In his two-part article, “Lateral intrusion” (Eight-9 September), Ashok Kapur seeks to thwart the entry of any outsider, apart from the IAS, “for ‘prize’ positions of prestige and authority” inside the authorities. Convinced as he is that the IAS alone is “trained and experienced exclusively for senior positions in the government”, he appears to be out of step with the events.
He chooses to ignore with disdain the concerted enchantment reworked the earlier 60 years by some distinguished members of the ICS and IAS along with Administrative Reform Commissions, Pay Commissions and expert our our bodies of the massive potential options of inducting relevant officers from amongst different corporations and technocrats, professionals and entrepreneurs from outdoor into better administrative echelons.
India has endured with an earlier, colonial bureaucratic building ~ chubby and parasitical, producing a thicket of pink tape, the civil service rising as a corps d’ elite, the model new class, “privileged persons divorced from the people and standing above the people”. The administration has been the Achilles’ heel, impeding the nation’s talent to ship.
The IAS, on the pattern of the ICS, has been inside the vanguard. As seen by Jawaharlal Nehru the ICS had some wonderful individuals, however it was “a symbol of inequality, casteism and amateurish dilettantism in our administration”. While the duties it faces are these of the 21st century, the IAS continues to be principally based on the earlier thought of the ‘amateur’, ‘all-rounder’, or ‘generalist’. This is clearly antithetical to public administration. The system is particularly fragile on the better ranges, bereft of administration inside. Chaucer said centuries up to now, “If gold shall rust, what will iron do”?
A century up to now, the federal authorities’s duties have been primarily passive and regulatory. Now it is engaged in a way more vigorous and constructive engagement in public affairs ~ location of a model new airport, purchasing for navy supplies, pre-empting the looming scourge of native climate change, fostering the brave new world of digital revolution, inserting new vitality protection.
These duties identify for civil servants to make use of latest methods of analysis, administration and coordination. The Government’s overtures to unshackle the financial system from legal guidelines and controls demand a structural, actually surgical, transformation in its gadgets of governance. Law and order itself has transform an important administration disadvantage and it has a distant relation with development. Tribal, Dalit and gender politics have led to a development catastrophe.
Compared to the earlier, public administration and Parliament need bigger foresight in problems with land development, the transport system and totally different sources. India’s post-1991 monetary liberalization protection positioned the civil service in a model new trajectory, accelerating its tempo of change and calling for very important modifications.
Senior civil servants are referred to as upon to barter with multinational corporations, testing their communication skills, and knowledge of worldwide economics and commerce. The new compulsions identify for a departure from the prevalent generalist custom of the civil service.
A key drawback is that specialists proceed to be underrepresented and under-valued the least bit ranges of presidency. It was the specialist knowledge of the chief veterinary officer that made him ~ and by no means the secretary of state or eternal secretary ~ most likely probably the most trusted provide of advice all through the foot-andmouth catastrophe in 2001.
Civil servants for the time being should preserve tempo with the speedy development of information and they need to buy new methods to make use of the an identical. The Civil Service should be staffed by men and women who’re actually expert, with two principal attributes ~ one, the job-skill from teaching and sustained experience; second, the basic knowledge of a particular subject. A generalist is one who’s acutely aware of the tactic and processes involved in a producing facility or a technical endeavor or in administration, nevertheless he is not an expert. A specialist or an expert is an individual whose specific teaching makes him an authority in a particular topic. The use of the specialist in authorities finds its most vigorous expression inside the American Civil Service.
The skills wished to handle an infinite continent, to develop its pure sources, to promote social and monetary growth have been specialised skills. The specialists inside the British system have made some notable options in science corporations, in public enterprises and inside the welfare corporations. In the US, a generalist service recruited by aggressive examination and sometimes referred to as the Junior Management Service has been created. The authorities inside the UK encourages departments and firms to advertise for posts the least bit ranges, along with most likely probably the most senior.
There may also be a substantial diploma of exchanges from and to the Civil Service, interchange of staff between departments and between the departments and firms. The British bureaucratic building, which India has adopted, is in tune with the Fulton Committee’s denunciation of “the cult of the generalist” based on the Northcote-Trevelyn and Macaulay critiques.
It has launched important enhancements inside the civil service ~ govt corporations for specific corporations like prisons, coast guard, passport workplaces, which carry out as firm enterprise entities, each beneath a CEO (a number of them from the personal sector) accountable to the Minister. Examples abound in India of the system producing a nonexpert minister assisted typically by a non-expert secretary to whom a non-expert head of division is adviser.
Senior engineers or totally different specialists are referred to as upon to transient civil servants in regards to the intricacies of the work and in writing minutes on straightforward technical points. Dr KL Rao, whereas analysing the chief working of the DVC, found that non-technical administrators remained on the prime rung of the problem; there was no chief engineer for years; abroad consultants have been launched in to advise the non-technical administrators on the prime. As Cabinet Secretary, B.G. Deshmukh pleaded that “appointing people from outside at senior levels on contract basis would be invigorating for the civil service as a whole”. Indeed, an optimum share of generalists and specialists in India’s civil service has been advocated for over sixty years.
Realising the important need for senior specialist officers to steer the federal authorities’s monetary agenda, the Central Administrative Pool was put in place in 1957 for construct up a reserve of officers with specific experience of economic administration. Pretty rapidly it was lowered to irrelevance. An Administrative Reforms Commission was prepare in November 1965. It actually useful that each one competent Class I officers from all corporations must have entry to middle and senior administration posts inside the Secretariat, that need for the generalist get changed by a need for people who’ve acquired competence inside the topic concerned.
The ARC-I spelt out eight fields of specialization ~ monetary, industrial, agricultural and rural development, social and tutorial administration, personnel, financial, defence and inside security, and planning. It emphasised that specialization in skills and knowledge be constructed up inside the corporations by allowing people to proceed notably areas or fields of administration for a minimal interval of Eight-10 years.
The Surendra Nath Committee, 2003 likewise confused the importance of providing “domain expertise”. It carved out eleven domains for officers beneath the Central Staffing Scheme. It envisaged that officers may be assigned a most of three domains.
The undertaking of domains may probably be integral to the empanelment course of at Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary ranges.
(The writer is Senior Fellow, Asian Institute of Transport Development, and former CMD, Container Corporation of India)
(To be concluded)
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