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Reasons for Corrosion of the Government Services (Civil Services) in independent India

 further”Better to starve free than be a fat slave.” Aesop

Introduction

Better to starve free than be a fat slave” – India got its Independence from a long period of slavery  under British rule in 1947 after lots of struggles and sacrifices. After receiving its freedom, the country needs many more efforts to maintain it justifiably and progress further.

Legacy of past – The general framework of its Civil services, recruitment system, training system, generalist supremacy, anonymous character procedure oriented system, salary-structure, centralization of power, caste-considerations in recruitment to higher services and apathy towards masses are some of the legacies, India has inherited from the British India.

To find out when and what went wrong in the system of governance and what best can be done in which area, analysis of what bureaucracy was under British Government and what it is now becomes important. Seventy years have already passed since India got its independence. During this period, it has taken many right as well as wrong turns.

Right steps – After  Independence, the prominent national leaders along with dedicated civil servants put India on the path of progress, like, they did it –

  • It appeared to be an unattainable dream in early 60’s to put foundations of ISRO, which has made it possible to carry developmental measures into homes all-over the country.
  • Now the government can reach out to the people, provide communication through networks in remote areas.
  • It has developed disaster warning systems, quick research surveys to target ground water etc.
  • Dreams of many Indians in IT sector, scientific, agricultural, cultural, artistic and social fields have come true.

But somehow, the progress was slow. Then developed many undesired systems in the body-politic of the country, which pushed it backwards.

The dreams of our forefathers in these areas has just partially been achieved. Still it has to cover a long distance.

Wrong steps – The successive governments failed to provide efficient and effective governance to the country. So far, it has not been able to provide enough basic services to the people like sound ‘education to all’, income-generating skills to millions of unskilled poor labor, employment to youth, poverty (still millions are living below poverty line), proper health-care to common-men, 24 hour electric supply, especially in rural areas without break etc. Business suffers. People are strained. Farmers are committing suicides day-in and day-out. Governance has collapsed. Power-hungry leaders and bureaucrats work to acquire immense power to control the destiny of others without responsibility and accountability. Above all law and order situation has become almost irreparable – not enough safety for women and senior citizens without caste-considerations. Is it the freedom for which many Indians had in the past and even now are sacrificing everything in life?

One of the reasons is population explosion since 1921. Every year almost 20 millions Indians are added to the nation. It is a tough task to enable such a large number of poor masses to rise well above the poverty-line, to have improved health, education, self-esteem and contribute more productivity to the nation. To progress at faster speed, India needs to ignite young minds up-to the maximum.

Efficient governance during British Raj“It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers…. how was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? Even Indian nationalists were more likely than not to agree with such an assessment. … Or how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century.

“Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule, and, in a fascinating episode, when Subhas Chandra Bose, the leader of the rebel Indian National Army, flew to Berlin during the Second World War to solicit help from Hitler, the Führer dismissed him, taking the view that Indians needed to be civilized by another hundred years of British rule.”

Corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ started before Independence

Corrosion of steel-frame started during British Raj itself. But situation became from bad to worse after Independence. With the intensification of national movement and introduction of Diarchy, the downfall in the quality of governance had started. The spirit of mild ‘parentalism’ for the people in civil servants began to fade. Pannikar says, “The Lee Commission (1923) was the first evidence of the breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India, for after that there was no claim, that the British Civil Service in India, competent though they continued to be to the end, was anything more than a group of officers doing their work for purely material considerations. The idealism of the past had vanished” (Pannikar KM, The Development of Administration in India, Bulletin of Public Administration, Patna, Patna University’s Institution of Public Administration, vols. 2 and 3, p14).

Rowland Committee Report – The Rowland Committee remarked “The present position, in our judgment, is thoroughly unsatisfactory both from the point of view of the district officer himself, as well as, from the point of view of the efficiency of the governmental machine and welfare of the people in the district…. He is expected to see that nothing goes wrong in his district, but he has little power outside. The Magistrates and Collectors failed to see that things go right. He is supposed to compose differences between other officers, but he has no power to impose his will upon the recalcitrant. He can cajole and persuade, he cannot compel… In our view, the situation, if left to itself, can only deteriorate further, because activities of the Government in the mofussil will increase and practically every department is thinking in terms of Provincialized Service and makes little attempt to disguise its determination to go ahead with its own plans, without reference to any other part of the Government” (Report of the Bengal Administrative Enquiry Committee, 1944-45, p18).

Position after Independence – After Independence, the situation deteriorated further. Civil services have become more and more spineless, ineffective and powerless as time passed on. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country. Once known as the “Steel frame” of the “Whole structure”, the bureaucracy appears to be unable to meet the challenges of the day. Sometime down the line, the ‘steel frame’ started shaking under its own pressure. There has been a gradual decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country. Why and how it got derailed is a point to ponder.

Forefathers of Indian Constitution aware of the importance of Civil Services – Immediately after the independence, the forefathers of the Constitution realized the challenges, Indian government was going to face in order to provide safety to the nation. They were also aware of the importance and crucial role to be played by the bureaucracy in order to ensure good governance to the country and its importance for the safety and development of the nation in future.

The forefathers of the Constitution views about governance – Pt. Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India and many other important leaders like Pt. G.B. Pant, etc., did not like the idea that for building up a new India, the very machinery that was till now hampering and countering the freedom movement should be used. Pt. Nehru is on record to have said: – “…But of one thing I am quite sure that no new order can e built up in India, so long as the spirit of ICS pervades our Administrative Public Service. That spirit of authoritarianism is the ally of imperialism and it cannot co-exist with freedom. It will either succeed in crushing freedom or will be swept away by itself. Only with one type of State, it is likely to fit in and that is the Fascist type. Therefore, it seems quite essential that the ICS and similar services must disappear completely, much before we can start real work on a new order.”

Other members of the Constituent expressed their opinions –

  • Mr. Subha Rajan – Mr. Subha Rajan 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).
  • Mr. MV Kamath – Mr. MV Kamath 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).
  • Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel – In his letter to the Prime Minister, Sardar Patel wrote, “I need hardly emphasize, that an efficient, disciplined and contended (civil) service, assured of its prospects as a result of diligent and honest work, is a “Sine-Quinan” of sound administration, under a democratic regime, even more than under an authoritarian rule. The (civil) service must be above party and we should ensure that political consideration, either in its recruitment or its discipline and control, are reduced to the minimum, if not eliminated altogether” (Patel Vallabh Bhai in a letter to Mr. Nehru).
  • Dr. Radhakrishnan – After Nehru’s midnight hour speech between 14th and 15th August 1947, Dr. Radhakrishnan warned the nation, “Our opportunities are great, but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil days. We should develop competence and ability, which would help us to utilize the opportunities, which are now open to us. A free India will be judged by the way, in which it will serve the interests of the common man in the matter of food, clothing, shelter and social services.”
  • Speaking in the Constituent Assembly, Sardar Patel said “There was no alternative to this administrative system….The Union will go, you will not have a united India, if you have not a good All India Service, which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security …. If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution…. This constitution is meant to be worked by a ring of service, which will keep the country intact. There are many impediments in this Constitution, which will hamper us. ….. These people are the instruments. Remove them and I see nothing but a picture of chaos all-round the country.”

Issue Seeing the pitiable condition of Civil Services, the diagnosis of its ailments becomes necessary. One wonders, what were the reasons for the corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ of yester years? why the steel-frame of yester years has failed miserably after the Independence to do its job effectively and judiciously, despite having a constitutional status and enough powers to perform its duties freely and frankly. Why it could not take a stand against the unjust dictates of political leaders or corrupt senior officers? What stops it from doing its job sincerely?

Indian civil services were well-known for their efficiency and effectiveness during British rule.

Before Independence, Reasons for efficient performance of bureaucracy under British Rule – British ruled India for a long time. The East India Company came to India in 1600 AD to trade. And established trading posts and factories in Madras, followed by Calcutta and Bombay. East India Company handed over the charge of governance to the British crown in1858. Since then, efficient governance was a reality during British rule. Gilmour comes to the sensible conclusion that the men of the ICS displayed a mixture of motives, skills and temperaments. Often a District officer in his early twenties would arrive fresh from his ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. The wide-ranging responsibilities of the District Officers of the ICS were responsible for almost everything. The structure of the service started from the District Officers to the Magistrates, Residents, Political Agents, Deputy Collectors, Lieutenant Governors, and so on. (From Rup Narain Das, titled ‘Marx and 1857’, published in TOI, P.22, 16.5.07, excerpts quoted from an article of Gilmour on Marx, June July 15, 1857 in New York Daily Tribune as a leading article). Following were the salient features of Indian Civil Service, which made it so strong –

  • Family background – Most of them belonged to British professional middle classes.
  • Recruitment Process – A number of individuals were ‘coming to the institution through stiff competition, not the other way round’.
  • Educational background – They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Incorrupt Bureaucracy – “One reason for this perception was that the ICS was manifestly neither venal nor corrupt in the way in which, for example, some officials and officers of the old East India Company had been. There are, however, other forms of corruption, including assumptions of racial superiority and the conviction that the ICS always knew best”.
  • Sense of responsibility – The ICS, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work. They had deep sense of responsibility. However, these qualities served mainly the British rulers and not so much the Indian masses. They had full freedom and opportunity to do something worthwhile.
  • Work atmosphere – So far as it did not jeopardized the Imperial interests, Civil Services officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, “Care, protection and guidance” ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled (Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2). 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 paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.”
  • Bright career prospects – Extremely generous salaries and quick promotions.
  • Slim and trim service – just over a thousand at any given time – made for a strong sense of service loyalty.
  • 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.
  • Honesty – 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 (Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993).
  • Extra-curricular activities were an integral part for the jobs at the higher levels in civil services.

Above mentioned were the reasons, why ICS was called the “Steel Frame”, which reared and sustained the British Raj.

After Independence

Corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ – With many of the old visionary leaders having gone from the national and state scene in the sixties, a rot started setting up rapidly in the administrative set up.t Again during late eighties, once again the political complexion of the nation underwent a revolutionary change after the fall of Rajiv Gandhi’s Government and then disappearance of Nehru-Gandhi family from the political scene. The era of instability started.

Mr. VN Narayan commented on the climate of 1990’s, “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalization). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles) There is only one solution to all problems – a human and spiritual solution. We have to consciously move toward humanizing our social institutions and spiritualize (not communalize or secularize) ourselves” (Narayanan VN, Hindustan Times, June 1, 1995, p13).

Since beginning of 21st century, over the years, there has been decline in the quality, competence and commitment of the civil services officers. Rarely are factors like competence, aptitude, past experience and public spirit taken into account, while making appointments to responsible posts. Generally officers feel that it is better to toe the line of political leaders than standing up for principles and paying the price for it. The Vohra Committee has vividly described the nexus that has developed between unscrupulous politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, media persons and criminals. The appointment of tainted officers at crucial positions itself makes the intentions of the politicians clear. Corruption and caste-ism has corroded the steel frame.

Reasons for Corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ Reasons for corrosion becomes clear when one analyses the scene before independence and after independence. These are as following –

Red tape-ism in Government

Before Independence

Lord Curzon’s had said, “Round and round like the diurnal revolution of the earth went the file – stately, solemn and slow”. Similarly, decades later, Malcolm Muggeridge observed, “It was governments pure and undefined, endlessly minting and circulating files, which like time itself has neither beginning nor end.”

After Independence

Mr. Arun Shourie comments, “… – a mindless, endless, shuffling (of files) in slow motion – is not a device, it is more than a habit. It has become a nature. You will find it in every aspect of governance – big or small.”  Jayant Narlikar, an eminent scientist, has observed that India always has one of the most obdurate, cold, insular and inflexible Civil Service, the free world has ever known. In government there has always been a soulless movement of files. (Times of India, December 25, 1995) (Narikar Jayant, Two Cheers for Bureaucracy, Times of India, December 13, 1995, p10)

Status of All India services

Before independence

Bureaucracy was mainly responsible for keeping law and order situation and revenue collection. Rulers were not concerned much about welfare or developmental activities. The concept of Welfare State and Development Administration gained popularity only after Second World War. Still, on the eve of the Government of India Act 1919, there were 9 All India Services to provide talented manpower in different areas at managerial level for supervising uniform and all-round development of the country.-

    • Indian Civil Service;
    • Indian Police Service;
    • Indian Forest Service;
    • Indian Education Service;
    • Indian Medical Service;
    • Indian Civil Veterinary Service
    • Indian Forest Engineering Service
    • Indian Agricultural Service; and
    • Indian Service of Engineers.

After independence

From traditional tasks of the government, Indian government is committed to infra-structure building, and other welfare and developmental activities/rapid socio-economic development of the whole of nation. However, the circumstances were such just before and immediately after the Independence that out of nine All India Services, seven All India services existing in socio-economic or technical spheres were discontinued or provincialized just before the Independence to be formed afterwards. Only IAS and IP, the services engaged in control functions,  continued to function as unifying force.  B.B. Misra says, “Most of the other services were abolished. Considerations of national unity, the positive need of India’s all-round development and the attainment of a minimum uniform standard in administration were allowed to go by default.”

Nation needs urgently to create more All India Services – With the shift from traditional to Developmental tasks after independence and now with the trend towards Globalization and liberalization, time demands that there should be more All India Services in developmental or infra-structure sector at par with IAS. All the areas like economic, education, legal, industrial, technical, scientific or agricultural areas urgently need talented personnel at managerial levels for speedy and all-round development of the nation. All the disciplines require amongst its officers at its managerial level personnel having in-depth knowledge and experience of the relevant areas.

There is a provision in the Constitution for creation of one or more All India Services. Article 312(2) says: “If The Council of States declares by Resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest to do so”. Since 1960’s, a need to create more all India service was felt, so that apart from control functions, best talents could be provided on strategic posts at various levels in the areas of development/specialized functions. Each and every discipline needs personnel having enough knowledge about the subject-matter of their respective work. Along with it they should have skills, attitude and know-how of techniques to co-ordinate properly with other functionaries at district, provinces or centre and to face different kinds of challenges, current economic and socio-political developments poses on their way.

In accordance with the above provision, and seeing the need of the day, the Rajya Sabha, on December 6, 1961, adopted a resolution for creating the following three All India Services on technical side:

  1. Indian Services of Engineers
  2. Indian Medical and Health Services, and
  3. Indian Forest Service.

Out of these three, only one service—Indian Forest Service—could see the light of the day since July 1, 1966. Others could not because the State Governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Himachal Pradesh revised their stand mainly on the ground of State autonomy.

It has been increasingly felt that in modern life, there are very few jobs, which could be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, training and experience. Doubts were expressed about the capacity of IAS to act as an instrument of modernization and technological advancement. It is felt that in this age of fast-growing technological advancements, liberalization and Globalization, there are many areas such as power, irrigation, industry, steel and mines, petroleum and chemical, which require technical expertise and in-depth knowledge of the subject-matter. It has been experienced now and then that in the Secretariats, there is little or no appreciation of the technical aspects of most of the present problems. It has also been felt that when a generalist officer transmitted professional or specialist advice to the minister, he sometimes fails to transmit or interpret the advice with clarity and precision with which a specialist officer can do.

Chairman, K.N. Nagarkatti of a reform commission says “Each new area of administration, be it economic, social, industrial, technical, scientific or agriculture – had its own body of academic requirement, knowledge and techniques. The effective administration of each demanded an intimate knowledge of its underlying principles and an awareness of its problems. This knowledge could only come through practice and experience of administration in relevant area over a long period of time, in some cases, at least, long enough, in fact, to amount to a commitment – a professional commitment.” (ARAC Report on Promotion Policies, Govt. of India, 1968, p.26.)

Besides, All India services are losing its all India character/outlook. Professor Maheshwari says, “In a never ceasing see-saw game of adjustment and bargaining between the center and the states in federal cum competitive politics, neither its all India outlook, nor its talent, nor even its supposed loyalty to the center comes into active play.” (Maheshwari SR, The All India Service, published in the lecture series of 80th Course on Personnel Policies in practice organized by 11PA, 1980, P305) The Union Home Ministry has, from time to time, advised Chief Secretaries of the states not to recommend transfer of cadre members to their home states, but those with influence are able to manage it. In many states like Bihar, Punjab etc, more than 60% of the officers are from within the state. It is mainly because of the political ties. (Saxena NS, IAS and IPS at war with the state cadre, Times of India, April 6,1984)

Elite status

Before independence

The British Government was very clear about its aims and objectives. The British Government in India did not favour its indulgence in any kind of social welfare activity, which would, later on, pose problems for Imperial rule in India. The primary object of the government was to keep the nation under subjugation for economic exploitation, collection of revenue and to ensure the supremacy of the European race. In order to achieve these aims, it gave primacy to the administrative services and entrusted with the task of revenue-collection and maintenance of law and order. These services were supposed to have majority of European officers. It was against this background that higher civil services in India functioned.

  • ICS and IP were given the elitist character or the place of pride    Most of the officers in these services were Europeans. The responsibilities of these services were primarily – maintenance of law and order in the whole of country, revenue collection and perpetuation British rule in India as long as possible. In accordance with these objectives, the ICS responsible for law and order situation and revenue collection, was conceived and propped up as the elite service meant predominantly for British citizens and was bestowed with all kinds of authority, favours, concessions and privileges. Owing to its high prestige, remuneration and enormous authority, it was nicknamed as the “Heaven Born Service”. At the level of local administration, ICS officers were dubbed as “Little Napoleons”.
  • For services catering to subjects like Education, Finance, Medicines, Telegraph and Communications, Railways and Survey of India etc. which occupied in order of priority a place next to the paramount functions of law and order and revenue collection. An admixture of European and native officers was considered suitable; and
  • Scientific and technical services which would not pose any serious danger to the Empire were allowed to be managed by the Natives, because sufficient British personnel were not available to man these services.

Historic “Steel-frame” speech – British government gave the elite status to ICS amongst all the services under it. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic “Steel-frame” speech, said it very clearly 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.

After Independence

Elite status given only to Indian Administrative Service (IAS)Indian Administrative Service (IAS, the successor of reputed, efficient and powerful institution ICS) virtually controls all the levers of the governance of the country. It has been given an elite status. Right from its inception, Government pays maximum attention to IAS. Its officers 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.

A Glamorous service – Still until 1960s, there was very little difference between the standard and behavior of IAS officers and other central government officers (class 1) in Government of India. Today, IAS officers deal directly with politicians, plan bigger things, moves all over the world frequently. It has added glamour to the service. The result of this development has been that the IAS has attracted the attention of politicians, especially of those pursuing the sectoral interests. To youth, entry into IAS is the surest and quickest means to get control over others, to improve one’s status in the society, to command instant admiration and respect of the people, thus in reaching quickly to the commanding position in the society. It is supposed to be the manifest symbol of power. It makes an easy access to levers of authority. It enables them to occupy positions having immense power and privileges at the highest level in the Government. Once in service, a person could lead an easy life, is a general conception.

IAS, an attraction for educated youth –For an educated youth, it has been a matter of pride to be a part of IAS. Like ICS, the Government offers to IAS best career prospects, 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. That is why, IAS has always remained the most sought after of all the services for the talented youth, as it provides the highest entry point in bureaucracy. Its officers have to pass through well-planned professional training.

The craze for getting into the service has increased in a large scale amongst the newly emerging sections of the society. Most of them are now not bothered about the high ideals, intellectual competence and high standards of administration, commitment to public service, constitutional values, or concern for justice. They are mainly interested in getting entry into the service anyhow and exercise the State authority over millions of powerless people and in making as much money as possible by misusing their authority.

Responsibility of IAS as Administrators – The IAS officers play a significant role in administrative work of the Government both at the centre and in provinces as well as in the Secretariat as well as in fields. Along with a few officers of other services, they look after policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. For doing justice. For efficient performance of work and doing Justice to the responsibilities, there is need for really bright and talented officers with in-depth knowledge and experiences in their respective areas.

  • In the Secretariat -However, most of the top posts in almost every department in Central Secretariat as well as in the State Secretariats are occupied by IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy. Officers from other civil services have limited scope to get postings in Secretariat. In Secretariats following functions are being done:
    • Obtaining decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
    • Overall planning and finance,
    • Legislative business,
    • Personnel management policies,
    • Legal advice,
    • Coordination and cross clearance among the administrative departments, in the Secretariat,
    • Communication with central institutions like the Planning Commission etc., and
    • Overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work being done by the field organizations.
  • District Administration – Administrative work in the fields has its distinctive challenges. In district, an IAS officer as Collector continues to play a pivotal role in the District Administration. He performs both regulatory as well as developmental tasks. District is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of Civil Administration can be concentrated and where it comes into direct contact with the people. Its importance arises from the fact, that it is at this level, that bulk of people gets affected, favorably or adversely by the governmental policies, programs and its implementation.

It is here, that people judge the quality and efficiency of the governmental administration.An IAS officer enjoys immense power and prestige at district level. During first five or six years of service in the state, IAS officers go on field postings to get the feel and first-hand knowledge of real life and social realities.

In addition to the traditional task of collection of revenue and maintenance of law and order, IAS officers as a collector of various districts are responsible – coordinating activities of various departments at district level.

Field-experience during postings in districts open up the minds of young officers, by bringing them into direct contact with administrative life, with people at grass-root level, with their concrete problems and with different human and social conditions prevailing there. They are also acquainted with the administrative structure in the district and the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters. The experiences of this period makes them ripe for senior positions.

Recruitment

Before Independence

“White-man’s” superiority” – The British Government was very particular about the intake of the material into its elite services. The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of racial discrimination on the dictum of “White-man’s” superiority for the appointment in Imperial services of the nation. For a long time, the Indians were virtually prohibited to join this service intentionally. The rulers never wanted to give Indian any control over the governance of the country. The British deliberately kept Indians at bay by creating conditions, that prohibited Indians’ recruitment in higher administrative jobs. They held the entrance competitive examination for Civil Services in England up to 1922. Only a few Indians could bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad.

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.” (Annie Besant, How India wrought for freedom, p420)

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 Landsdowne stressed “Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained” (Bipin Chandra, Modern India, p158)

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.” (Tara Chand, History of Freedom Movement in India, p497)

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 vigor 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.” (Supplement to Gazette of India, June 4, 1904, p937)

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 to select officials of higher services through competitive examination.

Though the British Government initiated the practice to give preferential treatment to upcoming groups of Indian society 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.

After Independence

There was a time, when Government services attracted the best talents of the nation. A large number of intellectuals, engineers, doctors, MBAs and other professionals wished to join central government services. Willingness of talented and meritorious best brains to join the Government services is are no more the attraction. It is like a passing tide. There is no freedom to the officers to do any creative work. Modern youth find the work atmosphere suffocating. Disincentive to hard-work, merit and sincerity has demoralized the honest and upright officials. Present system encourages pen-pushers according to the dictates of their political bosses. Reservation of about 50% posts has further eroded the charm to join government services. Liberalization and globalization has given enough opportunities to the best talents of the nation to join either private sector, especially IT sector or explore the green pastures abroad.

The best-talent syndrome – For last few years, constant political interference in administrative work and 49% of quota system in recruitment has diluted the charm of many talented youth to join Central civil Services under Government of India including IAS. It is a myth now that Civil Services attract the best talents and most competent and qualified youth from all over India.

It appears rather odd that a simple graduation is required to enter into the most prestigious services of the nation. While in other services like Indian Economic Service and Indian Statistical Service, the requirement is a post-graduate degree. For Engineering/technical services or medical services, a basic graduate degree is required, which can be acquired after four years of hard-work, while studying and rigorous training on various aspects to pass out the graduation course.

The time demands the government to have a cadre of better qualified administrators in its generalist nature of services as well, more than in the past. Either the candidates should be selected earlier, say after passing out higher secondary courses and then trained properly for any particular job, as is done for Defense Services. Or MBA degree must be made a basic requirement for appearing into competitive entrance examination in competitive, as is done in the case of Engineering/medical services. Lateral entries could also be made by including bright persons already employed elsewhere, like: –

  • Technocrats having sufficient experience in management,
  • Professionals from other civil services,
  • Entrepreneurs, willing to switch over.

Promotions in the service should be strictly based on good performance. Administrator should be encouraged to upgrade, sharpen, and focus their knowledge towards analysis and problem solving

Bloated Size

Before Independence

As stated earlier, “It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule, and, in a fascinating episode, when Subhas Chandra Bose, the leader of the rebel Indian National Army, flew to Berlin during the Second World War to solicit help from Hitler, the Führer dismissed him, taking the view that Indians needed to be civilized by another hundred years of British rule.”

After Independence

– There has been a continuous increase in number of government servants. After Independence, the IAS has gradually grown into a bloated and top heavy service. The IAS cadre, which had only 957 officers in 1950, is having 4991(as on 1.1.1997) administrators at present. The first causality of this obesity is its efficiency. The cadre strength of its predecessor – the ICS, so-called steel-frame, had always remained less than 1500. With that cadre strength, they were able to cope with the administrative work of the undivided India efficiently and effectively. In Independent India, the annual intake went up from about 33 in 1947 to 138 in 1965 and to 160 in 1985. It again came down to 80 in 1990. The cadre strength in various years is given below: –

Cadre Strength of IAS after Independence

Year Authorized          Cadre-strength                 In-position

1951                               1232                           957              (Includes 336 ICS)

1981        4599                               3883

2017                                                                                   5004

Source: Civil lists Pay Commission Reports, Report of Dep’t. of Personnel.

Outcome of this increase – The rot set in on account of continuous increase in its cadre strength resulted in:

  • Adverse effect on the “Espirit-d’corps” in the service,
  • Creation of additional high level posts to accommodate timely promotions.
  • Establishment expenditure is eating away most of the resources generated by the Government for development projects.
  • Continuous increase at entry point has led to stagnation at Joint Secretary level, resulting in frustration,
  • Creation of many insignificant unnecessary posts, that has very little work or authority,
  • Generating resentment in Non-IAS Services against IAS officers for encroaching the preserves of other services,
  • Side-lining upright officers, thus discouraging excellence of performance. A large number of officers are always there in the queue, who were willing to toe the line (dictates) of politicians with vested interests.

The “Bloated size” led to unbalanced infrastructural development with cadre-reviews, creating multiple layers in administrative hierarchy. It led to poor communication, duplication of work, and delay in action and decision taking.

Almost Pay Commissions have noticed the “Bloated size” of the service and advised the Government to reduce the flab at-least by 30%. For efficient and effective administration, the 21st century administrative machinery needs to be lean, thin and down-sized.

Lack of Specialization

One of the striking feature is that responsible authorities do not give enough importance to specialization. In the modern life, there are very few jobs, which can be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, training or experience. The nature and degree of specialization have to be geared to the needs that have to be met.

Before Independence

Stress on attitude, knack/aptitude – Before Independence, during British period, there were nine All India Services to provide adequate manpower at the top of various disciplines. Even within ICS, immediately after the recruitment, the officers were geared to attain knowledge and experience for higher assignments, during probationary period and thereafter-early years of service. Mr. L.K. Jha, an ICS officer said that specialization during British Raj started immediately after joining the service. The display by ICS officers for one kind of work rather than the other, their special knack and aptitude for particular type of work was taken into account for deciding their future career.

While promoting officers on the posts of higher responsibility, the display of their work done during field postings, their attitude and aptitude and knack for particular type of work were taken into account. Thus, in practice and not in theory, the Government was building up a cadre of specialists in administration and also encouraging further specialization in different areas of administration. It was done, not as a rule or through formal training, but through experience in doing a job under the supervision of those with greater experiences in those particular areas. Thus the Government was organizing a cadre of experts in different disciplines not through formal training, but through gaining experience by doing job under the supervision of those, having greater experience. (LK Jha, Administrator as Specialist Management in Government, July-September, 1980). Following were the three distinct areas identified for specialization –

  1. General Administration
    1. Personnel Administration
    2. Financial administration
    3. Defense Administration & Internal security
  2. Agricultural & Social Welfare Administration,
    1. Agricultural & rural development administration
    2. Social Services & Educational Administration
    3. Planning
  • Economic Administration
    1. Economic and Commercial Administration
    2. Industrial Administration

After Independence

Constant battle between Generalists and Specialists – The story does not end here only. In order to avoid stagnation, make enough space for its elite service, and keep them satisfied, Government creates many cushy jobs at top-level of bureaucracy, in public sector, corporations, which are mostly manned by IAS officers. As a consequence, a battle is going on between Generalist administrators and Specialist or other professional and also between IAS and State Civil Services just to get top posts in the public sector corporations. While this battle has become something of a scandal, no one bothers, whether services are achieving the objectives, for which they are created.

The need of specialization after the independence is much more than it was earlier as socio-economic development and other welfare activities have become much more important than earlier. Besides, role of whole of bureaucracy has become more demanding and challenging due to the complexity of modern times and fast changing social, political, economic and technological developments in the recent past. But for one reason or the other, contrary are the trends. The officers of the elite service are supposed to perform duties of an extraordinary variety and technical difficulty. In addition to it, an administrator might be in-charge of personnel today, tomorrow in-charge of steel, on the third day in charge of health and so on. The results of this practice are there for all to see –

  • Owns no responsibility – The quick changes, from one type of job to another, make the knowledge of administrators, occupying top level postings, superficial. There are some hard working and sincere IAS officers, who are eager to learn the maximum about the subject matter of their job. But they are also constrained because of the swift changes from one functional area to another. The real knowledge is obtained by sustained hard work for a long period in one type of job, which enables a person to develop innate ability needed for the smooth functioning and development of that area. Administrators own no responsibility for a wrong policy. By the time, the results of a policy or the implementation of a program comes out or is evaluated, the officer concerned might be in a quite different department.
  • Jack of all but master of none” – Administrators are “Jack of all trades, but master of none”. The knowledge about the particular field is no importance for the appointment of the officers to senior posts. The knowledge of any particular subject/area is of no importance for appointments at the top-level of bureaucracy or at the Secretary level posts. Consequently, just as politicians depend on secretaries for knowledge, secretaries depend on their specialist subordinates and technical staff for the fundamental concepts, knowledge, data and information. Time demands that bureaucrats should have Sufficient and in-depth knowledge of the area, in which one works.
  • Blind leading the other blind – Knowledge in technical and professional areas, modern systems of collecting information, analyzing data and using modern innovations has been advanced at a very speed especially after information technology revolution. When comparatively ignorant politicians are being advised by comparatively ignorant generalist officers on policy matters or on critical issues, situation becomes like blind leading the blind. Quite often alternatives are not put forward by officials properly, whose knowledge and experiences are in-adequate or not professionally sound enough in that particular area. It is one of the reasons why many times policy advice on critical issues remains primitive, amateurish, untimely, or not up to the mark. Some IAS officers desired that some sort of technical training – a layman’s bird’s eye view on certain technical matters like power, irrigation, industry, agricultural techniques – and knowledge about the functioning of technical departments should be given to them.
  • Meaning of Specialization in the present day context – Specialization with varied experience, in present atmosphere, means that an officer for strategic senior post should have sufficient knowledge of the area he is supposed to work. In addition to that in their own discipline, there should be varied experience of different aspects and activities concerned with it – such as planning, coordinating work at different levels, advising ministers on policy matters, taking into account the social, legal and economic constraints, particularly in his/her functional area etc. All this could be achieved only after working in any area for a reasonable period.
  • Suggestion of ARC (1968) – ARC had also suggested way back in 1968 that the IAS officers should be confined to areas, which are well known to them. They should not try to encroach those areas, which belongs to others and for which others have acquired special knowledge and training. (Report of ARC on Personnel Administration in Government of India, 1969, p16)
  • Even in their own area, there should be some specialization, because the role of each posting in the government has become more challenging and complex with the fast changing environment all over the world.   The pressures of achieving better results while dealing with more complex and difficult situations, it is necessary to place a premium on improvements and specialization in administration.
  • Creation of more posts through cadre-reviews– In order to solve the problem stagnation, there the government creates more and more posts at the top level of bureaucracy, as a remedial action. Through cadre-reviews, one job is sub-divided into multiple jobs. The outcome of it is that many personnel at various levels have hardly two or three hour of work a day. What is worse, a number of them are doing jobs, which was earlier done by their juniors.
  • Multiplicity of focal points – By creating too many posts in any cadre, the Government creates many points of control and coordination. Multiplicity of too many focal points, in turn, creates overlapping of functions and jurisdictions. More men, less wok, duplication of efforts, lack of supervision and control have resulted in confusion and inefficiency.

Field Experience

An administrator is supposed to maintain links with the people directly through the channels of understanding and persuasion, not through authority or force. Many ICS officers claimed that earlier they had been closer to public than present day administrators. The work experience at district or sub-division level was considered to be a qualification for ICS officers.

Before Independence

Personal knowledge of village conditions – During British rule, the rulers insisted on personal knowledge of its executives of what was happening in the farthest village. Administrative officers established and maintained contact with rural masses at the highest level of the administrative hierarchy. Great emphasis was laid on getting young officers thoroughly acquainted with village and the administrative structure dealing with matters, which touched the rural people, such as land, irrigation, Government loans etc. The most important of these, from villagers’ point of view, was his right on land – whether as owner, tenant or worker. It had to be correctly recorded.

Rendering effective, just and quick service to the villagers – Also, various exaction of government, such as land revenue, higher irrigation dues, return of loans etc. were to be fairly assessed and collected. The village community had a vested interest in the efficiency and honesty of revenue system. Whatever be the motivation of British administration, it certainly rendered effective, just and quick service to the villagers. The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever from acquiring knowledge about village conditions and methods to deal with them. (Mangat Rai, Commitment my style in ICS, 1973)

Exhaustive touring from village to village – The officers made exhaustive tours, moving from village to village and lived a camp-life for considerably long period. The symbol and instrument of village contact was horse. This was partly because of the manner, in which these were conducted, were slow, and easy, involving staying out near village and imbibing thoroughly their atmosphere and conditions.

Close contact with people, source of strength in a democracy – The close contact with the people and the people’s faith in their uprightness gave them the strength to become the “Steel frame” of the whole system. Now many retired ICS officers claim, that the nature of functioning before the independence was such, that they had better understanding and knowledge of the people of their area than officials of today.

After Independence

Field experience, lost its validity – Unfortunately, after independence and progressively over the years, importance of field experience has lost its validity. Most of the officers are habitual of leading a comfortable urban life. It is difficult and troublesome for them to spend enough time in rural areas. As a result, they have to depend to a great extent on the advice of their subordinates posted and living in rural or far-off areas. As a result, many times decision-makers do not get timely and reliable information.

Escape from field postings – Many smart and ambitious officers find their way out and skip rural, sub-divisional or district experience. A study by DPAR, in 1981, has shown that in eight state cadres, 70% or more IAS officers of the elite service have not done sub-divisional charge even for two years. (Seventy Seventh Report of Estimate Committee of Seventh Lok Sabha, August 17,1984, pp76-77) It is fast becoming a secretariat service.

Little grass-root contacts – The same is the story of district charge. Many officers manage their postings at the center and/or state capitals throughout their career and do not care to revive or develop what little grass-root contacts, they had earlier.

Official tours to remote areas just a formality – Because of the improved road network in the villages and availability of fast moving vehicles, such as cars, jeeps etc, the district officers lack the intimate knowledge of the rural areas. The tendency of officers is merely to complete the formality of being on tour, as might have stipulated by the state Government. They make touch and go visits to rural areas, especially the one, which are easily accessible by road, spend the prescribed compulsory number of night halts in some wayside Dak bungalow.

Lack of grass-roots contacts making ‘Politicians’ stronger and ‘Bureaucrats’ weaker – The basic truth that in a democracy people are the sovereign and real source of strength, is often forgotten by many government servants. Such an attitude makes the position of bureaucrats weaker in comparison to political leaders. Politicians are closer to people than bureaucrats. It is due to this lack of enough field experience, grass roots knowledge and experience in the absence of direct contact with the rural masses that the local politicians could exert pressure on administrators.

Closer contact with people could save bureaucrats from undue political pressure – Today’s politicians think themselves to be exclusive guardians of the people. The government servants have, lost the faith of the people. The people doubt their credibility and efficacy of occupying policy level posts.

Alienation from the common man leads the administrator to base their decisions on second hand information. Because of inadequate data, inefficient resource allocation and inward looking project monitoring; plans and policies remain, often, far away from the reality and actual needs and aspirations of the people. Closer contact, coordination with people and their confidence in administrator could save them from undue political pressure.

Corruption

Before Independence

As pointed out earlier, Majority of the Imperial services’ officials were manifestly neither venal nor corrupt in the way in which, for example, some officials and officers of the old East India Company had been. There are, however, other forms of corruption, including assumptions of racial superiority and the conviction that the ICS always knew best”.

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 (Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993).

After Independence

Unlimited Authority without Responsibility – It is said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The concept of “Welfare state” and “Development administration” has bestowed immense authority in the hands of Government, which is mainly exercised by the executive, meaning the ministers and the Bureaucrats. But authority of bureaucracy is without owning any responsibility.

Extensive Government levers of controls and vast powers have been given to bureaucrats. They can find out unlimited opportunities to make money, through delays, dilatoriness and excuses. In addition to get political patronage and good postings, they can support the greedy and power hungry politicians.

Always someone else held responsible – Whatever may go wrong, either at the field level or at policy-level, administrators are never held responsible. If law and order situation deteriorates in a district, IPS officer is held responsible. If a policy decision goes wrong, it is said that those in echelons of power were wrongly advised by the specialists or specialized organizations dealing with that particular subject.

Various factors like colonial tradition, monopoly of few groups in power echelons, no regard for meritocracy or expertise for development of the nation, monopoly of coercive power, tiredness of workforce, inadequacies and instability of political leadership and the near absence or weakness of groups exercising countervailing force over authorities men and to work for the development of nation.

Swift changes makes difficult to fix responsibility – Swift changes, from one functional area to another, make it difficult to hold an officer responsible for any wrong policy. By the time, the results of a policy or the implementation of a program is evaluated, the concerned officer gets shifted to another post, department or goes back to his parent state.

Political Interference in day today work

Before independence

Before independence – ICS enjoyed the authority to take decisions.

After Independence

After the independence, corrupt and self-seeking administrators have become expensive parasites on the system and society. Wheels of justice are not moving fast enough to punish the guilty. Procedural delays, political patronage and resistance from within the bureaucracy, appear to be helping corrupt officials evade the long arm of the law. Many excuses are given to protect them. Many reports confirm that an increasing number of senior bureaucrats figures in corruption cases. .

Political patronage – The ministers and politicians used to find their authority shadowy over them. The table has been turned. Now, the minister dictates and the officers obey without any resistance. Dominance of political consideration over administrative and economic matters has been one of the prominent features of independent India, which is responsible for large scale of corruption, the deteriorating situation of law and order and slower rate of economic growth.

The political leaders have acquired the authority to reward and punish officers, through transfers and postings. It has become an effective tool to make officers fall in line with them and be loyal to them. Honest and upright officers face quick transfers, bad entries, judicial inquiries, and loyalist officer’s prestigious postings, foreign trips special allowances etc. It has made many officers to succumb almost absolutely to political pressures. Growing politicization of services and lack of support from seniors has put a negative effect on the initiative and creativity of young officers.

Mr. SC Vaid has very correctly said, “In most of the cases as long as bureaucrats support misconduct of politicians, they remain in their good books. Strict compliance with code of conduct by bureaucrats comes in the way of selfish interests of politicians. It causes a lot of discomfort to legislators. Hence the latter frequently transfer honest officers. The government must adhere to the Supreme Court directive stipulating minimum tenures for bureaucrats and curb arbitrary transfers.” Upright officers needs to be enabled to create an ideal condition for development and good governance by giving them enough opportunities to do their jobs without unnecessary political interference.

Premature promotions

Before Independence

Earlier, ICS officers used to work under senior officers for about seven to eight years, before they were given independent charge as collector.

After Independence

Now officers have to take the responsibility of independent jobs prematurely. After foundation-training of two years, hardly a year or 18 months passes, when an IAS officer gets promoted to the responsible post of collector. He is not mature enough either service-wise or age-wise to handle the challenging job of a collector. When officer himself does not have enough experience as a collector (head of district administration), how can he take up the responsibility of training others?

Lack of senior’s support

Before Independence

During British period, young ICS officers were placed under the strict supervision of senior officers, who used to take keen interest in the development of their capacity to run the administration effectively. It was made clear to senior district officers, that it was very important to pay attention to the young officers, who were put under their guidance. Their success in life and reputation, as good officers, depended greatly on the assistance; they received from their seniors at the outset of their career. (GO No.738, published on April 18, 1916, ICS Manual Madras) As a result, the junior officers were groomed well on job ad possessed a marked degree of professionalism in their area of activity. Their claim of superiority, over others, was clearly established.

After Independence

Not enough protection from Senior officers – Many incidences and recent Durga Shakti Nagpal (an upright officer’s) case, initially administrators ware gradually losing interest in their subordinates. Reasons for it are generally the following –

  • Unfortunately, now the main function of the administrative service has become to maintain status quo and defend the wrong practices of its political masters, not to guide well the junior officers or stand by them when in difficulty. Today the efficiency of the service as a whole is at its lowest ebb. Complete breakdown of discipline everywhere is mainly responsible for the disintegration of administrative system and its future.
  • Because of changing political culture, senior officers themselves are so insecure, how can they instill sense of security and confidence amongst their juniors?
  • There is scarcity of well-experienced senior officers at the district level. Most of them have drifted to the central and state secretariats or to public corporations etc,
  • There is too much political interference in their day-to-day work.
  • There is lack of sound personnel planning.
  • Senior officers are so occupied with their own work, that they hardly spare enough time and attention to see and guide the work of their juniors.

In short

Diagnosis of the Ailments – In short, the reasons of the corrosion of the steel-frame are poor personnel policies, excessive protectionist policies of the Government, bloated size, unbalanced infrastructural development with concentration of authority in a few hands, cumbersome office procedures, increased paper work, delay in action and decision – taking, disincentive to hard work, talent and sincerity, lack of accountability, alienation from the common man and the last but not the least tolerance of people of India, who accept sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the officers to upgrade their performance.

Suggestions

  • First of all, the Government of India should merge all its civil services – technical as well as non-technical – into one unified service with an integrated pay structure. The Government should ensure complete parity in pay scales, same time- frame for all services for getting promoted into next grade, promotional avenues and career development.
  • The attainment of high standard of administration depends a great deal on the environment of work, which requires selection of capable officers, proper placement of officers and proper atmosphere of work.
  • It requires a change in attitude, more of field work, people’s cooperation, not by force or use of authority, but by prompting, persuading, suggesting, stimulating and inspiring them.
  • It must be realized by each and every bureaucrat that he is there only because of the people and for the people, not the people because of him. People are not an interruption to his work, but the purpose of it. In a country like India, where most of its people are illiterate or semi-literate, mere functional efficiency cannot stir warmth. A little glow of welcome in the eyes of civil servant converts disappointment into exhilaration in the public. People, after meeting a civil servant, should return with satisfaction that they were heard patiently and sympathetically and that someone would be taking interest in their problems.
  • Last but not the least, each and every citizen must realize, as Napoleon has said, “The world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!”

July 30, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

Role of Civil Services/ Bureaucracy in Governance

“For the forms of government, let fools contest.

              That which is best administered is best.”        Finer

 Introduction – A Government roughly falls into two general processes

  1. The process of politics, which consists of the activities of elected representatives of the people and
  2. The process of administration to assist politically elected ministers, which consists of the activities of permanent bureaucrats/civil servants.

Permanent bureaucrats/civil servants belong to a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.(Finer. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, p709, 1950). The main characteristics of bureaucracy/Civil 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. It is this administrative apparatus that runs the government.

Civil servants are 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.

Governance, the most difficult task – In modern times, for good governance of a nation, it is the civil service/bureaucracy, which is responsible. Efficient and effective civil service is foundation stone to build a forward- looking nation. Of all acts of a government of a civilized society, perhaps, governance is one of the most difficult tasks, as it deals with issues – political, economic or social, that directly affect public life of living human beings, who are full of psychological and sociological complexes and prone to unpredictable behavior.

Concept of ‘Nation State?’ –The idea of a ‘nation state’ is not very old. For medieval scholars, the concept of a nation might have been unimaginable. A secular government ruled by the consent of the people rather than by holy mandate was perhaps unthinkable.  ‘Nation state’ in its present sense is more or less a nineteenth century concept. The notion of a ‘nation state’ is different from the idea of ‘city state’, ‘multi-national state’, ‘empire’, ‘confederation’ or other state forms. Idea of ‘nation state’ is associated with the rise of modern sovereign state, in which the government administers its specific territorial area for the unity and social, economic and cultural development of the people living in that area.

Exist in a type of society – Whether in the past or in present, the institution, whether in a nation state or city state or an empire, civil services have always been closely related, connected with the tasks of governance. Bureaucracy has now become a very potent and vital element of any government all over the world. It is an indispensable part of each and every political system, be it communism or socialism or capitalism. It can exist in a type of society, be it a dictatorial or a democratic society. The civil service is, therefore, an indispensable part of any government. Due to its exclusive and specialist nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in administration for improving the quality of life, the importance of civil services increases day-by-day.

Bureaucracy works from behind the scene – To run the administration of a country nicely, a band of capable officers—efficient, prompt, just and sympathetic—belonging to different disciplines of civil services are required. Though they always live behind the scene, but it is the bureaucrats/civil servants, who not only dig expert knowledge from the raw material, but give it a shape with a sense of commitment. Politicians come for a short period and go. It is the bureaucrats, appointed on a long-term basis, who provide continuity in the governance of the nation.

Governance the most complex task – Governance/administration of a country is perhaps the most complex one, of all the acts/tasks a government performs, as it has to deal with living human beings prone to unpredictable behavior. As, it deals with different kinds of issues – political, economic or social, which directly affect day to day life of common men – the people.

Emergence of Welfare and Development activities – Earlier in the nineteenth Century the main tasks of an administration were universally the maintenance of law and order and revenue collection. In the post Second World war period, in general and especially in the new nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, Welfare and Developmental tasks were added in the responsibilities of civil services. Since the emphasis in administration has shifted to the welfare plans, national reconstruction and development, every nation require and civil service for effective implementation of its developmental activities. It, in turn demands officials of integrity, equipped with administrative ability and practical sagacity.

Civil services in a ‘Welfare State’  – French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, Industrial Revolution and Contemporary developments had a great impact in widening the scope of State activities. Poverty and misery, which were earlier accepted as the lot of masses, are no longer regarded as inevitable. The ultimate aim of governance is to help common men live a peaceful, safe and secure life. Today, this simple and powerful truth is too often forgotten.

Demand of Public for better deal – Increased consciousness of public compelled them to demand, with persisting insistence, better standard of living, better housing, better education and better medical facilities. The masses now wish themselves to be benefited as much as possible, from the resources of their nation. The desire of public to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common people could have better deal, gave rise to the concept of `Welfare State’ and Developmental Administration, the former being the objective and the later the machinery to achieve these objectives.

Aims of a Welfare State – In a welfare state the government assumes and aims at improving the quality of life of its masses and the responsibility of its citizens from `womb to tomb’. It tries to bring about `social, political and economic justice’. The main aim of initiating and nurturing this concept is to bring about betterment to the lots of weaker section of society by building up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy. Uplift of the marginalized sections of society, provision of basic necessities to all, irrespective of their caste or creed, voluntary abdication of riches and power, that these riches bring and establishment of a productive, vigorous and creative political and social life are some of the aims of a Welfare government.

In short its objective is a massive attack on five major evils of society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. The welfare concept of state has no utility in itself unless it is translated into action. The instrument deployed for achieving welfare goals – national reconstruction and development – is that of the development of administration through the institution of civil service, which puts all its energies at bringing about socio-economic and political development of the nation as a whole. An efficient administration can successfully comprehend what is attainable, what is practical and what can help the agencies in the community to formulate plans and policies, by which the community can seek to assure welfare of all its members.

Maintenance of law and order all over the country is still very important. Then only, desired objectives for the sustainable development of the nation could be achieved. Those engaged in the task of governance could yield maximum results with minimum labor and resources within time and cost parameters and provide convenience to public at large.

In the post war period in general, development consciousness and development efforts, emerged in the new nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, required a civil service of integrity, equipped with administrative ability and practical sagacity for development.

Requirements for efficient governanceFollowing are the requirements for the civil servants engaged in welfare and development administration –

  • Mental framework – it should never be conservative. It should have a scientific outlook and should be progressive, innovative, reformist and even revolutionary in mental attitudes and approaches.
  • Knowledge – it should have knowledge of science, technology and social sciences.
  • Skills – it requires conceptual skills (ability for innovative problem – analysis), planning skills, technical skills, managerial skills and human skills.
  • Vision – A development bureaucrat requires the vision of a statesman and not that of either narrow-minded politicians or a rule-minded bureaucrat.
  • Structures – it requires less hierarchical and more team-like structures such as Commissions, Boards, and Corporations etc.
  • Behavior – The behavioral pattern should consist of (a) action and achievement orientation (b) responsiveness (c) responsibility (d) all round smooth relations inside with juniors and seniors and outside with clientele and the public (e) commitment to development ideologies and goals.

Besides, there should be –

  • A working partnership between the civil servants and the people.
  •  A sense of service, a spirit of dedication, a feeling of involvement and a will to sacrifice for the public welfare.
  •  A pragmatic application of the basic democratic principles. Higher civil servants should provide the required leadership to the lower levels of administration.
  •  Constant field inspection by senior officials.
  • to provide the government with the ability to be in constant contact with the people;
  • to make the people conscious that the government is alive to their problem;
  • Smooth relationship between generalist administrators and experts/specialists; and
  • Training from time to time to understand the success already achieved in the field of development administration and the efforts to be initiated in future.

 

              

 

 

   

 

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , , | Leave a comment

Bureaucracy in India

“For the forms of government, let fools contest.

That which is best administered is best.”

And also

But what is best must free man still decide,

Lest leaders gull them and officials ride.”

 

Introduction

The civil services in India can, without doubt, be regarded as the most remarkable of all the institutions, which Britain bequeathed to India. The term `civil service’, which is now applied to the general body of persons employed as non-combatant work connected with the administration of states, was first used in the late eighteenth century to designate those employees of East India Company, who were engaged in Mercantile work. As the character of the company changed – its trading operations were first supplemented by territorial dominion and eventually replaced by the responsibilities of government – its employees were transformed from traders into Civil Servants/administrators.

Structure of Bureaucracy – The organizational structure of  administrative set-up plays a very important role in the efficient performance of tasks As an employer, Government’s primary duty is to make all feasible administrative, organizational and working arrangements for its employees. Prof. Applebly says, as far as civil services are concerned, its “structure determines, where responsibility lies; how and to what extent responsible and controllable delegation takes place; what emphasis should be given to various objectives.   It poses and conceals issues of policy. It provides or relatively fails to provide a structure of progressive responsibilities for decision making and thus at each level screens out some decisions and relieves those in higher positions, so that they may give attention to decisions really important to their functions”.

Classification of Civil Services – For the performance of its manifold activities, Government employs thousands of personnel into a governmental organization from almost all vocations, occupations and professions into its Civil Services every year. All government services work as an integrated whole. It is divided vertically and horizontally in order to meet the differing requirements and emerging developmental tasks. e. All its personnel work together in harmony and cooperation with each other. The whole administrative system is vertically and horizontally divided in order to achieve the national goals, execute different plans and policies of the government and meet the different  emerging requirements of its society and do other administrative/developmental tasks.

Basis of position-classification in bureaucracy – A proper job evaluation leads to position-classification and forms the basis of personnel management. Position classification is a systematic division of different posts in several classes in accordance with the functions to be performed, responsibilities to be shouldered and other conditions. It is “the systematic sorting and ranking of position in a hierarchical sequence according to comparative difficulty and responsibility”. Positions, supervision and authority to be exercised downward, other responsibilities, simple or complicated type of work, qualifications required for the post etc., are the factors, which operate in the determination of classification.

Pre-Independence Position classification in India:- In India, a bureaucratic hierarchical structure came into existence as soon as the `Rule of Company Bahadur’ was terminated and replaced by the `Rule of Crown’. During that period, the Secretary of State for India was at the top the Viceroy and Governor General of India just below him; Provincial Governors/Lt. Governors/Chief Commissioners below Viceroy; and Collector/Magistrates or Deputy Commissioners and other civil servants etc. occupying the lowest rung of the four tier structure of the centralized white bureaucracy.

Civil Services during the rule of British Crown

From traders to Administrators – The term “Civil Services” was used to designate those employees of East India Company, who were engaged in mercantile work. As the character of the company changed, its trading operations were first supplemented by territorial dominion and eventually replaced by the responsibilities of government. Its civil servants were transformed from traders into administrators. Roughly from 1606 to 1740, the civil servants were managing primarily trading operations, and incidentally administrative work which grew more and more in size as the East India Company acquired territorial possessions notably after the battle of Plassey. Precisely from 1741 to 1834, the civil servants were entrusted with purely administrative activities. By 1858, when the transfer of power from East India Company to the British Crown became a reality, the foundation of the Indian Civil Services was formally implemented.

Civil services under the Crown – By 1858, when the transfer of power from East India Company to the British Crown became a reality, the foundation of the Indian Civil Services was formally implemented. And about this period of British Rules, the Simon Commission (Report of the India Statutory Commission 1930, Vol. I.P. 263) said, “of no country can it be said more truly than of India that `Government is administration”.  Pylee had said  “The whole system from top to bottom was well knit, highly centralized and behaved like an unbreakable steel frame with all the characters of a full-fledged autocracy.” (Pylee, M.V. Constitutional History of India 1600-1950 P. 28)

During British period, the bureaucracy consisted of two parts:

  • Government in London headed by the Secretary of State for India and curiously called the `Home Government’ of India.
  • Government in New Delhi (in Calcutta before 1911), headed by Viceroy and Governor General of India, called the Government of India.

The two parts were closely related despite of the factor of long distance between England and India.

The Secretary of State for India – The Secretary of State used to be a Member of British Cabinet (the creation of the Act of 1858). He was at the top of the administrative machinery and controlled the political destiny of India from England. His powers were immense. All the Members of higher civil services were appointed by him and his control over them was pervasive.

The Act of 1919 and that of 1935 made little, though formal, changes in regard to his powers. Though his powers relating to the superintendence, direction and control of the Indian Administration   were   retained, his interference   in the   administration   of   the transferred subjects assigned to the popular ministers was to be reduced to the minimum. As a result, the day to day interference of the Secretary of State in the provincial administration was relaxed to some extent.

The position of Viceroy and the Governor General in India – the Viceroy and the Governor General was the Crown’s representative. His office was set up by the Regulating Act of 1773, while the Act of 1858 decorated its title as Viceroy and the Governor General of India. He had assumed much authority in his own hands on account of being the `man on the spot.’ He was the supreme bureaucrat, so far as the Government of India was concerned. All provincial and local administration was under his absolute control.

Due to the policy of maintaining a uniform administrative system all over the country, his control was very extensive in the administrative sphere.   Though the public services were recruited by the Secretary of State, it was the duty of the Government of India to lay down policies of reform and progress of the administrative system in the form of Resolutions. The net result was that provinces only acted as the Agents of the Centre in implementing these resolutions. By the end of 1918, British India had its 15 units variously designated as given here:

Presidencies        Lieutenant Governorship                  Chief Commissionership

  1. Bengal             1. Bihar & Orissa                                1. Ajmer Mewara
  2. Chennai                2. Burma                                          2. Andamans
  3. Mumbai                 3. Punjab                                        3Assam                                                 .                             4.UttarPradesh                                Baluchistan                                                                                                                              CentralProvinces                                                                                                                                       Coorg
    1.                                                                              Delhi                                                                                                                               North-West Frontier Province

(Governors were       (Appointed by the Crown        (Appointed by the Crown on the

appointed by the           on the recommenda-           recommendation of the Governor

Crown)                      tion of the Governor General)   General)

(Johri J.C. Indian Government & politics P. 157)

Immense Control of Bureaucracy – During the whole period of British rule, the main task of the civil services was to maintain law and order intact at any cost. What was common to the administration of all these units or provinces was that they were under the charge of bureaucrats acting under the supreme control of the Governor General. The Governor or the Lt. Governor, as the case may be, of a province remained the pivot of the bureaucratic administration at the provincial level despite the introduction of a sort of `provincial autonomy’ under the Montfort Reforms. There were some subordinate services for minor and ministerial jobs.

Classification of Civil Services  – Responsibilities, simple or complicated type of work, qualifications required for the post sphere of work, nature or quality of supervision by superior etc. were the factors, which operated in the determination of classification. All the civil services in British India were grouped as covenanted (higher) and uncovenanted (lower) services on the basis of the nature of work, pay-scales and appointing authority.  Positions, supervision and authority were to be exercised downward.

  • Administrative set-up at the Central Level –  In 1887, Aitchinson Commission recommended the reorganization of the services on a new pattern. It divided the services into three group – Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate. All the important and superior positions were included in Imperial Services on the basis of field of work (All India status), nature of work and quality of supervision by superior. The recruiting and controlling authority of these services was the `Secretary of State’. Mostly British citizens were recruited for these services. With the passing of the Indian Act 1919, the Imperial Services were split into two classes – All India Services and Central Services.
  • Administration in Provinces – There were Provincial Services as well. The appointing and controlling authority for these services was the respective provincial government, which framed rules for those services with the approval of the government of India. The Governor or the Lt. Governor, as the case may be, of a province remained the pivot of the bureaucratic administration at the provincial level despite the introduction of a sort of `provincial autonomy’ under the Montfort Reforms. Provinces have their own Provincial Services. The appointing and controlling authority for these services was the respective provincial government, which framed rules for those services with the approval of the government of India. There were then, subordinate services for minor and ministerial jobs.
  • District Administration during British rule – The civil servants of different ranks, i.e. Commissioners/Deputy Commissioners/District Collectors and Magistrates etc., were entrusted with the responsibility of running the administration of their division, district or some such local area according to the dictates of the upper echelons of British Bureaucracy. The civil service was characterized as hierarchy of officers neither chosen nor accountable to the Indian people. The bureaucracy at the level of local administration meant `Raj’ to the masses of the country, as the rule of an officer “was based on fear and awe and mass obedience was extracted by repression and suppression of popular demands”.   The higher civil servants were appointed and for that reason, accountable to those above them.

Civil Service Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930 – From 1930 onwards, the classification of services came to be governed by Civil Service Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930. According to it, various services were divided into four categories : Class I, Class II, Subordinate and Interior.

The Government of India Act of 1935 –  The Government of India Act of 1935 provided for a constitutional relationship between the Centre and Indian States on a federal basis. The provincial part of the government of India Act of 1935 had been put into operation and elections in the provincial legislatures had been held in 1937.

Failure of the Diarchy in the provinces – Despite of the relaxation of Central control over the provincial administration according to the Act of 1919 and that of 1935, the fact remained that governor continued to act as the concrete embodiment of the bureaucratic administration under the absolute superintendence, direction and control of the Governor General.

The position and role of the Governor remained one of the important factor that caused the failure of the Diarchy in the provinces. By virtue of his belonging to the cadre of bureaucracy, the fact of strong bureaucratic control continued even under the so-called partially representative government.

A special feature of the Government. of India Act of 1935 was that whereas in the case of the provinces accession to the federation was to be automatic. In the case of the States it was to be voluntary. (The story of the integration of the Indian States, VP Menon, p. 34) Joint Select Committee’s report commented, “The main difficulties are two: that the Indian states are wholly different in status and character from the Provinces of British India, and that they are not prepared to federate on the same terms as it is proposed to apply to the Provinces. On the first point of Indian states, unlike the British Indian Provinces, possess sovereignty in various degrees and they are broadly speaking, under a system of personal government…. On the second point the Rulers have made it clear that while they are willing to consider Federation now with the Provinces of British India on certain terms, they could not, as sovereign States, agree to the exercise by a Federal Government in relation to them of a range of powers identical in all respects with those which that Government will exercise in relation to the Provinces on whom autonomy has yet to be conferred.”

Consequences of the failure of the Diarchy in the provinces – Post 1919 period witnessed the intensification of the national movements, the emergence of Gandhi and Congress and the acceptance of the methods of violence by some parties as a means to achieve independence. Ultimately, India got its Independence on 15 August 1947.

Civil Services in India after Independence

In 1947 came the Independence. With the attainment of Independence and adoption of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goals, the demands on administration undergone a qualitative change. The basic task of administration changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change.

Political set-up in Independent India – India is a large country with perplexing diversity in geography, language, race and culture. The political system adopted by India, after its Independence, is that of a federal parliamentary democracy. The federal structure consists of Union and State Administration. As it is, there are three pillars of the government both at the centre and provinces – Parliament/Legislature in which Legislative powers are vested, executive to implement laws and there is also an independent judiciary, which acts as a watchdog of the Constitution and is the supreme law of the land.

The Constitution of India is based upon the principles of `Justice, Social, Economic and Political’, (Preamble to the Constitution of India 1950).

The successful operation of these welfare plans needs an efficient civil service with clear vision of its responsibilities. Maintenance of law and order in the country and speedy socio-economic development requires effective and efficient administrative efforts directed towards the assigned goals. The successful operation of its welfare plans needs an efficient civil service.

Executive powers of the government – The Union Government at the Centre consists of a President in whom all the executive power of the Union is vested. He exercises his authority either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution [Article 53 (1)]. The Vice-President is only a ceremonial dignitary. Then there is a council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head “to aid and advice the President in the exercise of his functions”. 

The President is the nominal head of the executive. The Prime Minister and his colleagues are real political heads of different government departments. Their executive power, in practice, is exercised by permanent civil service (civil services mean all the streams of functional, technical and specialist cadres as well as managerial and generalist cadres. In a federal set-up like ours, it also includes the officials at regional or state level) which works under ministers and serves as a link – so essential to maintain continuity of policy and consistency of administration between successive ministers.

No alternative, but to leave the things to time – After Independence, Pt. Nehru, the first PM of Independent India and many other important leaders, such as GB Pant etc., did not like the idea that for building up a new India, the very machinery/administrative set-up, that was till now hampering and countering the freedom movement, should be used. They wanted to reconstitute the administrative service on a new basis to fit in with the new system of a welfare state and Development Administration. However, they could not do so, as during the last days of British Rule many explosive problems arose.

Explosive problems, which arose at the time of Independence – The Second World War, then its aftermath and internally communal tensions were on a breaking point. Existence of lawlessness everywhere made the situation bad. The armed forces had mutinied in several places. There had been Railway and Postal strikes. Goods were in short supply. There was a danger of another famine in near future. These factors in combination with departure of British and Muslim officers from the civil Services, partition of the country, Pakistans incursion into Kashmir and annexation of widely distributed conglomeration of provinces and Princely states in the Union of India made the situation worse at the dawn of Independence. Events, inevitably unplanned, were moving so fast, that there was no question of even attempting to supervise their course. The country had no alternative, but to leave the things to time, opportunity and initiative of officers and organizations. It is for these reasons mainly that the pre-independence administrative set up moved in the Post Independence era without any major change.

Civil services during Post-Independence era

The Prime Minister and his colleagues are real political heads of different government departments. Their executive power, in practice, is exercised by permanent civil service (civil services mean all the streams of functional, technical and specialist cadres as well as managerial and generalist cadres. In a federal set-up like ours, it also includes the officials at regional or state level) which works under ministers and serves as a link – so essential to maintain continuity of policy and consistency of administration between successive ministers.

Gazetted and Non-gazetted Civil Services – During British period, there was another classification of the Civil Services into Gazetted and Non-gazetted. All positions, the names of whose occupants were published in the Government Gazette in connection with their postings, transfers, promotions and privileges in respect of disciplinary action, right to appeal and retirement etc. were called `Gazetted’ posts. Among all the Government Services, group `A’ and `B’, which are engaged at different levels of administration and play an important role in policy-making and decision-making processes and their implementation work  enjoyed the gazetted status. In contrast other positions, the names of whose occupant did not appear in government gazette were categorized as non-gazetted. This practice continued even after independence. As on March, 1970, there were about 52,000 gazetted officers under the Central Government and 76,000 in the provincial governments. This distinction continued to exist till 1974. After that it was done away with, in order to reduce the workload in government presses, economy in the cost of paper and printing and more efficient management of service in the audit offices.

Classification of civil services according to the nature of work: After Independence, classification of the services in India is governed by the Civil Services Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930, as amended from time to time.  The civil services are now classified into  class I,  II, III  and IV. After independence Varadachariar Commission had substituted the  terms `subordinate’ and `inferior’ by class  III and  class IV .  Since July,  1974,  the classification  of civil  servants under class I, II, III & IV  has been changed into groups  `A’,`B’,`C’`D’.

The present day classification of the services in India is governed by the Civil Services Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930, as amended from time to time.

Now the different services are designated as All India Services, Central Services and State Services. These are classified into class I, II, III and IV.  Varadachariar Commission substituted the terms `subordinate’ and `inferior’ by class III and class IV services after independence. There is a monetary basis of this classification also. According to Third Pay Commission1, officers appointed to a service whose minimum starting pay was Rs.700/- and above were in class I service, Rs.650/- in Class II Service and the persons drawing Rs.650/- and below are in class III and class IV. Since July, 1974, the classification of civil servants under class I,II,III & IV has been changed into groups `A’,`B’,`C’`D’.

Government Departments/offices responsible for building up the structure of Civil Services – The different government offices, which are associated with the process of classification, are:

  • Ministry of Home Affairs;
  • Department of Personnel;
  • Finance Ministry; and
  • U.P.S.C.

After proper job evaluation, position classification/division of different posts in several classes and creation of new civil services has been done in a systematic way  in accordance with the functions to be performed, responsibilities to be shouldered and other conditions and necessities. The systematic sorting and ranking of position in a hierarchical sequence has been done according to comparative difficulty and responsibility.

Structure of Civil Services in Independent India – At present, there are three categories of civil services –

  1. All India Services,
  2. Central services,
    1. Professional and
    2. Technical
  3. Provincial civil services
  • All India Services – All India Services are governed by Article 312 of the Indian Constitution. Constitution framers provided that, “without depriving the states of their right to form their own civil services, there shall be All India Services recruited on an All India basis with common qualifications, with uniform scale of pay and members of which alone could be appointed to those strategic posts throughout the Union”. At present, there are three All India Services: Indian Administrative Service; Indian Police Service; and Indian Forest Service.
  • (Professional) Central Civil Services under Government of India 
    • (a) There are many central civil services for performing various service functions  for which Central Government is responsible. Such functions are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution (such as Railways, Posts and Telegraphs, Excise and Customs, Income tax Service, Indian Excise and Customs Service or Accounts Service etc.). The prior to appointment into these services. No professional degree, diploma, certificate or experience is required.
    • (b) However, for appointment in technical central services (like Indian Tele-communication Service, Central Water Engineering Service; Central Power Engineering Service; Central Health Service etc.) knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, or diploma is necessary. These services deal especially with developmental programs or work for building up infrastructural structures.
  • Provincial Civil Services – Different provinces or states in India have their separate political set-up similar to that of Centre. In the states, Governor, instead of President, is the nominal head. They have their own legislature, council of Ministers with a Chief Minister and its own civil services. The subjects for the Centre as well as state administration have been divided clearly by the Constitution itself in the Seventh Schedule.

The district civil administration still occupies a key position. It is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of civil administration can be concentrated and where it comes into direct contact with people. Its importance arise from the fact that it is at this level that bulk of people come into close contact with the government policies, programs and their implementation. It is here that people judge the quality and efficiency of the governmental administration. It has regulatory as well as developmental tasks. The collector continues to play a pivotal role in the district administration. Besides the collection of Revenue and the maintenance of law and order, he is responsible for coordinating the activities of various departments at district level. He enjoys immense power and prestige. Each district has several district officers, who head their respective units at district level. There are some technical departments also. Which are entrusted with functions, which require knowledge and experience in a defined field.

Winding up  – Continuous modernization, higher productivity, rapid advance in socio-economic and technological sphere and desire to improve the quality of life of common-men demand that personnel joining the government services should be effective, efficient and goal-oriented. The success of government’s welfare and developmental plans depend upon the efficient and effective performance of all the civil services, as a whole. Therefore, all the civil services at every level should be equipped with officers having the capacity to meet various challenges of the modern India.

 

 

 

 

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

Role of Bureaucracy in good governance

Introduction

Important variables in governance – Of all the acts of civilized society the task of governance is perhaps the most complex one. The governance is not done in vacuum. For the governance/administration of any country, amongst all, two variables are most important. One who governs, and two who is to be governed. It is the government of the country that governs. And it is people of the country, who are governed. The quality, the tools and the style of governance, therefore, depend on variables like the characteristic of the nation, its social structure, nature, behavior and their value system of its people.

Role of Bureaucracy in governance of a democratic country

How well the crucial role of bureaucracy in governance has been described  by Finer as following –

          “For the forms of government, let fools contest.That which is best administered is best.” And also,

          “But what is best must free man still decide. Lest leaders gull them and officials ride.”

Government that Governs

Amongst the three wings of government – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, executive is responsible for governance/administration of a country. Executive consists of elected representatives of the people and bureaucracy. The Government roughly falls 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/bureaucracy.

Role of Bureaucracy vis-à-vis elected representatives – One needs to understand, what is the role of both the wings – elected representatives and Bureaucracy in governance of a country?

Relation between the political and Bureaucratic/administrative wings of a government – That being so, an examination of the relation between the political and administrative wings of government would be the starting point for determining the role of civil service for delivering goods to public at large.

According to Fainsold (quoted from Administrative Culture, Need for conceptual Clarity and Further Rearch by Puranik, S.N. IJPA Sol., XXIV No. II April-June 1978 PP 467-468). famous thinker in the field of administration, the area of the activities of civil service depend upon-

  •  Relation with political authority;
  •  Range of functions which it performs
  •  Military dominated civil service as are in Bangla Desh, Pakistan, some nations  in Middle East or Africa,
  • Ruling Civil Service – as was in India before independence.

Bureaucracy an indispensable part of any political system – Bureaucracy has become a very potent and vital element of any government all over the world. It is an indispensable part of each and every political system be it a democracy, monarchy or aristocracy. It can exist in a type of society, be it a dictatorial or a democratic society. It role is crucial everywhere – in nations following the principles of communism or socialism or capitalism.

In theory – Theoretically the administrative machinery is subordinate to the political arm of a government. The decision making power rests with ministers. But bureaucracy assists the elected representatives of the people in governance of the country of administration. But, in practice, its role is very important in governance of a country.

Position of political chiefs vis-a-vis bureaucrats – Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more and more expert knowledge in governance for improving the quality of service, the responsibility of political chiefs is becoming exceedingly formal in matter of governance. They are forced to listen the advice of the bureaucrats, who dig the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment.

Bureaucracy’s importance, is of influence and not of power – The civil service’s role in relation to the ministers is that of influence and not of power. It is this administrative apparatus, which actually runs the government. Owing to other preoccupations of elected political leadership and its lack of technical know-how, the responsibility of bureaucrats in governance, policy making and its implementation, has become a determining factor. Converting policy into directive plans, programs and projects is an inevitable function of an action-oriented administration.

Bureaucracy a permanent link between successive elected governments – Elected representatives come for a fixed period. They come and go. But Bureaucracy is permanent, which forms a link between successive elected governments. Therefore, its becomes vital in guiding the social changes and development in desired direction, especially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.

Importance of bureaucracy in governance – Being so, as far as governance in a country is concerned, bureaucracy could be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. Weakening of this pillar could only spell disaster[ii]. For any administration to be good and efficient as a whole, the right type of men placed in crucial positions of bureaucracy is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation.[iii]

What is Bureaucracy? Bureaucracy according to Max Weber – According to Max Weber2, whose study on bureaucracy has become a base for the modern exponents of the science of administration, the main characteristics of a civil service are as following:

  • Division of labour – defined rights and duties prescribed in written regulations;
  • Hierarchy – (a) Systematically ordered authority relationship;
  • Promotions regulated by merit and seniority;
  • Merit based selection and training – technical competence as a formal condition of employment;
  • Full time career-based service with fixed monetary salaries;
  • Impersonality – strict separation of office and incumbent in the sense that employee does not own the means of administration and cannot take the advantage of their position for promoting self-interest.
  • A system of rules and files – its operations are government by a consistent system of abstract rules.
  • Team-work – One of the important feature of bureaucracy is team-work, i.e. ability to work together toward a common vision. It is ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” (Andrew Carnegie, TOI, P.18, Feb 7, 2017)
  • Loyalty to impersonal authority like the State. Cal.J. Friedrich rejected this ‘ideal-type’ theory as neither ideal in the platonic sense nor real in empirical sense.

Criticism of Weber’s theory – Friedrich, Alwin W. Gouldner, Philip Seiznic, Michel Crozier and others emphasised certain behavioural characteristics of civil service as more important.

  • Peter Blau introduced an element of positivism, when the emphasized ‘efficiency’ as the core and goal of bureaucracy or civil service. His approach permits structural and behavioral flexibility in response to ecological reaction, as long as they contribute to efficiency. His approach is dynamic and covers ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ aspects of civil service and welds the structural and behavioral aspects in terms of ‘efficiency’.
  • F.W. Riggs, John Forward, James Brady4 and others have developed a new approach of ecological and developmental administration. In this approach the civil service is to be explained and designed in terms of local influences as well as the influence of developmental tasks and goals. This approach has been admired, because of its open-minded realistic and flexible character, particularly for purposes of designing a developmental bureaucracy.
  • V.A. Pai Panandikar and Kshirsagar (Pai Panandikar and Kshirsagar, Bureaucracy in India, I.J.PA.Vol. XVII No.2 PP 187-208) are of opinion that bureaucratic model cannot be a single type. According to them while the Weberian Model is most suited in Secretariat type of Organisation and the Blau’s model operates well in dynamic field of development type of agencies like the agriculture or industrial departments.

Whatever the merits and demerits of the above models may be, it is a fact that no single   model is sufficient either to explain the complex bureaucratic universe empirically or to Guide the designing of a bureaucratic system normatively.

In short – It can be said that civil service is a “professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled”2. It is always connected with the exercise of authority as members of a class of power elites. It is engaged in the governance of the country and its administrative work. Its officials are professionally recruited, permanent, paid and properly trained in various disciplines of administration. Its main characteristics are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working. It is always associated with exercise of authority. It has to deal with human beings with many complexes – psychological and sociological and its dealings extend to society as a whole.

The people who are governed

Government has to deal with living human beings prone to unpredictable behavior. It also deals with the issues and challenges in all the spheres, whether political, economic or social, which directly affects public life.

Governance a difficult task in India having many kinds of Diversity – 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”. A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable. Governance of a pluralistic society, like India, is a sensitive and challenging exercise. Mr. Nani Palkiwala 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.

India comprises of different identities India comprises people of different identities – ethnic, religious, castes, linguistic and regional identities. While, these identities lived together for centuries and presented a mosaic culture, there have been periods of discord. The diversity made the divide easy. 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. It is one of the oldest alive civilizations of the world. It presents a fascinating picture of unity amidst diversity, cultural richness, largeness of area and huge population. It has assimilated multi-ethnic migrants into its fold. The diversities, that exist, are many like:

  • Geographical diversity
  • Ethnic diversity
  • Linguistic Diversity
  • Occupational Diversity
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Demographic Diversity
  • Political division of Indian population etc.

As we have seen, in India, there exists perplexing diversities in geography, language, race and culture since ages. It pervades every aspect of life. Equality in each and every sphere of life is just not possible. In such a situation, no compromise should be made to work hard and to discourage healthy competition on the ground to reduce social inequalities artificially. For unity and sustainable development of the nation, a strong and healthy competitive system of placement at all levels of administration according to the requirements of the posts needs to be followed.

Concepts of ‘Welfare-State’ and ‘Development- administration” 

The “Laissezfaire” theory of government’s function prevalent during 19th and beginning of 20th centuries. During this period, the main task of the government was generally maintenance of law and order and revenue collection. Now the emphasis has shifted to the welfare plans, national reconstruction and development.

Concept of ‘Welfare State – French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, Industrial Revolution, two World Wars  and other Contemporary developments gave rise to the concept of `Welfare State’ and Developmental Administration.  The former being the objective and the later the machinery to achieve these objectives.

Care of citizens rom womb to tomb – In a welfare state, the government assumes and aims at improving the quality of life of its masses and the responsibility of its citizens from `womb to tomb’.   It aims at bringing `social, political and economic justice’ for all  irrespective of their caste or creed, the voluntary abdication of riches and power – that these riches brings and establishment of a productive, vigorous and creative political and social life. In short its objective is a massive attack on five major evils of society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.. The main aim of initiating and nurturing these concepts is to bring about betterment to the lots of deprived sections of society and build up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy.

People also desire to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common people should have a better deal. It has widened the responsibilities of the State’s government.   Poverty and misery, which were earlier accepted as the lot of masses, are no longer regarded as inevitable. Millions of people have started demanding, with persisting insistence, better standard of living, better housing, better education and better medical facilities. The masses started wishing that they themselves should be benefited a much as possible, from the resources of their nation.

“Concept of Development Administration” – The welfare concept of state has no utility in itself unless it is translated into action. The government now work for establishing “Socialistic pattern of society”.

The instrument deployed for achieving welfare goals – The instrument deployed for achieving welfare goals national reconstruction and development – is the institution of civil service, which puts all its energies at bringing about socio-economic and political development of the nation as a whole. An efficient administration can successfully comprehend what is attainable, what is practical and what can help the agencies in the community to formulate plans and policies, by which the community can seek to assure welfare of all its members.

The emphasis in governance has resulted in –

  1. Increase in the responsibilities of Bureaucracy – Both the concepts of ‘Welfare nation’ and ‘Development Administration’ have increased the responsibilities of bureaucracy manifolds. In addition to their traditional regulatory work to maintain law and order situation in the country, the national governments have gradually assumed the responsibility of welfare of all its citizens from “Womb to tomb”.
  2. Regulatory and service functions of Bureaucracy – Activities of Bureaucracy have penetrated into different spheres of social, political and economic spheres. Its functions are now divided into two – Regulatory and service functions. It is an irony that Services engaged in Regulatory and Economic functions always remain at the top at controlling-end. Services responsible for service functions in different spheres busy to provide convenience, relief and to give common men a better deal always remain at asking end. So is the fate of bureaucrats engaged in development of the nation by building-up the infra-structure for a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy always remain at the asking-end.
  3. Arising the aspirations of people from the government – Recent developments and various revolutions have aroused the aspirations of people and expectations from the government. The desire of public to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common man and weaker sections of society could have better deal, forced the national governments to take upon themselves the responsibility of protecting and nurturing them in such a manner that people get enough opportunities to grow to their fullest stature and prosper.
  4. People more assertive of their rights – People are now more alert and aware. They are assertive of their rights. Misery, ignorance and economic deprivation, which were earlier accepted as a lot of masses, are no longer acceptable. Now they wish to taste the fruits of development and get benefited from the resources of the nation.   Millions of people started demanding with persisting insistence better standards of living, housing, education and medical facilities. In a way, they demand protection from five major evils of an underdeveloped or developing society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.

Bureaucracy includes all the Government services – At present, in any nation, aiming at Welfare and Development administration, Bureaucracy includes all the Government services, Financial, Technical and Specialists as well as Managerial and Generalist. There is police force to maintain law and order, diplomatic service for external affairs, technical services for Public Works Department or Electricity Departments, Railways and Customs for providing services in their respective area.

Bureaucrats in the role of   knowledge managers –   In the increasingly knowledge-based society of twenty-first century bureaucrats/administrators have to play the role of knowledge managers. They are supposed to find out knowledge based solutions for problems in different spheres. The major goals of development administration could be said to be national integration, holistic change and modernization of social and economic process, welfare and ultimately equality, liberty and justice. Development Administration has to concern itself with four `Ps’ standing for –

  • Policy making
  • Planning
  • Programmes; and
  • Projects

For doing justice to their work, bureaucrats needs to develop observation skills, alertness and awareness of their surroundings. They need-

  • Intelligence or basic applicative skill to create solutions;
  • Relevant data;
  • Ability to understand pros and cons and alternatives;
  • Mental alertness to deliver results within time and cost parameters.According to Valson, the whole bureaucratic set-up needs to be organized properly at different levels and the government should be specific about expectations. Different skills are needed at different levels of its administrative-setup.

Role of bureaucrats at different levels – At all the levels, an administrator has to meet the challenges of modern time. The higher, one goes in the ladder of bureaucratic set-up, more his role becomes of analyzer and synthesizer, break a problem down into many parts, then put those together again in a rational design. Some-times, an official has to make rationality a compromise/fusion of opposite ends and means. One needs to be sensitive enough understand the sentiments of colleagues, value the good work done by his colleagues – individually and in group, and give reward for good performance. He should be capable to maintain discipline within his respective organization.

At topmost level – At topmost level, bureaucrats are responsible for policy formulation; setting goals and designing strategies, appropriation and allocation of funds, fixing priorities, execution of policy, direction and training. Therefore, at this level they need the conceptual skills to look into the future; to look at the organization as a whole; to visualize the whole scenario rather than in tit bits. at the topmost level, they suffer from disagreement with political bosses, weight to patronage and seniority instead of qualities required for a particular post or promotion, and unwillingness to accept new ideas and technology for fear of loss of power and position. They are constrained by conflict between young and old minds in civil service, high level of corruption, low commitment to development and conflict with or influence of politicians on their superiors.

At the middle level – The middle level administrator is usually responsible for learning and interpreting, energizing and supervising, coordinating and collecting information. Therefore, at this level, officers are required to have human skills along with technical skills. At senior and middle levels, skill of communication/networking within the organization and outside is also required for successfully saving effort, time and money.

At lower level – The lower level administrator undertakes the role of mass contacts, demonstration, innovation, introduction of new institutions and collection of taxes. Therefore, at entry level and during the initial years, the administrators are supposed to possess knowledge about the subject, they have to deal. The lower level administrators suffer due to insufficient qualifications, poor salary, and loss of morale, loss of faith in development ideology due to frustrating field experience and loss of initiative crippling subservience to seniors and sacrifices to develop objectives.

 Government that governs in India

India opted for the most difficult path, for its governance – India has chosen the most difficult form of government, democracy, which are working successfully only in a very few nations that too in developed countries. This poses many challenges before the administration. The Government of India has accepted the planning process. The success of government’s welfare and developmental plans solely depends upon the efficiency of its bureaucratic cadres. Therefore, India requires that every level of its administrative set-up must be equipped with officers having the capacity to meet various challenges of the modern India.

Federal structure – India has adopted is a system of federal parliamentary democracy. Its federal structure consists of Union and State Administration.

Three arms of the government – To govern the country, the Constitution of India has established three arms –

  • Executive – The Union Government at the Centre consists of a ‘President’, (in states Governors) in whom all the executive power of the Union is vested. It is exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution [Article 53 (1)]; the Vice-President – only a ceremonial dignitary; and ‘a council of ministers with prime Minister (Chief Ministers) as its head “to aid and advice the President in the exercise of his functions”. The President is the nominal head of the executive. The Prime Minister and his colleagues are real political heads of different government departments. Their executive power, in practice, is exercised by permanent bureaucracy/civil service (civil services mean all the streams of functional, technical and specialist cadres as well as managerial and generalist cadres).
  • Legislative powers are vested in Parliament/Assembly. It lays the policy and frames laws of the land for governance. The Executive implements the policies, the laws and the programs.
  • There is also an independent judiciary, which acts as a watchdog of the Constitution and is the supreme law of the land.

Government at State level – Different provinces or states in India have their separate political set-up similar to that of Centre. 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. Instead of President and Vice-President, Governor is there as the head of the executive in every state. It also includes the officials at regional or state level, which works under ministers and serves as a link – so essential to maintain continuity of policy and consistency of administration between successive ministers.

Set-up of a Department in Government – Directly under the Minister, comes the Secretary of a Department. A Secretary may head one or more Departments and can be under more than one minister. All matters of the cabinet are routed through him. He is the Chief functionary of his Department(s) Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and Under Secretaries help the Secretary in the discharge of his work. In Secretariat, decision taking, normally starts at the level of Deputy Secretary. He puts up proposals for policy decisions to the Secretary. Working in the Secretariat exposes the officers to policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. The work in Secretariat requires bright officers having experience and knowledge in relevant areas. The IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy most of the senior posts in Central Secretariat. In the State Secretariats also, it is the IAS Officials, who are posted on the top posts in almost every department.

Working of the bureaucracy in India – The bureaucracy’s work is divided into:

  • Work at Secretariat for policy making and
  • Work in field organizations for implementation of policies and Plans.

Working in Secretariat – Secretariat functions as the nerve center of the Government, both at the Center as well as in the States. State Secretariats are located in the capital cities of respective State and the Central Secretariat at New Delhi.

Bureaucrats assist the minister in formulating and monitoring policies and programs. Executive orders originate from here.   It keeps a watch over the program implementation and presents a correct appraisal of it to the Government, from time to time.

Directly under the Minister, comes the Secretary of a Department. A Secretary may head one or more Departments and can be under more than one minister. All matters of the cabinet are routed through him. He is the Chief functionary of his Department(s) Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and Under Secretaries help the Secretary in the discharge of his work. In Secretariat, decision taking, normally starts at the level of Deputy Secretary. He puts up proposals for policy decisions to the Secretary. Working in the Secretariat exposes the officers to policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. The work in Secretariat requires bright officers having experience and knowledge in relevant areas. The IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy most of the senior posts in Central Secretariat. In the State Secretariats also, it is the IAS Officials, who are posted on the top posts in almost every department.

Functions performed at Secretariat level – According to Punjab Administrative Reforms Commission, the following are important functions of the Secretariat: –

  • Making decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
  • Looking after Planning and finance work,
  • Legislative business,
  • Personnel management policies,
  • Legal advice,
  • Coordination and cross clearance among the administrative departments, in the Secretariat,
  • Communication with central institutions like the Planning Commission etc., and
  • Overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work being done by the field organizations.

Fieldwork – A large number of bureaucrats play a crucial role in state administrative work. Working in the field can be divided in two groups-

  • Working in the field departments or head office,
  • Working in District.

Field departments or head office – The Head offices are to supervise, coordinate and monitor/watch the implementation of policies within their specific field-area. Their administrative and financial powers are defined in Civil Service Rules and Financial Rules, the Budget Manual and other Codes. It is their responsibility to set their men and machinery; money and material in order. Administration at field level requires men of drive and initiative possessing leadership qualities of leadership.

District administration – The district administration occupies a key position. In a district, officials have to perform regulatory as well as developmental tasks. It is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of Civil Administration can be concentrated and where it comes into direct contact with the people.

The importance of field-work arises from the fact, that it is at this level, that bulk of people gets affected, favorably or adversely by the governmental policies, programs and its implementation. It is here, that people judge the quality and efficiency of the governmental administration. Collector continues to play a pivotal role in the District Administration.

First five or six years of bureaucrats are crucial for all. During this period, they go on field postings to get the feel and first-hand knowledge of real life and social realities. These postings open up the minds of young officers, by bringing them into direct contact with administrative life, with officials working in other departments, feelings of people at grass-root level. They get opportunity to understand the concrete problems. They come to know about people belonging to different sections of society and their social conditions prevailing in that particular area. They get acquainted with the structure of their own as well as of other departments working in a district and coordinating activities of various departments at district level and with that of district headquarters. This period enriches them with a variety of experiences and makes them ripe for senior positions.   A collector enjoys immense power and prestige at district level.

Both kinds of work – work at Secretariat and work in the field have their distinctive challenges. For efficient performance of work in both the areas, there is need for really bright and talented officers.

Tasks of the Government – Like most developing nations, India has yet to cover distance of centuries in decades, making the transition from agrarian society to industrial-society and then to information society. Science and technology have made their debut here rather late. Time never ran so fast, as it did for India, after independence. Yesterday was not long ago and today is nearly over, with so much still pending to be done.

Great transformation under way – A present, a great transformation is under way, not only in India, but every- where in the world. Time never ran so fast, as it did for India, after independence. Yesterday was not long ago and today is nearly over, with so much still pending to be done. Like most developing nations, India has to cover distance of centuries in decades, making the transition from agrarian society to industrial society and then to information society. Science and technology have made their debut rather late in India.

For sustainable development, right person at right place – To absorb such a transformation, the main thrust of the authorities should be employ persons at all the levels of administration according to the requirements of the posts. Good governance needs as many persons as possible with knowledge, expertise, efficiency and who are capable to apply science and technology in the work of administration. It would expedite the task of governance and provide transparency and give relief to the public. To find out right persons for good governance, a system of healthy competition for placements is required. Government should give more importance to sustainable development of nation rather than to employ people just to reduce social inequalities artificially. This is truer in a large country like India, where perplexing diversities exists in geography, language, race and culture since ages, and pervades every aspect of life.

Role of executive in governance – Amongst all the three wings of the government, the Executive affects the daily life of the people the most, as it implements the policies, the laws and the programs. Bureaucracy is an important component of the Executive. Any laxity in the performance of this Service would jeopardize the objective and push the developmental goals behind.

Challenges before the present Government – Some basic problems after the Independence have been – Poverty, low per capita income, illiteracy, dependence of at least ¾ of her population on agriculture, industrial backwardness, capital deficiency, rapid population growth, unemployment and under-employment, prevalence of backward technology, under-utilization of natural resources and unsuitable social structures.

  • Population explosion – Population is exploding virtually unchecked. Standards of education have declined beyond any remedy and it has become inefficient, wasteful, dysfunctional and increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations. Illiteracy of masses is still a problem in the society.
  • Challenges on economy-front – Because of the factors mentioned above, the growth has been very slow and the economy of the country has always been in a bad shape. In the absence of enough capital or skilled personnel or able management and efficiency, the level of productivity has remained low, leaving little surplus for saving and capital formation. In addition to all this, by and large, the absence of able and honest leadership and lack of efficient and clean administration are the main reasons for persistent economic backwardness.
  • Periods of strife and conflict – The periods of unity, in our history, have been lesser as compared to periods of strife and conflict. The partition of the nation, the three wars, the swelling streams of nearly a crore of refugees from Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka, the periodical terrorist attacks, famines and floods, recent economic depression has adversely effected the whole nation. Each has to be tackled firmly and speedily.
  • Divisive forces – There are new divisive forces due to diversities India, which base themselves on cultural and linguistic variations of the country. Today the violence in West Bengal, Bihar, J&K, Assam and Punjab is a serious challenge before the administration at various levels and that unless local problems are solved speedily, they are likely to pose a new threat to the unity and stability of the nation as a whole.
  • Regional Disparities – There is a wide gap between the rich and poor and between region to region. Some states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Punjab are marching ahead rapidly under the stimulus of the plan schemes, while others are lagging behind and re unable to find adequate resources to implement the schemes. Therefore, the gap is widening between the prosperous and backward states. Besides, within each state, there are pockets of poverty amidst plenty – such as dry and hilly areas as well as those with tribal populations are still far below the national average. This gives rise to new tensions – social and economic and the stability of the society is threatened. The administration of the country has to face this challenge and take up lead in reconciling regional interest with national unity.
  • Challenges at Social front – The administration of the nation has to face many challenges at social front also. Pervasive corruption and indiscipline has weakened the social fabric beyond repair. Generally law follows social change, but in India the Government is trying to foster social change through law. Some unpleasant changes took place in the past and are increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the main constituents of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, media, the businessmen, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. Sectoral and regional imbalances are also sources of great social and psychological tensions.
  • Bitter relationship between Centre and the StatesThe political and administrative atmosphere is also not in harmony with the developmental activities of the administration. Due to India’s unique federal structure, many complexities arise due to tense Centre-State relationship. Also there exists a great deal of friction, tension and mutual suspicion between different political parties, as well as the political leadership and the administrators. This results in delay in decision-making, lack of coordination of policies among departments and lack of dissemination of information for effective decision making and thus either procrastination and long delays or inadequate and inapt policies.
  • Corruption – “Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is to keep it to a minimum.” (Alan Greenspan) In India, after six decades, the country’s democracy has given too much space to corrupt and inefficient governance without any accountability towards public. People have also become immune to corruption, inefficiency and poor governance in public life as normal.

Conclusion – Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shanker says “Peace and progress can only happen through reconciliation and reform. Reform cannot happen out of anger or hatred. We need a calm and clear mind, a compassionate approach, along with the whole-hearted participation of the parties concern.”

Common man in India is still waiting hopefully for good governance. People are hopeful that with the result of previous few elections in centre as well as in states, majority party is forming the government instead of coalition governments, the situation should become easier for the ruling authority to provide good governance to the nation. Advancement in technology also is helpful in making the task of the government easier.

However, at present, all political parties pay more attention to ‘propaganda, publicity and populism’, attention-catching slogans  and stunts rather than working for the welfare of common-men, and  giving relief to the common man. They  are busy to connect themselves with people through media, “publicity driven” campaigns, print-media, social-media, television, radio, advertisements etc. Instead of working for the welfare of people and development of the nation, they are wasting or misusing lots of money and public funds on propaganda. Rival national and regional parties are also fighting all the time over distribution of powers between national and provincial governments.

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

[ii]            Shourie HD, Bureaucracy Baiting, The Tribune, June 18. 1992, p6.

[iii]     Rajagopalachari C, Talk delivered on August 14, 1955, under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel lecture.

[iv]        Valson EM, Development Bureaucracy. A tentative Model, IIPA, vol. XVIII no. I, pp36-50.

 [LS1]

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

Role of Women in 21st century

“We plays many roles in our lives; if they get mixed up, it becomes dark; like when you mix all colors. Play each role distinctively side by side, like the colors displayed side by side form rainbow.” Sri Sri Ravi Shanker.

 “Women are, in every way that matters, superior to men and moreover, that this superiority is finally becoming evident in our societies.” Dr. Konner

Women superior to men – Dr. Konner, a professor in anthropology at Emory University, says in his book, “Women After All” that “Women are, in every way that matters, superior to men and moreover, that this superiority is finally becoming evident in our societies.” In making this argument, he ranges from evolutionary biology, through ethology, neurobiology, embryology, anthropology and history, with digressions into economics and politics.”

“They live longer, have lower mortality at all ages, are more resistant to most categories of disease and are less likely to suffer from brain disorders that lead to disruptive and even destructive behavior. And of course most fundamentally they are capable of producing new life from their own bodies, a stressful, and costly burden in biological terms, to which men literally add only the tiniest biological contribution – and one that in the not-too-distant future could probably be done without.” In addition, women’s superiority in judgement, their trustworthiness, reliability, fairness working and playing well with others relative freedom from distracting sexual impulses and lower levels of prejudice, bigotry and violence make them biologically superior. (The wall street journal, March 28-29, 2015)

Already broken glass ceilings – There is no doubt that 21st century women have already broken all glass-ceilings, moved forward and joined ‘man’ in all kinds of nation-building activities – be it social, political, economic, technical or professional. They work shoulder-to-shoulder with men, and are second to none in any sphere of work, be it industry, politics, social works and social reforms, administration, business, civil services, or in army, which are far away from her traditional role of a home-maker. They have proved their worth in all spheres.

 Despite all that, it is quite natural for women to enter into family life along with the opposite sex – men, where their role is complementary and not competitive. Together they raise a family, take care of future generation and prepare them to face the challenges in life.

Women’s Issues – If so, then where is the problem?  Many liberated females with negative mind-set think that they have to teach males a lesson, prove their worth in those areas as well, which were earlier regarded as man’s domain, show their superiority and make men understand women’s contribution to society.  Women desire to go ahead of men everywhere and dictate their own terms all the time.

Then, balancing career with familial responsibilities has always been a tough job and a very crucial issue in women’s life. Earlier in 20th and before, the main issues of women were of physical strain, constant psychological pressures to conform to socially induced images of femininity – to be a good wife, perfect mother, efficient home-maker. Their concerns revolved around issues like dowry, domestic violence, rape, equal opportunities and equal pay etc.

 Keeping balance in femininity and ambitions – After info-tech revolution of 1970’s, technological advancements have changed the role of women to a great extent. Along with it, changed her perspective, ambitions and equations with others. Economic independence has made women stronger, more confident and more vocal. Now they are aware and well-informed about their needs, problems and solutions.

For a woman, generally both family and career are equally important now. In order to maintain a fine balance between femininity and her ambitions, at every stage of life, she has to face many challenges and many a times it becomes difficult to do justice with the both – her familial liabilities and responsibilities at work place.  She needs to set priorities rationally after analyzing what is more important ‘right now’. She has to make many compromises. Most of women have to make compromises at home front.

Women in India

Immediately after independence, in 1950′s, free young India embodied a liberal and inclusive vision of India. People understood and interpreted liberally the problems of caste, gender, community, rural-urban areas, meaning of social-economic-legal justice and attempted to resolve the issues rationally.

The years during 1950′s and 60′s were the times of social and political turmoil. Society was in general conservative, attitude hardly rebellion against social norms, talks being all about sacrifice. However Gender bias started vanishing. 1970′s and 80′s was the period of transition, when though people were still family and society-oriented, rebellion attitude started. The government and society put emphasis on women’s education. The number of educated women in urban areas gradually increased. A new wave swept across the woman’s world – many young women joined the workforce becoming students, teachers, administrators or activists in different social movements. They achieved success in various fields.

Women acquired more education, economic and social power on their own without craving for any concession unlike other so-called weaker sections of society like SCs, STs or OBCs. In 1990′s, rebellion attitude became dominant. Family and society were considered major obstacles on the way to progress. In matter of employment, it is not so difficult for women to get employment/jobs, as it was earlier. Women were placed more or less on equal footing with men.

 Movement of ‘Women-lib’ – With economic independence of women, gender relationships and norms have undergone a sea-change because of changed socio-economic atmosphere and a change in expectations. It has ironically increased conflicts. The pressures on men has increased. A drastic transition has taken place in the roles of both males and females within family. Men tried to share with women the work of rearing up infants and toddlers as well as doing other household chores.  Also his say in family matters is diminishing. Usually voice of the lady of the house prevails, men finds himself in a helpless position.

“Who wears the pants in the family”? – Now a days, women plays a major role within a family, assume almost all the rights to take all major decisions and to dictate her own terms. She does whatever she wants to do and enjoys life in her own way. There is no denial to the fact that full freedom should be given to women to make her own decisions and to lead her life the way she wants. But it should be done in a  decent, balanced and civilized manner by exercising some amount of self-control and self-discipline, so that her actions does not adversely affect the feelings or living of other family-members.

Mindset of present generation’s young women – For many modern young women nothing, but ‘self’ matters in life. As movement of women’s lib along with the ideas like “I will do what I want”, “I do not care for anybody” has gained momentum, They pay more attention to grab more power, earn more money and further their careers at any cost. In some cases, they desire to set themselves free from all bondage of kinship. Some of them prefer to go far away from their native place to enjoy more freedom and settle down in unknown places or in foreign lands, to free themselves from any kind of social pressure, lead their life, the way they want, get total control over activities of their spouses and enforce on everybody in the family their own dictates/rules.

“Men from Mars, women from Venus?” – Thinking, working style, personal qualifications and abilities and sense of responsibility differ from person to person. It does not necessarily depend on one’s ‘gender’. It is unfair to generalize attributes of men-women on gender ground. However, nature has created some things in such a way that it is difficult to ignore gender gap – in physique, mindset, style of working and attitudes of men and women. It is difficult for a woman, how-so-ever hard she tries to bring to an end those inherent dissimilarities bestowed by nature itself.

Usually men are by nature more rational/sensible, more focused, faster in taking decisions or actions, less reactive and considerate. They have more physical strength, energy and authority. It is difficult for a woman ignore the charm of his physical strength and his ability to provide her and her family security – as a husband, father or son. As far as women are concerned, they are more loving, more caring and more social and maintain harmonious relationship with people around them. They have understanding and capacity to think practically. They are more attractive. However, sometimes the confidence gap in females tend them to look up to their male counter-parts to boost up their morale.

Roles of men and women in family are complementary, not competitive – Healthy relationship between couples makes the world more colourful, comfortable and give each other purpose of life. It gives them incentive to work hard, move forward and make everybody happy within the family.  But when they work on impulses and emotions, life becomes difficult for the whole family, as it is practically impossible for an impulsive mind to think rationally.

Women wants from the society and its male-members –

  • Change in its perspective/mindset about women’s role,
  • Not to be treated as commodities,
  • Respect and love,
  • To feel their difficulties/hardships they face in their day-to-day life.
  • Help them to make this world a better place for future generation,
  • Women should not just be given importance for a day or two, but every day throughout the year.
  • She can walk fearlessly anywhere at any point of time. Incidents of violence – filicide, rape, human trafficking against women be controlled.

More than equality and independence, women like when males open doors and pull out a chair for them.

 Conclusion

“Michelle Obama’s” role played sensibly and positively as a career woman and homemaker is a classic example for all. Of the two Obamas, Michelle, wife of American President Obama  (America’s first African-American First Lady) has been more successful professionally, when studying in Harvard Law School, working as a lawyer, as an associate dean at the University of Chicago and eventually as a highly paid executive at the university hospital. As her husband’s career took off, she became a steading force behind her husband. Instead of becoming an intensely political first lady, she championed mostly non-political causes. When she makes the case of healthier school lunches, she sounds like a parent, not a politician. She seems to have made a point of keeping family routine intact despite the pressures if life in the White House. She has instructed her staff to avoid events after 5 p.m. so that she could have dinner with her daughters, just as she did with her own parents on South Euclid Avenue. (Quoted from The Wall Street Journal, 8.4.2015, P. A 11)

No one – man or woman – should try to impose one’s superiority on the other. Both should accept life as it comes, discipline their mind-sets to face together the challenges in life. As a couple, both husband and wife, the main pillars of the family life, are supposed to supplement each-others weaknesses and become a stronger unit to give required support to other dependent members of the family. Harmonious relationship between husband and wife makes life interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile for themselves as well as for everybody else in the family and society.

Seeing the strengths and weaknesses of both the sexes, it can be said that roles of men and women within a family and society are complimentary and not competitive. A women should not try to ape. There is much more grace in femininity rather than talking, acting and behaving like man.

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Education and training of civil services, Women's issues | | Leave a comment

Skill Development through sound system of education and training

                                     “If we have to promote the development of our country then our                                                   mission has to be Skill Development and Skilled India.”                                                                           Narendra Modi, Present Prime Minister of India

                       “Launch of the Skill India Campaign is an important milestone towards achieving the objective of skilling with Speed, Scale and Standards across the country.”

Sri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Present Minister of Skill Development and entrepreneurship

“If we want to give jobs to 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, we have to go in for low-tech manufacturing that does not require high levels of education.”

 Narayan Murthy

Introduction

“In today’s technology-centric world, the focus is in reducing human effort and employing machines to perform tasks that have been traditionally been the forte of humans alone. Self-driving vehicles, robots conversing with human-like intelligence, and wearable gadgets that enhance our day-to-day lives have already become a reality.” (G Ram Mohanna Reddy, http://www.educationtimes.com) Such a development has opened up enormous scope for developing income-generating skills. Both educated and uneducated youth can make use of such opportunities both through  formal or informal training in different areas of their choice.

Unfortunately, many people in India place too much importance to degrees and certificates instead of developing knowledge or skills. The result is that too many students prefer to pursue a degree without a job in sight. The time demands to address the challenge of joblessness by creating an atmosphere, where along with improving job-opportunities, safety, economic and social status of individuals, it makes stronger the infra-structure of the country.  For solving the problem of unemployment/under employment and the sustainable development of nation, “education for all” and employment generating “skill development” are the fundamental requirements. There should be better synergy between prospective employers and the skill training centres. If the youth get job-satisfaction and enough earnings, then their attitude towards degrees and towards acquiring skills would be automatically change.

India has all the basic resources – men (nearly 35% are the youth having some talent or the other), money and material. The only problem is to utilize the three by providing ‘education to all’ and honing their natural talents/skills through proper training. For yielding better results, it is necessary that along with honing professional skills in youth, inculcating discipline and civility  should also be an integral part of education and training scheme.

Need for sound system of education and training – There has been a growing realization, in the recent years, all over the world that both ‘Education and Training’ play a very important role in skill development of youth, which together impart knowledge, shape attitudes, cultivate skills, build work-habits, and thus enable people to meet the challenges of modern times.

Present scenario in 21st century – World-over, almost all the national governments are facing in full blast many problems, especially after the ‘great economic depression’ of 2008. Unemployment of young people, especially those looking for jobs who do not have skills)  is one of the biggest worries for any national government. Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy (TOI, 16.2.16, p.17) rightly says “If we want to give jobs to 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, we have to go in for low-tech manufacturing that does not require high levels of education. … This is how China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea did it” For not so well educated unemployed youth, who are looking for menial jobs and find no jobs,  opportunities can be generated y giving them training in low-tech manufacturing skills.

It is the time to make full efforts to improve economic situation, continuous modernization, higher productivity, improvement in the quality of service. In turn, it demands more trained people in all the spheres to increase productivity, and effectiveness and efficiency in service.

Necessity to impart new knowledge and new skills – The more the problems, better equipped should be the people to face the challenges and meet new demands. Not only that new challenges are being faced by the modern governments, knowledge in this space age, is growing faster than ability of individuals to handle it, especially after the info-tech revolution. Therefore, there is a necessity to impart new knowledge and new skills and to inculcate new attitudes in the people through a well-planned and systematic arrangement of education and training. A well-planned sound system of education and training could enable people to contribute to and guide the social changes and development into desired direction and help them to achieve the goals within time and cost parameters.

Issue – Generally people do not understand the distinction between education and training and its impact on work-culture. Education has unfortunately been misunderstood as something formal going to educational institutions schools/colleges for academic or theoretical studies, and acquiring degrees/diplomas/certificates. They expect that it would get them a respectable place in the world of modern callings. In a mindset, where Education is degree-oriented, there are always certain gaps between learning and practical requirement. Without Training these gaps remain unfilled. It is here that training becomes relevant. Therefore it becomes necessary to understand what education and training means?

Education and training, intertwined – Both education and training are intertwined in such a way that without one or the other, it is practically impossible/very difficult to cope with the challenges of modern world. Whereas education helps students to choose and decide their activity, training helps them to improve their performance in it. Education deals mostly with knowledge and understanding, training with understanding and skill. Training prepares to deal with the complexities of real work-life – pressures, limited resources, choices uncertainties and conflicting motives etc.


Role of education and training in skill development –
Thus, education covers the necessity of modifying behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. It develops an understanding about social and economic position and about public affairs in general. Training cultivates skills and build work-habits. It confines itself to the study of job-skills and knowledge related to a person’s immediate functions.

Education

Meaning of education – (‘Neti, Neti’ meaning unending process) Education is a continuous process and is identified with the complete up-bringing of the individual from the childhood. Education/learning never ends. It is a life-long/continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. At each and every, an individual learns something. Education is neither for a fixed period nor look only for theoretical or academic pursuits leading towards award of degrees/diplomas and certificates.

A relentless process – It is, indeed, difficult to define education. Education is a relentless process of becoming. It is growth and consciousness. A sound system of education develops the power of concentration, the capacity of attention and observation. It ensures physical, intellectual, emotional and ethical integration of an individual. It can be said that the ultimate aim of education is to establish a just and equitable social order, where every individual shall have opportunities to grow to one’s fullest stature, so that he may be able to contribute his utmost to the social well-being.

Develops mental and moral faculties – The development of the mental and moral faculties, which has a material bearing on the formation of character is the task of education. In its wider sense, it embraces reading, observation, thought and its proper application in real life. `Education’ helps a person to increase knowledge, under-standing and attitude, so they are better adjusted to their surroundings.

Education generates confidence – An educated person is sure of his knowledge and is keen to know more. He/she is able to create new knowledge and transmit it to others; to discriminate between right and wrong, to be honest in his dealings with others. He/she can resist evil and exploitation and work for the establishment of a peaceful, just, healthy and happy social order. He/she has a rational outlook and is able to resolve personal conflicts realistically. He owns responsibility and faces consequences; is bold and upright in the presentation of his views; appreciates other people’s point of views, qualities and virtues; and is fully conscious of his real self and his place in cosmos.

Purpose of education – The purpose of education, is human excellence, improvement in the form of thought and action and full control over one’s objective self. Human excellence needs to be conditioned by the prevailing norms of human behaviour in a particular society and is, therefore, a relative concept. As it is, the term `Education’ aims at increasing knowledge, understanding and attitudes of the candidates, so that they are better adjusted to their environment. It develops mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. In its wider sense it embraces reading, observation and thought.

Scope of education – Within its jurisdiction, it embraces the formation of habits, manners and character, and mental and physical aptitude. Education also opens out the world of job-market to students, so that they can choose their occupation/career and mode of living according to their interests, attitude and aptitude. The scope of education is much broader than of training.

Levels of formal education – Formal education is usually imparted –

1. Before entering into job-market and

2.After employment

Before entering into job-market – Before entering into job-market, the main aim of formal education is learning on the basis of study of facts, principles and data. A regular contact between ‘Teachers’ and ‘Students’ is primary, everything else gives way to it. It follows a set pattern and is generally conducted at three levels:

I. Primary education at School Level – School level education gives more importance to character forming. Its main task is of implanting in the minds of young children those values and attitudes that will influence their entire perception of life.

ii. Higher education at Secondary level and at University level – Higher level education at College or University level promotes innovative attitudes and depth of perception. It prepares workers/personnel for different occupations be general, technical or professional or medical. The lacunae in formal higher education is that it is academic in nature and teaches students about events, which are remote. The curriculum still remains purely theoretical and away from real life-situation.

Education after entering into a job – Understanding of various aspects of a specific occupation/profession is the chief objective of education after entering into a job. It is based more on “common-sense” approach. It is based on experiences gained, while dealing with the immediate, real, practical and specific needs/problems of different kinds of occupations/professions. Its programs are seldom definite and do not follow any routine. What is learned is usually applied immediately. It moulds and refines the attitudes of students to deal properly with challenges and hazards of real occupational life.

After completing the formal education, people generally enters into the world of work. At this stage, one realizes the value of training –formal or on the job.

Training

Role of training – Training is one of the primary means of building up competence and effectiveness of workers/employees all over the world. It provides participants with broad understanding of various facets of their respective work. Whether it is a developed nation or an underdeveloped or developing nation, training becomes necessary for action required for achieving desired goals.

Meaning of training – Training is job-specific. It enables people to apply knowledge in their real work life. It is primarily concerned with preparing the people for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the occupation, in which he engaged. It is an approach to improve the output – quantitatively and qualitatively. It is a process, by which the attitudes, skills and abilities of trainees to perform specific jobs are increased. It hones natural talents of the people and prepares them to skills, which they do not possess, but are necessary for doing their jobs efficiently, of which they are a part.

Training, a self-generating action – There was a time when force was used for getting a job done or for a change, but effect of ‘force’ is short-lived. It is only training, which can lead to sustained, self-generating action. Capacity-building through training promises inculcating that expertise which is essential for using modern technologies properly. It is essential for economic development as well. It inculcates flexibility in action through understanding and confidence, inventiveness, initiative and ability to make decisions and also respect for the contributions of others and readiness for collaboration with others.

Objectives of training – There are different and specific objectives for different occupations and organizations at different levels. In any profession, training at initial level cultivates skills for specific jobs. At middle and senior levels stress is on human development. Obviously, development of the human resources at this level would require cultivation of the mind; cultivation of the heart to enable trainees to acquire adequate social sensitivities and appropriate patriotic zeal and public spiritedness; and the cultivation of right attitudes and behaviour patterns towards the job, toward the seniors, towards the juniors and ultimately towards the people at large. At higher level personnel need to be trained in the art of rational and quick decision making.

There is a general consensus on the following aims of training –

  • To produce employees, whose precision and clarity in the transaction of business can be taken for granted.
  • To attune employees for the tasks, they are called upon to perform in this fast-changing modern world. It constantly and boldly adjusts their outlook and methods to the new needs of the new times.
  • Not to allow workers to fall into the trap of becoming mechanized. A new entrant, from the start, is made aware of the relation of his work to the service rendered by profession/occupation to the community. The capacity to see what he is doing is a wider setting makes the work not only valuable to his organization but more stimulating to himself.
  • To direct, not only for enabling an individual to perform the current work more efficiently, but also equipping him for other duties and appropriately develop his capacity for higher work and greater responsibility.
  • To develop and maintain morale of workers to offset the dull monotony of routine work.
  • To inculcate right attitude towards others occupations.
    Training at higher level needs to focused, additionally, on:
    • Improving the capacity of making correct judgements and take timely decisions;
    • Increasing the willingness and ability to accept responsibility, to delegate authority and to develop subordinates;
    • Developing an appreciation of the value of time and efforts of others;
    • Developing a concept of personal integrity and public responsibility.
    Informal training – Informal training (on the job) is learning on the job. It has been the traditional method of training for the workers engaged in different occupations. Earlier it was considered that any worker in any occupation, having common-sense, judgement and attitude and aptitude could understand easily the essentials and responsibility of his profession well and could do his job well. It was, therefore, considered to be the only way to train most of the workers/professionals.
    • Learn from their mistakes – Informal training as has been said earlier, is training individuals on-job so that they could learn from one’s own mistakes, and acquires required skill through practice. It is a continuing process running through the entire career span of an individual. There are no set procedures for informal training. It automatically comes out of day today relationships between an employee and his colleagues in horizontal formation, between an employee and his juniors in downward vertical formation and between an employee and his seniors in upward vertical formation at meetings of professional associates or reading and study that a person does on his own initiative or at his superior’s suggestion.
    • Responsibility of seniors – Since such a training is not backed by compulsion, but is more or less self-inspired, motivation is necessary. Besides, the ultimate success of informal or on-the-job training depends upon the interest, experience, sincerity, knowledge, skills and attitudes of the co-workers, especially seniors.
    • Seniors to spare time to train new-comers – It is necessary in the interest of a profession/occupation that its seniors find out some time to devote on youth working under them, so that the later can achieve something from the experiences of their seniors. If seniors are not able to guide and train their juniors properly, due to one reason or the other, very little positive results can be achieved. It, however, should not lead to the situation of “spoon-feeding”. It should be a judicious mixture of self-observation and guidance by seniors.
    In modern times, complete reliance on on-job training not desirable – Complete reliance on on-the-job training – a training by trial and error, alone is neither possible nor desirable. In the present space age, when knowledge is growing faster than one’s ability to handle it, it can perpetuate outmoded methods of work, generate resistance to change and reform. Therefore, a well organized system of formal training becomes necessary.
    Formal Training – Formal training aims at inculcating skills by well-defined courses at proper stages in one’s career as also updating the stock of initial skills or knowledge. Formal training can be divided into following groups –
    a. Pre-entry training- :- The purpose of pre-entry training is to prepare trainees for different kinds of work in general, as requirement of various organizations dealing with same profession vary widely. Education given in vocational/professional institutions may be called as pre-entry training. Pre-entry training is available for professionals as Engineers doctors, managers, accountants, lawyers, etc.
    b. Orientation or foundation training: Foundation training program equips a new recruit with conceptual, technical and human relation skills as applied to the organization, he joins. In any occupation, where pre-entry training facility is not available, foundation training program becomes necessary to orient and model the new recruits. Foundation training also brings the professionals, drawn from heterogeneous segments of society with divergent educational and cultural backgrounds, together in present scenario. Foundational training program may range in duration from a few weeks to a couple of years. Some of the main objectives of foundation training could be:
    – To acquaint the new recruit with the people, with whom he has to work, and the atmosphere, in which he has to work. It helps him to know the rules, regulations, privileges, hour of work, leave, pay-days etc., within a short period;
    – To familiarize him quickly with some of the history and general objectives of his organization and its relation to the rest of the departments/Ministry;
    – To prepare and make available to the new recruits list of materials and references that he needs to become familiar with the job;
    – To explain the new employee the organizational set-up of his work-place, with its lines of authority, so that he may know to whom he is to report, from whom he is to take directions and the limits of his responsibilities;
    – To help the new entrant to analyze his position, the analysis should include a list of various duties of the position, why each is important, how to do it and some measure to know how well it has been done;
    – To develop in the employee the habit of taking his requests for information, his problems and difficulties to his seniors/more experienced persons for solutions.
    In-service Training or training while on job:- To take over the training tasks initiated by foundational training and to fill in the gaps inherent in the informal process of on-the-job training, in-service training comes into the picture. In-service training is a development of a very recent origin as against foundation training, which has been around for a longer time. In government, training has come to be greatly valued in recent years because of the growing awareness that developing countries need to improve their administrative capability in order to achieve their national developmental objectives.
    Difference between foundation and in-service training – Though both kinds of training aim, broadly, to achieve improvements in the quality of working, the difference between them are striking. Foundation training aims to introduce the new entrant in the profession about the working environment of their occupation and prepares them for responsibilities, they are to shoulder in the coming years. The aim of in-service training is to give to the persons already in world of jobs exposure to new developments in relevant fields, so that they are able to cope with the changes in the world of work. Basic subjects and fundamentals of work are the main course content of the foundation training, whereas it becomes more specialized in in-service training, as participants have acquired work experience.
    In today’s environment, the pace of change has accelerated tremendously. Knowledge acquired through training at the starting point in career would be inadequate to deal with the present situation, which is constantly in a state of flux. Also, Foundation training occurs only once at the beginning of the career. In-service training may occur at several points during one’s career. It may not even occur at all in one’s career. It has been felt that training can-not remain a one shot affair. One need exposure to training at several points during one’s career.
    In-service training to fill the `gap’ between the “required” – In=service training programs are essentially designed to fill the `gap’ between the “required” and the “available” performance levels in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits. It either enables the civil servants to perform their “existing” duties and functions effectively or prepares them to assure responsibilities on promotions to higher positions competently. It becomes necessary for the new job responsibilities to be created in response to the organizational functional or technological changes.
    Role of in-service training – In-service training provides one way, in which the organization can assist the individual employee to develop his abilities. The need for training after entering into job-market service is particularly apparent in the present scenario. New skills and orientations needs to be constantly acquired by the employees for the rapid introduction of new programs, the utilization of new technology and changing the environment, where they work for better future. The importance of training programs goes even beyond the need for specialized skills or information on new policies. Through training employees develop awareness about the expectations of the people, government or their respective organization from them.
    Difference between the methods of foundation and in-service training – The teaching methods of foundation training are same as those in use in universities, colleges with minor modifications (attachments, visits etc.). Methods used for in-service training are participative, inviting more involvement of the trainees in the learning process through discussions etc. Participation is obligatory in the case of foundation training, whereas in the case of in-service training participants have a choice. Groups of large number are fairly common on foundation training, whereas it is limited purposely in in-service training.
    Shorter duration of in-service training – The duration of foundation course is usually long. In the case of in-service training it is necessarily of a shorter duration.
    In-service training is concept-based or technique-based – In-service training is an opportunity for formal training provided at appropriate time intervals in appropriate areas, either concept based or technique based. It provides the basic input for raising levels of performance and efficiency in administration and for improving its health and culture. It is a systematic process, designed to help the participants to develop professional knowledge, job-oriented skills and the desired attitudes to enable them to function efficiently and effectively thereby fulfilling the organization’s goals and objectives.
    A tough job – The main objective of the in-service training is to replace old unproductive habits by productive ones. The risk of training already on job people is much more complex difficult than that of training new entrants. New entrants are not conversant with the situation and do not possess any experience with regard to the functioning of government. Hence whatever instructions are given to them are taken for granted. It is a kind of intrusion into an existing pattern of behaviour or belief. This creates resistance to change. With a view to making in-service training effective, it is essential to “unlearn” old habits, which are to be replaced by new ones. This is only possible, if trainees are exposed to new learning in such a way that it does not create much ambivalence between previous habits and the new ones desired.
    Post-entry training: Post entry training is not directly related to the work of the trainee, but it ultimately helps the organization. Continuing education and training is a phenomenon recently emerging worldwide. Organizations are encouraging their executives to take study leave to enable them to keep themselves abreast of new or emerging trends in management/administration. The aim of executive learning programs broadens the mental horizons of the top executives and managers and equip them with realistic, practical public policies and leadership education that is relevant to their professional and personal educational goals. It creates a smarter workforce with high rate of technology absorption. It gives them greater scope for growth.
    Pre-requisites for making training programs successful – Following are the pre-requisites to make training programs successful –
    • Identification of training needs:- Effectiveness of training largely depends on right diagnosis of training needs – a task which calls for patience, objectivity, time and management support. Since the training need are, in the first place, organizational need – an in depth study of organization would be a necessary starting point for solid and sound identification.
    • Analyze purpose of training – Pressures for change from within or outside in any organization, may need expansion, adopting new technologies, developing new functions and re-organising existing functions and through a variety of other possible ways. Pressures for change organizational changes, in turn obviously, becomes, in turn the pressure on individuals to change of their mindset and working style. To deal effectively with the impending new jobs and situations, individuals find that they need new knowledge, understanding and skills, which perhaps can be acquired through training alone.
    • How to identify training needs? :- The analysis of training needs can be done organization/occupation-wise, individual-wise, category-wise, level-wise or function-wise. The two techniques commonly used in job-analysis are –
    – Job-observation and
    – Interviewing.
    For proper identification of training needs one has to study the organization in terms of its objectives, policies, functions and method of work and to look into the cases and causes of delays, errors, mistakes, the method and channels of communication, to analyze the behaviour of personnel within the organization; to look into plans for expansion or reorganization or changes contemplated for future.
    In doing so, due attention demands to analyze the `felt’ needs, the `perceived’ needs and even the `induced’ needs. The performance gaps, at different levels of workers/personnel have to be clearly identified. It is also essential to determine the critical stages `when’, `how’, `how long’ and `where’ the training should be given. These are not easy questions to answer, as due attention has to be paid to requirements of `personal excellence’ as well as `organizational effectiveness’.
    • Identification of learning objectives: For making training successful, it is necessary to establish proper learning objectives in respect of each category or level of officials to be trained. A proper identification of training needs makes the task easy. The learning objectives should be specific, measurable and testable, to be purposeful. For this purpose, one must be very clear about the nature, the form and the extent of change intended to be stimulated, induced or effected in the individual behaviour, the work systems and the organizational effectiveness. There are four possibilities open for a training institution to match its training goals with the organizational needs:
    o The institution can publicize its training goals and the training strategies it prefers and its competence to use, to enable organizations and individuals to take advantage of such training facilities.
    o To design tailor made training programs by meeting senior persons of the organizations intended to be served. It shows clearly the institutions’ interest in working closely with the organizations, whose need it expects to meet.
    o Training institutions can acquire detailed information about the changes in the jobs for which the organization wishes to prepare itself through training. If the requirements are general and call for a series of programs, it can help the organization to work out a comprehensive training plan ahead of time.
    o There is final advanced relationship, in which the institution and the organization are in full collaboration, full-fledged, played-in partners in an enterprise of importance to both of them.
    Once the training needs are established and the objectives of the program becomes clear, the actual phase of as how to conduct the program starts. This calls for various activities, such as management of training itself and management of human and financial resources. In designing a training program, stress needs to be on experimental and practical forms of learning, rather than on theoretical academic or routine learning.
    A well-designed course will be able to cater to such groups within the limitations of time, and also be able to expose them to all that is relevant in their fields. For the success of training of workers, it requires the use of experimental training techniques and high degree of involvement in the process of learning. The methodology of training should emphasize sharing of experience and trainers should provide the frame-work for meaningful discussion of practical issues and problems.
    • Support of seniors: Top level support for training is necessary for the success of the training efforts. The training efforts should adequately be appreciated and supported at senior levels. The support of top-level management is needed at various steps such as while identifying training needs or while designed course content, or while nominating the trainees etc. Without top-level support, training becomes unable to produce the desired results.
    • Selection of trainees:- Effectiveness of any training program would largely depend upon the selection of right type of personnel for right type of program. The selection of trainees should be based upon the potential, accomplishments and performance of a person. Priority should be given to those officers, who have demonstrated initiative, enthusiasm and creative effort.
    • Evaluation:- Evaluation is a necessary feed-back tool for making successive training program effective. Through evaluation, the results achieved can be compared with objectives laid down by the sponsoring authorities, by the training institutions and by the trainees themselves, and the areas of shortcomings, pitfalls, bottlenecks can be isolated for remedial measures.
    Winding up
    It can be concluded that‘Education and Training’ play a very important role in skill development of youth, which together impart knowledge, shape attitudes, cultivate skills, build work-habits, and thus enable people to meet the challenges of modern times.Sound education and training can do much to improve the capability of youth and thus lead to faster economic growth and social change. Education and training of an official is not entirely a responsibility of the Government. Every person by himself should try to seek the opportunities to advance his knowledge and educational qualifications. At the same time government should be liberal in providing enough/proper opportunities to educate and train all its youth.

January 12, 2016 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | Leave a comment

Civil Services/bureaucracy in Government of India

“For the forms of government, let fools contest.
That which is best administered is best.
And also,
But what is best must free man still decide,
Lest leaders gull them and officials ride.”   (Finer)

” …… But with power comes responsibility” Obama

Introduction

There are two kinds of people, those who are supposed to do the work, that is bureaucracy,  and those who like to take the credit, are politicians.

One of the oldest and most wonderful institution – The institution of Bureaucracy/civil services in India is the oldest and most wonderful institution the British Government had bequeathed to India. It was popularly known as ‘the Steel Frame’ of British administrative structure, Fortunately India, along with Pakistan, has inherited from the past, a unique administrative system, which knows, what these strategic posts are and who are the persons to hold them. British rule evolved the civil service as an efficient, professional and to a great degree incorruptible organization.

Institution that works – As Mrs Indira Gandhi had said “there are two kinds of people, those that do the work and those that take the credit.” For the governance of the country and delivering goods to public at large, the Government roughly depends on the following two general processes: –

Ø       The process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and

Ø       The process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants.

Role of the Civil Services – Usually Civil services work and politicians take the credit. Civil Services or the administrative machinery of the government, is a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled. (Finer. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, p 709,1950) The main characteristics of civil services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working.

Civil Services  administrative apparatus that runs the government – Civil Service 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. (Paipandikar VA, Bureaucracy in India – An Empirical Study, IJPA, pp187, Vol. xvii, no.2, April-June, 1971.)

Civil Services a very potent and vital element – Civil Service is a very potent and vital element for any form of Government anywhere in the world. It is an indispensable part of any political system, be it communism, be it socialism or be it capitalism. It exists in any type of society, be it a democratic or a dictatorial society.

Performs one of the most complex tasks – Of all the acts of civilized society, the task of administration is perhaps the most complex one. It has to deal with living human beings prone to unpredictable behavior. Also it deals with the issues – political, economic or social, which directly affects public life. The administrative service could be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. Weakening of this pillar could only spell disaster (Shourie HD, Bureaucracy Baiting, The Tribune, June 18. 1992, p6).

Right persons, in right positions at right time – For any administration to be good and efficient as a whole, the right type of men placed in crucial positions is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation. (Rajagopalachari C, Talk delivered on August 14, 1955, under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel lecture). For the performance of its manifold activities, government employs thousand of workers into its administrative set-up (civil services/bureaucracy) from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. Government makes all feasible administrative, organizational and working arrangements for its employees.

 Effort to find Best talents –  In order to employ best talents in the services, every year UPSC conducts a common civil services examination (CSE) for to select personnel for many services under government of India like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), as well as for other non-IAS services like IFS, IPS and other central services for different departments like Revenue, Railways, Audit and accounts etc. It is one of the toughest entrance examinations. There are three stages of this examination ‘Preliminary’, ‘main’ and ‘personality test’ (interview). UPSC conducts annually separate examinations for some technical/professional services.

Different vocations, occupations and professions – Apart from selecting officers for Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service, there are some Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ Central services, officers of which are selected through Combined All India Civil Services examination like Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Customs and Central Excise Service, Indian Defense Accounts Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, non-technical), Indian Postal Service, Indian Civil Accounts Service, Indian Railway Traffic Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Posts of Assistant Security Officer in Railway Protection Force (RPF), Indian Defense Estates Service and Indian Information Service.
Group ‘B’ Services includes Railway Board Secretariat Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Customs Appraisers’ Service, Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service and Police Service, Pondicherry Civil Service.
ICS propped up as the Elite service  in the past– Earlier ICS, was propped up as an elite service. Its officers in their early twenties would arrive fresh from their ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. They were responsible for maintaining law and order and revenue collection. Now IAS officers have wide-ranging authority in districts as collectors and at centre as policy-makers. They –
– Have easy accesses to levers of power.
– Are symbol of power – dealing directly with Ministers at centre and provinces.
– Have smoothest career-progressions. And
– Occupy almost all senior-most posts at centre and States.

 Issue
Presently inefficient and ineffective performance of Bureaucracy/civil services by and large has affected the lives of millions of people. Now sarcastically, people call bureaucracy as ‘babudom’ and bureaucrats as ‘Glorified clerks/Babus’. One wonders why the steel-frame of yesteryears has failed to do its job effectively and judiciously, despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to perform their duties freely and frankly? Why does not bureaucracy take a stand against the unjust dictates of political leaders or corrupt senior officers, who stops them from doing their jobs judiciously? Why and how civil services in India got derailed is a point to ponder? What were the reasons behind ineffective and inefficient performance needs to be analyzed.

Efficiency of ICS officers during British rule

 ‘Steel-frame of governance’ – It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule, and, in a fascinating episode, when Subhas Chandra Bose, the leader of the rebel Indian National Army, flew to Berlin during the Second World War to solicit help from Hitler, the Fuehrer dismissed him, taking the view that Indians needed to be civilized by another hundred years of British rule.

 Senior officials not corrupt – How was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? Even Indian nationalists were more likely than not to agree with such an assessment. One reason for this perception was that the Higher Civil Services under British rule were manifestly neither venal nor corrupt in the way in which, for example, some officials and officers of the old East India Company had been or most of the bureaucrats are today. There was, however, other forms of corruption, including assumptions of racial superiority and the conviction that the ICS always knew best.

 Gilmour comes to the sensible conclusion that the most of the higher civil services displayed a mixture of motives, skills and temperaments. A number of individuals were coming to the institution through stiff competition, not the other way round. Often a District officer in his early twenties would arrive fresh from his ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. The wide-ranging responsibilities of the District Officers of the ICS were responsible for almost everything. The structure of the service started from the District Officers to the Magistrates, Residents, Political Agents, Deputy Collectors, Lieutenant Governors, and so on. (From Rup Narain Das, titled ‘Marx and 1857’, published in TOI, P.22, 16.5.07, excerpts quoted from an article of Gilmour on Marx, June July 15, 1857 in New York Daily Tribune as a leading article)

‘Steel-frame of administration’ – Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic ‘Steel-frame’ speech, said it very clearly 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.’

What made it so strong and efficient?  – The factors, which made Civil service strong enough to rear and sustain British rule in India for such a long time were –
– ‘Family background’ – Most of them belonged to British professional middle classes.
– ‘Educational background’ – They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge.
– ‘Sense of responsibility’ – The ICS, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work. They had deep sense of responsibility. However, these qualities served mainly the British rulers and not so much the Indian masses. They had full freedom and opportunity to do something worthwhile.
– ‘Work atmosphere’ – So far as it did not jeopardized the Imperial interests, ICS officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance, ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled (Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2). 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 paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.
– ‘Bright career prospects’ – Extremely generous salaries and quick promotions.
– ‘Slim and trim service’ – just over a thousand at any given time ? made for a strong sense of service loyalty.
– ‘ 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. Every body knew it.
– ‘Honesty’ – 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 (Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993).
– Balance of Power
Indians were not allowed in Higher Civil Services  – Illbert Bill controversy indicates 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. The demand for the participation of Indian nationals at higher levels of administration  continuously increased.

Dominance of Brahmins in administration – The dominance of Brahmins in administration, though mainly at lower level, had cautioned the rulers. They regarded Brahmins as the main force behind the entire national movement, agitations and terrorist activities. Therefore, British rulers 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. They managed it by adopting the following measures –

  –  ‘Propped-up other sections of society against Upper’-castes – 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.
Divided Indian population – Through censuses, the rulers divided the Indian population into different groups, i.e. upper castes, backward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities.
Start of quota system – To counter Brahmin’s dominance in administration, the British designed Reservation Policy. They fixed up quotas in government jobs for different sections on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc.
‘Separate representation and preferences to non-Brahmins’ Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and1932 the rulers provided separate representation to different communities in Legislative Councils and Assemblies. The rulers bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and jobs for different upcoming groups.
ICS remained untouched from preferential treatment till end – Though the British Government gave preferential treatment to upcoming groups in government jobs, British rulers 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 any body, as on it depended, efficient governance of the country.
It was 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’ (Times of India Archives, May3, 1918).

 ‘Breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India –  With the intensification of national movement and introduction of Diarchy, the downfall in the quality of work began to fade. Pannikar says, that Lee Commission (1923) was the first evidence of the breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India, for after that there was no claim, that the British Civil Service in India, competent though they continued to be to the end, was anything more than a group of officers doing their work for purely material considerations. The idealism of the past had vanished. (Pannikar KM, The Development of Administration in India, Bulletin of Public Administration, Patna, Patna University’s Institution of Public Administration, vols. 2 and 3, p14.)
The Rawland Committee remarked – The present position, in our judgment, is thoroughly unsatisfactory both from the point of view of the district officer himself, as well as, from the point of view of the efficiency of the governmental machine and welfare of the people in the district. He is expected to see that nothing goes wrong in his district, but he has little power outside. The Magistrates and Collectors failed to see that things go right. He is supposed to compose differences between other officers, but he has no power to impose his will upon the recalcitrant. He can cajole and persuade, he can not compel. In our view, the situation, if left to itself, can only deteriorate further, because activities of the Government in the mofussil will increase and practically every department is thinking in terms of Provincialized Service and makes little attempt to disguise its determination to go ahead with its own plans, without reference to any other part of the Government. (Report of the Bengal Administrative Enquiry Committee, 1944-45, p18).

Transfer of power –  In 1935, with the intensification of the nationalist movement, supported by Indian National Congress Party and growing demand for greater Indian participation in Government and its administration at higher levels, the Colonial rulers delegated some authority to the provinces. They were aware of the consequences of delegation of authority to the provinces. Therefore, they transferred to the Provincial Governments only the authority to manage the services engaged in service-functions and kept control functions, i.e. maintaining law and order and revenue collection in their own hands. Ultimately in 1947, India got its freedom as an independent country.

 After independence

 Civil services after the Independence – With the attainment of Independence and adoption of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goals, the demands on administration had undergone a qualitative change. The basic task of administration changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change. Bureaucracy was now expected to play a significant role in administrative and developmental work of the Government.

 Dreams of constitution-framers –  The forefathers of the Constitution realized 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 can not make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country.”

Fall in the standard of governance –  It  has been observed there has been a gradual decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. Once known as the Steel frame of the Whole structure, has started shaking under its own pressure. Undesirable political pressure on it increased continuously. With the result that bureaucracy in India has now appears to be unable to meet the challenges of the day and has become an ineffective and powerless institution. Offices in the government have become dens of corruption, mismanagement and mal-administration.

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).

 Civil services in Independent India – Independent India required that the civil administration at every level must be equipped with officers having the capacity to meet various challenges of the modern India. The success of government’s welfare and developmental plans would depend largely upon the efficiency of its administrative cadres.
Government employs thousands of workers into a governmental organization from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. Its administrative system is vertically and horizontally divided in order to meet the differing requirements and emerging developmental tasks.
Jobs in the Government have always remained an attraction for the youth. Entry into IAS and central services are the most sought-after jobs for students as it provides the highest entry point in bureaucracy. Its recruits have to pass through a well-planned entry competitive examination and rigorous professional training.
After joining the services, the civil servants are engaged at different levels of administration and play an important role in policy-making and decision-making processes and their implementation work.

Functions of the civil services
The civil administration, whether in Centre or in State, can be divided into two groups:
– Working in the Secretariats – Policy making body;
– Working in field organizations  for implementation of policies and plans.
Working at Secretariat level –Working in the Secretariat exposes the officers to policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. The work in Secretariat requires bright officers having experience and knowledge in relevant areas. The IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy most of the senior posts in Central Secretariat. In the State Secretariats also, it is the IAS Officials, who are posted on the top posts in almost every department.
Following are important functions at the level of Secretariat: –
– Obtaining decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
– Overall planning and finance,
– Legislative business,
– Personnel management policies,
– Legal advice,
– Coordination and cross clearance among the administrative departments, in the Secretariat,
– Communication with central institutions like the Planning Commission e
tc.,

Working at field level – Overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work being done by the field organizations.

 IAS (Indian Administrative Service) the successor of ICS after Independence –  After independence, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was created as the successor of ICS, which was till now a reputed, efficient and powerful service. IAS is now an elite service meant predominantly to be engaged in control functions of Indian provinces. 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. Like ICS, the Government offers to IAS best career prospects, 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. Along with it, there are many other services at central, provincial and local levels in the bureaucratic set-up of the nation

Winding up –

To serve the interests of  common men – After Nehru’s midnight hour speech between 14th and 15th August 1947, Dr. Radhakrishnan warned the nation, ‘Our opportunities are great, but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil days. We should develop competence and ability, which would help us to utilize the opportunities, which are now open to us. A free India will be judged by the way, in which it will serve the interests of the common man in the matter of food, clothing, shelter and social services.’

Democratic values not allows political interference  –  As said earlier, there has been a gradual decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. Once known as the Steel frame of the Whole structure, has started shaking under its own pressure. Undesirable political pressure on it increased continuously. With the result that bureaucracy in India has now appears to be unable to meet the challenges of the day and has become an ineffective and powerless institution. Offices in the government have become dens of corruption, mismanagement and mal-administration.

Mr. Subharajan said during Constituent Assembly 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. It is vital for its efficient working, as an impartial and effective instrument for the governance of the country. Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies through healthy relationship with administrative services

Vallabh Bhai Patel in his letter to the Prime Minister wrote, “I need hardly emphasize, that an efficient, disciplined and contended (civil) service, assured of its prospects as a result of diligent and honest work, is a Sine-quanan of sound administration, under a democratic regime, even more than under an authoritarian rule. The (civil) service must be above party and we should ensure that political consideration, either in its recruitment or its discipline and control, are reduced to the minimum, if not eliminated altogether” (Patel Vallabh Bhai in a letter to Mr. Nehru).

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , | 1 Comment

Why say ‘NO’ to Reservations/ quotas in Government jobs

 

‘When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.’  Confucious

“Mediocrity can talk, but it is for the genius to observe” Benjamin Disaeli

“Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.” Blaise Pascal

A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees every opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchil

“Seven social sins –

:Wealth without work,

: Pleasure without conscience,

: Knowledge without character,   

                                       : Commerce without morality,

                                       :  Science without humanity, and

                                               :  Politics without principles,

                                               :  Worship without sacrifice.” Gandhi .

“All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.”          Confucius

  • “Success formula – C3 (Commitment, Confidence, Compassion) + I2 (Integrity, Ingenuity)”    Apache

  “No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for” Swami Vivekanand

Who does not fight each day for freedom, does not deserve to be free.” Readers Digest

Introduction

Some Important news items from Times of India’s  

On September 6, 2016, p. 9

The division bench of Rajasthan High Court (Justice GK Vyas) advised Hardik Patel who spearheaded the Patidar movement to work for the unity of the nation instead of a community or its reservation, saying “you belong to the community and state Sardar Patel belonged to. He had worked for the integration of the entire nation and not for a community. … Is it becoming of you to work for a specific community despite being from Patel’s land and his community? He has put his entire might and life for this nation.”

On May 8, 2016, P 12, TOI 

A true Indian. Too proud to ask for help – A Dalit man in drought hit Maharashtra, has given casteism a befitting reply. Stung after his wife was refused permission to draw water from a well owned by upper caste neighbours, Baburao Tanje felt insulted because he is poor and Dalit. He then resolved he will never beg any one for water, and set to dig one of his own and struck water digging six hours each day within 40 days everyday, after working 8 hours as a labor. Not only this, he refuses to name the neighbors who denied his wife water, because he does not want bad blood in the village.

Role models for others in society – Media should project persons like Baburao Tanje as the role model for others, a captain in army who had sacrificed his life, while fighting with terrorist, rather than highlighting the activities of persons like Hardik Patel, Kanyhia or Rohit Vemula. Political leaders had projected Kanhaiya case as harassment of students at the hands of the administration and Rohit Vemula case as a conspiracy against Dalits.

Vote-bank politics lays stress on Quotas – In politics, many political leaders and their parties talk much about discrimination existing against Dalits and minority communities. They say that Caste-Hindus  look down on Dalits as sub-humans and often taunt, humiliate and victimize them.

Therefore, underprivileged/underdeveloped sections of society deserve special consideration, privileges and concessions for their development like special quotas for them in education and employment as well as in promotions. They say until the feudal mindset comes to an end, quota system/reservation policy must continue. Seeing that many people oppose the reservation in promotions, the present BJP’s social justice and empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said, “The government favours reservation in promotion, (But) we need to create the right atmosphere.”  (TOI, 3rd May,2016, p. 12)

True development – People expect too much from the government for their uplift, while they themselves have stopped making their own efforts to move forward and join mainstream. As Julius ‘Mwalimu’ Nyerere (Tanzania) comments on true development, “Man is developing himself when he grows or earns, enough to provide decent conditions for himself and his family; he is not being developed if someone gives him these things.”  Jacques Santer says, “A quota is always something artificial that can last for a certain period of time.”  The political leaders need to understand that expanding quotas can not address the problem of underdevelopment, unemployment or youths’ frustration arising from the growth of  jobless youth..

In January, 2016, after the suicide by a Dalit student of Hyderabad, things went out of control. Potests started allover the country. Almost all the political parties criticized Modi’s BJP government. Congress demanded to sack the minister. It said, “The last 19 months have repeatedly witnessed the anti-poor and anti-Dalit agenda of the Modi Government” (TOI, p, 11, 19.1.2016). But when day in and day out, general category candidates aspiring to join the higher civil services at national and provincial level commit suicide, nobody bothers. Why? Within last 3-4 months, 6 students in Kota, known for its coaching centres, committed suicides, as they feared that they were average students and won’t be able to compete successfully in the competitive examination, where at least 50% quota exists for SC, ST, OBC and others.

Is it not true that these aspirants work very hard, take admissions at coaching centres, spending thousands of hard-earned money of their parents – the institutions which maintain very high standards and a good faculty. They do not believe in any short-cuts and every student receive individual attention. Also these institutions try to understand the psychology of the aspirants and the changes government brings in from time to time. They encourage students to share their knowledge and at the same time ask them to pen down their own thoughts. They do not encourage students each other as they are supposed to be competing against one another.

Issue

Is it right to give caste-colour to every sad event? Is it crime to say that reservations was accepted as a short-term measure to boost up the morale of marginalized sections of society? Are reservations in government jobs in the interest of the long term development of the nation?

Bihar Assembly elections 0f 2015, the pressure in favour of reservations is so strong on politicians that a group of Member from Rajya Sabha has started collecting signatures of fellow members (50 MPs) for impeachment of Gujarat High Court judge criticizing him for “behavioural misconduct”. Justice JB Pardiwala during the hearing on Hardik Patel, leader of the Patidar agitation for job reservations observed that “corruption” and “reservations” are two villains that have destroyed the country or not allowed it to progress in the right direction. He called it shameful that a citizen should ask for reservation after 65 years of independence, further noted that quotas were initially to stay for 10 years, but continued for more than six decades since. A senior Congress member said reservations were the part of constitution. The concern is that observations are now    part of judicial proceedings and can be cited as precedent. The supporters of reservations said that the plea for impeachment would act as a deterrent for judges to not mix personal views with judicial work. (TOI, pp. 1 & 21, dt. 18.12 2015)

Everybody can not be accommodated in the corridors of power or become PM, CM, DM or GM. A few people may be on the top, who can do exceedingly well in life, few may remain at the bottom reluctant to get education or acquire right skills and work-hard for their social-well-being. Majority may better-fitted and more content by joining a career suiting to their attitude  and aptitude. Can caste-based reservation give a sense of achievement, social well-being and job-satisfaction to all? What the country needs today is a sense of responsibility and ‘give and take’ attitude.

   Reservation Policy, before independence – Reservation Policy, before independence known as “Communal Award”, has always been a very complicated and controversial issue in India right from its inception in the early twentieth century. Confucious has very rightly “When it I obvious that the goals cannot be reached, do not adjust goals, adjust the action steps” For getting success in life, introspection is necessary to find out what one is best at.  Clarity of purpose is very necessary. Next comes chasing one’s vision, not positions of power (PM, CM, DM or GM) or money.

The purpose of reservation is to uplift the marginalized section of society and bring them back into the mainstream. Except for a few fortunate ones, whose families are taking the advantages of Reservation again and again and mostly needy masses  remains deprived of it. As the result the position of marginalized castes and communities has been the same a wa at the time of independence. Their absolute numbers have multiplied considerably now. Besides more and more castes and group are clamouring for inclusion in beneficiaries list and be declared as ‘backward’ label.     

 Very recently, Hardik Patel from Gujrat has started agitation for including ‘Patels’ in ‘OBC’ beneficiaries’ list for admissions in educational institutions and employment in government services. He has threatened the government to take quota stir nationwide. Again Vice President of India comment (on the occasion of 50th anniversary session of All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat on 31st of August, 2015) on the need of reservation or Muslim community to ‘correct the state bias’ against them raised a controversy. He said, “The default by the state or its agents in terms of deprivation, exclusion and discrimination – including failure to provide security – is to be corrected by the state; this needs to be done at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it.”….”…, a pre-requisite for this is affirmative action – where necessary – to ensure a common starting point and an ability in all to walk at the required pace.”

People have very strong views in favour or against it. A web of lies and half-truths has been created. While, some hail it as a historic step to break the shackles of caste, to bring the downtrodden into the corridors of power, to empower them and thus set right all social and economic imbalances. Opponents of Reservation think that for sustainable development of the submerged society and making them capable to join the mainstream of society, it is not so much protective/paternalistic policies of the government, which are required, but it needs a sincere effort by the government to provide for a sound system of education and training for all.

Social changes can not be brought overnight by favoring Reservations for weaker sections of society. It can be brought by changing the mindset of poor people and making them aware, capable and strong enough to be self-reliant. Protective policies like Reservations not only affect adversely the systems, the functioning and efficiency of the institutions responsible for good governance, but also shatters the self-confidence of backward section of society – to stand on their own feet without the crutches of Reservation.

Issue

It is a humanitarian obligation to think about weak and plan for their uplift. But for removing social and economic imbalances, the path of reverse discrimination should not be adopted. The Government has to pay equal attention to the elite sections of society, as well. While uplifting the submerged section of society, the Government should not block their progress/advancement. Besides, one finds many contradictory statements/diverse principles in the Constitution of India. Question arises how to do it?

Indian Constitution on Reservation

The Constitution framers have dreamed to keep a fine balance between various diverse principles and thus lead the nation to prosperity. Various statements mentioned in the constitution leaves much to the discretion and fair-mindedness of the authorities. However, the ideologies that guided the Constitution framers, at the time of Independence, have more or less run out of steam today.

One of such example is the principle of equal opportunities (Art 16) in direct conflict with the principles of redress (Articles 335) directing the authorities to make Reservations for SCT in consistent with the maintenance of efficiency. It is up-to the honesty and vision of authorities in power, not to over look the national interest for their political expediency and not to misuse these clauses on efficiency and social-justice. Reservation policy should not be converted into quota system.

‘Reservation’ Policy being ‘politicized’

In recent Bihar State elections, to woo the voters, political parties have made reservations and beef as main issues, forgetting all about development agenda. So much and so that When Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Supremo said to review and  evaluate rationally the Reservation policy in an interview,  Politics on quota system started. RSS had to revert back. Its regional head in Bihar and Jharkhand, Mr. Mohan Singh had to say to avoid ‘Reservation issue’ to catch the imagination of people and benefit the grand alliance in elections, RSS “is ‘committed’ to existing quota policy for the sake of ‘social justice’ in the country. ” …He clarifiedued, saying, “The RSS considers that constitutional arrangement of reservation should necessarily continue for social justice and social homogeneity.” “The facility of reservation should be for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, extremely backward classes and other backward classes in a manner, that is suitable for them so hat the aim of constitution -makers is fulfilled.” (TOI, P. 11, October 19, 2015)

Diverting public mind from real issues to abstract ones

With the passage of time, they proved to be ineffective to solve the real issues of over-population, poverty, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society. There is a small, well-organized and influential group of people speaking in the name of majority. In its self-interest, it has spread many myths and illusions to divert public mind from real issues to abstract ones. It has disfigured certain aspects of reality, flared up emotional issues, tried to unite the people by diagnosing “A common enemy” to be defeated and put the blame on the unverifiable past. In the absence of independent records of events, around which its arguments are woven, its own analysis becomes the only record. The emotional issues earn for it the faith of the people and help it to further instigate the feelings of the people. Through Reservation Policy, it has exploited for its personal benefits the principles of equality, secularism, social justice and unity – the four pillars of Indian Constitution.

“Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”

It is said, “After every ten years, when Reservations were to be reviewed on the floor of Parliament, every time, reservations has been extended for next 10 years. Many politicians of the day show scant regard to the spirit of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the objective of uplifting the downtrodden and absorbing them into the mainstream has become secondary for them. The means i.e. Reservation Policy, through which the vote-banks can be created, has become the primary and most important mission for them.

Throughout, politicians have been propagating that Reservation has been sanctioned by the Constitution and it is their duty to abide it. Series of amendments of the Constitution, in extending the time-frame Reservation for another ten years, appears to be nothing but “Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”. In fact, the whole exercise of extending it is non-researched and is based on hollow grounds.

Therefore, some people demand for total abolition of Reservation, some for keeping Reservation exclusively for needy persons on the basis of economic criterion. They suggest fair and open mechanism to eliminate gradually the affluent sections from the lists of backwards.

“Rob the Peter and give it to Paul”

Any attempt to reverse the position of forward castes or letting them down could not succeed much, because they have the vision, knowledge and awareness to find out alternative routes to progress. It should boost up their initiative, courage, intelligence and talent, so that the nation could compete confidently with developed nations of the world.

Critics of Reservation say that Reservation Policy has no place in a true democracy. It is nothing, but to “Rob Peter and give to Paul”. In his book “Theory of Justice”, John Rawls discusses in detail equality, liberty, rights and role of the State. According to him, liberal democracy strives for an equality of opportunity and equality of results. Rawls says :-

  • Nature itself takes care of the distribution of natural assets and abilities, intelligence, strength and the like, which is going to determine the class, income or the status of an individual in society,
  • Every-one should have the maximum liberty, compatible with the same liberty for others,
  • People prefer equality over inequality. Inequality can only be tolerated, when it helps everyone, including the worse off. Inequality in any form is against common good, efficiency or good performance. Inequality could be made fair and just, if everyone had an equal start in life. The key to “Equal start” is education for all and an open primary school system.

Positive motivation and vision

It is not that only people of forward class have the proper qualifications, competitiveness and positive motivation, and the backward class people do not. It is only a question of providing sound education, training, proper atmosphere to grow and enough opportunities to all get proper employment according to their qualification. During British period, sensing the demands of the time, the upper and middle castes opted for English education and occupied Government jobs, which were the seats of power. At that time, lower castes were on the way to attain freedom and educational awareness, but remained outside the power structure. Now again the situation has changed.

With the start of the third great revolution – the Information Technology revolution – and the collapse of super power USSR, there is a wave in favor of knowledge-based systems and free economy. Again the cream of the society has changed its focus from Government jobs to economic enterprises. The upper castes are adapting themselves to the culture of free economy, while the lower castes are clamoring for the secure salaried jobs, whether in Government or in the private sector.

False promises

In order to lure the masses and capture power, many politicians make false promises. How to get out of the clutches, false promises, manipulations and twisted ideologies of the politicians is a major task ahead the people. Once the uneven distribution of different sections of society is perceived as a problem of distributive justice by the State authorities, institutional well-being takes a back seat. Fair-minded persons accept to provide enough opportunities to submerged sections of society to rise. But they do not consider fixing-up quotas in public institutions as desirable.

Doles/Freebies Cripples people

Policy of Reservation does not appear to be a practical proposition but only an ideological slogan. The beneficial or protective nature of political authority lulls the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards authorities for everything. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base. It veers the nation towards paternalistic-totalitarianism and cripples the public consciousness.

Importance to caste-considerations over economic backwardness

Poverty is a universal and secular phenomenon. It prevails everywhere in all the categories of Indian population. Reservation Policy may benefit the affluent members of the beneficiary castes whereas millions of other deprived and low income people remain bereft of the benefits of Reservation. The later are also deprived of the access to education and other facilities. The founding fathers dreamed to provide equal opportunities and equal protection to all under the law. The State was directed to provide within 10 years free and compulsory education to all children below 14 years and to promote with special care educational and economic interests of weaker sections.

However, the focus of politician remains on Reservation, which is based on discrimination. It violates the egalitarian principle – the very base of Democracy. It is alleged that the Indian society is iniquitous, because it puts too many restrictions on lower castes. However, restrictions on an activity of a person do not mean necessarily depriving or denigrating him. It could be to protect people from mental conflict, to discipline them or to maintain order and harmony in the society. When a person is not mature enough, these restrictions control his impulses and guard him against wrong actions. A matured person attains self-discipline, which restricts his actions. Above all, in Indian society, the higher caste and purer a caste is, more are the restrictions on its activities in the form of self-discipline.

Negative influence on national psyche
There is more stress on Reservation rather than improving the capability of youth through sound education and training and on creating jobs. Leaving Reservation to the discretion of Power- hungry politicians makes it a ploy in their hands, to be used for political expediency, Present-day politicians do not care for principles, or are concerned about downtrodden. Distributive justice means to them fixing up quotas for different sections of society.

Attempt to establish firmly separate identity
Reservations have misled/divided the society into uncompromising water-tight compartments today. Anti-Brahmin Movement of Periyar in 1926, Mandalization of society of 1991, or militancy of Dalit Movement – their transformation from untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class or now Dalits are all examples, where sectional interests have led them increasingly distancing themselves from the mainstream and establishing firmly their separate identity.

A ploy to build electoral base

Policy of reservation has created a highly vitiated//intolerant atmosphere in the nation playing blatantly caste and communal cards. At present, Reservation policy has become a high level strategic ploy to build an electoral base. The most common abuses of Reservation Policy, according to the critics of Reservation, both at the backward class people find it difficult to get an entry Central and State levels are:-

  • Started as a temporary measure, it has become a permanent feature of Indian polity by amending the Constitution every 10th year.
  •  SCT list is lengthened by the Center and state governments numerous times,
  •  Some States are allowed by the Center to exceed 50% limit,
  •  Reservation is extended to advanced castes as well,
  •  Creamy layer rule is disregarded,
  • Quite often, government scraps cut off marks for SCT in entrance examination,
  • Manipulations in recruitment process by political authorities to recruit their own persons Backwardness no longer remains a social stigma, and
  • Many people produce fake certificates.

Resentment against Reservations in higher posts in bureaucracy

So long as, “Only a few places” were kept aside for severely disadvantaged people, people accepted it. But 50% or more Reservation created agitation among a section of people. In 1970’s and 1980’s, with the emergence of many sectional political parties in the states and their growing emphasis on Reservations generated resentment against Reservation Policy. In 1990’s, after Mandal, it took a major turn by forming a shape of national movement, effecting many parts of the country. Though the authorities were able to suppress the agitation, however, it has left deep scars in public mind.

Game of numbers

Reservation has degenerated democracy into a number game and palliatives. It has undermined the universally accepted democratic principles of organizing, regulating and distributing power with an aim to achieve growth targets effectively, legitimately and with dignity. It has pushed the real issues, principles and ideologies into the background.

The outcome of that it is not based on sound principles. The policy has led the nation to build unbridgeable political identities in most insensitive manner, which are based on negative exhortations and condemns all traditional values and structures. Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation. The new culture of consumerism adds fuel to fire.

Reservation on wrong Ethos

Critics say that Reservation Policy is based on negative ethos, defective database, and wrong perception of social structure, wrong methodology and wrong principles. Access to public office through quota is sought more with an aim to get authority and control over public funds than a desire to serve the national interests. VP Singh had, on 15th August, 1990, clearly said, “In my views, the question of poverty is not financial in nature…The issue does not relate to the treasury but to the throne and whosoever occupies the throne, will also control the treasury.” According to them, the following arguments given in support of Reservations are most illogical and inaccurate. Questions arise: –
 Is it a poverty-elevation program?
Are present generation youth accountable and punishable for sins of our ancestors?
 Should there be dilution of minimum professional standards?
 Does it perpetuate casteism? and
 Can it remove the difference between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’?

Ideologies around which Reservation Policy revolves
Reservation Policy revolves around the following principles:-

 Principle of Equality
Social justice,
 Exercise of power, and
 Efficiency and merit.

Principle of equality

Reservation Policy believes “All are equal in the eyes of law, but some are more equal” The Constitution itself gives equal opportunity to all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed or gender, descent, place of birth or any of them. The constitution clearly lays down through Article 16, that there shall be equal opportunity for all its citizens, relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. This aspect has been already discussed, in detail, in Chapter V. So long as the applicant, along with others under consideration had been given his chance, it cannot be claimed that equal opportunity had not been given to him. While the authority has been given the freedom to make selection from numerous candidates offering their services, the selection must not be arbitrary. It has to be based upon some reasonable principles required for efficient performance of duties and obligations of a particular service or post.

Article 16(4), on the basis of which the Reservations are given, is an exception, which is to be read along with Article 335. The selection procedures for implementing Reservation Policy could be of four types: –

1. Selection should be among equally qualified persons,
2. Selection among comparable candidates,
3. Selection among unequal candidates and
4. Selection among qualified and unqualified candidates.

The selection procedure, as is practiced in India, does not believe in former two procedures, which fit more with Art 16(4) along with Art. 335 and adopts the later two, which are against the dictates of the Constitution (Art. 335) and the principles of equality Art. 16). The backward candidates, who compete on equal footing, are included not in reserved quota, but in general category. The full quota is filled on relaxed standards.

Consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness does not give the benefit of Reservation to all the poor people on equal terms. Therefore, it undermines the principles of equality.

Ideology of social justice

The main argument in favoring Reservation is “Social justice”, the need to emancipate the under-privileged from centuries-old discrimination and bring them back to the mainstream. By the World War-II, socialism was the wave that swept the entire world. It was supposed to destroy all inequalities of race, sex, power, position or wealth and to distribute equitably social, material and political resources of the nation. In 1947, many leaders of free India, under the leadership of Pundit Nehru, thought that they would be able to achieve a just and equitable socio-economic order and to remove poverty before long by pursuing policies based on social justice.

“Parrot cry of socialism” – However, at that time, able statesman like Sardar Patel, considered socialist propositions purely theoretical and academic, far away from reality. Sardar Patel ridiculed the “Parrot cry of socialism”. He lashed out against those, who believed that there could be no justice, unless its economy was based on social economy. Or that freedom was meaningless without economic equality and social justice. He said, “Unlike many, who indulge in ‘Parrot cry of socialism’, I have no property of my own. Before you talk of socialism, you must ask yourself, how much wealth you have created by your labour. If you have created nothing, the parrot would have flown, and the cage would be empty. By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us, is to learn how to produce more wealth and thereafter, think what to do with it. What the country needs is not “Parrot cry of socialism” but unity and strength. Patel asked the people to realize why England took a very long time to become socialist and why America made no mention of it even now.

Views of Gandhiji, ‘The Father Of the Nation’

Gandhiji also said, “Socialism will not come by occupying positions of power and by delivering speeches from the platform.” Gandhiji appreciated socialist leaders desire to bring about equality of living standard in society. But advised them first to come together, think what was in the best interest of the country and set people on to constructive work. Giving practical advice to do selfless service to the people and to ensure the straightest and quickest way to achieve a socialist order, Gandhiji said, “ If you wish to establish socialism, there is only one way, in which it can be done. Go and live among the poor in villages, live as they live, be one with village people, work for eight hours daily, use only village made goods and articles even in your personal lives, remove illiteracy among village people”.

Entire population cannot be accommodated in power echelons – Equality combined with social justice does not mean that every-body should share political power equally. 900 million people cannot be accommodated in power echelons of the government. It means a harmonious partnership between the public and the Government officials. Every-one should do one’s duties sincerely and contribute for social cause according to one’s capacity. Good governance means managing effectively the common affairs of individual citizens and institutions, be it public or private, Without any bias, continuously conflicting interests and diverse needs of different sections of society should be looked-after.

Constitution on social justice

When the Constitution was framed in 1950, the words, “Socialism” or “Socialist democracy” were not included in it. It mentioned only “To secure to all its citizen economic justice and equality of status and opportunity”. The influence of the socialistic principles is visible in the Constitutional directives to the Government to: –

 Provide adequate means of livelihood to all its citizens,
 Distribute material resources for common good,
 Avoid concentration of wealth and means of production in the hands of a few, Right to work,
 Equal pay for equal work, to both men and women,
 Living wages for all workers, protection of workers especially children,
 Humane conditions of work, and
 Provide for right to education and public assistance.

Word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, added in 1975

It was after the death of Sardar Patel that Congress Government bent heavily towards socialist policies. It declared its goal in the form of “Socialistic pattern of society” and subsequently “Democratic socialism” under Nehru’s leadership. The word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, was added in 1975, through 42nd Amendment Act by Indira Gandhi’s government, giving it almost the highest place in the name of equality and “Remove Poverty”. However, it was followed in such a way, that it had done more damage than good.

Exercise of power

The problem of socialism is of performance, not of faith, and the price paid by the nation for this faith has been efficiency and its future prosperity. The change centralized the planning, controls and ownership leading to abuse of power and “Grab more power” attitude. It closed its economy to the world, nationalized industries and services, initiated rigid controls on the private sector and created monopolies in the public sector. In the name of socialism, it created a domineering State controlling the smallest detail of the economic and social life of the people. People were made pigmies and enslaved by politicians, planners and bureaucrats. It did not wipe out poverty, nor created effective distributive system nor equality, but it had led almost to the loss of economic liberty. The political system increased corruption, inefficiency and red-tape. It created a closed, centralized and unproductive system, which suppressed growth. In the name of Welfare State, the Government acquired extraordinary powers to exercise arbitrary control over massive resources. The excessive control made people gradually loose their motivation for hard work. An unfettered market system led to grave economic inequalities, which got transformed into political inequalities.

India practiced so far only phony, fake and tainted social justice

What India has practiced, so far, is a phony, fake and tainted social justice. It has created the politics of appeasement and vote banks, destroyed the work culture, and encouraged separatism everywhere in the society. It has jammed the wheels of morality and conscience. It has developed tentacles of corruption, scams, scandals and callousness in almost every sphere. J Krishnamurthy said, “Working for social welfare is to fill water into a pail that has holes. The more water is poured in it, the more it pours out and the pail remains empty.” The great lesson of the 20th Century, which has been learnt the hard way, is that the government of a nation should not become so beneficent that it undermines people’s will to help themselves and tends to develop inaction and parasitism.

‘Sabka saath, sabka vikaas’ –  All the citizens of India work together to take the nation ahead. Therefore, the government of the nation is not expected to discriminate against any one. The deprived individuals belonging to economically weaker families of any caste, community or region including upper castes, should get help in the form of affirmative action. But in order to garner votes, steps to appease any caste or community should be avoided by the party in power, opposition or other regional political parties.

Principle of Efficiency

Pr. Betielle comments, “None knows, where the struggle for social justice ends and the scramble for power begins. But one thing is definite, that in between the casualty becomes merit and efficiency”. The principle of efficiency comes into direct collision with the methods adopted to bring the downtrodden into the power corridors. A policy aimed at welfare, which forgets efficiency and growth, neither achieves welfare, nor efficiency nor growth. Similarly any policy aiming only on efficiency and growth, to the neglect of welfare, causes so much unrest, that nation will achieve neither efficiency nor growth, nor indeed welfare.

Article 335 of the Constitution – With the growing expectations of various emerging groups, too much consciousness about one’s rights, spread of education and awareness among general masses, the challenges before government have become very complex in nature. While the administrative work requires the services of bright meritorious, hardworking and sincere people, Reservation favours laxity in appointments/recruitment of officials. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials could lead to inefficient or mal-administration and substandard services to general public. The private sector survives and prospers, only because it does not allow substandard working. It picks up the best talent available in the country, from educational institutions itself, by conducting campus interviews. While dealing with Reservation Policy, the framers of the Constitution were concerned about the efficiency of administration. That is why, there is Article 335. The way the Reservation Policy is being implemented affects adversely the efficiency of the institution.

Variables on which efficiency depends – Efficiency of any organization depends on:-

 Stress on Quality,
 Merit, and
 Work-culture

• Stress on Quality – Quality is never an accident nor is there any short-cut to it. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. It represents the wise choice between many alternatives. Quality or efficiency is more needed in government sector than any other in order to achieve desired targets within time and cost parameters and provide good service to public at large. There could be no prosperity for the nation as a whole, unless and until efficiency is ensured in all its activities, be it innovation in administration, economic or social reforms, establishment of institution or implementation of developmental programs. The nation has to develop an uncompromising attitude on efficiency and quality management. In a product, it is easier to monitor and ensure quality at all stages, than to judge the efficiency of administration.

How to judge quality? – Administrative process operates on heterogeneous human variables. It is operated on by a group of personnel with time-varying abilities through a time-varying and updated tasks/responsibility. Creativity, originality, vision and innovative ability, the desirable attributes of efficient administration, are difficult to assess for the lack of quantitative methodologies or qualitative procedures. The efficiency, quality and attainments in administration are quite often judged through evaluation of performance of officials rather than through the achievements of targets.

 Team-work for efficient working, a must – Efficiency definitely requires teamwork. The team, at every level, should be up to the mark. For efficient and effective administration, the performance of the service as a whole should not only be of high quality, but also be reliable, friendly and cost effective. Reservation Policy has sown the seeds of separatism in the cadre of administrative officers too. It blocks mutual help, mutual trust and mutual respect in administrative work.

Regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained – For providing an efficient administration, the government requires a regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained. The development of the nation depends not only on the optimal utilization of physical, natural and financial resources, but human and intellectual resources as well. Among man, material and money, the maximum importance should be given to men, because man is the instrument, which gives highest possible returns and makes the proper utilization of other resources a reality. Therefore, the basic requirement for efficiency is ‘the man’ with merit.

Reservation Policy compromise with efficiency – Reservation Policy has made compromise with efficiency in administration and developmental process. Such a step, along with many other reasons, has been taking the nation to perpetual Backwardness. Ju stice Gajendra Gadkar had cautioned long ago, “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…”. 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.”

Ill-effects of this compromise – Objective of improving the status of Backwards could not be done by lowering the standards of governance, especially when the nation is passing through a very difficult time. The net-effect of this compromise is, that economy is in shambles, coffers empty, inflation and price-rise touching new heights, law and order position disturbed and divisive forces getting stronger every day. Confucius has rightly said “When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

Work Culture

It is alleged that besides other factors, Reservation policy adds in deterioration of work culture in the government sector. It ultimately effects the efficiency of administration adversely. The work culture of an office depends on the caliber of its employees, freedom of purposeful working, active involvement of the employees in decision making, cooperation of colleagues, an open, impartial, transparent evaluation of performance, encouragement to good performance and reward for efficiency etc. It is said that Reservation policy has made even competent persons among them lazy and complacent. Those, who get positions as a matter of right without much efforts, develop a habit of not working hard and do not value the dignity of labour. The government, which believes in social justice and creating jobs for the people, never bothers to create systems to make them work too.

Many Government employees are appointed just to lessen the problem of growing numbers of unemployed. Many government employees just withdraw salary every month without responsibility and enough work at their hands. The glorification of white collared jobs and contempt for some kind of work has eroded the dignity of labour immensely. How to put people to work is a riddle, nobody can solve. Calling certain menial jobs inferior or unclean and unsavory and asking people to withdraw from it, is something not rational. If the women, who clean the night soil of the children and ill persons in the family and keep the house tidy and worth living for human beings, also start thinking the same way, what would happen to mankind? The economic and other social needs of modern society are multitudinous. These are divided in to many tasks. Each task is assigned to individuals or group of individuals according to their capacity – learning, aptitude and attitude.

The Principle of Merit

 Super symbolic electronic revolution – At present, the world has been passing through a great revolution – a super symbolic electronic revolution. In it, the changes are too swift for a human being to adjust accordingly. It demands an extra intelligent network. Swift changes, rapid advancement of knowledge, growing awareness of people and new technologies in computers and communications have changed the complexion of work culture beyond recognition in less than a decade. Being so, the modern administration needs more than anything – a high capacity to understand the current waves and changes and ability to adjust harmoniously with changed circumstances. How can one expect that candidates selected on relaxed standards would be able to face the enormous changes?
 The principle of “Meritocracy” gives people access to power at low cost and with honor. It also saves them from manipulations or misuse of money or muscle power. Few years back, it has ensured the entry of middle class people, who neither have capital nor landed property, entered into civil services through competitive examination. A merit based entrance examination into civil services gave them opportunity/incentive to work hard, gain knowledge and get access to power.
Merit neglected in the name of social-justice – For last four-five decades, the “Merit” in Indian education and administrative system has been neglected in the name of equity and social justice. Weak commitment of authorities to merit, efficiency, productivity, and innovation has slowed down the progress of the nation. Therefore, any program or reform must strengthen the foundation of meritocracy through sound system of education and training, ensuring equal opportunity and honour to all. Earlier the opportunities for joining modern callings were based on principle of merit and appreciation for knowledge. After developing their faculties, people with talent and enterprise competed on equal footings with white men and made a place for themselves in powerful institutions of governance. For example, even British rulers opinion about Indian administrator VP Menon was quite high. Lord Mountbettan, the last British Governor General in India, is on record to have called VP Menon as a man of unusual caliber. In him, he found a great and good character merged with a first class brain, possessing power of logical deduction and the ability to gauge the future with a rare degree of accuracy. VP is remembered even now as one of the principal architect of Independent India. He was the master hand that integrated the princely states into the Indian Union. Robert Fulghum also comments about him, “Menon was a rarity – a self-made man. No degree from Cambridge or Oxford graced his wall… He talked his way into a job as a clerk in the Indian administration and his rise was meteoric – largely because of his integrity and brilliant skills in working with both Indian and British officials in a productive way.”

Trend of mediocrity – It is said that an efficient administration requires right type of men at right places. Toffler suggests that “Power” is interplay of three main variables – force, money and knowledge. “Force” was dominant factor in the agricultural societies, “Wealth” in the industrial societies, now as a nation moves into “Information technology” era, the stress will be on knowledge. Without knowledge, it will become very difficult to achieve something worthwhile now. Being so, any nation, which dreams to emerge, as a world power cannot afford to ignore “Knowledge” and “Merit”.
Preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent, on the ground of Reservation, is not only unjust, against the principle of equality, but also against national interests. Reservation in employment contemplates putting those men in responsible positions, who are not adequately qualified for the job, and in the process, power passes on from “Meritocracy” to “Mediocrity”, which means sub-standard service to general public.
Make weaker sections capable to handle the weapon of power properly – Instead of making administrative machinery sick, by giving additional weapons in weak hands, it is desirable that the hands should be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through education, awareness and training. Then and then only, without any outside support, the weak will become strong to pick up the weapon properly in their hands and use it judiciously and protect themselves and their near and dear ones from oppression and exploitation. It will make them confident citizens to live with honour and dignity along with others.
Talents in India – Today India has the second largest pool of scientific and technical manpower. There is no dearth of talents in other areas too. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market.
Brain drain – At present, Reservation has shaken the confidence of meritorious students in the government and its work culture. Fifty percent Reservation in government jobs snatches half of the opportunities for deserving candidates. The bright and intelligent people compete for 50% of jobs in government – the left over after the reservation. A medical student share his feelings as, “I applied for civil medical job and was second best medical graduate… Naturally I felt cheated by my own country (when he could not get the job) and as a disillusioned doctor left the country of my birth (in 1970) … A country, where merit has no value … can never prosper. One can not do away with injustice by creating more injustice.”
They prefer private sector or go abroad in search of greener pastures. At present, many of them are making valuable contribution to US space program and Silicon Valley’s electronic breakthroughs. Abroad, they find a creative outlet for their talents/skills.

Every year a large number of highly trained Indians go abroad and are settled there. It is a matter of national concern. The reasons of brain drain, are as following: –

 Wider and better job opportunities abroad,

 Good initial opportunities of career,

 Exposure of knowledge,

 Good working conditions,

 Comfortable standard of living, and,

 Stifling and unresponsive working conditions at home.

Principle of unity – Reservations undermines the principle of unity. The origin of Reservation Policy lies in “Divide and rule”. It has always divided the workforce by creating new political identities. Earlier British rulers got the benefit of this disunity through “Communal Awards” and now Reservation has become life-saving prescription for recent politicians to garner votes and create vote banks. Reservation generates a feeling of separatism among people. The access to power is sought by raking up emotional issues. Loyalty of a particular group (or groups) is earned by inciting people of one section against other sections of the society. All this entails fractured mandate, negligence of principles, ideologies and national interest, weak Governments, perpetual fights, increase in bitterness, suspicion against each-others and polarization on caste and communal lines, Repeated fractured mandate after l990 confirms that instead of uniting people, divisive politics has taken firm roots in India due to Reservation Policy.

Spreading Casteism

In reality, still caste continues to be an individual’s primary identity. But entry of caste in electoral politics has divided the society.  Developments like spread of casteism in politics, collective caste identities or rivalry between various groups do not have a very long history. Caste tensions had a self-limiting character earlier, because caste in terms of social structure was a very local institution. Varna model gave an abstract idea of social hierarchy. Therefore, the conflict based on caste ties or caste identification had a self-limiting quality. This rivalry was the result of British design, pursued to divide Indians. Initially, the British tried to convert Indians into Christianity. Their conversion activities were focused on upper castes. They thought that once the upper castes opt for Christianity, other castes would follow. But it did not work, because of the strong character of caste Hindus and faith in their religion.

1860 onwards, British missionaries made the lower castes their target for conversion, who, they found, could easily be swept in large numbers. In order to influence them, British highlighted the evils of caste system and portrayed the upper caste as their exploiters. The result was anti-Brahmin movement of early twentieth century. The gap between upper castes and lower strata of society further increased due to land revenue system, which gave birth to economic disparities. On one hand, were the upper castes, having direct or indirect control over land and its produce, on the other, the masses including craftsmen, who worked for them.

However, after the independence, the government tried to reduce the disparities through various legislation. Recently, caste has become the main malady of Indian politics. The renewed emphasis on Reservation with the implementation of Mandal formula in 1990 once again whipped the caste tension. The forward castes are fearing reverse discrimination and are withdrawing gradually themselves from public scene. The anti-upper caste wave forgets that the nation also needs the depth of forward castes. They are the agents of national development and national unity. While most of the Backward groups are localized, the upper castes are spread all over India, linking all parts of the nation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

Polarized the Indian society along caste lines – To a great extent, Reservation Policy , its eligibility criteria being based on caste, is responsible for polarizing the people along caste-line. There is a sharp socio-political divide. Reservations have carved out a new caste alignment by politically dividing people into forward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes and minority. The authorities, while implementing or extending Reservations are ignoring, the sweeping changes that have occurred in the caste system and its equations throughout the country, after independence. With the sincere efforts of reformers, process of modernization, education, introduction of railways, communication, etc., before the Independence and liberty and Constitutional fundamental rights after the Independence have contributed in lessening the rigidities of caste system and gradually wearing out the caste prejudices in social arena to a great extent.

Supreme Court in 1992 had observed in Indira Sawhney judgement on Mandal Commission the government should consider criteria other than caste for identifying backward classes. Now NCBC chairman, Justice V Eswaraiah said that occupation-cum-income could be one such option. Now the commission is ready to include economically backward classes (EBC) as well under quota ambit, noting that occupation like caste is also a marker of backwardness. EBCs also face the similar hardships without the economic means.

Today the political power has already shifted in favour of Backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and U.P. OBC castes has emerged as a dominant force with Zamindari abolition, land reforms and green revolution of l960s. They control about 5l% of the land in the North as against about 39% retained by large landlords. They constitute about 40% of the legislative strength. In modern society, where social status is judged by economic and political power, they are the strongest castes having replaced the upper castes as landowners. Scheduled castes are also making concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and secure their upward mobility. The uplift of OBCs, SCs and STs and migration of many lower castes people to urban areas brought changes in the earlier social symmetry.

Venom against upper castes – The critics of Reservation allege spread of venom against caste-Hindus and forward-castes. The leaders of casteist political parties forget that whatever good they find in the Constitution i.e. removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice or special consideration for the downtrodden – in the social reforms or in the liberal policies of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the forward castes itself. Whatever the Government has done, so far, has been accepted and acclaimed by them, sometimes readily and sometimes with resistance. At present, the forward castes contribute their share through taxes, active participation in formulating developmental polices of the country and working through NGOs for the amelioration of downtrodden. All sections of the society will always remember contributions made by Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Tilak, Gokhale, Justice Ranade, Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Dayanand, Vivekanand, Ambedkar and many others with respect. Only the politicians pursuing sectional interests should stop spreading venom against upper castes and making increasing use of caste in politics.

‘Backward castes’ glued to castes identity more firmly -The advocates of Reservations bitterly criticize caste system and desire to establish a casteless society. They want to annihilate caste system, but have failed to find a viable alternative to it. The lower castes are glued to castes more firmly than upper caste. In a particular case, a BC officer complained that in the office, an upper caste peon refused to bring a cup of tea for him or clean his cup. One day, when this officer went to his colleague’s room, the later called a peon belonging to a caste lower than the BC officer, to bring two cups of tea. The BC officer hesitated in drinking the tea and made some excuse. Two things came out clearly – the upper caste officer had no hesitation in drinking tea brought by a low caste peon, whereas the the BC officer had reservations. It shows that Backward castes are not free from caste prejudices and treat persons belonging to castes lower than their own, with contempt.

Past Experience – Politicians with vested interest think that Reservation policy could be milked at will to gain political mileage and push the real issues in the background conveniently. Failure of Justice Party in 1926 elections or the fate of Janata Party in 1991 elections shows, that they cannot fool the people for long. Experience of a century old Reservations in the South and half a century old at national level shows that still: –

  • As Times of India (May4,2016, p. 15) reports Vijay Sampla on 3rd May 2016 has informed Lok Sabha “The centre has included 124 and 104 more castes into the list of OBCs and SCs categories respectively. The highest number of inclusion among SCs are from UP 17, Bihar 16, Haryana 15 . Chandigarh 14, and Orissa 13. In OBC list 91 inclusions are from Telengana, followed by 11 in MP and 9 from Andhra. Ever since 2010, 656 castes were included in OBC category.
  • More than half the Indian population lives below poverty line, though official figures are about 40%, about half of the population is illiterate. Official rate of literacy is only 52% after 50 years of independence. The number of educated people is much less. More than 60% of Indian children are mal-nourished and about 7% of all infants die shortly after birth. Less than 30% of populace has access to sanitation and clean drinking water. Maximum number of poor, and people living below poverty line are in the south excluding Kerala.
  • Reservation policy has not benefited those, for whom it was introduced. The masses are still there, where they were before the introduction of Reservation – deprived and fighting for their survival, and
  • Modernization process has made the poor people destitute, living now without the support system, which the traditional societies provided earlier.

These are a few examples of non-governance.

Who gets benefited? – One of the major contentions against the Reservation policy is on account of the identification of its beneficiaries.

Supreme Court in 1992 had observed in Indira Sawhney judgement on Mandal Commission the government should consider criteria other than caste for identifying backward classes. Now NCBC chairman, Justice V Eswaraiah said that occupation-cum-income could be one such option. Now the commission is ready to include economically backward classes (EBC) as well under quota ambit, noting that occupation like caste is also a marker of backwardness. EBCs also face the similar hardships without the economic means.

According to Eswariah, Socio-Economic- Caste census provides a critical tool in deciding new categories for reservations since the survey gives a comprehensive status of a household’s economic status, occupation and caste. “Among non-OBCs, if there are claims to backwardness, we can check the socio- economic census and decide on their inclusion in the backward list.” Such a step will require sub-categorization of OBC into sub-groups of castes based on their socio-economic status and apportioning 27% quota among them in proportion to their population. When there are sub-groups, an EBC can be included in the appropriate category says NCBC chairman Justice Eswaraiah. NCBC aims to ensure equitable distribution of quota benefits, since some dominant OBCS are cornering the quota benefits at the expense of their weaker brethren. It has proposed division of OBC List into “backward classes”, “Most backwards” and “extremely backwards”. (TOI, p 11, Dec 7, 2015)

The Reservation policy is supposed to benefit the submerged and deprived people. Instead it helps the elite of some castes declared backward. Caste-based Reservation benefits only a few individuals not necessarily the needy ones and not the entire group. It has been observed that the same families, which had come up after the reformatory process of late 19th century or with the introduction of the protectionist polices, have been cornering the Reservation benefits again and again. The individuals benefited by Reservation are usually cut off from their social bases. In the name of social justice and equitable distribution of power and dignity, vested interests have been created and the masses, reeling under poverty, is being cheated.

In 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, conducted a detailed study in the districts of Betul, Chindwara, Seoni, Balaghat etc., in Madhya Pradesh. It shows that the biggest land owners are Kurmis and Pawars. There are very few Rajput, Brahmin, Kayastha or Baniya land owners in those districts. In the Tawa Command Area of Hoshangabad district, the biggest land owners are Jats and Vishnois. As it is, the Kurmis, Pawars and Vishnois have been identified as Backwards. In Narsimpur district, Lodhis, who appear in the OBC list, are the biggest land owners. If an honest district by district survey is conducted all over India, it may be found that in terms of economic and social status, many of the people belonging to groups listed as backward class are much better-off than many of the upper-caste people, in different regions. Many well established communities have been included in Backward caste list. Mr. Vishva Bandhu garduated with MBA degree from Eastern Michigan University and works as a Deputy Commissioner, Income Tax. He says, one day, “I was pleasently surprised to hear… that as per listings of the Mandal Commission, I was Backward… My being treated as a Backward is nothing, but a slur on my name and that I do’nt wish to be listed as Backward.” Like him, there are many people belonging to different castes, for whom their inclusion in Backward class list came as a shock.
There is a large number of people, for whom, 100% job reservation makes no difference. In a study conducted in 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, shows that in the tribal area of Jabalpore, Mandla, Raigarh, Sarguja and Siddhi districts of Madhya Pradesh, the literacy rate is only 5.6%, the female literacy rate 1.03%, the average land holding is less than two hectres per khatedar, in the case of 75% of agriculturists. 20% tribals are totally land-less… They have no access to help, communication, education or other ciivc facilities. 85% of the population has an income below the poverty line. However, only 8% of the rural poor had any access to the anti-poverty program of the Government. These statistics assume vital importance, when one analyses, what the policy of Reservation has done for these people? It leads to think, whom is the Government and the politicians trying to fool? It is for the lower castes themselves understand that Reservation does not serve their permanent interest. In real life, neither it is possible, to create a totally equalitarian society, as is demanded by the supporters of Reservation, nor power and authority could be distributed equally at will. It could only be acquired through one’s own efforts. Therefore, people should discourage those leaders, who give false hopes to people.

Winding up

Process of dereservation should start – Earlier some sections of society were lagged behind the forward castes in education and employment, not because they were deprived of the opportunities, but because they did not see any immediate use for it. Now they have realized the worth of education and bureaucratic powers, they should be allowed to come up on their own. Dr. Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in JNU says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the Central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual dis-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SC and ST members from the reserved quota.” There existed a case to end the quota business in l960 itself. Not only that the restriction has been allowed to continue till today, but to multiply irrationally. The dependence of caste for the purpose of Reservation has also increased, because the politicians are unable to look beyond electoral compulsions.

Division of labor – Division of labour according to the attitude and aptitude of individuals – be it menial or intellectual – is natural, and just.. Only freedom of opportunity to explore the pastures of one’s choice should be there for everyone, which has already been given by the Constitution itself, in 1950. Each type of work has its own value and contributes to total growth of society. No work is superior or inferior. Only the hard work, devotion to duty and sincere efforts are required for progress. At present, many people engaged in professions like tailors, carpenters, dyers and dry-cleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even paanwalas are doing much better than educated unemployed, who have left their traditional occupation, in the lure of Government jobs in urban areas or in desire to earn quick and easy money. The key to the success in any area appears to be the very same hardwork, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skills. An excellent plumber is more admirable for the society than an incompetent administrator or scientist.

Development needs coordinated working of all sections of society – A society grows and develops like an organic body, in which each organ is equally important and valuable, but is assigned a different function to perform. The coordinated working of all the parts together keeps the body fit and alive. True, the weaker parts of the body need special care, but not at the expense of healthy organs of the body. Similarly, a society functions smoothly and moves constantly towards development, if all its constituents work in harmony with a feeling of mutual help and trust. Both weak and strong sections of the society are taken care-of by the State authorities properly. No work is superior or inferior in comparison to any work. There should be a balanced distribution of work between them. Each type of work is valuable and contributes to the total growth of the society. Undue weight or prestige given to any particular work does not improve the quality of every day life of its people, as has happened in Japan. Too much attention of the Government on economic and technical work has made its people miserable even in midst of affluence and abundance. The Japanese have created an economic miracle. The per capita income in Japan is one of the highest in the world. It is a world leader in technology, its electronic and automobile industries being the wonder of the world. But Japanese are frustrated as they are missing something vital in life i.e. quality of life. Japan is prospering, Japanese are not. Therefore, due attention should be given to all kinds of work. Each and every section of the society and its work should be acknowledged, as indispensable and proper care should be given to all, for the balanced growth of society as a whole. The society as a whole needs the services of all the sections of the society. There are many advantages of division of labour, like it : –

 Increases productivity. A lone worker has many limitations,
 Increases dexterity and skill. Practice makes an individual perfect. After repetitive performance of the same task, a worker becomes an expert,
 Inventions are facilitated. While working, new ideas often occur leading to inventions,
 Introduction of machinery is facilitated. When a man is doing the same job over and over again, he tries to think of some mechanical device to relieve himself,
 Saves time. A worker has to do only one process or part of process. Therefore, less time is needed by him to learn a specialized process,
 Employment is diversified. It increases the number and variety of jobs,
 Large scale production in quantity as well as in quality becomes possible, which is economical too, and
 Under division of labour, workers are so distributed among various jobs that each worker is put in the right place.

At the end it can be said that some people dream of success and spend their energy in finding out easier way out, while others wake up and work hard at it.

Emerging economic super powers concentrated on development of human resources – The new economic super powers, Japan and Germany and nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore etc., have risen to their present status of economic affluence within a relative short period, mainly because these nations concentrated primarily on the development of their human resources and insulated their economic processes from political pressures. They encouraged a relatively higher egalitarian distribution of incomes and lowered levels of socio-economic inequalities. Human Resource Development with high levels of education and skills led them to overcome problems of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger, unemployment, inflation and population growth. India lags behind, in spite of having talented and industrious people and good natural resources (fertile land, water, sunshine and various minerals) in abundance, lags behind, only because of under-utilization of its most valued resource- human capital. People are the nation’s most basic resource in terms of productivity, creativity, innovation, economic achievements, social success and technological developments. Only their energies have to be channelized towards national goals.

In the end it can be said that the government of a democratic country, for its prosperity can guarantee equality of opportunity, and not the equality of conditions. And as Swami Vivekanand has said, “No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for.”

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services, Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , , , | 2 Comments

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.
  •  

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.

 

 

“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.
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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.
  •  

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.

June 30, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

Role of education in 21st century

     “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who can   not read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Toffler

 “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”              Carl Sagan

“Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action”. Khalil Gibran

“Creativity occurs primarily through the power of intention. Intention is like sowing seed in existence. Allow it to germinate. Allow the forces of nature to nurture life.” Swami Sukhabodhananda

Introduction – In a judgement, Justice Unnikrishnan had commented very correctly that “Victories are gained, peace is preserved , progress is achieved, civilization is built up and history is made not in battlefields where ghastly murders are committed in the name of patriotism, not in the council chambers where insipid speeches are spun out in the name of debate, nor even in factories where are manufactured novel instruments to strangle life, but in educational institutions which are the seed-beds of culture, where children in whose hands quiver the destinies of the future, are trained. From their ranks will come out when they grow up, statesmen and soldiers, patriots and philosophers, who will determine the progress of the land.” (The Supreme court of India in Unni Krishnan Judgement (1993 SSC(I))

90% portion of mind remains unused – Long, long ago, Newton had said that he was ‘like a child, who is picking pebbles at sea-shore while the great ocean of knowledge lies before me’. Since then, knowledge has grown enormously and at a much faster speed than human ability to cope with it. But still as Osho has said, “Only one-tenth of our mind is conscious; Nine-tenth is in darkness, deep darkness.” (TOI, p.18, The speaking Tree).

Technological advancements of twentieth century, especially during post 1970’s due to revolution in the field of information technology, have changed the whole scenario. Entering into world of knowledge is like going into a dense forest. Only way out is to develop clarity of thought/mind, as to what one wants to know and make sincere efforts to pursue relevant knowledge in that specific area

It is equally important to upgrade knowledge continuously. As Alvin Toffler, renowned writer has said, “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who can not read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Purpose of education

Access to school education has more or less achieved in India. At present the problem is with quality, be it primary, secondary or higher education. Equal emphasis needs to be laid in Vocational education. Unfortunately, meaning and purpose of literacy and education is misunderstood. Literacy does not merely mean the knowledge of three ‘R’s, nor does it mean only academic or theoretical studies/knowledge leading to award of degrees. Increasing knowledge-base through available information is also not the purpose of learning. Bookish-knowledge and award of degrees through formal education without effective training-systems neither serve any purpose nor lead the people to get employed gainfully. To nurture life, creativity is a must, which ” … occurs primarily through the power of intention. Intention is like sowing a seed in existence. Allow it to germinate. Allow the forces of nature to nurture life. And see what happens!” (Swami Sukhabodhananda, 4.11.2016, p. 18, TOI)

As Khalil Gibran has said – “knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action”. A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. One, whose knowledge is confined to books, can not use his wealth of knowledge, whenever required.

The scope of education – The scope of education is much broader. It is a continuous process. It means complete up-bringing of the individual starting from the childhood till end. In its wider sense, literacy and education embraces within itself reading, observation, thought and its application in real life situations. Within its jurisdiction, also comes formation of habits, manners, character, attitude and aptitude along with imparting knowledge. Learning at each and every stage of life increases knowledge-base, understanding and attitudes of a person.

A well-planned and sound system of education inspires human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It guides people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters and to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people.

Distinction between action, forbidden action, and in-action – Knowledge has been considered essential for the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge about do’s and don’ts. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person understands the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action and in-action.

India and its Education system

High regard for knowledge – India has always given importance to and showed a high regards for knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Indian philosophy, ‘Wealth of knowledge is supreme among all forms of wealth’. (Vidya dhanam sarvadhana pradhanam). Therefore, knowledge is the greatest thing to be sought after. A human being is human because he has the organic capacity to think and seek knowledge.

More importance to knowledge than wealthUnlike India, in Western countries, more importance is being given to creation of wealth. Wealth is the ultimate aim of the people, yardstick of success and a status symbol. Traditional India was not so materialistic. Its systems had separated pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts, wealth or power-politics. According to Indian philosophy, when a person runs blindly after money and forgets about the real purpose of knowledge, both wealth and knowledge vanishes from their lives. The only judicious way to generate wealth and gain power goes via the path of true knowledge.

Knowledge as the base of rankingEarlier the greatness of a person, institution or a state was judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice. Greatness of a nation was judged with which its administration governed lives of the common men or their character. It was not on the basis of the size of a state, its military power or its treasury/bank-balance. Similarly, in the society, a person or a caste was ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, muscle or money power or of having controlling power over the destiny of common man.

Respect for knowledgeable personsIn ancient India, apart from Brahmins, others were also paid respect by the society for their learning, character, spirituality and ability to guide general masses. The system was quite liberal in this matter. It gracefully accepted the right and opportunity to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman (belonging to Mahr community – Dalit according to present standards and to which Dr Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits belonged).  Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. None of them were not ashamed of their origin. They still hold a very high position in general public minds.

Close connection between Knowledge and hard work – For acquiring knowledge, training mind in a scientific manner and concentrating energies of mind, one has to struggle, work hard, make sincere efforts and face many challenges in life. Now-a-days, courage to struggle or work hard is missing except in a few students, who still keep the fire of seeking knowledge burning all the time. Without hard-work, search for knowledge remains incomplete and superficial.

In ancient India sages (Rishi-Munies) had worked day and night to acquire true knowledge. The love for knowledge inspired many students to walk from different parts of the country to centers of learning at that time like Taxila or Nalanda. A powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the monks as a mark of my deep respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. What matters in life, are not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when you have raised yourself up from ignorance, can you recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

For creating modern civilization, sincere knowledge seekers in Western world also did not care for inconveniences or challenges. They had sacrificed their time (for about two centuries), energies and comforts in search of knowledge. Then only they could develop great modern scientific knowledge, technique and wealth.

Education in modern India

Sixty four years after independence and self-rule, literacy-rate has gone up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%.  In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

Constraints

All is not well in the education system in India – has been noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees. Now and then, they have pointed out its failures in one area or another. It has always been felt that Modern education has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

In addition to what constraints that have already been existing in the education system, many more external and internal problems, paradoxes and constraints have cropped up.  Some defects in modern education based on colonised British Grammer School type education, were pointed out by  Gandhiji like –

  • It is based upon foreign culture to the almost entire exclusion of the indigenous culture.
  • It ignores the culture of heart and hand and confines itself simply to head
  • Real education is impossible through foreign medium.

External Constraints – Externally, socio-economic and political pressures have violated its identity and autonomy. Some changes have taken place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of these main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the media persons, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. It brought into the forefront some undesirable social changes and political turmoil. It has affected adversely the whole atmosphere in the field of education as well.

Heavy pressure on education system due to population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on present education system and its available infrastructure. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favoritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different powerful lobbies are increasing every day to have their exclusive hold on scarce resources available in the field of education or for power and pelf.

Control in the hands of a few – Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands, control almost every walk of national life including the education system. They are working continuously to deny justice to common men.

The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well.

Internal ConstraintsInternally the system has been fractured along the lines of discipline deteriorating standard of education in general and student sub-culture. Slowly but steadily, the education system lost its capacity to equip the younger generation with relevant knowledge and skills for enabling them to get gainfully employed and to perform their jobs with a sense of responsibility. It has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in youth as well. Now people have started questioning the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

 Disintegrates society – Instead of being an instrument of social integration, education system divides people into two groups – ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. There is government or government aided schools that give education to poor masses. It is economical, but do not maintain good standard. On the other hand there are private schools, which gives quality education, caters mainly the needs of ‘Haves’, because it is very costly.

Deteriorating standards After independence, India is facing a rapid deterioration in standards of education. In the past, though education was thinly spread, it had maintained some standard. Now in an attempt to do quantitative expansion of education, quality of education suffered a lot. The examination and evaluation system tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory. Standard of general education has deteriorated considerably and suffers from grave errors.  In addition to it, there is lot of interference and control of the government at every stage of the educational process.

Unfit for original work Education system in advanced countries makes student a lively, inquisitive and original thinking person. There, it has been able to develop certain special qualities like regards for laws of the nation, awareness, contempt for hypocrisy, sympathy for underdog and courage to resist cruelty or misuse of power and authority. An educated youth in India generally fails to display genuine social conscience.

Store-house of information – Importance of information in knowledge, which provides the basis of all the thinking, cannot be denied. However, present education system at all stages of education, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind a store-house of information/knowledge and discourages original thinking. It lays emphasis on giving students ready-made knowledge, systematically and neatly organized in the form of lessons, units and text book.

Medium of education – It is easier for all to learn lessons in their mother-tongue. English medium puts extra strain upon the nerves of students and makes them crammers, imitators and unfit for original work and thought. Masses remains deprived. System is producing mostly the youth, who are unable to express clearly in any language, including their own and lack woefully the competence and confidence to assume responsibilities.

Early childhood Teaching –  Early childhood learning plays a vital in improving the quality and quantity of learning. Latest brain researches tell that first 2000 days are the most important in a child’s life, when children develop learning strategies, learn how to think and problem-solve. Children are born with billions of brain cells. Unless these are interacted with properly, they actually die off. Such programs needs to be developed that encourage the synaptic connections between those cells.

Early childhood Teaching, instruction and methodology is necessary for developing lifelong qualities in children. It is necessary to understand the importance to encourage Children to think, ask questions and develop problem-solving ability in them. There  should be more interaction between adults and the children.

Higher secondary, the weakest link in Indian education system – Higher secondary education is considered to be insufficient and a weakest link in Indian education system. It needs sincere efforts to improve the Academic standards, curricula and methods of teaching at higher secondary level. In western countries the standard of higher secondary education is sufficiently high to ensure recruits of higher intellectual attainment to join various jobs at this stage.

More stress on Degree/Diploma/certificates – The whole system of education and employment is degree, diploma or certificate-oriented. Degree is the master-key to a nice and respectable career and giving  high social status, authority and final reprieve from manual work. Such a narrow mind-set has put tremendous pressure on higher education system.  A large number of new substandard and superfluous institutions are being created every day to meet the demand.  Government also encourages mass entry into universities and colleges. Rush in institutions are of such students as well, who want degree as a passport and are not interested in studies. Such students seize every opportunity to spoil the academic atmosphere and breed indiscipline.

Indiscipline – There is a growing unrest in the student community. Youth of the day want to be absolutely free from all compulsions. For them, discipline and observance of rules are supposed to be unnecessary and irrational. They have no respect for rules/discipline/morality or for elders, teachers or authority. Their interests lie in all that is sensuous, in material gains and in enjoying pleasures in life. Indiscipline in student’s world leads to chaos and violence. It makes people slaves of their weaknesses.

Employability One of the major aims of education is to make youth employable. At present it is difficult to find out and recruit well qualified persons for various jobs in government, public or private sectors. At pre-employment stage, education needs to be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature for making youth acceptable in job-market. It needs to be supplemented by rigorous foundation training telling the fundamentals of their specific jobs and inculcating in them relevant knowledge and skills, otherwise effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work gets a setback. At present, all the basics about their jobs are told to employees after their join work-force, which requires a much more massive effort in order to make employees do their jobs well.

Unrealistic Manpower AssessmentAssessment of manpower requirement for economic growth is not done rationally according to national needs. After Independence, the need for technical people was felt and in recent past for management experts. The Government created large number of professional institutions in these areas without assessing the needs of the nation. It resulted in educated unemployment. A large number of scientists, doctors, engineer’s technicians and management graduates have to go abroad in search of suitable jobs.

Therefore, for streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, most essential and fundamental requirement is that the character and scope of pre-employment educational system should be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigor, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character needed in different disciplines and at different levels at job market.

Where the fault lies? – For all these lacunas, students blame teachers, teachers blame students. Both together try to blame educationists. They, in turn, attack social system. The present system of education can not be changed or improved overnight. It needs concentrated efforts of all – students, teachers and the society. Then only a larger base of skilled and trained manpower could be created.

Conclusion

Rational thinking needs to be done about the real problems and the role of education in modern life after understanding its basics, fundamentals and aims correctly.

The present education system prepares students to get an employment and earn money. The requirement of a university degree as a Passport for starting nice and respectable career (white collard jobs) has made a mockery of higher education. Such an attitude has by-passed the need to “educate all”, resulted in negligence of primary and higher secondary education and in over-crowding the institutions of learning. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.

In the present times of neck to neck competition, one should continuously upgrade knowledge and understanding and prepare candidates to meet the challenges of life creatively/positively, thus prosper in life. It is the best way to create a larger base of skilled and trained manpower. Education should instill in students problem-solving attitude and develop the courage to meet the challenges of real life bravely. Instead of offering excuses or blaming others for one’s failures and dissatisfaction, it should inculcate in students the spirit to face the difficult situations in life and make efforts to change their destiny themselves. Education must teach people always try to have control over ones life’s situations and to stand up on his own feet rather than depending on others for moving forward. Success in life depends on developing understanding plus capacity and courage to take right decisions at right time. For it self-observation is required.

Only sound system of education and training can provide a lasting solution for various problems, people are facing today. It can lead the youth towards rational, positive and creative thinking. It would make youth capable to make right decision at right time, plan rationally about their career that would suit to their attitude and aptitude and to shoulder their responsibilities properly. It would enable them to act judiciously and promptly, give them courage to avoid out-dated traditions and dogmatic ways of doing things, courage to face realities and challenges.

    1. Many changes and developments are required in the education system practised in the schools and colleges, to make the students of the country well- versed with the practicalities of the world. Following are two of the main factors, which Indian education sector needs to implement to make the students updated with the global market and developments.

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June 17, 2015 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | 1 Comment