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Recruitment in Civil Services in India – “Right person on right position at right time”

 

 

Recruitment in Civil Services in India

 

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.”  Anne Bradstreet

“The saddest part of life right now is that science gather knowledge faster than society gains wisdom.”    Isaac Asmov

 

Introduction

What India needs the most at present is a stable political system and right persons in power-echelons, especially to provide internal and external security to the nation, plan and execute people-friendly policies and maintain good relations with all the sections of society. India’s administration does not those who are power-hungry, or wish to earn name, fame or money, but those, who join politics with true intention to serve the public. In administration, the nation needs more than ever as many youth as possible who have a good character, who are confident and self-reliant.

No element more important for good governance, than the recruitment policy – The report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA in 1935 says, “No element of career service is more important than the recruitment policy.” [i] Gladden also points out that on recruitment rests, “The nature and degree of the usefulness of administrative machinery, to the service of which the human elements are dedicated” [ii]

Nothing damages the administration more than faulty recruitment.  A solid permanent structure cannot be built on weak foundation.  Any system can be strong, only when its foundations are laid strong. Any laxity in the recruitment and performance of this Service jeopardizes the objective and pushes the developmental goals behind. The quality, the tools and the style of governance depend on variables like the characteristic of the nation, the social structure, and nature of its people, their behavior and their value system.  

With  all the recent developments, both in the area of technology and modernity, the recruitment process is becoming more complicated. The recruitment process itself needs changes to check the credibility of a candidate. May be some information to understand about the candidate’s personality be collected through publicly available channels, like Facebook, Linked-in etc. before the interview/face to face interaction. During interviews methods like Role-play, group discussions, simulations etc may be followed to test both the professional skills as well as the integrity of the candidate.

Diversities in India poses problems – The diversity made the divide easy in India, comprising of people belonging to different ethnic, religious, castes, linguistic and regional identities. It presents a fascinating picture of unity amidst diversity, cultural richness, largeness of area and huge population. While, different identities lived together for centuries and presented a mosaic culture, there have been periods of discord.

Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems.[iii] Mr. Nani Palkiwala, a leading lawyer also expressed the same feeling after 50 years of self-rule, which gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines.  He said, Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens.[iv] A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable.

However, the forces of unity have always been stronger than the divisive forces. It is for this reason that India occupies a special place in the global society. Indian civilization is one of the oldest alive civilizations of the world.

Governance in India, a difficult task – Governance of a pluralistic democratic country, like India, is a sensitive and challenging exercise. The governance is not done in vacuum. For running the administration of any democratic country, amongst all, two variables are most important. One who governs, and two who are to be governed. Any deficiency on part of any of these two variables makes a democratic nation corrupt.

Henry George says about who are to be governed “When democracy becomes corrupt, the best gravitates to the bottom, the worst to the top.” And then its government becomes “the Government of the poorest, the most ignorant and the most incapable, who are necessarily the most numerous.” (Lackey)

Role of civil services in governance – In a democratic country, for the governance and delivering goods to public at large, the Government roughly depends on the following two general processes: –

       Process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and

       Process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants.

Role of permanent civil servants/Administrative machinery – The administrative machinery or Civil Service is a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.[v]  The main characteristics of any administrative services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working.  It is always associated with exercise of authority.  Theoretically, the administrative machinery is subordinate to the elective body i.e. the Council of Ministers. But in practice, it plays a different role. The responsibility of political chiefs becomes formal, as they are forced to listen to the advice of the civil servants, which can dig and present data in a matter as they consider fit. The service role in relation to the minister is that of influence and not of power.[vi] It is this administrative apparatus that runs the government.

Recruitment Policy in Civil Services of a nation

Future lies not in jobs but on job-holdersThe future of any country lies not in jobs, but on jobholders.  Entry of sub-standard persons into administrative cadre, inflicts a permanent, cascading and damaging effect on the system.   No amount of training or coaching, pre or post, can convert the inherent weaknesses into strength within a short period. Today’s wrong selection could be tomorrow’s organizational problem.

Job requirements a must, while recruiting – Before recruitment, a thorough study needs to be done on job requirements, in the context of present and future roles.  The candidates should be selected on the basis of their capabilities, attitudes, aptitude and adaptability to meet the position profile.  The focus should not be only on job skills, but on attitude and behavior as well.

How to find out and recruit ‘Mr. Rights’ – It is one of the prime functions of any national Government to recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work.  These Mr. Rights could either be recruited directly and be trained or could be selected from amongst already trained, experienced and skilled persons. New entrants should be told clearly about their role in administration, their responsibilities, key result areas and impact of their working on the whole system and the general public.

‘Merit concept’ for recruitment in career services -The need for a sound recruitment policy was first realized by China, centuries ago, which started the adoption of merit principle based on competitive examination.  Prussia was the first country, in modern times, to evolve a sound recruitment system.  Later on, the principle of merit was adopted by India in 1853, Britain in 1857 and U.S.A. in 1883 (through Civil Service Act of 1883).  Now all the nations accept that a good initial selection in positive term provide the Government with the right type of officials to implement its plans, policies and programs in a systematic and purposeful manner.

In India, the present recruitment policy has been evolved after a long experience.

Recruitment/selection of Mr. Rights during British rule in India

In India, the present recruitment policy has been evolved after a long experience. During British Imperial rule, the policy of the government for manning its crucial positions depended on following dictums –

White-man’s superiority during British Rule – The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of ‘racial discrimination’ for recruiting officers in administration. They followed the dictum of White-man’s superiority” for the appointments of higher civil services in Government of India.  Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 clearly stated, “It is our further will that so far as may be, our subjects of whatever race or creed, be freely impartially admitted to the offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge.[vii] But it was not meant to be followed. The rulers virtually prohibited Indians to join higher civil services intentionally for a long time. They did not want to give Indian any control over the governance of the country.

Lord Lytton, in his confidential document, confirmed that the pledge of the Royal proclamation of 1858 was never intended to be carried out.  He said, We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straightforward course.[viii]

Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893; It is indispensable, that an adequate number of members of the Civil Service shall always be European. Viceroy Lord Landsdown stressed Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained.[ix] In 1867, Lawrence said very clearly, We have conquered India by force of arms, though the policy and good Government have already aided us. In the like manner, we must hold it. The Englishmen must always be in the forefront holding the post of honor and power, as the condition of our retaining of our rule.[x]

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they were pursuing with regard to White-man’s superiority in Civil Service. The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigour of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule  and any other rule being  in the circumstances of the case impossible.  The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.[xi]

Illbert Bill controversy also proves that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.

Graduates from Oxford or Cambridge in higher civil services – Initially the British youth, who joined ICS, were mainly from the ranks of British professional middle classes. They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge.  The main attractions for them, to join the Indian Civil Services, were extremely generous salaries, opportunity to do something worthwhile, quick promotions, and responsibilities with full freedom to work.

These officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled.[xii] Mr. Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager… Here are simple people, who need leadership. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, Their attitude, certainly was pateralistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.

Restrictions on Indians to join higher services – The British deliberately kept Indians at bay by creating conditions, which prohibited Indians’ recruitment in higher administrative jobs.  They held the entrance competitive examination for Civil Services in England up to 1922. Only a very few Indians could bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad. There were extremely remote chances of succeeding in that examination.

 With the birth of Indian National Congress Party in 1885, and intensification of the nationalist movement, the demand for greater Indian participation at higher levels in Government and its administration grew. Gandhiji, Gokhale, Tilak, Patel and other devoted leaders put great pressure on the British for holding Civil Services examination in India, simultaneously with that of England.

 As national movement gained momentum, the British Government started holding Civil Services examination in India as well from 1922 onwards. Along with it, it had transferred some service functions to the Provinces and abolished All India services dealing with those service functions. The rulers continued their authority over control functions and services engaged in them – services ICS & IP.  British delegated the authority to Provincial governments to recruit personnel for their respective Provincial civil services, and organize the functioning of those activities.

Balance of power – Another principle, which the Colonial rulers followed was the dictum of ‘balance of power’ in matter of recruitment in government jobs. They were aware of the consequences of this delegation of authority. Therefore, they tried their best to balance the power in such a way, that no section of Indian society could become strong enough to pose a threat to its rule in India.  The dominance of Brahmins in administration, though mainly at lower level, cautioned the ruler. They regarded Brahmins as the main force behind the entire terrorist movements and agitation.

The British thought it necessary to keep a balance of power by propping up other sections of the society in order to stop the preponderance of Brahmins and forward castes in modern callings.  To counter their dominance, the British designed Reservation Policy. They fixed up quota in government jobs for different communities of Indian Society.

Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and 1932, the British divided the Indian population into different groups, on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc., and gave them separate representation in Legislative Councils, and Assemblies. They bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and Government jobs for different upcoming groups.

Rigorous Foundation training for Indians – The intensification of National movement and increasing demand of Indianization of Civil Services left a dampening effect on the attraction of British youths to join ICS. All the attempts to attract them fell flat. The number of British officials began to decline. More and more Indians joined the ICS. In order to maintain the standard, dignity and honour of the services as earlier, the British Government arranged three years of rigorous foundational training for the Indians selected from Indian center.

For appointees selected from UK center it was two years. They were required to undergo a years training in U.K., at one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin, immediately after joining ICS. This training was for duration of two years for those, selected from the Indian center (Delhi). From 1937, it was reduced from two to one year.

The purpose of longer probation period  in Britain, for Indians was to bring them in close touch with British way of life, broaden their outlook, develop loyalty to Britain and develop the mentality of a foreign ruler.  The Indian officials had to appear in two examinations at the end of their probation in U.K., while their British counterparts, selected from London center, appeared only in one examination.  In all other matters like emolument and privileges, the Indian ICS officials got equal treatment, as was given to their British counterpart.  No doubt, all these efforts have helped ICS developing gradually into one of the most efficient/powerful services in the world.

British imperial rule followed strictly the Principle of Merit – The British Government firmly believed in the ‘concept of Merit’. They thought that if recruitment was done properly, the person would develop the capacity to become a good bureaucrat.[xiii]

    • Soon after consolidating their position in India, the British Government thought of a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative framework.  They felt, If a succession of men of great talent and virtues cannot be found, or if the operation of any influence or party feelings and principles prevents their being chosen, we (the British) must reconcile ourselves to the serious hazards of the early decline, if not the loss of the great power, we have founded in the east.[xiv]
    • In the beginning, when British East India Company consolidated it power in India, there had been different opinions on the matter of selecting the administrators. Some preferred military men and thought them to be best qualified for the job of administration, while others thought that administrative posts should be exclusively filled by civilians.  It was argued that noblemen, carrying with them the impression of high rank and birth, having served the Company for some time and possessing local knowledge and acquaintance with the affairs and people of India, should alone be appointed.
    • At that time, the aim of the Government was to employ the most loyal persons for administrative work.  It gave rise to spoil system/patronage system of recruitment.  But it did not work very well.  Soon the British Government felt that favoritism, patronage or promotion of personal interests in recruitment would deprive the Government of the services of bright youth, who otherwise could have been selected. The realization, that Civil Service was not the conglomeration of individuals or groups, and it should comprise people with talent, integrity, dedication and apolitical and impartial approach, gave rise to the principle of Merit.
    • Any principle, which excluded knowledge, talent and virtue was not acceptable to them.  Qualifications to do a job well appeared to the British, the only worthwhile principle to select administrators. Their aim was to locate the administrators, “Capable of fulfilling duties of a nature, so particularly, delicate and important, both as they respect the peace and happiness of Indian subjects and the rights and privileges of the European Community in our eastern dominion.”[xv]
    • In 1853, Lord Macaulay thought of a recruitment policy based on “Merit principle” for higher Civil Services. It was based on open competitive examination, conducted by an independent body. The procedures were open, transparent and generally trouble free. Till 1922, the entrance competitive examinations for selection of senior officials were conducted only in England.  Since 1922, it included India, as well, as one of the centers.
    • In 1926, the newly formed public service commission was constituted for India and it began to conduct ICS examination on behalf of British Civil Service Commission.  This position continued till 1937, when the Public Service Commission (India) was replaced by federal Service Commission under Government of India Act 1935.  After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was stopped.
  • Until about 25 years ago, graduate degree was the only way to get a white-collared job. It has now been replaced by different specialized occupations which are highly academic and multi-disciplinary. They narrow down a candidate’s option by training one in one specific function.
  • Though the British Government gave preferential treatment to upcoming groups in government jobs, they kept the ICS untouched from the quota system till the last.  They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for anybody, as on it depended efficient governance of the country. It told the upcoming groups in clear terms, With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their countrymen for duties of administration and public.[xvi]
  • British policy of communal representation took the shape of Reservation Policy in Independent India. In 1943, the British Government issued orders for 8 1/3% Reservation of posts for SC candidates in Central Government Services, raising the age limit and lowering the examination fee and qualifying standards for them, so that they can be successful in competitive examinations.

System of Recruitment during British rule – Lord Maculae initially shaped the recruitment policy for higher services in 1854.  The direct recruitment by competitive examination was envisaged with the idea that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding senior positions. The basic ingredients of this system were:

    • Selection of really brilliant young people – the caliber of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition.
    • An intensive training either formal or informal for two years; and
  • Actual field work for at least a period of five to seven years, during which they would be fully moulded to suit the needs of the organisation they were serving.
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British-rulers kept the ICS untouched from the quota system till the last – Before Independence, some seats were reserved for Muslims and Anglo-Indians in Central Services (Class I). However, there was no reservation in the ICS. In 1932, the British accepted Reservations for scheduled castes at National level through Communal Award”. But it could not be implemented till 1943, because of the procedural constraints. After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was suspended, earlier due to Second World War and later, because of transfer of power to Indians. The above shows the British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of Reservation policy before quitting, knowing well that it would divide Indian society and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap.

After Independence

Difference between the Civil Services of British-Imperial-era and of Indian Civil services after Independence in selecting and nurturing ‘Mr. Rights’

    • Nominated by Directors of company – From 1805 to 1885, the higher civil servants were nominated by the individual Directors of the Company.  From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission created in 1855, was given the charge to select officials through a competitive examination every year.
    • Intake in higher government services – British Government was very particular about the intake of the material into its elite service.
    • Esprit de’corps – Philip Maser said that there was esprit de’corps amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, It is the Esprit de’corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code. It did not need to be articulated.  Everybody knew it.
    • Smallness of service – “The smallness of service – just over a thousand at any given time – made for a strong sense of service loyalty.
    • No corruption – Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence pointed out to only a minute handful of officers being corrupt. “It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable.[xvii]
  • Satisfactory work atmosphere – The ICS, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British rulers and not the Indian masses. This was the reason that ICS has often been called the Steel Frame, which reared and sustained British rule in India. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic Steel-frame speech, said on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, I do not care, what you build on it, If you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse.  There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.
  • Stress on TrainingThe British officials were not only very particular about the appointments in the ICS, but also provided atmosphere conducive to efficient performance, while on job.  They believed that for being a good bureaucrat something had to be learnt by experience. Therefore, immediately after their arrival in India, the new recruits were attached to district for on-the-job training for eighteen months.
  • During one year of district training, the officers had to get thoroughly acquainted with villages, administrative compulsions and a working knowledge of the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters like police, agriculture, local bodies etc. Another six months were directed to more intensive revenue work in district under land settlement. It meant harder and more complicated work.
  • Great stress on touring and camping out – Great stress was laid on touring and camping out.   They had to maintain diaries, which were thoroughly scrutinized by their seniors. It was made clear to senior district officers vide G.O. No. 738, published on 18th April, 1916, in ICS Manual, Madras, The great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depends so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career.
  • Guidance of the seniors – The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever, from acquiring knowledge about the basics of administration, and to learn about the problems of each and every area of their jurisdiction.  Guidance of the seniors prepared them to deal with those properly. The Government paid all the attention to see that, the new recruits were shaped into ICS role properly.  Political set-up according to Constitution of India – To govern the country, the Constitution of India has established three arms i.e. the Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive.  First comes the Parliament, which lays the policy and frames laws of the land for governance. The Executive implements the policies, the laws and the programs. The Judiciary acts as a watchdog. All the three Arms of the State go together in improving the quality of life of public at large. Amongst all the three, the Executive affects the daily life of the people the most, as it implements the policies, the laws and the programs. The Indian higher Civil Services are the important component of the Executive.
  • Role of civil services in governance – The forefathers of the Constitution knew well the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance to the country and providing the safety of the nation. Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service cannot make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).
  • Recruitment in Civil Services in India after Independence
  • Today, in independent India, neither the politicians, nor bureaucrats think on these lines.  The deliberate policy of the Government of India to give patronage to certain castes and communities under reservation policies has aggravated the crisis. It has generated rivalry between different sections of the society and created slackness in recruitment and training, which has ultimately led the nation to ineffective governance.

Mr. Subharajan said during Constituent Assemble debates, “Without an efficient civil service, it would be impossible for the Government to carry on and continuity to be kept. The importance of the Governmental administration has been in the fact that there is continuity and unless this continuity, there is chaos” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p952).

Formation of Civil services after Independence – After Independence the government of India has formed many civil services, into which it appoints regularly officers professionally recruited and trained in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist such as police force to maintain law and order, a diplomatic service for external affairs, technical services for Public Works Department or Electricity Departments, Railways and Customs etc.

Amongst all its civil services at national level, Independent India gives to IAS an elite status. It is meant predominantly to be engaged in the task of day-to-day governance and controlling law and order situation of the nation. The Government offers to IAS best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle.

IAS officers, like their predecessor ICS, deliberate directly at the highest level of policy formulation and decision making. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement.  Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country. Right from its inception, IAS has attracted the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. Also for an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of IAS, as it was with the ICS in pre-independence days.

Favouritism and concessions for political reasons – C Rajagopalachari has warned the nation, “Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.” Justice Gajendra Gadkar had also cautioned the policy-makers, “It must not be forgotten that efficiency in administration is of paramount importance, that it would be unwise and un-permissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency in administration…”

 

But politicians bestowed arbitrarily ‘favoritism and concessions’ (in the recruitment and selection of ‘Mr. Rights’), ‘to produce contentment among classes and castes’. The result was, as Mr. Nani Palkiwala had said “50 years of self-rule gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community tlines.”

 

Structure of higher civil services at national level – After the independence, The basic task of administration changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change. Many leaders desired that ICS and similar services must disappear completely. They wanted the Civil Services of independent India to be constituted on a new basis, to fit in with the new system of Welfare State.  However, the circumstances, at the dawn of independence, were such that no drastic change could be made in the then existing system. Immediately after the independence, the number of IAS officers decreased to a great extent. Many British ICS officers took premature retirement after the independence. Also, a large number of Muslim officers opted for Pakistan. In 1951, the number of IAS officers was only 957. The Government of Independent India followed the same pattern of recruitment, as developed by the British Government, with minor changes here and there.

Though it is not officially classified, different types of services in the Government may be classified into three broad services function-wise:

  • Generalist Services;
  • Functional Services; and
  • Technical Services

Services like Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and some Central Services fall in the first category. These are meant for performing the control functions of the government. The second one consists of specialised services, but appointment in these services does not require any professional qualification or experience. Some Central Services like Income tax Service, Indian Excise and Customs Service or Accounts Service comes in this category.  The third category of services is technical services, which require knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, diploma and/or experience for appointment to these services. Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category.

Need of talents in Civil services Independence – After 1947, independent India needed, more than earlier, energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook to meet the challenges of insurgent India.  Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, were added to the responsibilities of the administrative service. Now India required more in numbers, “The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [xviii]

Recruitment pattern after Independence – After Independence, for smooth, efficient and effective governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, Government of India focused its attention to conduct properly the initial selection of the services. It desired to select those candidates/officials for its civil services, who could implement its policies and programmes in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner.  In order to provide the nation with a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, it decided to follow the earlier practice of the recruitment in higher services with minor changes here and there. It is to be done through open examinations every year, now to be conducted by Union Public Service Commission. UPSC was entrusted with the responsibility to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of higher posts.

The basic ingredients of the system are: –

  • Selection of really brilliant youths through an open competitive examination, conducted annually by an independent agency – Union Public Service Commission.
  • Promotion of brilliant officers into IAS from the State Civil Services.
  • Intensive formal and informal training.  There has been arrangement for two years foundation training for new recruits and many in-service training programs, refresher courses, seminars, workshops etc., at frequent intervals.
  • Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years, “What constitutes of being a good bureaucrat is something, he has still to learn and it can only be learnt by experience, for it is a lot of things, which one never can get into books.”[xix]

In 1975, under Dr. D.S. Kothari, a Committee was set up to review the system of recruitment to the higher services.  It recommended unified competitive examination consisting of a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services. It is an objective type to facilitate quick identification of those, who have the requisite range of knowledge. The main examination consists of four compulsory and four optional papers to test the depth of knowledge. Finally there is an interview to examine communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership qualities, ability to exchange meaningful ideas and attitude. This scheme came into practice from 1979.

Qualifications for entering competitive examination – Any Indian citizen, between the age of 21 to 28, holding a graduate degree from a recognized university, can appear in the entrance examination.  Candidates are permitted to take three attempts for each of the three categories comprising.

A candidate has to appear in the entrance competitive examination, which consists of three components:

    • Compulsory papers – to test the general mental culture and interests of the candidates;
    • Optional papers – to judge intellectual ability and scholastic attainment, and
    • Personality test – to see personal qualities including some intellectual qualities, which a written examination cannot discover.Immediately after their selection into various services, the successful candidates are sent to various training Institutions for their foundation training so that they may get the picture of the political, social and economic aspect of the administrative set-up and they may get acquainted with the basic concepts and requirements of their jobs.The pattern of examination is slightly different for technical services.  No preliminary screening has been considered necessary as technical graduates have already undergone a rigorous curriculum in their respective fields of study.  For joining various organised group `A’ services as technical side, the candidates have to appear in various competitive examinations conducted annually by UPSC itself.
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Before 1979, the written examination consisted of three compulsory subjects of 450 marks – Essay, General English and General Knowledge.  These were required to be taken by all the candidates. There were three optional papers, of 200 marks each, for candidates trying for IAS and IFS and Central Services Class I and II. For Police Services of Union Territories, candidates had to take only two optional papers of 200 marks each. Candidates appearing for category – I had to take two more optional subjects (Higher papers) carrying 200 marks each, additionally. This position is summarized in the table below: –

The standard of the lower papers (Optional papers) was approximately of an honors degree examination of an Indian University.  The standard of two additional subjects (higher papers) for category I was higher than that of an honors degree examination, that, too, were examined, only if a certain minimum marks, as fixed by the Commission, in three compulsory and three optional papers had been secured by the candidates. Interview for personality test carried 400 marks for IFS, 300 for IAS and 200 for all other services.  From 1969 onwards, candidates had the choice to answer the compulsory papers in English or in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

In mid-seventies, the Kothari Commission was appointed to suggest improvement in the recruitment of higher civil servants. The Commission observed, that in order to meet the challenges and to achieve rapid socio-economic and political development, the administrators must have not only relevant knowledge and skills, but also Socio-emotional and moral qualities for working with the community.  Therefore, some changes in the recruitment policy and selection method were suggested.  On the basis of Kothari Commission’s recommendations a common Civil Service Examination, having equal number of papers, for all the three categories, which is conducted by UPSC, has been introduced since 1979.

The allocation of services – the IAS, IFS, IPS, or the Central Services – is on the basis of merit and choice. Normally, the top rankers opt for either the IAS or the IFS. The upper age limit varied between 26 to 28 years for general category candidates, from time to time. It was raised from 26 to 28 years in 1979, which continued up to 1987, after which it was again reduced to 26 years.  At present, it is again 28 years.

System of Competitive Examination – The examination is held in three stages by UPSC.

  • The first stage is a preliminary examination in General Studies of 150 marks and an optional subject of 300 marks.  This examination is of objective type with multiple choice questions. Through preliminary examination, about 85,000 to 10,000 candidates are short listed in order of merit, who are allowed to appear in the second stage of examination known as Main Examination.
  • The Main examination consists of conventional essay type paper in any Indian language, as per the Eighth Schedule, consisting of 300 marks, a paper of 300 marks in English, General studies I of 300 marks, General Studies II also of 300 marks, and two papers in each of the two optional subjects, each carrying 300 marks.  Indian language and English papers are part of the qualifying examination. These two papers are of matriculation standard.  Marks secured in these papers are not added to the total score.
  • Those, who succeed in main examination, appear for an Interview/Personality test, which is held to find out leadership qualities, depth of knowledge, attitude and willingness to understand all sides of a problem, communication skill and command over language. The merit list of successful candidates is prepared on the basis of their performance in the main examination (1800 marks) and interview (250 marks). Provision for reservation in IAS – After the First World War, a wave of socialism and emancipation of submerged people through governmental measures had swept all over the world.  The leaders of independent India, too, thought to do something more for the down- trodden. They felt, if the nation allowed the weak to stand and compete on equal footing with the strong, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Already after the departure of British, the administration fell into the hands of affluent people.  If nothing special were done for the Backward-class, the affluent class would keep the poor suppressed. At the time of independence, the backward class was alarmingly under-represented in Administration. The majority of the masses did not have access to education, gainful employment, land ownership and other facilities. Social justice and commitment to welfare ideologies demanded Governments intervention to give the disadvantaged preferential treatment in matter of education, jobs and other civic facilities.Pt Hriday Narayan Kunjru feared, The regulations, made in this regard, may be unnecessarily wide or they may even be changed in such a way, from time to time, as to enable the executive to exercise a considerable amount of undesirable patronage. Many constituent Assembly members apprehended the fall of efficiency and administrative standard. Thus, with Art. 15 guaranteeing equality to all irrespective of caste, creed or gender,  Clause (4), was included through First Amendment Act, on the pressures of leaders from South like Kamraj etc. It authorizes the state to take special care for the advancement of any socially, educationally and economically backward class of citizens or Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes.  Art. 16 (4) permitted the state to make a provision for the Reservation of appointment, in posts, in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of state were not adequately represented in the services under the state. Simultaneously, the emphasis was laid that the claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency in the administration, while making appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of Union or of a State (Article 335).  Reservation for SC and ST – In pursuance of the constitutional provisions contained in Art. 16(4) and 335, various instructions were issued, from time to time, providing Reservation for SC/ST and OBC. The Government of India made provision for Reservation for SC/ST in Government jobs. By a resolution in 1950, the Government reserved 12.5% (for SC) and 5% (for ST) of the total available vacancies in all the Civil Services of Government of India, on the basis of their numerical strength in total population. It was raised to 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in 1970.  As for as women were concerned, on 17th July 1948, the Government of India announced that woman, too, were eligible for any public service including IAS and IFS.[xxi]  However, till 1965, there were some restrictions on married woman on joining IAS or appearing in the competitive examination.  If they got married after the selection, their retention depended on the performance of their work.[xxii]
  • In order to increase the number of SC/ST in IAS, in addition to Reservation of posts, many other benefits have been given to them in direct recruitment. These are: –
  • The Central Government issued orders for 27% Reservation for OBC on 13.8.90. This was challenged in the court of law.  The judgement was delivered on 16.11.92. Based on the judgement, revised orders were issued on 8.9.93. Reservation for OBC started at national level from 1994.  The Reservations for minorities was terminated by the Constitution.
  • The Constitution framers neither fixed up any quota, nor designated the people, who could be put in SC/ST or backward class list, nor did they fix any period. However the debates of the constituent Assembly clearly indicated that Reservation were meant only for a limited period.
  • However looking at the pathetic condition of down-trodden and their near absence in the administration, the forefathers thought, that if something more was not done for this vast segment of society, it would remain backward, exploited and deprived forever. Eventually, one day the society itself would get fragmented. With his unparalleled skill of speech Dr. Ambedkar calmed down all the voices raised against protective measures at that time, and with his legal acumen shaped the Constitutional provision about Reservation.
  • It was in this context that some national leaders, during Constitutional Assembly Debates, urged consideration for efficient administration and fair play to be kept in mind, so that the protective measures do not negate merit, competitiveness and development, either in the administration, or among the individuals. They warned the nation that the Reservation might create greed or abuse of power, increase communalism, or hamper the growth of national unity and solidarity.[xx]
  • However, it is felt that the changes, brought in after the Kothari Commission, have not improved the position. The caliber, character and leadership capabilities of the present administrative service officials are not as good as that of the previous one. Improvement is required to be made in the system. However, Mr. Appu says, “No reforms would work without improving the political atmosphere of the country. “
    • Age relaxation. The maximum age of direct recruitment for SC/ST increased by 5 years.
    • SC/ST allowed taking as many attempts, to appear in the competitive examination, as they could avail.  This works out to as many as 9 attempts.
    • SCT candidates qualifying by general standard not to be adjusted against quota.
    • SC/ST candidates exempted from payment of examination fees.
    • Separate interviews for SC/ST.
    • Pre-entry coaching classes organised by the Government for them.
    • Relaxation in standard to further improve their representation in the service.
    • If, in any particular year, the number of suitable candidates available is less than the number of reserved posts, the posts, so in excess, are to be treated as unreserved for that particular year. However, in the next year, the number of posts unreserved would be added to the reserved posts of that year.  This carrying over process is to operate for a period of two years, at a time.
    • Reservation in Promotions, not given effect to, in a particular year is carried forward to three subsequent recruitment years. SC/ST candidates to be given Reservation leading to their accelerated promotions. As per the Supreme Court judgement, in Indira Sawney case, delivered on 16.11.92, Reservations in promotion could not continue beyond 15.11.97. Hence 77th Amendment Act, 1995, notified on 19.6.95 (issued on 13.8.97), enabled the State, vide Art 16(4A), to continue it indefinitely.
    • De-reservation in a group A services permissible only in exceptional cases having: –
        • The approval of the Minister in charge of Department of Personnel,
        • On the basis of recommendations of a committee, comprising the secretaries in the Ministries of Personnel, Welfare and the administrative Ministry concerned.
        • Only after receiving the comments of the national Commission on SCT.

Concessions given to OBCs – The concessions to OBC’s are less than SC/ST in following respect:

    • They get relaxation in upper age limit up to 3 years only,
    • Number of chances available within the relaxed age limit for appearing in competitive examination limited to seven as against 9 in the case of SC/ST.
    • Relaxation in standard of suitability has been prescribed to further improve the representation of OBCs

Steps taken to implement Governments decision for appointment of OBCs are as follows-[xxiii]

    • A list of caste/communities, to whom the orders of Reservation are applicable are notified.
    • The persons/sections (Creamy layer), to whom the Reservation shall not apply, are specified.
    • A model format of an application form for claiming the benefit of Reservation, as well as, their not belonging to the creamy layer have been prepared and sent to State Government authorities, competent to issue certificate in respect of OBC status.
    • The Chief Secretaries of the state Governments are advised to issue necessary instructions to their district authorities for providing certificates required by the OBCs.
    • The existing 40-point roster for recruitment by open competition on an All India basis has been revised to a 200-point roster.

Impact of Reservation – No doubt, immediately after the independence Reservation has provided opportunities to some of the most neglected sections of the society to join the administration at senior level. The inclusion of those sections has made the composition of the service broad based, It compensated and helped to off-set the accumulated deprivation of lower castes to some extent. It made the empowerment of Backwards in political sphere a reality.  As a result of the Reservation, there has been a considerable increase in the representation of SCT in terms of absolute member and percentage of the total number of employees in IAS and other group A” services.  In 1953, there were only 0.35% (absolute numbers of 20) of SCs and 0.10% (absolute number 6) of STs in Civil Services group A. Their numbers rose to 96 SC and 34 ST in 1966, 227 (8.56%) for SCs and 132 (4.8%) for STs in 1976.  Non-adjustment of the meritorious SCT candidates against reserved vacancies, in direct Civil Services-recruitment has increased their number to more than 15% and 7 1/2%, respectively, every year. OM No.1/1/70 Estt. (SCT) dated 25.7.70, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, stipulates that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates are not available, on the basis of the general standard, to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, the SCT candidates should be selected on relaxed standards provided they are not unfit for such posts.  The UPSC continues, till now, the practice of relaxing standards, to the extent possible, while recruiting candidates belonging to SCT, to make up the short fall in reserved quota provided, they were otherwise considered fit for appointment.

It was hoped, that the candidates selected on relaxed standards would come up to the standard of other recruits selected along with them after receiving additional instructions, foundational training, in-service training and on- the jobs experience cum training arranged by the Government.  But, so far, neither there is any arrangement for giving formal additional training to the candidates selected on relaxed standards, nor for scrutinizing strictly or taking stern steps to improve their standard, apparently because of political reasons.

Conclusion

It is quite evident that the British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of Reservation policy before quitting, knowing well that it would divide Indian society and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap. It has to come out of that trap. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials leads to inefficient or mal-administration and sub-standard services to general public. C Rajagopalachari was absolutely right in commenting, Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.

[i]    Report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel appointed by Social  Science Research Council of  USA (1935 P.37)

[ii]   Gladden N, Civil Service – its problems and future, p64.

[iii]1 Quoted from The Tribune, dated 21.6.92, p21.

[iv]   Palikawala, We the People – The Lost Decade, p3.

[v]      Finer. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, p709, 1950.

[vi]     Paipandikar VA, Bureaucracy in India – An Empirical Study, IJPA, pp187, Vol. xvii, no.2,  April-June, 1971.

[vii]    Banerjea AC.  Indian Constitution documents, Volume II, p28, 1948.

[viii]    Annie Besant, How India wrought for freedom, p420.

[ix]    Bipin Chandra, Modern India, p158.

[x]    Tara Chand, History of Freedom Movement in India,  p497.

[xi]    Supplement to Gazette of India, June 4, 1904, p937.

[xii]    Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993.

[xiii]   Zinkin M,  Development for free Asia,  p83, 1963.

[xiv]   Major General Sir John Malcolm, Political History of India from 1784 to 1823.

[xv]   Malcolm, ibid,  p79.

[xvi]    Times of India Archives, May3, 1918.

[xvii]    Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2.

[xviii]   Administrative Decentralization Report, Chairman Flotcher AL, 1956.

[xix]   Zinkim M,  Development for free Asia, p83, 1963.

[xx]   Speeches of Raj Bahadur, pp622-24,  Avanta Sayanam Ayyangar,  pp 626-628,  Constituent Assembly Debates.

[xxi]   Hindustan Times,  Milestone P8, August 15, 1997.

[xxii]   All India Service (Recruitment) Rules 1954, introduced vide MHA Notification NO.13/7/56 (AIS) (III dt. 25.4.1957).

[xxiii]   Report of Ministry of Personnel, 1995-96.

 

 

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.”

Anne Bradstreet

The saddest part of life right now is that science gather knowledge faster than society gains wisdom.

Isaac Asmov

 

Introduction

No element more important for good governance, than the recruitment policy – The report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA in 1935 says, “No element of career service is more important than the recruitment policy.” [i] Gladden also points out that on recruitment rests, “The nature and degree of the usefulness of administrative machinery, to the service of which the human elements are dedicated” [ii]

Nothing damages the administration more than faulty recruitment.  A solid permanent structure cannot be built on weak foundation.  Any system can be strong, only when its foundations are laid strong. Any laxity in the recruitment and performance of this Service jeopardizes the objective and pushes the developmental goals behind. The quality, the tools and the style of governance depend on variables like the characteristic of the nation, the social structure, and nature of its people, their behavior and their value system.  

 

Diversities in India poses problems – The diversity made the divide easy in India, comprising of people belonging to different ethnic, religious, castes, linguistic and regional identities. It presents a fascinating picture of unity amidst diversity, cultural richness, largeness of area and huge population. While, different identities lived together for centuries and presented a mosaic culture, there have been periods of discord.

Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems.[iii] Mr. Nani Palkiwala, a leading lawyer also expressed the same feeling after 50 years of self-rule, which gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines.  He said, Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens.[iv] A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable.

However, the forces of unity have always been stronger than the divisive forces. It is for this reason that India occupies a special place in the global society. Indian civilization is one of the oldest alive civilizations of the world.

Governance in India, a difficult task – Governance of a pluralistic democratic country, like India, is a sensitive and challenging exercise. The governance is not done in vacuum. For running the administration of any democratic country, amongst all, two variables are most important. One who governs, and two who are to be governed. Any deficiency on part of any of these two variables makes a democratic nation corrupt.

Henry George says about who are to be governed “When democracy becomes corrupt, the best gravitates to the bottom, the worst to the top.” And then its government becomes “the Government of the poorest, the most ignorant and the most incapable, who are necessarily the most numerous.” (Lackey)

Role of civil services in governance – In a democratic country, for the governance and delivering goods to public at large, the Government roughly depends on the following two general processes: –

       Process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and

       Process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants.

Role of permanent civil servants/Administrative machinery – The administrative machinery or Civil Service is a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.[v]  The main characteristics of any administrative services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working.  It is always associated with exercise of authority.  Theoretically, the administrative machinery is subordinate to the elective body i.e. the Council of Ministers. But in practice, it plays a different role. The responsibility of political chiefs becomes formal, as they are forced to listen to the advice of the civil servants, which can dig and present data in a matter as they consider fit. The service role in relation to the minister is that of influence and not of power.[vi] It is this administrative apparatus that runs the government.

Recruitment Policy in Civil Services of a nation

Future lies not in jobs but on job-holdersThe future of any country lies not in jobs, but on jobholders.  Entry of sub-standard persons into administrative cadre, inflicts a permanent, cascading and damaging effect on the system.   No amount of training or coaching, pre or post, can convert the inherent weaknesses into strength within a short period. Today’s wrong selection could be tomorrow’s organizational problem.

Job requirements a must, while recruiting – Before recruitment, a thorough study needs to be done on job requirements, in the context of present and future roles.  The candidates should be selected on the basis of their capabilities, attitudes, aptitude and adaptability to meet the position profile.  The focus should not be only on job skills, but on attitude and behavior as well.

How to find out and recruit ‘Mr. Rights’ – It is one of the prime functions of any national Government to recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work.  These Mr. Rights could either be recruited directly and be trained or could be selected from amongst already trained, experienced and skilled persons. New entrants should be told clearly about their role in administration, their responsibilities, key result areas and impact of their working on the whole system and the general public.

‘Merit concept’ for recruitment in career services -The need for a sound recruitment policy was first realized by China, centuries ago, which started the adoption of merit principle based on competitive examination.  Prussia was the first country, in modern times, to evolve a sound recruitment system.  Later on, the principle of merit was adopted by India in 1853, Britain in 1857 and U.S.A. in 1883 (through Civil Service Act of 1883).  Now all the nations accept that a good initial selection in positive term provide the Government with the right type of officials to implement its plans, policies and programs in a systematic and purposeful manner.

In India, the present recruitment policy has been evolved after a long experience.

Recruitment/selection of Mr. Rights during British rule in India

In India, the present recruitment policy has been evolved after a long experience. During British Imperial rule, the policy of the government for manning its crucial positions depended on following dictums –

White-man’s superiority during British Rule – The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of ‘racial discrimination’ for recruiting officers in administration. They followed the dictum of White-man’s superiority” for the appointments of higher civil services in Government of India.  Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 clearly stated, “It is our further will that so far as may be, our subjects of whatever race or creed, be freely impartially admitted to the offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge.[vii] But it was not meant to be followed. The rulers virtually prohibited Indians to join higher civil services intentionally for a long time. They did not want to give Indian any control over the governance of the country.

Lord Lytton, in his confidential document, confirmed that the pledge of the Royal proclamation of 1858 was never intended to be carried out.  He said, We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straightforward course.[viii]

Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893; It is indispensable, that an adequate number of members of the Civil Service shall always be European. Viceroy Lord Landsdown stressed Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained.[ix] In 1867, Lawrence said very clearly, We have conquered India by force of arms, though the policy and good Government have already aided us. In the like manner, we must hold it. The Englishmen must always be in the forefront holding the post of honor and power, as the condition of our retaining of our rule.[x]

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they were pursuing with regard to White-man’s superiority in Civil Service. The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigour of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule  and any other rule being  in the circumstances of the case impossible.  The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.[xi]

Illbert Bill controversy also proves that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.

Graduates from Oxford or Cambridge in higher civil services – Initially the British youth, who joined ICS, were mainly from the ranks of British professional middle classes. They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge.  The main attractions for them, to join the Indian Civil Services, were extremely generous salaries, opportunity to do something worthwhile, quick promotions, and responsibilities with full freedom to work.

These officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled.[xii] Mr. Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager… Here are simple people, who need leadership. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, Their attitude, certainly was pateralistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.

Restrictions on Indians to join higher services – The British deliberately kept Indians at bay by creating conditions, which prohibited Indians’ recruitment in higher administrative jobs.  They held the entrance competitive examination for Civil Services in England up to 1922. Only a very few Indians could bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad. There were extremely remote chances of succeeding in that examination.

With the birth of Indian National Congress Party in 1885, and intensification of the nationalist movement, the demand for greater Indian participation at higher levels in Government and its administration grew. Gandhiji, Gokhale, Tilak, Patel and other devoted leaders put great pressure on the British for holding Civil Services examination in India, simultaneously with that of England.

As national movement gained momentum, the British Government started holding Civil Services examination in India as well from 1922 onwards. Along with it, it had transferred some service functions to the Provinces and abolished All India services dealing with those service functions. The rulers continued their authority over control functions and services engaged in them – services ICS & IP.  British delegated the authority to Provincial governments to recruit personnel for their respective Provincial civil services, and organize the functioning of those activities.

Balance of power – Another principle, which the Colonial rulers followed was the dictum of ‘balance of power’ in matter of recruitment in government jobs. They were aware of the consequences of this delegation of authority. Therefore, they tried their best to balance the power in such a way, that no section of Indian society could become strong enough to pose a threat to its rule in India.  The dominance of Brahmins in administration, though mainly at lower level, cautioned the ruler. They regarded Brahmins as the main force behind the entire terrorist movements and agitation.

The British thought it necessary to keep a balance of power by propping up other sections of the society in order to stop the preponderance of Brahmins and forward castes in modern callings.  To counter their dominance, the British designed Reservation Policy. They fixed up quota in government jobs for different communities of Indian Society.

Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and 1932, the British divided the Indian population into different groups, on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc., and gave them separate representation in Legislative Councils, and Assemblies. They bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and Government jobs for different upcoming groups.

Rigorous Foundation training for Indians – The intensification of National movement and increasing demand of Indianization of Civil Services left a dampening effect on the attraction of British youths to join ICS. All the attempts to attract them fell flat. The number of British officials began to decline. More and more Indians joined the ICS. In order to maintain the standard, dignity and honour of the services as earlier, the British Government arranged three years of rigorous foundational training for the Indians selected from Indian center.

For appointees selected from UK center it was two years. They were required to undergo a years training in U.K., at one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin, immediately after joining ICS. This training was for duration of two years for those, selected from the Indian center (Delhi). From 1937, it was reduced from two to one year.

The purpose of longer probation period  in Britain, for Indians was to bring them in close touch with British way of life, broaden their outlook, develop loyalty to Britain and develop the mentality of a foreign ruler.  The Indian officials had to appear in two examinations at the end of their probation in U.K., while their British counterparts, selected from London center, appeared only in one examination.  In all other matters like emolument and privileges, the Indian ICS officials got equal treatment, as was given to their British counterpart.  No doubt, all these efforts have helped ICS developing gradually into one of the most efficient/powerful services in the world.

British imperial rule followed strictly the Principle of Merit – The British Government firmly believed in the ‘concept of Merit’. They thought that if recruitment was done properly, the person would develop the capacity to become a good bureaucrat.[xiii]

    • Soon after consolidating their position in India, the British Government thought of a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative framework.  They felt, If a succession of men of great talent and virtues cannot be found, or if the operation of any influence or party feelings and principles prevents their being chosen, we (the British) must reconcile ourselves to the serious hazards of the early decline, if not the loss of the great power, we have founded in the east.[xiv]
    • In the beginning, when British East India Company consolidated it power in India, there had been different opinions on the matter of selecting the administrators. Some preferred military men and thought them to be best qualified for the job of administration, while others thought that administrative posts should be exclusively filled by civilians.  It was argued that noblemen, carrying with them the impression of high rank and birth, having served the Company for some time and possessing local knowledge and acquaintance with the affairs and people of India, should alone be appointed.
    • At that time, the aim of the Government was to employ the most loyal persons for administrative work.  It gave rise to spoil system/patronage system of recruitment.  But it did not work very well.  Soon the British Government felt that favoritism, patronage or promotion of personal interests in recruitment would deprive the Government of the services of bright youth, who otherwise could have been selected. The realization, that Civil Service was not the conglomeration of individuals or groups, and it should comprise people with talent, integrity, dedication and apolitical and impartial approach, gave rise to the principle of Merit.
    • Any principle, which excluded knowledge, talent and virtue was not acceptable to them.  Qualifications to do a job well appeared to the British, the only worthwhile principle to select administrators. Their aim was to locate the administrators, “Capable of fulfilling duties of a nature, so particularly, delicate and important, both as they respect the peace and happiness of Indian subjects and the rights and privileges of the European Community in our eastern dominion.”[xv]
    • In 1853, Lord Macaulay thought of a recruitment policy based on “Merit principle” for higher Civil Services. It was based on open competitive examination, conducted by an independent body. The procedures were open, transparent and generally trouble free. Till 1922, the entrance competitive examinations for selection of senior officials were conducted only in England.  Since 1922, it included India, as well, as one of the centers.
    • In 1926, the newly formed public service commission was constituted for India and it began to conduct ICS examination on behalf of British Civil Service Commission.  This position continued till 1937, when the Public Service Commission (India) was replaced by federal Service Commission under Government of India Act 1935.  After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was stopped.
  • Until about 25 years ago, graduate degree was the only way to get a white-collared job. It has now been replaced by different specialized occupations which are highly academic and multi-disciplinary. They narrow down a candidate’s option by training one in one specific function.
  • Though the British Government gave preferential treatment to upcoming groups in government jobs, they kept the ICS untouched from the quota system till the last.  They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for anybody, as on it depended efficient governance of the country. It told the upcoming groups in clear terms, With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their countrymen for duties of administration and public.[xvi]
  • British policy of communal representation took the shape of Reservation Policy in Independent India. In 1943, the British Government issued orders for 8 1/3% Reservation of posts for SC candidates in Central Government Services, raising the age limit and lowering the examination fee and qualifying standards for them, so that they can be successful in competitive examinations.

System of Recruitment during British rule – Lord Maculae initially shaped the recruitment policy for higher services in 1854.  The direct recruitment by competitive examination was envisaged with the idea that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding senior positions. The basic ingredients of this system were:

    • Selection of really brilliant young people – the caliber of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition.
    • An intensive training either formal or informal for two years; and
  • Actual field work for at least a period of five to seven years, during which they would be fully moulded to suit the needs of the organisation they were serving.
  •  

British-rulers kept the ICS untouched from the quota system till the last – Before Independence, some seats were reserved for Muslims and Anglo-Indians in Central Services (Class I). However, there was no reservation in the ICS. In 1932, the British accepted Reservations for scheduled castes at National level through Communal Award”. But it could not be implemented till 1943, because of the procedural constraints. After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was suspended, earlier due to Second World War and later, because of transfer of power to Indians. The above shows the British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of Reservation policy before quitting, knowing well that it would divide Indian society and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap.

After Independence

Difference between the Civil Services of British-Imperial-era and of Indian Civil services after Independence in selecting and nurturing ‘Mr. Rights’

    • Nominated by Directors of company – From 1805 to 1885, the higher civil servants were nominated by the individual Directors of the Company.  From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission created in 1855, was given the charge to select officials through a competitive examination every year.
    • Intake in higher government services – British Government was very particular about the intake of the material into its elite service.
    • Esprit de’corps – Philip Maser said that there was esprit de’corps amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, It is the Esprit de’corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code. It did not need to be articulated.  Everybody knew it.
    • Smallness of service – “The smallness of service – just over a thousand at any given time – made for a strong sense of service loyalty.
    • No corruption – Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence pointed out to only a minute handful of officers being corrupt. “It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable.[xvii]
  • Satisfactory work atmosphere – The ICS, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British rulers and not the Indian masses. This was the reason that ICS has often been called the Steel Frame, which reared and sustained British rule in India. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic Steel-frame speech, said on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, I do not care, what you build on it, If you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse.  There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.
  • Stress on TrainingThe British officials were not only very particular about the appointments in the ICS, but also provided atmosphere conducive to efficient performance, while on job.  They believed that for being a good bureaucrat something had to be learnt by experience. Therefore, immediately after their arrival in India, the new recruits were attached to district for on-the-job training for eighteen months.
  • During one year of district training, the officers had to get thoroughly acquainted with villages, administrative compulsions and a working knowledge of the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters like police, agriculture, local bodies etc. Another six months were directed to more intensive revenue work in district under land settlement. It meant harder and more complicated work.
  • Great stress on touring and camping out – Great stress was laid on touring and camping out.   They had to maintain diaries, which were thoroughly scrutinized by their seniors. It was made clear to senior district officers vide G.O. No. 738, published on 18th April, 1916, in ICS Manual, Madras, The great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depends so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career.
  • Guidance of the seniors – The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever, from acquiring knowledge about the basics of administration, and to learn about the problems of each and every area of their jurisdiction.  Guidance of the seniors prepared them to deal with those properly. The Government paid all the attention to see that, the new recruits were shaped into ICS role properly.  Political set-up according to Constitution of India – To govern the country, the Constitution of India has established three arms i.e. the Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive.  First comes the Parliament, which lays the policy and frames laws of the land for governance. The Executive implements the policies, the laws and the programs. The Judiciary acts as a watchdog. All the three Arms of the State go together in improving the quality of life of public at large. Amongst all the three, the Executive affects the daily life of the people the most, as it implements the policies, the laws and the programs. The Indian higher Civil Services are the important component of the Executive.
  • Role of civil services in governance – The forefathers of the Constitution knew well the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance to the country and providing the safety of the nation. Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service cannot make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).
  • Recruitment in Civil Services in India after Independence
  • Today, in independent India, neither the politicians, nor bureaucrats think on these lines.  The deliberate policy of the Government of India to give patronage to certain castes and communities under reservation policies has aggravated the crisis. It has generated rivalry between different sections of the society and created slackness in recruitment and training, which has ultimately led the nation to ineffective governance.

Mr. Subharajan said during Constituent Assemble debates, “Without an efficient civil service, it would be impossible for the Government to carry on and continuity to be kept. The importance of the Governmental administration has been in the fact that there is continuity and unless this continuity, there is chaos” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p952).

Formation of Civil services after Independence – After Independence the government of India has formed many civil services, into which it appoints regularly officers professionally recruited and trained in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist such as police force to maintain law and order, a diplomatic service for external affairs, technical services for Public Works Department or Electricity Departments, Railways and Customs etc.

Amongst all its civil services at national level, Independent India gives to IAS an elite status. It is meant predominantly to be engaged in the task of day-to-day governance and controlling law and order situation of the nation. The Government offers to IAS best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle.

IAS officers, like their predecessor ICS, deliberate directly at the highest level of policy formulation and decision making. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement.  Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country. Right from its inception, IAS has attracted the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. Also for an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of IAS, as it was with the ICS in pre-independence days.

Favouritism and concessions for political reasons – C Rajagopalachari has warned the nation, “Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.” Justice Gajendra Gadkar had also cautioned the policy-makers, “It must not be forgotten that efficiency in administration is of paramount importance, that it would be unwise and un-permissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency in administration…”

 

But politicians bestowed arbitrarily ‘favoritism and concessions’ (in the recruitment and selection of ‘Mr. Rights’), ‘to produce contentment among classes and castes’. The result was, as Mr. Nani Palkiwala had said “50 years of self-rule gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community tlines.”

 

Structure of higher civil services at national level – After the independence, The basic task of administration changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change. Many leaders desired that ICS and similar services must disappear completely. They wanted the Civil Services of independent India to be constituted on a new basis, to fit in with the new system of Welfare State.  However, the circumstances, at the dawn of independence, were such that no drastic change could be made in the then existing system. Immediately after the independence, the number of IAS officers decreased to a great extent. Many British ICS officers took premature retirement after the independence. Also, a large number of Muslim officers opted for Pakistan. In 1951, the number of IAS officers was only 957. The Government of Independent India followed the same pattern of recruitment, as developed by the British Government, with minor changes here and there.

Though it is not officially classified, different types of services in the Government may be classified into three broad services function-wise:

  • Generalist Services;
  • Functional Services; and
  • Technical Services

Services like Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and some Central Services fall in the first category. These are meant for performing the control functions of the government. The second one consists of specialised services, but appointment in these services does not require any professional qualification or experience. Some Central Services like Income tax Service, Indian Excise and Customs Service or Accounts Service comes in this category.  The third category of services is technical services, which require knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, diploma and/or experience for appointment to these services. Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category.

Need of talents in Civil services Independence – After 1947, independent India needed, more than earlier, energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook to meet the challenges of insurgent India.  Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, were added to the responsibilities of the administrative service. Now India required more in numbers, “The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [xviii]

Recruitment pattern after Independence – After Independence, for smooth, efficient and effective governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, Government of India focused its attention to conduct properly the initial selection of the services. It desired to select those candidates/officials for its civil services, who could implement its policies and programmes in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner.  In order to provide the nation with a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, it decided to follow the earlier practice of the recruitment in higher services with minor changes here and there. It is to be done through open examinations every year, now to be conducted by Union Public Service Commission. UPSC was entrusted with the responsibility to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of higher posts.

The basic ingredients of the system are: –

  • Selection of really brilliant youths through an open competitive examination, conducted annually by an independent agency – Union Public Service Commission.
  • Promotion of brilliant officers into IAS from the State Civil Services.
  • Intensive formal and informal training.  There has been arrangement for two years foundation training for new recruits and many in-service training programs, refresher courses, seminars, workshops etc., at frequent intervals.
  • Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years, “What constitutes of being a good bureaucrat is something, he has still to learn and it can only be learnt by experience, for it is a lot of things, which one never can get into books.”[xix]

In 1975, under Dr. D.S. Kothari, a Committee was set up to review the system of recruitment to the higher services.  It recommended unified competitive examination consisting of a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services. It is an objective type to facilitate quick identification of those, who have the requisite range of knowledge. The main examination consists of four compulsory and four optional papers to test the depth of knowledge. Finally there is an interview to examine communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership qualities, ability to exchange meaningful ideas and attitude. This scheme came into practice from 1979.

Qualifications for entering competitive examination – Any Indian citizen, between the age of 21 to 28, holding a graduate degree from a recognized university, can appear in the entrance examination.  Candidates are permitted to take three attempts for each of the three categories comprising.

A candidate has to appear in the entrance competitive examination, which consists of three components:

    • Compulsory papers – to test the general mental culture and interests of the candidates;
    • Optional papers – to judge intellectual ability and scholastic attainment, and
    • Personality test – to see personal qualities including some intellectual qualities, which a written examination cannot discover.Immediately after their selection into various services, the successful candidates are sent to various training Institutions for their foundation training so that they may get the picture of the political, social and economic aspect of the administrative set-up and they may get acquainted with the basic concepts and requirements of their jobs.The pattern of examination is slightly different for technical services.  No preliminary screening has been considered necessary as technical graduates have already undergone a rigorous curriculum in their respective fields of study.  For joining various organised group `A’ services as technical side, the candidates have to appear in various competitive examinations conducted annually by UPSC itself.
  •  

Before 1979, the written examination consisted of three compulsory subjects of 450 marks – Essay, General English and General Knowledge.  These were required to be taken by all the candidates. There were three optional papers, of 200 marks each, for candidates trying for IAS and IFS and Central Services Class I and II. For Police Services of Union Territories, candidates had to take only two optional papers of 200 marks each. Candidates appearing for category – I had to take two more optional subjects (Higher papers) carrying 200 marks each, additionally. This position is summarized in the table below: –

The standard of the lower papers (Optional papers) was approximately of an honors degree examination of an Indian University.  The standard of two additional subjects (higher papers) for category I was higher than that of an honors degree examination, that, too, were examined, only if a certain minimum marks, as fixed by the Commission, in three compulsory and three optional papers had been secured by the candidates. Interview for personality test carried 400 marks for IFS, 300 for IAS and 200 for all other services.  From 1969 onwards, candidates had the choice to answer the compulsory papers in English or in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

In mid-seventies, the Kothari Commission was appointed to suggest improvement in the recruitment of higher civil servants. The Commission observed, that in order to meet the challenges and to achieve rapid socio-economic and political development, the administrators must have not only relevant knowledge and skills, but also Socio-emotional and moral qualities for working with the community.  Therefore, some changes in the recruitment policy and selection method were suggested.  On the basis of Kothari Commission’s recommendations a common Civil Service Examination, having equal number of papers, for all the three categories, which is conducted by UPSC, has been introduced since 1979.

The allocation of services – the IAS, IFS, IPS, or the Central Services – is on the basis of merit and choice. Normally, the top rankers opt for either the IAS or the IFS. The upper age limit varied between 26 to 28 years for general category candidates, from time to time. It was raised from 26 to 28 years in 1979, which continued up to 1987, after which it was again reduced to 26 years.  At present, it is again 28 years.

System of Competitive Examination – The examination is held in three stages by UPSC.

  • The first stage is a preliminary examination in General Studies of 150 marks and an optional subject of 300 marks.  This examination is of objective type with multiple choice questions. Through preliminary examination, about 85,000 to 10,000 candidates are short listed in order of merit, who are allowed to appear in the second stage of examination known as Main Examination.
  • The Main examination consists of conventional essay type paper in any Indian language, as per the Eighth Schedule, consisting of 300 marks, a paper of 300 marks in English, General studies I of 300 marks, General Studies II also of 300 marks, and two papers in each of the two optional subjects, each carrying 300 marks.  Indian language and English papers are part of the qualifying examination. These two papers are of matriculation standard.  Marks secured in these papers are not added to the total score.
  • Those, who succeed in main examination, appear for an Interview/Personality test, which is held to find out leadership qualities, depth of knowledge, attitude and willingness to understand all sides of a problem, communication skill and command over language. The merit list of successful candidates is prepared on the basis of their performance in the main examination (1800 marks) and interview (250 marks). Provision for reservation in IAS – After the First World War, a wave of socialism and emancipation of submerged people through governmental measures had swept all over the world.  The leaders of independent India, too, thought to do something more for the down- trodden. They felt, if the nation allowed the weak to stand and compete on equal footing with the strong, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Already after the departure of British, the administration fell into the hands of affluent people.  If nothing special were done for the Backward-class, the affluent class would keep the poor suppressed. At the time of independence, the backward class was alarmingly under-represented in Administration. The majority of the masses did not have access to education, gainful employment, land ownership and other facilities. Social justice and commitment to welfare ideologies demanded Governments intervention to give the disadvantaged preferential treatment in matter of education, jobs and other civic facilities.Pt Hriday Narayan Kunjru feared, The regulations, made in this regard, may be unnecessarily wide or they may even be changed in such a way, from time to time, as to enable the executive to exercise a considerable amount of undesirable patronage. Many constituent Assembly members apprehended the fall of efficiency and administrative standard. Thus, with Art. 15 guaranteeing equality to all irrespective of caste, creed or gender,  Clause (4), was included through First Amendment Act, on the pressures of leaders from South like Kamraj etc. It authorizes the state to take special care for the advancement of any socially, educationally and economically backward class of citizens or Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes.  Art. 16 (4) permitted the state to make a provision for the Reservation of appointment, in posts, in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of state were not adequately represented in the services under the state. Simultaneously, the emphasis was laid that the claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency in the administration, while making appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of Union or of a State (Article 335).  Reservation for SC and ST – In pursuance of the constitutional provisions contained in Art. 16(4) and 335, various instructions were issued, from time to time, providing Reservation for SC/ST and OBC. The Government of India made provision for Reservation for SC/ST in Government jobs. By a resolution in 1950, the Government reserved 12.5% (for SC) and 5% (for ST) of the total available vacancies in all the Civil Services of Government of India, on the basis of their numerical strength in total population. It was raised to 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in 1970.  As for as women were concerned, on 17th July 1948, the Government of India announced that woman, too, were eligible for any public service including IAS and IFS.[xxi]  However, till 1965, there were some restrictions on married woman on joining IAS or appearing in the competitive examination.  If they got married after the selection, their retention depended on the performance of their work.[xxii]
  • In order to increase the number of SC/ST in IAS, in addition to Reservation of posts, many other benefits have been given to them in direct recruitment. These are: –
  • The Central Government issued orders for 27% Reservation for OBC on 13.8.90. This was challenged in the court of law.  The judgement was delivered on 16.11.92. Based on the judgement, revised orders were issued on 8.9.93. Reservation for OBC started at national level from 1994.  The Reservations for minorities was terminated by the Constitution.
  • The Constitution framers neither fixed up any quota, nor designated the people, who could be put in SC/ST or backward class list, nor did they fix any period. However the debates of the constituent Assembly clearly indicated that Reservation were meant only for a limited period.
  • However looking at the pathetic condition of down-trodden and their near absence in the administration, the forefathers thought, that if something more was not done for this vast segment of society, it would remain backward, exploited and deprived forever. Eventually, one day the society itself would get fragmented. With his unparalleled skill of speech Dr. Ambedkar calmed down all the voices raised against protective measures at that time, and with his legal acumen shaped the Constitutional provision about Reservation.
  • It was in this context that some national leaders, during Constitutional Assembly Debates, urged consideration for efficient administration and fair play to be kept in mind, so that the protective measures do not negate merit, competitiveness and development, either in the administration, or among the individuals. They warned the nation that the Reservation might create greed or abuse of power, increase communalism, or hamper the growth of national unity and solidarity.[xx]
  • However, it is felt that the changes, brought in after the Kothari Commission, have not improved the position. The caliber, character and leadership capabilities of the present administrative service officials are not as good as that of the previous one. Improvement is required to be made in the system. However, Mr. Appu says, “No reforms would work without improving the political atmosphere of the country. “
    • Age relaxation. The maximum age of direct recruitment for SC/ST increased by 5 years.
    • SC/ST allowed taking as many attempts, to appear in the competitive examination, as they could avail.  This works out to as many as 9 attempts.
    • SCT candidates qualifying by general standard not to be adjusted against quota.
    • SC/ST candidates exempted from payment of examination fees.
    • Separate interviews for SC/ST.
    • Pre-entry coaching classes organised by the Government for them.
    • Relaxation in standard to further improve their representation in the service.
    • If, in any particular year, the number of suitable candidates available is less than the number of reserved posts, the posts, so in excess, are to be treated as unreserved for that particular year. However, in the next year, the number of posts unreserved would be added to the reserved posts of that year.  This carrying over process is to operate for a period of two years, at a time.
    • Reservation in Promotions, not given effect to, in a particular year is carried forward to three subsequent recruitment years. SC/ST candidates to be given Reservation leading to their accelerated promotions. As per the Supreme Court judgement, in Indira Sawney case, delivered on 16.11.92, Reservations in promotion could not continue beyond 15.11.97. Hence 77th Amendment Act, 1995, notified on 19.6.95 (issued on 13.8.97), enabled the State, vide Art 16(4A), to continue it indefinitely.
    • De-reservation in a group A services permissible only in exceptional cases having: –
        • The approval of the Minister in charge of Department of Personnel,
        • On the basis of recommendations of a committee, comprising the secretaries in the Ministries of Personnel, Welfare and the administrative Ministry concerned.
        • Only after receiving the comments of the national Commission on SCT.

Concessions given to OBCs – The concessions to OBC’s are less than SC/ST in following respect:

    • They get relaxation in upper age limit up to 3 years only,
    • Number of chances available within the relaxed age limit for appearing in competitive examination limited to seven as against 9 in the case of SC/ST.
    • Relaxation in standard of suitability has been prescribed to further improve the representation of OBCs

Steps taken to implement Governments decision for appointment of OBCs are as follows-[xxiii]

    • A list of caste/communities, to whom the orders of Reservation are applicable are notified.
    • The persons/sections (Creamy layer), to whom the Reservation shall not apply, are specified.
    • A model format of an application form for claiming the benefit of Reservation, as well as, their not belonging to the creamy layer have been prepared and sent to State Government authorities, competent to issue certificate in respect of OBC status.
    • The Chief Secretaries of the state Governments are advised to issue necessary instructions to their district authorities for providing certificates required by the OBCs.
    • The existing 40-point roster for recruitment by open competition on an All India basis has been revised to a 200-point roster.

Impact of Reservation – No doubt, immediately after the independence Reservation has provided opportunities to some of the most neglected sections of the society to join the administration at senior level. The inclusion of those sections has made the composition of the service broad based, It compensated and helped to off-set the accumulated deprivation of lower castes to some extent. It made the empowerment of Backwards in political sphere a reality.  As a result of the Reservation, there has been a considerable increase in the representation of SCT in terms of absolute member and percentage of the total number of employees in IAS and other group A” services.  In 1953, there were only 0.35% (absolute numbers of 20) of SCs and 0.10% (absolute number 6) of STs in Civil Services group A. Their numbers rose to 96 SC and 34 ST in 1966, 227 (8.56%) for SCs and 132 (4.8%) for STs in 1976.  Non-adjustment of the meritorious SCT candidates against reserved vacancies, in direct Civil Services-recruitment has increased their number to more than 15% and 7 1/2%, respectively, every year. OM No.1/1/70 Estt. (SCT) dated 25.7.70, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, stipulates that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates are not available, on the basis of the general standard, to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, the SCT candidates should be selected on relaxed standards provided they are not unfit for such posts.  The UPSC continues, till now, the practice of relaxing standards, to the extent possible, while recruiting candidates belonging to SCT, to make up the short fall in reserved quota provided, they were otherwise considered fit for appointment.

It was hoped, that the candidates selected on relaxed standards would come up to the standard of other recruits selected along with them after receiving additional instructions, foundational training, in-service training and on- the jobs experience cum training arranged by the Government.  But, so far, neither there is any arrangement for giving formal additional training to the candidates selected on relaxed standards, nor for scrutinizing strictly or taking stern steps to improve their standard, apparently because of political reasons.

Conclusion

It is quite evident that the British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of Reservation policy before quitting, knowing well that it would divide Indian society and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap. It has to come out of that trap. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials leads to inefficient or mal-administration and sub-standard services to general public. C Rajagopalachari was absolutely right in commenting, Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.

[i]    Report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel appointed by Social  Science Research Council of  USA (1935 P.37)

[ii]   Gladden N, Civil Service – its problems and future, p64.

[iii]1 Quoted from The Tribune, dated 21.6.92, p21.

[iv]   Palikawala, We the People – The Lost Decade, p3.

[v]      Finer. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, p709, 1950.

[vi]     Paipandikar VA, Bureaucracy in India – An Empirical Study, IJPA, pp187, Vol. xvii, no.2,  April-June, 1971.

[vii]    Banerjea AC.  Indian Constitution documents, Volume II, p28, 1948.

[viii]    Annie Besant, How India wrought for freedom, p420.

[ix]    Bipin Chandra, Modern India, p158.

[x]    Tara Chand, History of Freedom Movement in India,  p497.

[xi]    Supplement to Gazette of India, June 4, 1904, p937.

[xii]    Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993.

[xiii]   Zinkin M,  Development for free Asia,  p83, 1963.

[xiv]   Major General Sir John Malcolm, Political History of India from 1784 to 1823.

[xv]   Malcolm, ibid,  p79.

[xvi]    Times of India Archives, May3, 1918.

[xvii]    Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2.

[xviii]   Administrative Decentralization Report, Chairman Flotcher AL, 1956.

[xix]   Zinkim M,  Development for free Asia, p83, 1963.

[xx]   Speeches of Raj Bahadur, pp622-24,  Avanta Sayanam Ayyangar,  pp 626-628,  Constituent Assembly Debates.

[xxi]   Hindustan Times,  Milestone P8, August 15, 1997.

[xxii]   All India Service (Recruitment) Rules 1954, introduced vide MHA Notification NO.13/7/56 (AIS) (III dt. 25.4.1957).

[xxiii]   Report of Ministry of Personnel, 1995-96.

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June 30, 2015 - Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services |

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