, through not directly related to training, could, to a great extent, help in increasing the effectiveness of the education and training of Higher Civil Servants.

  • Political masters should encourage civil servants to give frank advice.
  • The independent Indian needs smooth relationship between politicians and civil servants.
  • There should not be any undue political interference in the working of an administrator.
  • There should be working partnership between generalist and specialist.
  • The salary structure should be reasonable and just otherwise the situation would lead to inefficiency and corruption.
  • Therefore, there should be unified civil service with integrated pay structure, so that government could bring a sense of equity amongst various disciplines of civil service of their choice and would enable the candidates to go in for the service of their choice and aptitude and the government would be able to gain the full contribution of scientists, engineers, doctors, economists and officers of other disciplines.
  • There appears to be no scientific and sound rationale for keeping a substantial differential in the pay scales and career prospects of IAS and non-IAS, because in no way IAS personnel are superior to others either in intelligence, or in quality or recruitment, or in degree of responsibility or in nature of job or inequality of work-load.

Following steps could be taken to improve and to make the existing Education and Training System more meaningful and effective –

  • Foundation training should be made compulsory for all higher services – whether technical or non-technical;
  • The government and training institutions should be strict, so that trainees could take their training seriously;
  • Training should be service oriented;
  • Since 70% of the Indian population lives in villages, the officials should be familiarized soundly and intimately with the conditions, organisations, needs and aspirations of village people;
  • The higher civil servants should be trained to lead a simple life;
  • The super structure of skill, knowledge and efficiency should be raised on the foundation of discipline;
  • Senior officers should pay adequate attention and time to the training task;
  • The government should create a working atmosphere in the offices so that qualities like receptivity, originality, initiative, courage and sympathetic attitude towards masses, could be developed fully, while working;
  • The three partners in training – the organization, the training institute and the participant – should interact out of knowledge and understanding;
  • The training needs should be assessed properly by conducting job-evaluation and research and onward studies;
  • Instead of depending upon foreign material, adequate training material should be prepared and developed locally;
  • Right methods and techniques should be chosen for various training programs;
  • Selection of trainees for in-service training should be done with great care;
  • Enough motivation should be there for trainees, so that they can take their training seriously;
  • Top-level officers should give full cooperation to training activities;
  • Every training program should be evaluated properly;
  • There should be regular program review sessions;
  • The selection of the trainers should also be done with great care.
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March 31, 2011 - Posted by | Education and training of civil services |

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