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EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF HIGHER CIVIL SERVANTS – Government of India

Introduction

Very few nations in the world had to start with greater initial difficulties of political, social, economic and administrative character as India had to. Industrial backwardness, rapid population growth, illiteracy etc., were some of the handicaps which the Independent India had to handle. The position was further worsened by the partition.

Civil servants had to face these problems full blast. Side by side, continuous modernization, higher productivity, rapid advance in social justice and desire to improve the quality of service demanded the services to be effective, efficient and goal-oriented. The higher civil servants, are the most important component of the total set of civil services. It is they, who are deeply involved in formulation and execution of national policies and priorities.

In a system where the pre-entry Education is degree-oriented and not job-oriented, gaps between learning and practical requirement remain unfilled. This is where the Education and Training of Civil Servants becomes relevant. There has been a growing realization, in the recent years, all over the world that Education and Training was necessary for imparting knowledge, shaping attitudes, cultivating skills and building work-habits, for making the civil servants capable of meeting the challenges of modern times.

 The system of civil services – It is important here to trace the meaning of Civil Services and the places of higher Civil Services, its role in a Welfare State and Development Administration, classification of Civil Services before and after Independence and other allied issues, to establish the role of Civil Services and the expectations of the Society from the Civil Services.

 Role of civil service in a welfare and development state – 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.   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.

What is Civil Service – The term Civil Services could be said to be a body engaged in state’s administrative work, professionally recruited, permanent, paid and properly trained in various disciplines of administration. It assists the elected representatives of the people in matters of administration. Civil Services may be considered to be all the Government services – Financial, Technical and specialists as well as managerial and generalist. Since the Civil Services are the only permanent link between successive elected governments, they play a vital role in guiding the social changes and development in desired direction, specially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.

  The constitution of India is based upon the concept of `Welfare State’. It follows the principle of `Justice: Social, Economic and Political’. The responsibility of implementing welfare plans and developmental policies is assigned to Higher Civil Service. Higher Civil Services under Government of India, may be grouped into two categories viz., (1) All India Service and (2) Central Services – technical as well as non-technical. Appointment into these services is made either through open competitive examinations comprising of written examination and interview conducted by the Union Public Service Commission or through promotions.

  “Education and Training – Theoretical Aspects” – Next step is to explore the    meaning of Education and training, objectives of training, types of training, training approach and strategies, training techniques etc. The term `Education’ connotes the process of increasing knowledge, understanding and attitudes of the candidates, so that they are better adjusted to their working environment.

`Training’ is an approach to improve 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.

The task of Education is to develop mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. In its wider sense it embraces reading, observation and thought. It is not a fixed period of theoretical or academic pursuit of knowledge leading towards award of degrees but a continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. Within its jurisdiction, it embraces the formation of habits, manners and character. 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.

While Education is only formal and can be provided at three levels – School, University and Job, the training could be both, formal and informal. Formal training may further be divided into four categories – pre-entry, foundation, in-service and post entry training – each for a different purpose. The pre-entry training prepares candidates for all sorts of jobs including civil service. This concept, however is not prevalent in India. 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 the job, so that they could acquire administrative skills through practice.

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.

The 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. Choosing a training method for any program depends on the training objectives, training needs, available time, skills and facilities. Right diagnosis of training needs through 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.

“Indian System of Education and training of Higher Civil Services” – 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. It is important to know here the pattern of Education and Training in pre-independent India, legacy of the colonial past, the requirements of Independent India and existing system of Education and Training etc.

The system of Indian Civil Services has progressed slowly but steadily under three regimes – the East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic. Lord Cornballs (1786-1793) was the first to realise 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 to, however, close 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.

 While the emphasis was given to the foundation training of ICS & IP Officials, the recruits to central services were trained on the job during their probationary period. The 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. The higher civil services during British-India were exclusively trained to retain the Imperial Power. They were made the `Steel-frame of the whole structure’.

 The post-Independence era brought about fundamental changes. The 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 such as partition, migration of civil servants to Britain and Pakistan, unification of states etc., made it imperative not to disturb the ten existing administrative structure.   But the events such as partition, 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, 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.

The independent India recognised 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 programmes 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 for stimulating in-service and refresher training courses run by various Training Institutions, which can be grouped in three categories – (1) Institutes run by the Government of India, (2) Institutes run by the State Governments, (3) Autonomous/Private Institutes. These institutions impart foundation as well as in-service through plan and non-plan program 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-program.

In order to promote deeper and wider understanding of the functioning of Education and Training pattern for higher officials in Government of India, the system prevailing in IAS and various functional services of Indian Railways has been examined here. The main reasons for taking up training system in IAS as case-study are the practically all the strategic and top-level posts at the center and states are held by IAS personnel and Government of India has been paying maximum attention to its training.

The system of education and training in Indian Railways has been examined because it comprises of almost fifty percent of the cadre strength of government employees. It is the only department in the government of India, where there are eleven services under one umbrella, each serving to different functional areas like finance, operation, health engineering, security etc. Besides, 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.

 Training of IAS personnel – 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 get professional training, which is divided into Phase I, field, and phase II 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.

  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 (two weeks), training at district headquarters (treasury training and collectorate training for 15 weeks), village attachment (2 weeks), block attachment (2 weeks), revenue attachment (1 week), sub-divisional attachment (1 week) independent development charge (16 weeks), survey and settlement training (4 weeks), agriculture training (1 week) and secretariat training (2 weeks). The Academy as well as state governments are supposed to watch the performance of the trainees during various facets of field training.

            After the field training, the professional training phase II starts, which is designed to bring together their theoretical understanding and practical field observation. It also prepares them to hold posts in real life. The duration of the course is two months, after which they are sent for army attachment for about fifteen days. The performance and involvement of the trainees in different training program, their participation in co-curricular activities and their general bearing, behaviour and attitudes is taken into account for the purpose of assessment.

             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’ services – Indian Railways have set up their own specialized training institutions for higher supervisory cadres. 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 services, where only a graduation is required. These are Indian Railway Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Indian Railway Protection Force and Railway Board Secretariat Service.

For Technical Service, graduation in that particular discipline is required. These are 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. After their selection into various service 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 IRTS, 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.

Other reasons for ineffective governance-  Although considerable attention has been paid to the Education and Training of IAS and Railway officers, yet it has not been able to bring out the desired results. – an inference based on opinion poll and interviews. It has been pointed out by different levels of officers that training time of initial training was insufficient. Recruitment system should be job-oriented instead of its being degree oriented. There was lack of interest among senior officers towards training. Officers were not trained to lead a simple life. The training system for IAS was too general. Generalist services were hampering technological advancement, because they tended to acquire almost all the higher posts even in departments of technical nature to promote their career prospects. Good trainers should be selected, instead of shunting unsuccessful officers to the institutes. These issues are not exclusive to the IAS or Indian Railways training system but can be generalized for all the services.

 Critical Review – The short-comings of the present Education and training system, which have been mentioned above, the question arises as to how to make the system effective.

 Building-up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, he joins the civil services, but right from the day he starts his 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. If the education and training after their recruitment is correctional in nature, its effectiveness and efficiency would receive a set-back and a much more massive effort for training would be called for.

  As of today, 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 dis-functional. Besides, the recruitment system – because any defect in recruitment system is likely to have an adverse effect on the system of civil service itself, frustrating the effort of national reconstruction – is also suffering from grave weaknesses. It is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented. It is also academic and favours the examination minded candidates. Just assessment of different subjects poses difficult problems in evaluation of comparative merits.

  Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education system and 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. It could be done through an open competitive examination as is being done for Defence 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 Defence and Railways.

  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 –

  • The independent Indian needs smooth relationship between politicians and civil servants. There should not be any undue political interference on 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

“Conclusion” –  Following

  • 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, organizations, 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 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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May 5, 2015 - Posted by | Education and training of civil services |

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