Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Civil Services: Constitutional position; Structure, recruitment, training and capacity-building; Good governance initiatives; Code of conduct and discipline; Staff associations; Political rights; Grievance redressal mechanism; Civil service neutrality; Civil service activism.

The evolution and Indianisation of Civil Services has been discussed already in a previous article of this blog,please refer - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/09/evolution-of-indian-administration.html

Today we will discuss the Civil Services since Independence and its current status.


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The term 'Civil Services' covers the large number of permanent officials required to run the Government machinery. The Parliamentary governing system of India entrusts the ultimate responsibility for running the administration with the elected representatives of the people,who are the 'Ministers'. These Ministers are accountable to the Legislature who are also elected by the people on the basis of universal adult franchise. Thus, this whole system ensures that these elected representatives are indirectly responsible to the people at the end.
However the handful of Ministers representing the government of India and states cannot be expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration. So, the Ministers keeping in mind the people's needs for which they have been elected to fulfill,lay down the policies(assisted by the civil servants) and it is for the civil servants to carry out these policies effectively and efficiently putting their specialist,practical and technical administrative experiences to use.

The Constitution through Article 312 adopts specifically the IAS and IPS cadres which had already been created earlier.
It empowers the Union Parliament to create more of such All India Services whenever deemed necessary or expedient in National Interest,provided the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to the effect supported by not less than two thirds of the members present and voting. The Rajya Sabha has been given this privilege because it is composed of the representatives of different states,so its support will ensure the consent of the states to the creation of the new Services. The Indian Forest Services and the Indian Foreign Services are the two All India Services set up under and after this Constitutional provision.
The Constitution also authorises the Parliament to regulate by law,the recruitment and the conditions of services of persons appointed to these services.
For details of this Act - http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_India/Part_XIV#Article_308_.7BInterpretation.7D

The first Public Service Commission was setup in 1926. Courtesy Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel's efforts,  the All India Services was approved and formed with the services of IAS and IPS right at the beginning.  Later on,in 1961 a new All India Services were formed through the Rajya Sabha ,namely,the Indian Forest service.

The All India Services are a creation of certain services common to both - Centre & states. The officers are not exclusive to the Centre or states and may at any time be at the disposal of either.

A member of the civil service in discharge of his/her functions is to be guided by maintaining absolute integrity, allegiance to the constitution and the law of the nation, patriotism, national pride, devotion to duty, honesty, impartiality and transparency.

The Government of India promotes values and a certain standard of ethics of requiring and facilitating every civil servant:
  • To discharge official duty with responsibility, honesty, accountability and without discrimination.
  • To ensure effective management, leadership development and personal growth.
  • To avoid misuse of official position or information.
  • To serve as instruments of good governance and foster social economic development.
Refer for in detail analysis to - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/personnel-administration-importance-of.html under the topic named - Code of Conduct .

Disciplinary action viz. Civil Services has been discussed already on a previous article of this blog under the topic Discipline, please refer to -  http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/personnel-administration-importance-of.html .

Refer here for the above topics in IGNOU notes as well - http://www.scribd.com/doc/86650961/Www-Prep4civils-Com-Pub-Ad-04-Personnel-Admin-Sit-Ration

There are two classes/classifications of services in the country as provided by the Constitution of India:

i) All India Services (IAS,IFS(Forest),IPS) -Appointments to these positions are done by the President Of India. These officials serve both the states and Centres. However their career and graph,service matters and conditions as well as grievances are handled by the Union Govt.

ii) Central Civil Services - Concerned only with the administration of Union Government's Ministries and departments(apart from Union Cabinet Ministries/Departments as that is handled by Cabinet Secretary and his/her office). Group A services are made by the President Of India and Group B officers are appointments are made by the authorities specified by a general or special order of the President.

iii) State Civil Services - For all the respective State ministries and departments.

 For more details on the specific posts of the above mentioned classifications, refer - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Civil_Services_(India)#Central_Civil_Services_.28CCS.29

Under Article 320 of the Constitution of India, the Union Public Service Commission is among other things required to be consulted on all matters relating to recruitment to civil services and posts.
Recruitment is made by one of the following methods:

i) Direct Recruitment - Conducted broadly under the following two methods:
a) Recruitment by competitive examination followed by interview . The former aims at judging the level of intelligence and academic learning and the latter attempts to make a measure of the qualities of personality and character.
b) Recruitment by selection through interview only.

ii) Promotion - From Group B to Group A,from one grade to another,etc.

iii) Transfer - Transfer on deputation(for a short period) or permanently between centre and centre officials or Central and state officials.

The UPSC conducts recruitment to the All India Services as well as the Central Civil Services, and the State Public Service Commissions conduct the recruitment to the State Civil Services.

Please refer to topic 'Recruitment' in - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/personnel-administration-importance-of.html

Young recruits to the Indian Civil,Police & Foreign services are given a five months foundational course at the National Academy at Mussourie(LBSNAA) and then special training in the training institutions which is service oriented for their respective services. The IAS stay behind in the academy to undergo further institutional training,and the IPS and IFS leave for their respective training institutions.The idea behind the five month foundational course is to instill in the officers of the higher services an understanding of the constitutional,economic and social framework within which they have to function as these largely determine the policies and programmes towards the framing and execution of which they will have to make their contribution,besides acquainting them with the machinery of the Government and the broad principles of Public Administration,aims and obligations of the Civil services and ethics of the profession.  The IAS service matters and conditions of service are managed by the Ministry of Personnel and Training.

After the IAS officers complete their training,they are sent to the state(allotted through cadre) for practical training. At the end of this training,he has to come back to the Academy for a second spell of training where emphasis is placed on the discussion of administrative problems encountered or observed by the probationer during his state tenure(which is one year). At the end of this second spell,the probationer has to sit for another UPSC exam before being given charge of a district sub-division.

The same follows for the IPS(under Union Home Ministry) and IFS(under Ministry of External affairs),after they finish their institutional training for their respective services which is for about one year,they again have to go through a UPSC exam before they are posted to their respective offices that are allotted to them.

For top Government and Business executives,the Administrative Staff College,Hyderabad provides a 4 month course for development of executive and managerial practices of administrators that helps effectively carry out administration of various national as well as international development programmes in this LPG era.
Many training schools have been set up in several States to train recruits to the higher levels of
the state services.
Refresher trainings are also provided from time to time (15 years in service officers) through the Indian Institute of Public Administration for capacity building of the civil servants and also a number of measures have to be taken ,and ,are in fact being taken for simplification of rules and procedures, delegation of enhanced powers,better enforcement and accountability and speedy redress of public grievances.
This as well as Promotion,Performance Appraisal and pay and service conditions of civil servants has been discussed in detail in previous posts of this blog,refer - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/accountability-and-control-concepts-of.html

The lack of a sound and integrated training policy for employees is a major flaw and there is no direct connection between training and promotion therefore administrators are not encouraged to go in for trainings. Also the training modules and content need to be according to the times as well as the changing socio-economic climate of the society and administration to be relevant.

The Central Civil Services too attend a five month foundational course at the LBSNAA and other Central Training Institutes before they are sent to trainig for their respective services,they are unifunctional in nature so their syllabus differs from that of the All India Services and is concerned more regarding their work. He is also given practical training and at the end of it he has to pass a departmental examination in the subjects directly related to his work before he is sent for his first posting in that respective department that is under his cadre. The FInance Ministry takes care of their service matters and conditions of service.

Also refer for in depth analysis - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/personnel-administration-importance-of.html


 Good Governance as a concept has been discussed earlier in the posts on this blog, for that please refer - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/07/wilsons-view-of-public.html

There is as such no definition of good governance, however it is a type of performance calculator of a government of a country on the basis of certain parameters of a government functioning that protects and encourages human rights in a country. As specified by UNESCAP those parameters are - whether the governance of a country is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective & efficient, equitable & inclusive and follows the rule of law.

The World Bank has identified three discrete aspects of governance which needs to be emphasized for reform: “i) the form of political regime; ii) the process by which authority is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development; and iii)the capacity of government to design, formulate and implement policies and discharge functions." This again establishes the close link between democracy, economic development and good governance.

So now,as we can see from the above that civil services is a very pivotal part of good governance and so civil services reforms are a part of Good Governance. There have been many reforms as such :
i) Right to Information Act

ii) E- Governance , National Knowledge Commission

iii) Committee on civil services reforms ( P.C. Hota Committee) -  emphasized the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform Government by making it more accessible, effective and accountable. It stressed on the need to recognize that e-governance is about discarding old procedures and transforming the process of decision-making and that technology is merely a tool and a catalyst for such transformations. Significantly, the concept of public-private partnerships has been recognized as a guiding principle to that end.

iv) Prime Minister's award for excellence in the field of Public Administration

v) Citizens Charter

vi) Increase in pay through sixth pay commission

vii) First Administrative Reforms Commission- Recommended especially on recruitment, recruitment agencies, training, promotion, service conditions, etc. &
Second Administrative reform Commission - Headed by Veerappa Moily has recommended that the subject of Public Administration/Governance be made mandatory for aspiring civil servants, besides setting up National Institutes of Public Administration and the Central Services Authority. The Government of India has come up with a draft Public Services Bill (2007) that aims to change the nature of the civil services as well as face the challenges to governance in the context of complex global challenges. This paper presents an overview of the changing nature of civil services in India in the post-Independence period with emphasis on the reforms and the challenges ahead.

viii) Aadhar or Unique Identification Authority of India

ix) Many Election reforms through the Election Commission

x) Expenditure Reforms Commission -  that emphasized on a drastic downsizing of the government staff strength for securing modern and professional governance and also reducing the increasing salary bill of the Government of India.

xi) The D.S. Kothari Committee Report on Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods, 1976, interalia recommended a major change in the examination system. It recommended a two-stage examination process – a preliminary examination followed by a main examination. This Committee also suggested changes in the training pattern for the civil services.

The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances has proposed a framework for good governance in the form of a Code of Governance. The main components of this Code are: (i)improving service delivery; (ii) development of programmes for weaker sections and backward areas; (iii) technology and system improvement; (iv) financial management and budget sanctity; (v)accountability and transparency; (vi) public service morale and anti-corruption; and (vii) incentivizing reforms.

This has been covered in the following post under the topic of Employer-Employee relations - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/personnel-administration-importance-of.html

Already discussed in http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/administrative-law-meaning-scope-and.html under the topic of Tribunals.

One of the foundational pillars of an effective,competent and corruption free civil service is for it to be neutral & fearless in its approach & faithful to the Constitution(the people) while carrying out their duties , and not soliciting for patronage from any party for vested interests.

 The founding fathers of the Constitution wisely provided, by making provisions in Part XIV of the Constitution, for apolitical and independent civil services, with requisite
protection for service matters that pertain to both the Union and the states.
This is enhanced through the Constitution of India through the practice of Ministerial accountability to the Lok Sabha for administrative action.
The concept of neutrality has three implications: (i) public confidence in the non-political character of public service, (ii) confidence of ministers belonging to any political party in the loyalty of the permanent subordinates, and (iii) high morale of public servants based on the confidence that promoting would be made not on the basis of political considerations but on merit. This was developed in Britain Switzerland and other countries that follow British pattern of administration.

Unfortunately, political interference and administrative acquiescence has severely dented the professional fibre of the service,reason being civil servants being in fear of regular transfers if not giving into the political masters and the politicians not allowing these civil servants to do their jobs due to their vested interests and initiate unnecessary disciplinary actions and transfers and using them as a tool against honest and upright civil servants who do not bow down to their unholy demands.

Still, the solution to this rests upon the Public servant's shoulders more. Civil Servants have to bring a new orientation to rules by which the everyday conduct of public affairs has to be regulated. Civil servants have much to contribute to the shaping and not just implementation of the policy.They should remain upright with full integrity and perform their duties even if it means a transfer. And if wrongly charged,then approach the grievance redressal mechanisms(legal as well as constitutional) and courts in the proper protocol and fight against the injustice,because in the end the truth alone will triumph.

Complaints to CVC(which is only an advisory body and requires permission of the respective Ministry/department for direction to CBI to investigate),CBI,Police or Lokayuktas can be done regarding erring Bureaucrats or Ministers, however all these organisations come under the control of the Centre/Union and states and therefore this is the big lacunae causing people to fear consulting it.

These organisations need to be made independent of political functioning in order to have an effective anti-corruption machinery in India.

However, one should not lose hope and approach these as and when required,because if one is persevering then justice can be achieved.

A strong Lokpal Bill will also bring in a lot of hope,but unfortunately this too is being dilly-dallied due to vested interests.

A good Whistleblower Protection Bill  is the need of the hour to ensure civil service neutrality as well as civil service activism. The Whistleblower protection Bill has been in consideration since a long time by the Union Cabinet,however it is yet to get a face.

Civil service activism includes all steps like for eg. civil servants holding public meetings, asking for feedbacks, making people aware of their rights, ensuring quality of goods and services provided by the govt is up to the mark, inspection, monitoring, reports, and taking a strict stand against policies or decisions of their ministers that are against his constitutionally specified duties,and bringing in major reforms and overhauling in the office he/she has been allotted to and its management,making it people-centric and transparent.
A very good example of this at the present moment is that of CAG of India Mr. Vinod Rai and his reports on 2G as well as the Coal allocations/licences in the Parliament.
Another good example of earlier times of such activism can be given of Mr. T.N Seshan,the former Chief Election Commissioner who was largely successful in ending electoral malpractices in India and making the Election Commission a powerful,efficient and transparent body.
Madam Kiran Bedi is another shining example of Police reforms during her stint as an IPS officer.

Do refer to this very informative press release by The Hindu Newspaper - http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article2532180.ece

This article ends here.


The next chapter of the UPSC Mains syllabus i.e. - 

Financial Management:
Budget as a political instrument; Parliamentary
control of public expenditure; Role
of finance ministry in monetary and fiscal
area; Accounting techniques; Audit; Role
of Controller General of Accounts and
Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

has already been discussed in detail in a previous article of this blog,so please refer to - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/financial-administration-monetary-and.html (for the topics -
Budget as a political instrument; Role
of finance ministry in monetary and fiscal
area; Audit;
Comptroller and Auditor General of India) ,

For the topic - Role of Controller General of Accounts and Accounting Techniques, refer to - http://www.cga.nic.in/ , http://www.cga.nic.in/html/Vision_and_Mission.htm , http://finmin.nic.in/the_ministry/dept_expenditure/controller_general_accounts/index.asp , , http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/India_to_change_format_of_government_accounting_-nid-56256-cid-TNI.html & http://www.indiastudychannel.com/resources/142585-Accrual-Accounting-India.aspx


Regarding the topic - Parliamentary/Legislative control over Public Expenditure , refer to - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/accountability-and-control-concepts-of.html

Financial administration is the higher level or the father figure of Financial Management. It concerns itself with the overall determination of policies, setting of major objectives, the identification of general purposes and laying down of broad programmes and projects. It provides the guidance, leadership & control of the efforts of the groups towards some common goals.
It is done through elected representatives of people,that is Ministers and Parliament assisted by civil servants.

Whereas, Financial Management involves conceiving, initiating and bringing together the various elements; coordinating, actuating, integrating the diverse organizational components while sustaining the viability of the organization towards some pre-determined goals layed down by Financial Administration. In other words, it is an art of getting things done through & with the people in formally organized groups.
Financial Management (which is carried out through the Finance Ministry's Department of Expenditure) is concerned with what happens after the political and legislative processes are done with , and finance/revenue has been appropriated as per the Budget. It is concerned with the employment of management techniques of financial management in disbursing,accounting and auditing of the finance/revenue given out to the requisite departments and ministries for implementation/administration of the Budget under the aegis of the Finance Ministry.
This Financial management is carried out through the civil servants (recruited through UPSC to the Central Civil Services Group A - Indian Audits & Accounts Service who are known as the Principal Accountant General(Audit functions) and Accountant General ( Accounts) in each state. Bigger states may have an additional Accountant General -Audit as well) and their secretariat offices in the respective Ministries/Departments, and the CGA(Controller General of Accounting) of India & the CAG Of India . The civil servants,in charge of accounts compile the reports of accounts and submit to the CGA who then submits his reports to the Finance Ministry, and, the CAG for audit so that these both reports can be presented in Parliament by the President and by the Governor in the state Legislative Assembly.
The Audit officers of the states submit their report to the CAG who audits it at his level once more along with the CGA's Accounts reports and provides for it to be tabled in the Parliament by the President and in the state Legislative assembly by the Governor for review by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee and the Parliamentary proceedings thereafter.
Please refer to - http://finmin.nic.in/the_ministry/dept_expenditure/index.asp

The next article on this blog will cover:

Administrative Reforms since Independence:
Major concerns; Important Committees and
Commissions; Reforms in financial management
and human resource development;
Problems of implementation.


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