4 Ways Civil Services Could Be Improved In India [Talent Management]

Posted on October 5, 2010 in Specials

By Anurag Butoliya:

In 2009, a Hong Kong based Political and Economic risk consultancy said that the Indian bureaucracy is the worst in Asia. It didn’t come to me as a surprise. An average Indian who has had its face off with the government channel would easily empathize that the Indian system of governance is best described as a flawed system. It is a system where the bureaucrats hold the epicenter of power; their actions on the large scale are unquestionable. It is like a steel cage which is neither pliable nor amiable. Our bureaucratic system is one which resists change. It is like a living organism which produces antibodies when it faces an infection of criticism. What makes the whole system an inefficient one? Here are a few points to ponder.

1) A very general entry scheme

The sole requirement of getting into civil services is to have a graduate degree in any disciple. One needs to appear in the highly competitive UPSC civil services examination. On successful completion of all the 3 stages of the examination one becomes a member of coveted IAS, IRS, IPS cadres etc. Most of candidates selected, at later stage of their bureaucratic career are involved in policy making. To make their contribution more viable a cadre specific candidate approach may work out to be better than the existing model. So a candidate trained in commerce becomes eligible for IRS. Such a subject specific model could help in the better profiling of the country’s civil servants making them more productive, which may help them to serve the country better.

2) No Lateral Entry Scheme

There is a pool of talented professionals who excel in their careers as educationalists, policy critics, engineers etc. Most of them would be pleased to render their knowledge and expertise for the benefit of nation. However the current system does not have a lateral entry scheme. Thus most of the talented pool may join the government as experts in their own domain, but it is at the discretion of bureaucratic machinery to accept their comments or not. Thus a scheme in which the experts could devise and implement policies in the shoes of civil servants would certainly be a more pragmatic and viable approach.

3) No Human Resource Development Cell

Every corporation big or small has a dedicated Human Resource Department whose purpose is to align the employee’s personal targets to the corporation’s targets which in turn would steer the organization forward. Its functions also include positioning an employee for the correct job so that the cost benefit ratio for the organization tends to be maximum. In the balance sheet of our system a civil servant is on the side of liability and not the asset. A clear vision for career development tends to be missing in the current system. A HRD cell or a similar department would benefit the civil servant for his/her career escalation.

4) No Performance Incentives

The current system follows an automatic promotion scheme. Our system assumes that the person joining in as civil servants are all the same in caliber and in their discharge of duties and responsibility. This assumption is not correct. There would always be some individuals who would perform very well relative to their peers. Performance based incentives would help in developing an efficient and self sustaining system.

The examination for Civil services ( UPSC) is one of the toughest in the world and only the brightest minds get selected. We need to capitalize on the talent to build a system that is efficient and pragmatic. The most coveted profession of the country needs reforms so that the “chosen ones” can deliver to the best of their abilities.

The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.