…Our country needs very young civil servants, inducted at the age of 18 to 21, who could be groomed according to the needs of the service at an early age and can be tracked for their performance in their initial and formative years in service. There should be a brainstorming session to take certain historical decisions.…
For over a decade or so, India has already lost out a lot of its young talent of highest degree to Multi National Companies. The reason: it seems a lucrative, favourable option for those aspiring to grow on the ground of their merit, hard-work and zeal. The only parallel available in India – civil services – have lost its shine, the outdated, not so effective pattern of exams, the Sarkari work culture thereafter etc. Looked from this perspective, UPSC, though belatedly, has rightly suggested replacement of existing Preliminary with an Aptitude test to examine candidates for future challenges that lives in civil services demand. The focus of test on ethical and moral dimensions of decision making would be a check on those willing to enter the ranks for vested-interest and individual growth rather than public service delivery. The proposal, if implemented, could be the first step to draw dedicated, meritorious and laborious youth to the highest sarkari service of the land.
Well, the long overdue changes in the civil services exams should be seriously considered now. UPSC’s statement reflects just this: “Careers in public service have become more attractive in the context of a better emoluments regime, as also on account of the changes in the global economic scenario. This places a responsibility on the government system to tailor procedures and careers to suit the newer vistas.” We already have recommendations of various committees on reforming various aspects of this elite service. To begin with, a change in the age criteria is needed. Our country needs very young civil servants, inducted at the age of 18 to 21, who could be groomed according to the needs of the service at an early age and can be tracked for their performance in their initial and formative years in service. UPSC Chairman, Professor DP Agrawal’s proposal for a reduction in number of attempt to students from rural background, however, is not adequate. The recruitment of young officers has more to do with educational eligibility to take the test. What’s needed is reduction of eligibility criterion; allow a 10+2 passed to take the exams instead of a university graduate so that they already have more experience and expertise, tracked and appraised, before they take up charge of a district.
To make the civil servants more responsible to people and more efficient, and to maintain repute linked with the job, there should be a brainstorming session to take certain historical decisions. Should we continue with the Generalistic character of the job or move to Specialised one (after a certain period in service) for using the talent and experience in a better way? Should Civil Services be a job running a full 30 years or it should be reduced to 20 years of service and even in that, there ought to be a regular, more effective performance appraisal? Can performance incentives, pay-packages and promotions in the job can be as optimistic and full of possibilities as they are in MNCs? For real reforms, all such issues have to be tackled. It’s foolish to believe that a short service term or specialized nature of job or a tough appraisal can repel meritorious candidates? It will, on the contrary, check entry of complacent elements. Performers perform any where, under any circumstances. What they want are good salaries and judicious career growth. Do away with political interference. Intelligent ways have been suggested for that, too.