Yojana Magazine August 2021: Public Administration

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Indian Bureaucracy: Historical Perspective


  • Bureaucracy is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country which forms the permanent executive branch of the government. India that is Bharat, being the land of many ancient civilisations, developed the art and science of public administration early on.
  • From a reading of the historical literature, public administration in India can be traced back to the manuscripts of Arthashasthra written by Kautilya. In the next major phase, Bharat witnessed the rule of the Guptas also termed by many historians as the ‘Golden Age.’
  • The discussion on ‘Historical Perspectives on Indian Bureaucracy’ begins with an overview of the history of civil services in India. History of the Civil Services in India
  • The original conception of the ‘civil service’ can be traced back to the Royal Charters which gave the East India Company, the powers to raise a cadre of troops- for both civilian and military purposes.
  • The introduction of competitive exams in the mid1800s was an important development that gave primacy to merit-based appointments as opposed to privilege-based appointments through a referral system.
  • The commissions that were set up in reforming the public services – from the Macaulay Committee to the Islington Committee to the Lee Commission, strongly suggested that the Statutory Public Service Commission be brought into force.
  • During the Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD), there were detailed discussions and arguments about the continuity, role and loyalty of Indian civil servants.
  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was single-handedly responsible for setting up the Civil Services in Independent India and is, therefore, rightly called the ‘Iron Man of India’. Early Indians in the Civil Service
  • The first Indian to clear the ICS exam was Satyendra Nath Tagore in the year 1864. It is important to remember that until 1922 post the Montagu Chelmsford Reforms, the exam was conducted only in London, which greatly restricted the access of Indians to clear the examination. However, there was a fair share of Indians who started clearing the exams.

  • The notable names being BihariLal Gupta and Romesh Chandra Dutt, who later became the President of the Indian National Congress in 1899 and wrote the pioneering book on ‘The Economic History of India ‘.
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose did not join the Indian civil service even after clearing the exam that sheds light on the strong ideological stance Bose took during the freedom struggle.

  • Sir Benegal Narasinga Rau was another eminent personality among the ICS who was appointed as the Constitutional Advisor on 1st July 1946 over a year before India became independent. Later, he became the first judge of the International Court of Justice from India.
  • Sukumar Sen, India’s first Chief Election Commissioner who later went on to become Sudan’s first Chief Election Commissioner as well, was one such hero. Constitution and the Civil Services
  • Articles 310, 311, and 312 of the Indian Constitution pertain to Services under the Union and State.
  • Article 310 enshrines that civil servants of the Union and All-India Services are appointed by the President of India and civil servants at the State level are appointed by the Governor of the State.
  • They continue to hold office as per the pleasure of the President and Governor, respectively. Therefore, they have the security of tenure.
  • Article 311 mentions the procedures and conditions for removal, dismissal from service, and reduction in rank, thus ensuring due process of law. This ensures that civil servants are protected from political interference and undue harassment.
  • Article 312 lays down the All-India Services of India. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the State Public Service Commissions are constitutional bodies.

Challenges and Reforms in the Civil Service

  • Post-independence, India adopted the socialist-welfare model of development which increased the scope of government’s interference in all key sectors of the economy.
  • Some of the fundamental tenets of a good bureaucracy are political neutrality, objectivity in decision-making, empathy, equity, etc. As an officer appointed to serve the public, one cannot take any political affiliation or alignment but do one’s work objectively and impartially.
  • Therein, constitutionalism matters because every civil servant must be guided by the letter and spirit of our Constitution.
  • Ethics in public administration are important because civil servants are often holding offices that give them a lot of power and authority. Therefore, an officer’s moral compass is key for good governance.
  • Various committees over the years have suggested changes and improvements to the civil services regarding recruitment, mid-career training, capacity building, the impetus for specialisation, efficiency, accountability, etc.
  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (headed by VeerappaMoily) discussed the shortcomings and suggests improvements regarding recruitment, performance, and result-oriented bureaucracy.
  • In the last decade, several reforms have been undertaken. Be it the introduction of lateral entry to have expert consultants at the Joint Secretary level, the regular training programmes of training at various levels for career civil servants and a record of performance evaluation.
  • A more recent debate about the bureaucracy, especially the administrative service, is about ‘generalists’ versus ‘specialists’. The role of an administrator is to ensure fair, equitable, and efficient administration of her/his unit, right from the sub-division, district and up to various departments and Ministries at the State and Central levels. Therefore, a broad understanding of the various issues, departments, roles and responsibilities is the sine qua non for quick and Effective redressal of public grievances.
  • So an officer who can effectively handle all areas of administration and policy from health to agriculture to defence, and ensure that work is done at levels junior to oneself needs to be one with ‘general skills’, although some say that the ability to administer well is in itself is a unique skill.
  • However, specialisation may be considered higher up in the ladder based on the officer’s qualifications, interests and work experience depending upon the needs and exigencies at that time. As technology develops and the socioeconomic changes transform India, we need to ensure that these changes do not outpace policy reform.


  • Many fresh graduates from HTs, IIMs, NLUs other professionals like doctors, chartered accountants, etc. appear for the UPSC Civil Services every year. This has brought fresh energy and ideas into the bureaucracy.
  • They bring with them their professional expertise adding richly to public administration. Therefore, more and more young professionals from varied socio-economic and academic backgrounds need to enter the civil services to enrich it further and take part in nation-building.
Dynamics of Civil Services


  • In the pre-modem era, up to the seventeenth century, there used to be ahead of a tribe, or after some progress a local lord, and finally a monarch who rules based on traditional power and continues his status by succession. But due to enlightenment, modem democracy evolved based on elections and the people’s ‘representatives (not the people themselves, as only in a direct democracy e.g. in Switzerland) started ruling and governing the state.
  • Hence there was a need to objectively administer there in the day-to-day matters without favour or disfavour based on caste, class, race, gender, place of birth, language, and so on.

Type of Authority and its characteristics

  • Max Weber distinguished between three types of authority (legitimate power):
    • Traditional authority (based on succession, rituals, subjective desires, etc.)
    • Charismatic authority (based on gifted quality, e.g. Swami Vivekananda, Lord Rama, etc.) and
    • Rational-legal authority i.e. bureaucracy. It was the most ideal type sought after because of its objectivity and rationality. He defined bureaucracy as the ‘formal organisation’ with the following characteristics:
    • Formal selection and promotion are based on well-defined norms and criteria, primarily merit and transparency.
    • Written rules, regulations, processes, and procedures so that biases and personal likes/dislikes do not favour or disfavour anyone.
    • Hierarchical structure- well defined senior, middle and junior levels so that the seniors may inspect, monitor, and give guidance to their juniors on the one hand, and may hear appeals/revisions arising against the orders of junior officers; further, feedback from below may result in changing rules/procedures/criteria/ norms, etc.
    • Specialisation and division of labour and responsibility clear balancing of tasks, sharing power (discretion or force against other’s wishes), and responsibility.
    • Professionalism prevails over personal whims; and Career-orientation- To have stability and continuity, bureaucracy is by nature permanent-a long period of a career with different assignments to gain experience in diverse fields brings maturity for preparing a public policy.
    • Therefore, Max Weber preferred the rational-legal authority of bureaucracy as an ideal type to the other two types of authority in a democratic society.

Pathologies of the System

  • Various pathological syndromes are seen in the everyday behaviour of officers and the system. Bureaucracy is often blamed for ‘red tapism’ (i.e. delay) and indecisiveness in many forms:
    • Sometimes it is necessary to take the considered opinion of the Ministry of Law or Ministry of Finance (if the Rules are not clear or the issue is for taking an appropriate decision but not always.
    • Queries by the superiors are made in parts and frequently, not once by taking all aspects. This delays the decision-making process unnecessarily.
  • Often a plea of ‘too much work’ is given for delay; hence more decentralisation, better division of works, and separating ‘urgent’, ‘important’, and ‘routine’ tasks is highly required.
  • The second pathological syndrome is ‘too busy, hence cannot attend phone calls or give personal hearing to the aggrieved persons’. This leads to further delay, deterioration of a situation, corrupt practices by the subordinates or middlemen, inefficiency due to not attending to the feedback, and a bad image of the office/ officer concerned.
  • The third is the prevalence of the ‘transfer industry’ in most of the states, at different levels. The principle of three years’ tenure is hardly followed, and many officers are transferred within a year or even earlier without sufficient genuine reasons.
  • Civil Services Boards in states exist only formally, to sign on the proposal mooted by the power that i.e. ‘from the above’, hence the very purpose of objectivity and transparency is defeated.
  • On the other hand, there are instances wherein some officers continue on the same post for nine or ten years because of political connection, backing, and favour to officers of a particular caste or religious community. This deprives other competent officers to have an experience on that post as every post has its peculiarities in terms of problems, challenges, and opportunities, and the beneficiary officer develops arrogance, egoism, and connivance on the other hand.
  • Similarly, there are certain ‘shunting posts’ where no work, no file, and no facilities exist. This wastes money, time, and career. Often favoured transfers are linked with parochial consideration and money changes hands. Thus the vicious circle of corruption goes on and on.
  • Finally, there has been the triad of ‘Liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG), hence policy decision is sometimes based on the hypothesis that the public sector is bad, and the private sector is good. Therefore various entities’ shares are sold and even the entire enterprise is sold under the euphemism of ‘disinvestment’.
  • Further, the over-reporting of development works and under-reporting of losses by the civil servants is unfortunate and it betrays the oath of Constitution taken en masse at the training Academies.


  • We may conclude that bureaucracy is compatible with democracy wherein the people’s representatives are on the driver’s seat, hence they need to guide the civil servants whose independent advice and alternative views should not be considered as putting the cart before the horse.
  • If we may make a SWOT analysis of civil services, we find that its strengths (selection on merit, acting as per rules, permanence) are more than its weaknesses (red-tapism, some black sheep); it has an opportunity to serve the nation through new ways, changes, reducing human interface, but threats are to be removed at the earliest for strengthening the administrators further.
Probity in Governance


  • Ethics is a set of standards that helps guide the behaviour, choices and actions of individuals. It is multidimensional as it is governed by the value system of the society including the concept of rights, obligations, fairness, virtues, etc.
  • Ethics and probity form the cornerstone of the public administration system. In today’s world, when the governments are playing an active role in the socio-economic development of the country, the role of the government functionaries becomes more challenging as they are both the facilitators and enforcers of the law and rules. Responsibility and accountability are integral to ethics.
  • The character of laws and rules through which accountability is enforced is based on the moral ideas of society.


  • The word ‘ethics’ is from the original Greek term ‘ethikos’, meaning ‘arising from habit’. Undoubtedly, culture, values, character, the sense of right and wrong are quintessential determinants of ethics. Ethics in public is not limited to the expression of high moral values alone. It also refers to the framework for holding the public functionaries legally accountable for their acts of omission and commission.
  • The Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1964) also known as ‘Santhanam Committee had observed:
    • The public confidence and respect which the functionaries enjoy is largely the result of collective efforts.
    • Adherence to key principles of Integrity, Honesty,  and Objectivity promotes trust and confidence among the stakeholders and enhances credibility.
    • The conduct of Government functionaries should be beyond reproach in all circumstances.
    • Any deficiency in their professional or personal conduct places their personal integrity and quality of work in an unfavourable light and raises doubts about their actions.
    • Ethics is concerned with human character and conduct. It condemns all types of falsehood. The Second Administrative Reforms Commission in its Second Report on Ethics suggested the principles for ethics in the governance and stated that:
    • Values serve as guiding stars showing the path to all the members of the society and everyone is expected to respect and follow them. As they are not codified and are subject to interpretation, situations of conflict do arise.
    • At the same time, a sense of right and wrong is deeply ingrained in culture and civilization. The ethos of the society is designed by the behaviour patterns of its citizens building an environment of trust and confidence.
  • Integrity has to be seen as a holistic concept covering various aspects of conduct and not limited to financial honesty. Public office should be treated as a trust which imposes a lot of responsibility on the holders of the office and makes them accountable to society.
  • The power of righteousness and the capability to uphold the truth has to come from within. Honesty can’t simply be a mandate emanating out of a government order.
  • Integrity requires the public functionaries to exercise due diligence while discharging their duties responsibly, make decisions with the public interest in mind and be honest in carrying out their work and handling government resources.
  • The Code of Conduct for the Civil Servants has evolved over time. A compendium of instructions containing ‘dos and don’ts’ for Civil Servants was issued in the 1930s and collectively called ‘Conduct Rules’.
  • In pursuance of the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee, the Conduct rules were revised and enlarged resulting in CCS Conduct Rules 1964 being followed today. These rules are a dynamic set of instructions for the Government servants as based on the introduction of new dimensions in the legal framework.
  • The Conduct Rules prescribe some general behavioural norms like ‘maintaining the integrity and absolute devotion to duty and not indulging in ‘conduct unbecoming of a Government servant.
  • It needs to be mentioned that there is no Code of Ethics prescribed for civil servants in India although such codes exist in other countries. However, we need to appreciate that our civil service system has a tradition of balanced Integrity that requires public attitudes and approaches.
  • Probity in governance is absolutely essential for an efficient and effective system of governance. Ethics and probity cannot be seen in isolation. Both are intertwined and have to be seen as complementary to each other. The Consultation Paper on ‘Probity in Governance’ issued in 2001 by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution highlighted many legislative and institutional issues including:
    • Need for enforcing section 5 of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act,
    • The necessity for a law providing for the confiscation of illegally acquired assets of public servants,
    • Enactment of a Public Interest Disclosure Act,
    • Enactment of a Freedom of information Act,
    • The necessity for enacting a Lok Pal Bill in addition to
    • The Central Vigilance Commission Act and
    • Strengthening of the Criminal Judicial System.
  • Apart from the existing framework accountability and transparency can be enhanced by Minimizing the discretions in various functions.
  • More extensive use of Information technology in all fields of governance.
  • Making Citizens’ charter more elaborate with clear timelines for delivery of services and related activities as well as identifying the officer responsible for that delivery; further a monthly report on compliance to Citizens’ charter can be placed on the website of the organization.


  • The Government functionaries are part of the society and to that extent are influenced by societal norms.
  • At the same time being part of the governance structure, they have to be more responsible and seen to be above board all the time. There is a strong legal and institutional framework for ensuring probity.
  • It needs to be strengthened and made more effective by nudging people to follow the laws of the land and making punishments for the delinquents very severe.
Public Administration for Social Change


  • Governance became an inevitable evolution in successful governance in the modem era. As a coordinator and service provider, the Governments are required to embrace Information and Communication Technology to meet the demands of their citizens.
  • ‘Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and transparent’ (SMART) Governance became the order of the day to build effective and efficient governance. India is the largest democracy in the world, started adopting e-governance in the 1970s and adopted the change quickly, and progressed towards good governance policy at a rapid speed.


  • The e-Governance aims to make the interaction between government and citizens (G2C), government and business enterprises (G2B), and inter-agency relationships (G2G) convenient, transparent, friendly, effective, and cost-effective.
  • Four phases of e-governance
    • Phase 1- Information; Phase Interaction;
    • Phase III-Transaction;
    • Phase IV-Transformation.
  • To overcome the challenges such as interoperability, infrastructural challenges, digital divide and Covid-19 pandemic, etc., India is taking new initiatives to develop the overall effectiveness of service delivery mechanisms from a citizen’s perspective and trying to bridge the gap between urban and rural e-governance structures.
  • The Government of India introduced the National e-Governance Services Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) framework in August 2019 to assess the effectiveness of the e-Governance initiatives of the different government departments from the central to the local level.
  • The Online Service Index (OSI) of NeSDA is based on the UNDESA e-Govemance survey to develop the e-Governance structure of India at an international standard.

National e-Governance Plan (NeGP)

    • “Make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency& reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man “.
  • The following strategy, approach& methodology is adopted for successful implementation of the NeGP:
    • Common Support Infrastructuressuch as SWANs, SDCs, CSCs, and Electronic Service DeliveryGateways.
    • Suitable governance systems development to monitor and coordinate the implementation of NeGP.
    • Centralised Initiative, Decentralized Implementation.

Public-Private Partnership

  • Integrative elements
  • Programme approach at the National and State levels.
  • Facilitator role of’ DIT IIIimplementation of NeGP by various Ministries and state governments by providing technical assistance.
  • Ownership of Ministries over mission Mode Projects (MMPs)

Digital India Initiative

  • The Digital India Initiative was launched in the year 2015 to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas by promoting investment in digital infrastructure, fostering digital literacy, and expanding online services provision.
  • The vision of the Digital India programme is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by focusing on the following key vision areas:
  • Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
  • Governance & Services On-demand
  • Digital empowerment of citizens
  • Digital India is designed as an umbrella programme that covers multiple Government Ministries and departments. The overall coordination of the Digital India Programme is done by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DietY) with a focus on nine pillars of growth areas,i.e., Broadband Highways; UniversalAccess to Mobile Connectivity;
  • Public Internet Access Programme; e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology;e-Kranti Electronic Delivery of Services; Information for All;
  • Electronics Manufacturing; IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programmes. Each thrust area further has subcomponents and cuts across multiple Ministries and departments.

National e-Governance Services Delivery Assessment (NeSDA)

  • NeSDA was launched to promote the participation of various departments and ministries at the State and Central levels to adopt the e-Government framework in day-to-day functioning.
  • To encourage e-participation of citizens and businesses in policymaking and to help India in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • To provide efficient public service delivery to all levels of the population in the country by reducing the digital divide.
  • To develop innovative and improved public service delivery by developing ICT infrastructure capacity building and to develop a simple single entry point for all e-services at every level of governance i.e., from central to local self-governance.
  • The parameters of assessing under NeSDA are accessibility, ease of use, ‘end service delivery, integrated service delivery, content availability, information security & privacy, and status and request tracking.

E-Governance & Covid-19 Pandemic

  • During the current pandemic, e-governance stepped into the central role as a necessary element of communication, leadership, and coordination between policymakers, administration, and society.
  • Digital technologies established through e-governance initiatives became an important source for sharing knowledge, encouraging collaborative research, and providing transparent guidance to the citizens.
  • E-governance became an important ICT tool for disseminating Covid-19 related data in a more transparent, safe, interoperable, and secure manner.
  • The online database of Covid-19 cases, lockdown guidelines, travel restrictions, locating the vacant beds in the hospitals, oxygen cylinders, financial assistance, and relief distribution, etc., were carried out only through e-governance infrastructure.
  • Jan Dhan Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) delivery system became the main vehicle for the distribution of cash payments, rations of food supplies through the public distribution system, the distribution of the relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan (PMGK) scheme supported the people in the pandemic.
  • AarogyaSetu App and Co-WIN App are the main e-governance tools that supported the citizens and government to trace the Covid patients and manage the vaccination.
  • E-Doctor tele-video consultation facilities have been launched as an alternative to reduce hospital visits. Challenges and Way Forward
  • The scope of the e-governance projects expanded at an unexpected speed during Covid-19, by adding many new features and innovative infrastructure.  The population of India now connected with e-governance can be considered as one of the largest databases in the world having personal information of people.
  • The important challenge ahead of the sudden surge of the ambit of e-governance in the post-Covid scenario is assuring a secure, effective, reliable, transparent system that is reconciled with the basic rights and values guaranteed in the Constitution of India.
  • Another challenge in e-governance is to adopt new methods to decrease the digital divide and to promote inclusive e-governance for achieving the promise, ‘to leave nobody behind.
  • In the post-Covid scenario, the government is required to develop effective e-governance through:
    • Interoperability of e-governance
    • Infrastructure between intergovernmental departments and agencies
    • Developing inclusive e-governance structure to make sure that there is no one is left out
    • Legislating effective data protection
    • Law and administrative regulations
    • Enhancing data security levels to avoid data leakage, misuse, etc.
    • Reducing digital divide by creating an inclusive digital ecosystem, e-literacy for inclusiveness, improving accessibility for higher uptake
    • Mandatory sector-specific service focus to attain
Ushering a Social Revolution
  • Civil Service is vital for the government to function. It’s regarded as the ‘steel frame’ of administration in India from colonial days. The colonial legacy of civil service continues amidst the fast-changing era of globalisation.
  • It is, therefore, indispensable that civil service reforms are carried out as a part of good governance. A reboot and re-orientation of it is needed to ensure effective service delivery.

What is Civil Service?

  • Civil Services refer to the career civil servants who are the permanent executive branch of the Republic of India. It is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country.
  • As India is a parliamentary democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the people’s elected representatives. The elected executive decides the policy and it is civil servants, who serve at the pleasure of the President of India, implement it. However, Article 311 of the constitution protects Civil Servants from politically motivated vindictive action.

Evolution of Civil Services

  • Ancient India: Kautilya’s Arthasastra gives seven basic elements of the administrative apparatus- Swamin (the ruler), Amatya (the bureaucracy), Janapada (territory), Durga (the fortified capital), Kosa (the treasury), Danda (the army), and Mitra (the ally).
  • The higher bureaucracy consisted of the mantrins and the amatyas. While the mantrins were the highest advisors to the King, the amatyas were the civil servants.

Medieval India:

  • During the Mughal era, the bureaucracy was based on the mansabdari system. The mansabdari system was essentially a pool of civil servants available for civil or military deployment.

British India:

  • The big changes in the civil services in British-India came with the implementation of Macaulay’s Report 1835. The report recommended that only the best and brightest would do for the Indian Civil Service to serve the interest of the British Empire.


  • Indian civil services system retained the elements of the British structure like a unified administrative system such as an open-entry system based on academic achievements, permanency of tenure.
  • When India was partitioned following the departure of the British in 1941, the Indian Civil Service was divided between the new dominions of India and Pakistan. The Indian remnant of the ICS was named the Indian Administrative Service, while the Pakistani remnant was named the Pakistan Administrative Service.
  • The modern Indian Administrative Service was created under Article 312(2) in part XIV of the Constitution of India, and the All India Services Act, 1951.

Classification of Services:

  • Part XIV of the Indian Constitution- Services under Union and the States Constitution has not elaborated the types and categories of services. As per the Constitution, the services are categorized into the followings categories:
    • All India Services (AlS)
    • State Services
    • Local and Municipal Services.
  • There are four groups of central, services Central Services Group A(Indian Foreign Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Statistical Service etc.), B (Central Secretariat Service, Geographical Survey of India, Zoological Survey of India etc.), C & D.
  • The highest personnel strength among the entire civil services system in India is with Central Secretariat Service and Indian Revenue Service (IT and C&CE).
  • Civil servants are employees of the Government of India or of the states, but not all employees of the government are civil servants.
  • Latest Developments:
    • The Government of India approved the formation of the Indian Skill Development Service in 2015, Indian Enterprise Development Service in 2016. Further, the Cabinet of India approved merging all civil services under Indian Railways into a single Indian Railways Management Service as part of structural reform in the sector in 2019.

What is Civil Service Reform?

  • Civil Service Reform is a deliberate change effort by the government to improve its capacity to effectively and efficiently execute policies. The purpose of ‘reform’ is to reorient the Civil Services into a dynamic, efficient, and accountable apparatus for public service delivery built on the ethos and values of integrity, impartiality, and neutrality.
  • The reform is to raise the quality of public services delivered to the citizens and enhance the capacity to carry out core government functions, thereby, leading to sustainable development.

Issues/Challenges with Indian Civil Services

  • Poor capacity building
  • Inefficient incentive systems that do not appreciate upright and outstanding civil servants but reward the corrupt and the incompetent
  • Outdated rules and procedures that restrict the civil servant from performing effectively.
  • Systemic inconsistencies empanelment in promotion
  • Lack of adequate transparency and accountability procedures
  • no safety for whistleblowers
  • Arbitrary and whimsical transfers: insecurity in tenures impedes institutionalization
  • Political interference and administrative acquiescence
  • The dominance of few elite services in promotions, work allocations, and assignments

Structural Issues

  • Generalist Vs Specialist: Civil Services was designed to deliver certain core functions: Law and Order; Government programs and realizing Governments’ orders. However, changes/Causes/Reasons mentioned above led to change in the role of the state.
  • New Challenges: Cyber security, complex business, trade, legal aspects—> Hence demand for specialist officers.
  • Further, it is felt that officers from other Specialist Services (Like IRS etc) do not get representation and opportunity to work. -IAS dominates the Civil Services.

Recent Reforms:

  • Mission Karmayogi is aimed at better services delivery to the public.- “governance, performance, and accountability”. lt promises a shift from rules to roles, silos to coordination, interdisciplinary movements, and a continuous capacity building exercise.
  • The focus of the reform is the creation of a ‘citizen-centric civil service’ capable of creating and delivering services conducive to economic growth and public welfare. Accordingly, Mission Karmayogi shifts the focus from “Rule-based training to Role-based training”. Greater thrust has been laid on behavioural change.

The National Programme for Civil Service Capacity Building:

  • Learning resources from the best institutions and practices from across the world while retaining Indian sensibilities and culture. For this, an Integrated Government Online Training- iGOT Karmayogi Platform will be set up.
  • A Public Human Resources Council under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, with Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, eminent HR practitioners, national and international experts would oversee the entire capacity building exercise.
  • An expert body called Capacity Building Commission will be set up to harmonise Training standards, create shared faculty and resources, and have a supervisory role over all Central Training Institutions.
  • A Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV will be set up as Section 8 – Not for Profit Company which will own and manage the iGOT Karmayogi platform. The SPV will own all Intellectual Property Rights on behalf of the Government of India.
  • An appropriate monitoring and evaluation framework will also be put in place for performance evaluation of all users of the iGOT-Karmayogi platform so as to generate a dashboard view of Key Performance Indicators. The iGOT model was tried successfully during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • iGOT-Karmayogi platform is expected to evolve into a vibrant and world-class marketplace for content where carefully curated and vetted digital e-learning material will be made available.
  • Besides capacity building, service matters like confirmation after probation period, deployment, work assignment, and notification of vacancies, etc. would eventually be integrated with the proposed competency framework.
  • To cover around 46 lakh Central employees, a sum of Rs. 510.86 crore will be spent over 5 years from 2020- 21 to 2024-25. It is to be a post recruitment reform across cadres and positions.
  • The mid-career training will now be available to all government staff instead of the top officers alone, and their profile and assessment will be continuous. If there is a need for some special appointment, then authorities can do so by looking at the profile of the officers with the help of technology instead of depending on perceptions.

Salient Features

  • Rules based’ to ‘Roles based’ HR Management. Aligning work allocation of civil servants by matching their competencies to the requirements of the post.
  • To emphasize ‘on-site learning’ to complement the ‘off-site’ learning.
  • To create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure including that of learning materials, institutions and personnel.
  • To calibrate all Civil Service positions to a Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRACs) approach and to create and deliver learning content relevant to the identified FRACs in every Government entity.
  • To make available to all civil servants, an opportunity to continuously build and strengthen their Behavioural, Functional, and Domain Competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths.
  • To enable all the Central Ministries and Departments and their Organizations to directly invest their resources towards co-creation and sharing the collaborative and common ecosystem of learning through an annual financial subscription for every employee.
  • To encourage and partner with the best-in-class learning content creators including public training institutions, universities, start-ups, and individual
  • To undertake data analytics in respect of data emit provided by iGOT Karmayogi of various aspects of capacity building, content creation, user feedback, and mapping of competencies and identify areas for policy reforms.

Capacity Building Commission:

  • A uniform approach to managing and regulating the capacity building ecosystem on a collaborative and co-sharing basis.
  • To assist the PM Public Human Resources Council in approving the Annual Capacity Building Plans.
  • To exercise functional supervision over all Central training Institutions dealing with civil services capacity building.
  • To create shared learning resources- including internal and external faculty and resource centres.
  • To coordinate and supervise the implementation of the Capacity Building Plans with the stakeholder Departments.’
  • To make recommendations on standardization of training and capacity building, pedagogy, and methodology.
  • To set norms for common mid-career training programs across all civil services.
  • To suggest policy interventions required in the areas of HR Management and Capacity Building to the Government.


  • A transformational change in Civil Service Capacity is proposed to be affected by organically linking the transformation of work culture, strengthening public institutions, and adopting modern technology to build civil service capacity with the overall aim of ensuring efficient delivery of services to citizens.
  • The future of the country cannot be progressive without a reformed bureaucracy. Rationalization and harmonization of service may be the need of the hour.
  • The existing 60 plus separate civil services at the central and state level needs to be reduced through rationalization and harmonization of services. Recruits may be placed in a central talent pool, which would then allocate candidates by matching their competencies and the job description of the post.
  • Also, the existing civil servants can be allocated duties in tandem with their academic expertise and practical experience gained at the workplace. The over-emphasis on one-time examination, rank allocation and consequent lifelong privileges should be done away with as elitism should not be the hallmark of the civil servants who are foremost public servants and should be, as far as plausible connected with the people they represent.
  • Civil Service Reforms should realign the outdated structure and culture of the services and forgo its colonial hangover aiming to raise the quality and sensitivity of services to the citizens that are essential for sustainable economic and social development experts.
Power of Human Development


  • Economically, an efficient human capital leads to greater prosperity, higher innovation, and value addition within the economy. Thus, it is a no-brainer that investing in human development is both socially beneficial and economically rewarding.
  • This is also the guiding principle behind the government’s vision and approaches towards
  • India’s public administration- effective and efficient governance that enhances ease of living for its citizenry. The Prime Minister’s mantra of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ has been repeatedly espoused by him with regards to reducing red-tapism and bureaucratic inefficiencies, reducing the overwhelming role and presence of the government wherever unnecessary.

Transforming India’s Public administration

  • The government has made its core agenda to reform and transform India’s public administration apparatus to match the needs and expectations of a rising global economic power.
  • Be it reducing the number of compliances or announcing the formation of a national recruitment agency for conducting exams for government recruitment, this space is undergoing reform unlike any other.
  • In the same context, the Prime Minister recently asserted in the Parliament that the government had no business to be in business- and stressed upon the need for a reduction in bureaucratic procedures where none are required.
  • It is worth mentioning here that the creation of a national recruitment agency (NRA) to conduct examinations for the middle and lower rungs of government service is another example of streamlining public administration within the country and replacing the current web of agencies and examinations.
  • On the back of the technological changes taking place globally, the government’s aggressive push towards digitising governance processes has been widely praised. Beginning with the umbrella campaign, ‘Digital India,’ the country has witnessed a massive surge in digital services, ranging from digital payments to JAM Trinity and DBT.
  • With record low prices of data and record-high consumption of data, India has grown leaps and bounds in terms of digital infrastructure and access to and variety of available digital resources such as SWAYAM portal (online education), e-Aadhaar services, online PAN, Voter card, and Income Tax Return (ITR) services, online banking, and portals like MyGov, DigiLocker, Udyami, and e-visa services.
  • The mammoth network of government presence in digital space is a testament to the importance given by the PM to putting e-governance at work for the common people and simplify governmental processes for them to the extent possible.

Role of Public Sector Enterprises

  • A major marker of government’s presence in the country is the state-owned enterprises commonly known as Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), present in areas ranging from banks to telecom and from insurance to coal.
  • Over the years, the highest echelons of government machinery including the PM, have called for a divestment of the government’s majority share in these enterprises and corporatizing them to achieve higher productivity and promote better business practices in these vast institutions.
  • The government’s ambitious targets on divestment and an impressive result in achieving them in the past bodes well both for the government and the citizens in that it not only reduces government’s costs arising out of administrative functions, monetary leakages, and sub-optimal utilisation of ts resources but also benefit the public through better and more transparent use of taxpayers money and higher competitiveness.


  • Decisions like rapidly disinvesting from sick, underperforming PSUs, setting up a national recruitment agency for government recruitment, promoting the lateral entry of experts into government service, encouraging digitization to improve governance outcomes and bringing government services to the doorstep of India's villages will play a decisive role in ensuring ease of living to Indian citizens while also stemming bureaucratic hurdles, red tape, corruption and policy unpredictability for foreign and domestic investors.
  • Doing this will also take India’s economic and social progress to the grassroots, to the most vulnerable sections of society, thus, truly shaping the future of an emergent global power.

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