Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

“Catch them young” for government services & give them job-oriented training

“For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation”  Shri C. Rajagopalachari

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.”  Anne Bradstreet

The saddest part of life right now is that science gather knowledge faster than society gains wisdom”.  Isaac Asmov

Introduction – Bureaucracy is the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. Weakening of this pillar may spell disaster [ii] More the challenges and problems to be tackled, the more pressure there on the civil services or bureaucracy, as it is responsible for implementation of plans and policies of the government. Therefore as Shri C. Rajagopalachari suggests, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, a nation needs to place right type of men, at right places and on right time. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation”

Right type of Men at right places – The quality and success of day today governance depend on the nature, behavior, systems and working style of the government services. Civil servants, not only dig expert knowledge from the raw material, but give it a shape with a sense of commitment. Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in governance to improve quality of service, the responsibility of political chiefs becomes exceedingly formal in matter of governance. Political representatives/Ministers are forced to listen the advice of the bureaucrats.

On recruitment policy rests good governance – Implementation of   policies and plans purposefully and achievement of targeted goals within time and cost parameters depends on the recruitment policy of government. The report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel, appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA in 1935 says, “No element of career service is more important than the recruitment policy.” Gladden also points out that on recruitment rests, “The nature and degree of the usefulness of administrative machinery, to the service of which the human elements are dedicated” [iv] Any laxity in initial recruitment of Government Services jeopardizes the objective and pushes the developmental goals behind. No amount of training or coaching, pre or post, can convert the inherent weaknesses into strength within a short period. Today’s faulty selection could create tomorrow’s organizational problem.

Study of Job requirements a must for recruitments at every level – Before working on recruitment policy, a thorough study needs to be done on job requirements, in the context of present and future roles.  The candidates should be selected on the basis of their capabilities, attitudes, aptitude and adaptability to meet the position profile.  The focus should not be only on job skills, but on attitude and behavior as well.

‘Merit concept’ for recruitment in career services -The need for a sound recruitment policy was first realized by China, centuries ago, which started the adoption of merit principle based on competitive examination.  Prussia was the first country, in modern times, to evolve a sound recruitment system.  Later on, the principle of merit was adopted by India in 1853, Britain in 1857 and U.S.A. in 1883 (through Civil Service Act of 1883).  Now almost all the nations accept that a good selection in positive term provide the Government with the right type of officials to implement its plans, policies and programs in a systematic and purposeful manner.

System of selection of civil servants in India

The recruitment and education and training system of bureaucrats in India has been evolved after a very long experience. It has been developed under the rule of –

  1.  East India Company’s Rule
  2. British Imperial rule &
  3. Independent India

System of selection & training of new recruits under East India Company

During East India Company’s rule (a trading and profit- making concern), the foundation of the present administrative structure were laid under the regimes of Warren Hasting and Lord Cornwallis. It was done when there was a change in role of civil servants, from merchants to statesman, from traders to Governors, Judges & Magistrates.

Lord Cornwallis (1786) drew the attention of the Directors of the Company towards the necessity of creating proper system of the selection and training of its officials.

  • Method of selection – There had been different opinions on the matter of selecting the administrators. Some preferred military men and thought them to be best qualified for the job of administration, while others thought that administrative posts should be exclusively filled by civilians. It was argued that noblemen, carrying with them the impression of high rank and birth, having served the Company for some time and possessing local knowledge and acquaintance with the affairs and people of India, should alone be appointed. However the rulers preferred to employ the most loyal persons for its administrative work. It gave rise to spoil system/patronage system of recruitment.

Started with Spoil/Patronage system of recruitment –  Ultimately the system of selection started with Spoil system. During the period of 1805-1855, individual Directors of the East India Company nominated in to its Covenanted Services in India, sons of the members of the Indian Civil and Military Services and those belonging to Aristocratic families in U.K.  . Usually they were educated at Oxford and Cambridge Universities – then considered to be an ICS nursery. The pre-entry education, thereafter, was followed by a training course at Haileybury College. This period has, therefore, rightly been called a period of “spoil system” ii.

However this system was not found satisfactory. Therefore, Spoil/Nomination system was abolished in 1855 by the Parliament in England. it was decided that the induction would be through competitive examinations of all British subjects, without distinction of race. The direct recruitment by competitive examination was envisaged with the idea that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding senior positions.

  • System of formal and on-job training after selection Lord Wellesley (1798-1805) felt the need of a systematic program of training to develop personality and administrative capacity of its civil servants. He pointed out that civil servants were coming to India at an immature age of eighteen years or so, without being given any regular training in administration. He put into effect his plan by opening a college at Fort Williams on 24th April, 1800, for this purpose without even waiting for the sanction of the Directors. It trained the  young recruits to the civil services in Indian Affairs – the systems of government, social conditions, languages and prevalent traditions. 

Though the Directors of the Company disapproved his action, they nevertheless gave it a consideration, as a result of which hey established their own training institution known as “East Indian College” at Haileybury in England on 12th May, 1805. It gave training to Covenanted (higher) Civil Servants, India.  This college was given a statutory status by a charter in 1813 and was maintained by a Board of Control.  The new recruits required to spend two years in England, in order to strengthen their general education and to have their first acquaintance with Indian languages, laws and history.  According to Charter of 1813, the candidates were appointed only after attending four terms at Haileybury College and getting a certificate from its Principal that their conducts were satisfactory. 

The special feature of this period was a rigid and complete exclusion of Indians from the higher civil services.  It was clearly laid down officially, in 1793, that all higher posts in administration, worth more than £ 500 a year, in salary, were to be held by Englishmen.

Just before the Crown took over the charge – On 12 April 1853 William Gladstone, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, commissioned a review of the Civil Service to be carried out by the Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, Charles Trevelyan, assisted by Sir Stafford Northcote, a former civil servant at the Board of Trade (who later was to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer). Northcote and Trevelyan’s report was published in February 1854 and recommended a system of examination ahead of entry and promotion on merit through open competition. It was, as historian Lord Hennessy has stated, “the greatest single governing gift of the nineteenth to the twentieth century: a politically disinterested and permanent Civil Service with core values of integrity, propriety, objectivity and appointment on merit, able to transfer its loyalty and expertise from one elected government to the next”.[iii]

The suggestion was further strengthened and Macauley in his Report submitted in November 1854 worked out the details of the system. Macauley recommended for an open competitive examination, which should be conducted by an independent body. The procedures needed to be open, transparent and generally trouble free. Idea of direct recruitment through competitive examination was envisaged with the purpose that talented persons could be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding crucial positions in the government. Consequently, In 1854, an Act was passed to stop admissions to Halsbury College from January, 1856.  In June 1858, the College was closed.

Board of Control made arrangements for competitive examination for three years – 1855 to 1857 – replacing the system of social and economic privilege as the basis for recruitment.  From 1858 onwards, the British Civil Service Commission was given the charge of the competitive examinations to select suitable officials for civil services. 

Creation of British Civil Service Commission –  In order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission was created in 1855. It was given charge to select well-equipped and intellectually brilliant officials through competitive examination. every year.

From 1926 onwards, the newly formed public service commission was constituted for India and it began to conduct ICS examination on behalf of British Civil Service Commission.  This position continued till 1937, when the Public Service Commission (India) was replaced by Federal Service Commission under Government of India Act 1935.  After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was stopped.

System of selection under the rule of Crown

After taking over over the charge from East India Company in1858, the British Government felt that Favoritism, patronage or promotion of personal interests in recruitment was depriving the Government of the services of bright youth, who otherwise could have been selected. Civil Services were not the conglomeration of individuals or groups. It should comprise people with talent, integrity, dedication and apolitical and impartial approach. 

Also the Rulers felt, If a succession of men of great talent and virtues cannot be found, or if the operation of any influence or party feelings and principles prevents their being chosen, we (the British) must reconcile ourselves to the serious hazards of the early decline, if not the loss of the great power, we have founded in the east.[iv] Therefore  British Government desired to have a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative framework.

Basic ingredients of the system of selectionDuring Imperial rule the recruiting and controlling authority of civil services in India was ‘Secretary of State’.  The basic ingredients of this system were:

  • Selection of really brilliant young people – the calibre of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition.
  • An intensive training program for new recruits– An intensive training either formal or informal for two years; and
  • Stress on Field Duties – Actual field work for at least a period of five to seven years, during which officials were supposed to be fully moulded to suit the needs of the organization, they were serving.
  • Restrictions on Indians to join higher services Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 clearly stated, “It is our further will that so far as may be, our subjects of whatever race or creed, be freely impartially admitted to the offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge.[v]

But as Lord Lytton, in his confidential document had said, We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straight forward course.[vi] Illbert Bill controversy proves that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.British deliberately kept Indians at bay. To do so, the competitive examination was held only in England up to 1922. It was difficult for Indians to bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad for examination, especially when there were extremely remote chances of succeeding in that examination..

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they hazards were pursuing with regard to White-man’s superiority in Civil Service. The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigor of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule  and any other rule being  in the circumstances of the case impossible.  The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.[vii]

Competitive examinations center in India too – Post 1919 period witnessed the intensification of national movements, .  This had a dampening effect on the attraction for the higher services in India as a career service for the British youths.  All the attempts to attract them felt that and the number of British Officers began to decline. Along with it, the increasing demand of Indians for greater Indian participation in  administration, forced the British rulers to include India simultaneously with that of England, as one of the competitive examinations centers for civil services from 1922 onwards. It gave opportunities to more and more Indians to join  elite services like ICS/IP or Imperial Services.

Intensification of the nationalist movement also led the British rulers to abolish  many “All India  Services” (total 9 existing at that time), especially those dealing with service functions. Only ICS and IP, engaged in control functions, were allowed to continue. With it, they delegated the authority to Provincial governments to recruit personnel for their respective Provincial civil services, and organize the functioning of those activities.

Intensive training program to shape new recruits during British era In order to maintain the standard, dignity and honour of the services, the new entrants were given either formal training or on-the job training during probationary period. Since the functions of maintaining law and order situation intact and revenue collection were vital for British Government, they paid special attention to the training of ICS and IP Officers only. So far as recruits of other services were concerned, they were directly  posted on specific posts  for a varying probation period. It was considered sufficient for picking the threads and be shaped to their specific roles.

  • Foundation Training program for ICS officers – The Foundation training period for ICS officers selected from UK centre was for two years. The new recruits were treated as probationers. In order to strengthen the general education, trainee officers were taught law, history (idea of the background of Indian political history and cultural evolution, the foundation and development of British Administration and the economic history of the country)  and the language of the state to which the officers were allotted. From 1937, it was reduced from two to one year.

Longer probation period for candidates selected from India centre – Three years of rigorous foundational training was arranged for the civil servants selected from the Indian centre (Delhi) after 1922. They were required to undergo one more years training in one of the four universities of UK- Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin. The purpose of longer probation period for Indians in Britain, was to bring Indian recruits in close touch with British way of life, give them an opportunity to broaden their outlook by being attached to a British University and to maintain uniformity, standard, dignity and honour of the services.

The real intention of the rulers was to train in such a way that they “should ….. be Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.” No doubt, the rigorous training system for them had broaden the outlook of Indian recruits, developed their sense of duty as administrators and loyalty to the Government.

The Indian officials had to appear in two examinations at end of their probation in U.K., while their British counterparts, selected from London center, appeared only in one examination.  In all other matters like emolument and privileges, the Indian ICS officials got equal treatment, as was given to their British counterpart. 

  • Stress on on-the-job training – British firmly believed that there are certain things, which could be learnt only by experience in the work place and not from books or training lectures. They considered that “if the recruitment is properly done, he should have the capacity to become a good bureaucrat. But what constitutes of being a good bureaucrat is something he has still to learn and it can only be learnt by experience, for it is a long of things, which never get into books”. 

Probationary period, while on job – British government had provided suitable atmosphere conducive to  effective learning for improving performance, while on-the job during probation period. During this period new appointees  were supposed to be fully molded to suit the needs of the organization, they were serving. The purpose of a probationary period was to allow a specific time period for the employee and employer to assess suitability of the role after having first-hand experience. On the other hand it gave the new employee the opportunity to see whether they liked their new job and surroundings.

Training in Districts – Therefore, immediately after their arrival in India, they reported to the administration of the province, to which they were assigned and in turn were attached to Districts for on-the-job training for 18 months. During one year of district training,  officers were advised to get thoroughly acquainted with villages, administrative compulsions and a working knowledge of their areas, the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters like police, agriculture, local bodies etc. Another six months were directed to more intensive revenue work in district under land settlement. It meant harder and more complicated work.  

Great stress on touring and camping out -They Great stress was laid on touring and camping out. It was made clear to senior district officers vide G.O. No. 738, published on 18th April, 1916, in ICS Manual, Madras, The great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depends so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career.

Paternalistic outlook of officers – It was made very clear to senior district officers, “the great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depend so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career. Senior officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance to junior officers. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.

The system was so enforced and watched that there was no escape whatever from acquiring a knowledge about the basics of administration, and to learn about the problems of each and every area of their jurisdiction or of village conditions and to learn as to how best to deal with them. All these efforts have helped ICS developing gradually into one of the most efficient/powerful services in the world.

Reputation of Civil services British Crown Rule – Nobody had ever doubted about the efficiency and effective governance during British Rule. It had even puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, Von Ribbentrop and many foreigner observers as to how was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? How barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. It became possible only because background of intake material at different levels of its bureaucracy – 

  • Selection of officers – British rulers were very particular about the  intake of the material into its administrative set-up at different levels – national, provincial or district level.
  • Background of the recruits British rulers gave importance to the social and educational background of the recruits .
    • Dictum of Whiteman superiority – The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of ‘racial discrimination’ for recruiting officers in civil services.
    • They preferred the youth, who usually belonged to British professional middle classes, who were educated in public schools, who had broad knowledge of human culture and civilization and basic social sciences and who had degrees and diplomas from reputed educational institutions, like  Oxford or Cambridge.
    •  Merit based selection – The selection was done on the basis of merit. The calibre of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition. And then selected persons were shaped into efficient officials, suitable for holding superior/managerial positions in the government.    
    • Caught them young – The competitive examination system put emphasis on selecting young students between the age-group of 21 to 24 years. Because at young  age, the mind of a person remained creative, flexible and energetic. It gave the rulers advantage to mold the new recruits into the shape, they wanted to through formal and field training.
    • The main attractions for such youth to join the Indian Civil Services, were extremely generous salaries, opportunity to do something worthwhile, quick promotions, and responsibilities with full freedom to work.
  • Esprit d’ corps amongst officersLines pointed out, It is the Esprit d’ corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code.  Philip Maser acknowledged  that there was esprit d’ corps amongst the officers. It did not need to be articulated artificially.  Everybody knew it.
  • Smallness of service – It maintained “The smallness of service”, just over a thousand at any given time which instilled amongst officers a strong sense of service loyalty.
  • Incorruptible Bureaucracy Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence points out to only a minute handful of officers of being corrupt. “It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable.[viii]
  • Freedom to work atmosphereThe bureaucracy, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British rulers and not the Indian masses.

Developed as the “Steel Frame” of its administrative structure – Above were the factors, which made it possible, to attract the best talents of the British society towards Indian Civil Services during 1858 to 1919. And the civil service came to be known as the “Steel Frame” of its administrative structure, which reared and sustained British rule in India.

Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic Steel-frame speech, said on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, I do not care, what you build on it. If you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse.  There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.

System of selection and training after Independence in 1947

Status of civil services in the Government after independece in 1947 – There are three main organs of the government in India. Legislature/Parliament is there to make laws, Executive to implement laws, plans & policies of the government and judiciary to act as a watch dog. Among these three, executive is the most powerful wing. Executive, comprises of elected representatives and permanent civil servants. Because of exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in each and every area of governance, political chiefs have to depend on civil services all the time.

Constitution-framers on the role of civil service – Forefathers of the Indian Constitution knew well the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance. The President of the Constituent Assembly, Rajendra Prasad (the first President of Independent India) had warned, while moving for the adoption of the constitution in 1949, “Whatever the Constitution may or may not provide, the welfare of the country will depend upon the men who administer it. If the people who are selected are capable and men of character and integrity, they will be able to make the best even of a defective Constitution…If they are lacking in these the Constitution cannot help the country. After all Constitution, like a machine is a lifeless thing. It acquires life because of the men who control and operate it. And India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them”.

Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the (civil) services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service cannot make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).

Therefore, as Shri C. Rajagopalachari had commented, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation”

India needs more efficient and effective civil services – After Independence, more than earlier, India needs to select energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook for smooth, efficient and effective governance, especially in its managerial cadres. Because –

  • Economic & social regeneration, effective implementation of welfare & development  plans need integrated planning, programming, and coordination of activities demand officers having administrative ability and practical sagacity.
  • Knowledge in this space age, has been growing faster than human ability to handle it. There are continuous changes in the strategy, structure and management techniques.
  • Specialization – Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work, governance of the country need for more expert knowledge in all the areas of governance for improving the quality of service.
  • Need for sense of service – The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the sense of service. They need to possess quality of leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.

Responsibilities of the civil services – Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, have been added to the responsibilities of the civil services. Successful operation of its welfare and developmental activities, India needs officers in its executive, “Who must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [ix] At present the Civil service is responsible for –

  1. To aid and advice political leadership to take right decisions at right time.
  2. To improve quality of service,
  3. To take tough decisions. Usually elected representatives hesitates taking tough or unpopular decisions, as they have to please the voters. There never is a good time for politicians to take tough decisions. 
  4. Responsibility of Decision-making falls on the shoulders of permanent bureaucrats, whose position is constitutionally safeguarded. 
  5. Formulate plans and policies, design strategies, initiate actions to execute policies and translate plans into action.
  6. Continuously monitor the progress and then taking required remedial actions
  7. Running smoothly day-to-day administration at all levels, be it in the Secretariat or in the Fields at all levels, Local, State and Central,  
  8. Facilitating common men to live a peaceful, safe and secure life and taste the fruits of development. Its working affects daily life of the people the most.  
  9. Being the government of welfare and developmental state, launching a massive attack on five major evils of society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness; and
  10. Constructing infra-structure for sustainable development of the nation are assigned to the executive.

All these responsibilities tends to give tremendous administrative powers to the government services. Government needs to be very careful about right selection of personnel as “Authority without wisdom becomes like a heavy axe without an edge” (Anne Bradstreet)

Need of proper system of selection and training Of civil servants – It is one of the prime functions of the Government to make all the feasible arrangements to recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work at every level, so that they can shoulder the heavy responsibilities of governance judiciously.

No drastic change in system after Independence –  Many national leaders desired that ICS and similar services must disappear completely. Since the basic task of administration had changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change. They wanted the Civil Services of independent India to be constituted on a new basis, to fit in with the new system of Welfare State.  and form the civil services of India on a new basis to fit in with the new philosophy, role, aims and objectives of a Welfare state. Sardar Patel  advised all to continue the existing Institution of Civil Services.

Visionary Sardar Patel, then the Home Minister of India, had realized that at the dawn of independence, circumstances were such that no drastic change was possible in the then existing administrative system. Many British officers took premature retirement. A large number of Muslim officers opted for Pakistan. Besides, the nation was facing other critical problems like cumbersome task of unification of states, partition of the country in 1947 and bleeding economic situations etc.

Consequently, save minor changes here and there, the administrative machinery set up during the Raj moved into the post-Independent era except for minor changes here and there. of the civil services and Basic ingredients of structure, recruitment and training system of civil services remained almost the same. Like –

  • Selection of appointees annually through open competitive examination.
  • Intensive foundation training for new recruits to nurture them to acquire necessary skills.
  • Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years.

Structure of civil services at national level After Independence the government of India has formed some new civil services in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist cadres. Civil Services in India can be divided into –

  • Managerial services (All India services and Central Services) –  All India Services like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Forest Service (IFS). Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service are incorporated in Article 312(2) of the Constitution. All India Services are meant basically for providing personnel for state administration and to man policy level posts under the Union. They basically perform the control functions of the government.
  • Officers of All India Services play a crucial role in day today working of the government, in policy formulation, decision making, execution of plans and policies and keeping  law and order within nation.  They are in direct contact with the council of ministers and virtually control all the levers of the governance of the country. Right from its inception, these services  attract the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. Also for an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of these services.
  • Non-technical/Professional Civil Services –There are some non-technical/professional Central Services. A few civil services, in this categories are Indian Foreign Service, Indian Railway services, Indian Audit & Accounts Service, Indian Revenue Service etc. Appointment in professional services does not require any professional qualification or experience at the time of entry. Their functional areas are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution.
  • Technical Civil services – Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category. For getting entry in to these services, knowledge and experience in a defined field, a professional degree, diploma and/or experience beforehand are necessary.

These services are basically responsible especially for development of infra-structure for the nation or for implementing welfare programs of the government such as in sphere of public health. The Government of India has the power to create more technical and specialized government services as and when nation require them for having Central Control, guidance, uniformity in technical fields, such as in the area of water resources management, power generation etc. More Technical Services have been created later, like Mechanical Engineers (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics), Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Engineering Branch); Indian Statistical Service; Indian Economic Service; Indian Railway Services of Engineers (of Electrical Engineers; Signal Engineers; or health services like CGHS, CHS etc.

Creation of Public Service Commission –  To recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work at every level is one of the prime the responsibility of the government. Government has entrusted the responsibility of selecting responsible, well-equipped and intellectually brilliant youth for administrative frame-work to an independent/autonomous body called Public Service Commission. Union Public Service Commission has been created to select personnel for central government civil services and Provincial Public Service Commissions for selecting officials for provincial civil services.

Public Service Commission conducts annually open competitive examinations to assess the capability of the aspirant candidates for different technical or non-technical government services. Then selects suitable persons for different departments  civil service, who can implement properly the policies and programs of the government in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner. The process of examination roughly takes one year from the notification of the pre examination to declaration of the final results. Civil Services Examination (CSE), a nationwide competitive examination in India, conducted by UPSC is one of the toughest examination in India, with more than 900,000 applicants having one of the lowest in the world success rate of 0.1%­0.3%.

Qualifications for entering into Competitive examination –  Qualifications for entering into Competitive examination of CSE services are –

  • Citizens from all-over India can appear in this examination.
  • Educational qualification – Any citizen of India holding a graduate degree (from a recognized university incorporated by an Act of Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institution established by Parliament Act  announced to be deemed university under section-3 of the UGCA, 1956 or have an equivalent degree) can appear in the competition of CSE. It does not require any professional qualification or experience.
  • Age Limit – Age limits as laid down in the relevant Recruitment Rules are, by and large, based on the general orders issued by the Government of India from time to time vide [MHA OM No. 2/41/59-RPS dated 3-12-59; Deptt. of Personnel OM No. 130/70-PP(IV) dated 11-4-72 and OM No. 4/7/70-Estt(D) dated 13-3-72]. According to official notice 2016 (If there is change we will update)

After Independence, the upper age limit was 24 years. In early 70’s, it was raised to 26. On Kothari Commission recommendations, it was again raised to 26 or 28 years after 1979 by the government. At present it is 32 years for General category and only6 attempts, for SC/ST it is 37 years with no bar on attempts, and for OBC, 35 years with 9 attempts. 

Kothari Commission Recommendation – In 1975, under Dr. D.S. Kothari, a Committee was set up to review the system of recruitment to the non-technical central government civil services.  It recommended unified competitive examination consisting of – a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services, an objective type to facilitate identification of those, who have the requisite range of knowledge, main examination in four compulsory and four optional papers to test the depth of knowledge.  

  • Preliminary examination (MCQ type) –  Preliminary screening examination is to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services. It is an objective type to facilitate quick identification of those, who have the requisite range of IQ. No preliminary screening has been considered necessary as technical graduates have already undergone a rigorous curriculum in their respective fields of study. They directly appear in the competitive examination for technical services.
  • Mains examination (descriptive type) – The qualified candidates of preliminary examination are called for Mains examination followed by personal interview for final selection. Main examination to tests the depth of knowledge in four compulsory and four optional subjects of candidates’ choice. Optional papers judge intellectual ability and scholastic attainment, and Compulsory papers the general mental culture and interests of the candidates;
  • Personal Interview – For final selection, there is an interview to see personal qualities including some intellectual qualities, which a written examination cannot discover. It examines the communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership qualities, ability to exchange meaningful ideas and attitude.

This scheme came into practice from 1979. For Technical and Specialist services, UPSC conducts separate examinations.

Allocation of services – Allocation in different services i.e. IAS, IFS, IPS, or the Central Services, is on the basis of merit and choice. Normally, the top rankers opt for either the IAS or the IFS. Selected candidates are posted in different technical and non-technical departments directly at the highest level of Policy-formulation and decision making. They are responsible for day-to-day governance and controlling law and order situation of the nation. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement.  Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country. The Government offers them best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle.

Training/Nurturing of selected candidates  –Education and Training of new entrants is necessary not only for knowing more but for behaving differently. They need to be told clearly about their role in administration, their responsibilities, key challenges in their work areas, its solutions and impact of their work on general public and the whole society.

Governments at the centre and states plan for the formal and informal training (on–the-job) to nurture of selected candidates to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of their jobs. The purpose of training after appointment is first to impart required knowledge related to their work area, shape attitudes, cultivate skills and build work-habits needed by the organization, of which they are a part. Secondly it helps personnel to apply acquired knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes, while doing their jobs.

Establishment of ‘Training Division’ in the Ministry of Home Affairs – A bold step was taken by Government of India by creating a cell in 1968. It is known as ‘Training Division’ in the Ministry of Home Affairs for general coordination and for stimulating in-service and refresher training courses run by various Training Institutions, which can be grouped in three categories –

(1) Institutes run by the Government of India,

(2) Institutes run by the State Governments,

 (3) Autonomous/Private Institutes.

These institutions impart foundation as well as in-service through plan and non-plan programs to senior officers of different departments at various stages and in various disciplines. Training in those areas, where adequate facilities are not available within the country, is given abroad under bilateral agreements and aid-programs.

Training – Training is not a one shot affair. Learning continues throughout the entire career span. It becomes necessary because new responsibilities are being added with times. Knowledge is advancing each day and there has been organizational functional or technological changes. The whole process of training is systematically designed to update the knowledge at appropriate time intervals and in appropriate areas, either concept based or technique based. It develops  desired job-oriented skills and attitudes. For achieving goals and objectives, it raises the levels of performance and efficiency in administration.

Training enables the civil servants to perform their “existing” duties and functions more efficiently and effectively. It also prepares civil servants, on promotion, to shoulder the  responsibilities of higher positions competently.  Training may be Formal or Informal. Training is done at following four stages and each is done for a different purpose –  

  1. Pre-entry training,
  2. Foundation training,
  3. In-service/on-job training and,
  4. Post entry training. 

Preentry training” is basic skills training in any profession, including that of civil services, for immediate entry into the working environment. Usually education imparted in schools and colleges or universities is treated as preentry training which qualifies aspirants for all sorts of jobs in the government. However concept of pre-training for any kind of job is not common except for those who want to join Indian Army.

Orientation or Foundation Training – Foundation training equips new recruits to Civil Services with understanding of political, social and economic infrastructure of the country’s administrative set-up and the basic concepts and requirements of their respective jobs. It also explains to new employee, the organizational landscape of his office with its lines of authority in order that he may know to whom he is to report, from whom he is to take directions and the limits of his responsibilities. It familiarizes new recruits quickly with some of the history and general objectives of his unit and its relation to the rest of the departments/Ministry. Immediately after their selection into various services, the successful candidates are sent to various training Institutions for their foundation training. Foundation training program may range in duration from a few weeks to a couple of years.

On the job Training – Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years The purpose of on-job training is to learn from their mistakes, and acquire administrative skill through practice. It depends more or less upon self-inspired motivation, sincerity and experiences. He learns something continuously, when he interacts with his colleagues in horizontal formation, or downwards or upwards in vertical formation.

In-service Training Programs – In-service training takes over the training tasks initiated by foundational training and fill in the gaps incurred during informal on-the-job training. The main objective of the in-service training is to replace old unproductive habits by productive ones. In India, there are arrangements for in-service training programs like  refresher courses, seminars, workshops, study-tours within country and abroad etc., at frequent intervals.

Critical Review

Result of the efforts done so far – In-spite all these efforts done so far to improve the system of recruitment, education and training have not improved or achieved the desired results. There is decline over the years in the quality and commitment of governing authorities. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country.

Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems. Mr. Nani Palkiwala, a leading lawyer also expressed the same feeling. After so many years of self-rule has given India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines.  He said, Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens.[x] A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable.

Mr. VN Narayan has described the present  scenario/climate as “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalisation). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles)”

Why the administrative system weakened? – People often wonder why the steel-frame of yesteryears is shaking and failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations? Is ‘the steel frame of governance’, itself responsible for its deterioration, and is shaking under its own pressures? Is it failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations? Why there is decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the civil services? Why are in-discipline, violence and lawlessness increasing continuously all-over the country?

There are many reasons for reaching up-to the present deteriorated condition of law and order all over India and slow infrastructural development. Factors like Concentration of authority in few hands, no regards for meritocracy or expertise, protectionist and populist policies of the government to create vote-banks, lack of will-power of political leadership to take hard decisions, poor personnel policies of the Government, cumbersome office procedures, increased paper work are some of them. Over and above it, there is disincentive to hard work, talent, honesty and sincerity, lack of accountability, playing safe attitude of government servants, delays in taking decisions and actions; poor personnel policies of the Government; cumbersome office procedures; increased paper work etc.  Last but not the least alienation and tolerance of people is responsible for it, They to accept the sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the authorities to upgrade their performance.

Grave weaknesses of recruitment and training system in India – Selecting wrong persons for administrative work may inflict a permanent, cascading and damaging effect on the whole system. It could frustrate the effort of national reconstruction. Recruitment system has been suffering from the following grave weaknesses –

  • Recruitment system is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented. It is also academic and favours the examination minded candidates. Just assessment of different subjects poses difficult problems in evaluation of comparative merits.
  • Higher education unrelated to national needs – General pre-entry education system especially the higher education in India is increasingly becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations, in-efficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.
  • Only 50% seats on merit basis – There are fixed quotas on caste basis. Only 50% seats in civil services are filled on merit basis. Other 50% seats at centre and more than 50% in provinces are filled on the basis of fixed quotas for different sections of society on caste basis. Nothing damages the administration more than faulty recruitment.

Policy of reservation in Government jobs  – Under the Reservation Policy of Government, in all government jobs, vacancies are reserved for different sections of society on caste basis. Quota has been fixed for weaker sections of society i.e. SC 15%, ST 7.5% and OBC (27%). Other concessions and facilities provided to SCT candidates are: –

  • Pre-examination coaching centres for training SCT established by the Home Ministry all over India.
  • The maximum age limit extended by for SCT is +5 and for OBC +3.
  • While three attempts are given to general candidate to appear in competitive examinations, there is no restriction on the numbers of attempts for SCT candidates.
  • They are exempted from payment of fees.
  • Separate interviews have been arranged for SCT through a separate sitting of the selection committee.[vii]
  • Relaxation of standards has been allowed through an instruction issued on 24th Sept., 1968. It mentions that, where requisite numbers of SCT candidates fulfilling even the relaxed standard are not available to fill the vacancies reserved for them, the best among the SCT candidates, who possess the minimum educational qualifications prescribed, should be selected.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs in OM No.1.1.70 Estt. (SCT) dt. 25.7.70, issued an order. It says that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates were not available on the basis of general standards to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, their candidates should be selected on relaxed standards, provided they were not unfit for such posts. [viii]
  • SCT candidates qualifying directly without relaxed standards not adjusted against reserve quota.
  • In case of non-availability of sufficient numbers of suitable SCT candidate, the shortfall not to be filled by general category candidates.
  • Indefinite carry forward of Reservation for SC in direct recruitment. These vacancies kept unfilled till SCT candidates become available.
  • Pre-examination coaching centers for training SCT established by the Home Ministry all over India.

Lower cut-offs for reserved seats – Any relaxation in the matter of recruitment standard, as the reservation policy suggests, could adversely affect the efficiency of whole administrative system. Hamstrung by lack of qualified candidates to fill up mandatory quota seats, the government of India has to lower the cut-offs for reserved category from time to time. OM No.1/1/70 Estt. (SCT) dated 25.7.70, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, stipulates that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates are not available, on the basis of the general standard, to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, the SCT candidates should be selected on relaxed standards provided they are not unfit for such posts.

Concern for underprivileged section of society  – It is a humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift and empower the weaker sections of its society. But it should not be done at the cost of efficiency in administration. Many people say that –

  • Favouritism and concessions are bestowed through reservation policy for political reasons.
  • Protective measures negates merit, competitiveness and development. Merit oriented approach in principle opposes reservation of any kind, that gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. Any relaxation in the matter of recruitment standard, as the reservation policy suggests, could adversely affect the efficiency of whole administrative system.
  • Reservation creates greed and abuse of power, increases casteism and  communalism,
  • It hampers the growth of national unity and solidarity.[ix]
  • Recruitment on quota basis creates a distance between quota officers and non-quota officers, which affects the integrity of the services and its coordinated efforts for the development of the nation as a whole.
  • Mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration makes the life of common people more miserable.

Many castes have been declared as backwards in political circles. There is no dearth of merit in so-called underprivileged communities. There are many talented and meritorious persons amongst SC/ST/OBCs, who have competed with others on equal footing by the virtue of their capabilities, qualifications, experiences and skills. Also these communities have world class leaders like APJ Abdul Kalam or Ambedkar, who are respected by all, irrespective of class, caste, or creed.

Women and Sikhs are exemplary examples, who have demonstrated how with sincere efforts, self-confidence and inner strength, success can be achieved, even against odds, pressures, restrictions and disabilities or without any relaxation or concession. Sikhs have focused their attention and energies on modern opportunities and today they are prospering not only in India, but in advanced countries like USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

Women comprising about 50% of the total population of India They were not even allowed to appear in  CSE till 1965. They have fought their battle in an uneven terrain and paved their way to success without any shelter under protectionism policies of the Government.

No parrot like cry of socialismTrue prosperity calls for liberating the backward class people from orthodox, superstitious and conservative constraints. They need awakening and regenerating those dormant potentials, which are inherent in them. Aptitude, Attitude, and “Nurturing over nature” should be the base. Through sound system of education and training, they should be empowered, to discover their talents and develop their skills, so that they can emerge as confident, self-reliant and independent, individuals. When one gives a meal to a man, he feeds him for just a day. Once a man knows to earn his meals, he could be fed for a lifetime. Reservation is just like giving a meal to a man.

Sardar Patel has rightly said,  “By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us is to learn how to produce more wealth (created by one’s own labour) and thereafter think what to do with it.  What the country needs is not parrot like cry of socialism, but unity and strength Patel asked the people to think, why England took a long time to become socialistic and why America made no mention of it even now.

C Rajagopalachari had said, Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.

Mr. Appu has very rightly commented, “No reforms would work without improving the political atmosphere of the country”. It needs political  will-power to ensure that protective measures do not negate merit, competitiveness and development.  

Justice Gajendra Gadkar had also cautioned the policy-makers, “It must not be forgotten that efficiency in administration is of paramount importance, that it would be unwise and un-permissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency in administration.

Mr. Kalelkar said that giving an additional weapon in weak hands was no remedy. The remedies, the commission suggested were worse than the evil, they were out to combat. In his letter forwarding the report, Kalelkar remarked I am definitely against Reservation in Government services for any community for the simple reason, that services are not meant for the servants, but they are meant for the service of society as a whole. 

 Protective measures should not negate merit, competitiveness and development. To prepare a capable and confident team from amongst the vast majority of SC, ST OBC people, is not an impossible task. It will be better if instead of politicizing the issue in the hope of creating a vote-bank, political leaders think of making their youth eligible enough first, so that they can compete confidently with general category candidates without any relaxing the standard of selection and then facilitate their entry into civil services of the nation. 

In this an age of specialization and continuous modernization process, Government service is not just another job. There is a growing demand for effective, efficient and goal-oriented governance. Quality of service also needs to be improved.

What needs to be done? – Something more is required to be done to improve system of recruitment and training, so that officials of calibre, character and leadership capabilities can be inducted into Government services. Building up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, he joins the civil services, but right from the day he starts his education. The pre-entry education should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it  could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of higher civil servants.

Catch them young and then mold them into required frame – Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education system and recruitment  system, it would be better if selection to various government services is made immediately after higher secondary education at a raw age, when the minds of aspirants are still energetic, creative and are in a formative stage. Best time for recruitment in various Government Services is around 18-22. Many studies say that around this age-group human brains’ processing power and detail memory peaks up and lasts for 5 more years. Afterwards it is a downhill pattern.

Role models, Defense and Railway’s Mechanical Engineering Service  – The idea of such an Education and Training is not new to India and has proved to be successful in Defense and Railways. Selection could be done through an open competitive examination as is already being done for civil services, Defense Services or Jamalpur pass-out mechanical engineers of Indian Railways. 

Catching them young would facilitates the Government enough time to arrange for their continuing education according to the requirements of their specific jobs. Intensive and comprehensive training can be done at various administrative colleges and training institutions.  It would not only make it possible to have the intellectual knowledge and qualities required for performing their specific jobs, but would also inculcate in them emotional qualities and capacities required for doing their jobs such as social purposefulness, ability to understand the administrative and political implications of a problem and resourcefulness in solving them, capacity for team work and flair for leadership, which are basic requirements of any welfare administrators.

Increasing of the upper age limit for entering in competitive examinations up to the age 33/36/38 does not seem to be rational or appropriate. Over the years, governments have ignored many panels’ recommendations to lower the upper age limit. But now the topic is now back in focus. Recently NITI Aayog has recommended lowering the age limit for general category civil service aspirants to 27 from the current 32.

To improve the existing Education, recruitment and Training System and  making administrative system more meaningful and effective, these steps could be taken –

  • It should be ensured that political considerations, either in recruitment or in discipline and control be reduced to the minimum.
  • Foundation training should be made compulsory for all higher services – whether technical or non-technical;
  • the government and training institutions should be strict, so that trainees could take their training seriously;
  • training should be service oriented;
  • since 70% of the Indian population lives in villages, the officials should be familiarized soundly and intimately with the conditions, organizations, needs and aspirations of village people;
  • the higher civil servants should be trained to lead a simple life;
  • the super structure of skill, knowledge and efficiency should be raised on the foundation of discipline;
  • Senior officers should pay adequate attention and time to the training task;
  • The government should create a working atmosphere in the offices so that qualities like receptivity, originality, initiative, courage and sympathetic attitude towards masses, could be developed fully, while working;
  • The three partners in training – the organization, the training institute and the participant – should interact out of knowledge and understanding;
  • The training needs should be assessed properly by conducting job-evaluation and research and onward studies;
  • Instead of depending upon foreign material, adequate training material should be prepared and developed locally;
  • Right methods and techniques should be chosen for various training programs;
  • Selection of trainees should be done with great care;
  • Enough motivation should be there for trainees, so that they can take their training seriously;
  • Top-level officers should give full cooperation to training activities;
  • Every training program should be evaluated properly;
  • There should be regular program review sessions;
  • The selection of the trainers should also be done with great care.

In conclusion, message of John F Kennedy, both for those in power echelons and general public, can be repeated  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy’s concluding words of his concise, precise and impressive inaugural address).


October 17, 2020 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

Reservations in Government services in India?

 “Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.” Anne Bradstreet

“Work is worship. There is no substitute for hard-work”

INTRODUCTION ­

Biggest experiment of Twentieth century – Policy of Reservations in government jobs is one of the biggest experiments in the history of Twentieth Century. It is a very sensitive issue. It was started to uplift the submerged sections of Indian society, to protect their rights and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture existed among various sections of society. From its very nature, the policy is discriminatory and exclusive. It empowers state authorities to give preference to one or more groups in the society to exclusion of others and encroach on domain of right to ‘equality to all’. Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy, as it also involves emotional feelings of people.

“Reservation in Government services” – Reservations in government services involves two contradictory principles – one, the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”. Reservation Policy aims at improving the lot of backward sections of society and empowering them for a better future. For a successful administration the keynote is efficiency, which means right people on right positions at right time.

An efficient administration can provide convenience to the public at large, and attain the developmental and welfare goals of the nation within time and cost parameters. It could secure maximum results with minimum labour and resources. However, Reservation policy suggests, as understood by Indian authorities, to appoint less- qualified persons on the crucial positions of power structure by relaxing the standards and fixing up a separate quota for each of its weaker sections.

Issues – The question arises, is it possible to find out a way, which can keep a balance between the two contradictory principles? Is it not desirable to make weaker sections strong and eligible first and then facilitate their entry into such services of the nation? How can a capable and confident team from amongst vast majority of backward people be prepared to shoulder responsibilities of administration judiciously?

What is Reservation Policy – Dictionary meaning of Reservations – According to the “New Webster Dictionary”, reservation means “Keeping aside something for some specific purpose.” In the Indian context, Reservation Policy refers to a situation, wherein to uplift the submerged section of society, some jobs and other facilities are especially reserved in various institutions/organisations, so that they could be brought back into the national mainstream.

Social structure of Indian society – Before discussing the views of supporters and critics of Reservation Policy, It is necessary to know something about Social Structure of India. In ancient India, Hindu society was classified in four functional groups known as “Varna” –

  1. Brahmins to preach,
  2. Kshtriyas to rule and defend the community,
  3. Vaishyas to carry on the business and
  4. Shudras to do the menial jobs for the society as a whole.

During Ancient period, though the concept of Nation-State was non-existent, but Hindu philosophy, its values, systems and culture had bound the people of this peninsula from one end to the other. The systems worked well. So much and so, that ancient India was known as ‘Sone ki Chiriya’ ( A Bird of Gold). However, the system Developed deformity with passage of time.

  • In ancient India, numerous social groups came to India in waves at different points of time and desired to join the mainstream. All of them were assimilated into it without any conversion by giving each one a different caste name. It gave rise to the caste-system.
  • Then Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India. Earlier, they drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands. But afterwards, they conquered and made India their homeland. There had been alien rule in the country for centuries, first of Mughals rule and then of British.

Developed deformity with passage of time – As time passed, there developed many distortions. The society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes within each of four Varnas. Disparity and inequality grew amongst them with the passage of time.

Pathetic condition of Shudras and untouchables – By the beginning of twentieth century, the condition of Shudras/untouchables and women became quite pathetic  due to ignorance, superstitions, illiteracy and they were in general economically deprived. Worst of all was the position of women. They had no freedom. There were prejudices/discrimination against them in every sphere of life, from day-to-day living to work to social status.

Social Reformative movements of nineteenth and twentieth centuries – From time to time, Intelligentsia, nationalist leaders and social reformers were deeply concerned about the inequality and injustice prevalent in the society against lower castes and women of the society.  Reformative movements during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century were seriously concerned about the sufferings of women and untouchables. They  made efforts to uplift their position and eliminate all forms of exploitation, oppression, discrimination and evil practices prevalent in the society.

It was also impressed upon the masses that “Abhava” (Scarcity), “Agyan” (Ignorance), “Anyaya” (Injustice), and “Alasya” (Laziness) were the sources of all the evils. To get over these shortcomings, they organized many awareness programs for the masses. Intelligentsia, nationalist leaders and social reformers made people alert and aware of their rights. They advised masses no more to accept from now onwards, misery, ignorance and economic deprivation, which they earlier accepted as their lot,

Desire to establish a new economic order – The public desired to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common man and weaker sections of society could have better deal. Masses desired to get benefited from the resources of the nation. It forced the national governments to take upon themselves the responsibility of protecting and nurturing them in such a manner that they got enough opportunities to grow, to their fullest stature. Millions of people started demanding with persisting insistence better facilities in life – they demanded protection from five major evils of an underdeveloped or developing society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.

Start of Quota system by British Government to improve the status of weaker sections – In the later half of the Nineteenth century, British government in India started the practice of ‘Quota system’ in India. It opened the doors of education for all.  To  help the weaker sections of the society, it bestowed upon them some special concessions and preferences through the policy of fixing up Quotas (former form of ‘Reservation policy’) first in education and then in jobs for different communities. .

Scene after World-War II – After World War II, “Laissez-faire” theory of government’s function gave way to the concepts of “Welfare State”, and “Development Administration”. These concepts aimed at bringing about “Social, political and economic justice” and “Betterment to the lot of the submerged sections of the society” by building up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy, in which the downtrodden could have a better deal.

With the general acceptance of the concepts all-over the world, the national governments gradually assumed the responsibility of welfare of all its citizens from “Womb to tomb”. Specific concessions, protections and assistance were given to the weaker sections of society in one form or the other all-over the world. In India, one of such protection measures adopted has been “Reservation Policy”.

Much before Dr. Ambedkar demanded Reservations for untouchables in Government jobs and separate electorate for them (a demand conceded by the British Governments in 1932), many Provincial Governments, especially those in the South, had already fixed up quotas on the basis of castes and communities. They were giving preferences to certain castes and communities in educational institutions and government jobs.

Interestingly enough the Government of India Act, 1935, did not contain any specific provision for reservation. It, however, contained a few Sections (Section 275 and 298) which indirectly dealt with the subject through “Negative Protection” to those suffering from disability by reasons of race, religion, place of birth, descent, colour or any of them. The reservations in the Central services started since 1943, whereas the ST’s became eligible for reservations since 1950.

Scene after Independence

There has been a perplexing diversity in geography, culture, caste, religion and language in India. Along with it, there has been a great disparity between different sections of society – socially and economically. The attention of national leaders was drawn towards illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, and taboos on food, drink and marriages, social segregation, lack of communication, living in inaccessible areas, unhealthy loyalties, continuing discrimination and lack of security,­ economic, social and legal.

Primary Goals  according   – After independence, India, being a democratic country pursued the principles of ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Social Justice’ after the Independence. The primary goals of the government for the independent India were:

  • To build a self-reliant nation through optimal utilization of its resources.
  • To establish an egalitarian and tolerant society based on the principles of justice, social economic and political,
  • To ensure to everyone equality of status and opportunity and
  • To give underprivileged a fair start

Views of Constituent Assembly members – Different views were exchanged during constituent Assembly debates –

  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Chairman of Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution and founder of reservation policy in India, was of the opinion that social structure of India and its ‘Principle of Varna’ was responsible for the pathetic condition of ‘Avarna Hindus’, and keeping them far away from the mainstream and progressive influences. Varna system has divided the whole society of India into – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas (Savarna Hindus) and Shudras (Avarna Hindus). Saverna Hindus were in privileged position. But the condition of Avarna Hindu castes, low Castes, Primitive Tribes, Untouchables and Criminals was pathetic. Avarna Hindus were given neither fair start nor equal opportunity nor square deal. Bringing these submerged sections of society into main stream needed Government’s intervention and initiate the practice of reservation as a government policy.

According to Ambedkar, lower castes did not have the courage to demand reasonable wages for their labour. They did not hold property (Land or cash) – they were born to work or starve. They were there only to wait, serve and submit. They were there to do or die.

  • Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir – Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir, a member of the Constituent Assembly thought that India had made the Harijans live in very poor condition for hundreds of years. He, therefore, advocated during the Constituent Assembly Debates on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men are uplifted.”…. “They should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.”
  • Shri Subhash Lal Saxena – Shri Subhash Lal Saxena, another member of the Constituent Assembly, said during the Constituent Assembly Debate on same day as Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir i.e. November 27, 1947: “If capable Harijans are available, they should be recruited to superior posts. Besides the ordinary posts, the Harijan should be given all such jobs for which they are eligible. Harijans should be recruited in the Police. They should be given the post of Patwaries, School masters and Head masters etc. These posts would remove the inferiority complex, which is prevailing among them.
  • Many constituent Assembly members apprehended the fall of efficiency and administrative standard. Pt Hriday Narayan Kunjru feared, The regulations, made in this regard, may be unnecessarily wide or they may even be changed in such a way, from time to time, as to enable the executive to exercise a considerable amount of undesirable patronage.  

Constitution on Reservation – Seeing the pathetic condition of masses, Constitution-framers thought, if independent India made the weak to stand and compete with the strong on equal footing, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Therefore, the Constitution authorizes Central and State governments to take special care of millions of under-fed, under-read and under-clothed people of free India and make special provisions for their sustainable development. Therefore,  Article 15(4) primarily provides for educational opportunities and Article 16 (4) to job opportunities. Directive principles, through Articles 38, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46 etc. gave some guidelines to the future Government. It  allowed  the government to make provisions for reservations for ten years after the implementation of the Constitution and empowered the Parliament to extend the period, if required. The aim was to include and absorb lower strata of society into the mainstream of the nation.

While the Constitution framers were dealing with the topic, special provisions relating to certain classes specifically mentions that as far as the government services are concerned “The claims of the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of Administration, in the making of the appointments to services and to posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State”.

Article. 17 of Constitution of India abolished “Untouchability” and made its practice a cognizable offence the most heinous aspect of the Indian society by. Article 15 guarantees equality of opportunity for all citizens irrespective of religion, race, caste, descent, place of birth or any other reason.

Areas, in which Reserved category people get benefits – Reservation Policy benefits reserved category people (SCs, STs and OBCs) in the following areas –

  • Political institutions consisting of the elected representatives of the people.
  • Admission in educational institutions.
  • Reservations in jobs.
  • Reservations in promotions.

In addition to it, candidates, belonging to reserve quota, if succeed to get jobs on their merit, their names are included in General category list, not in the reserved category/quota list. That means the number could even be more than mentioned above in a year. Besides if the candidates with required qualifications are not found in a particular year, the unfilled vacancies are carried over and added in the next years. These can not be filled with other qualified persons.

Measures taken to uplift submerged sections – Under Article 340 of the Constitution, a Commission is to be appointed by the President to investigate the condition of socially and educationally backward citizens, the difficulties under which they labour, make recommendations for removal of those difficulties and other ameliorative measures needed to be taken.

In 1978, a Commission for SC/ST was setup within the Ministry of Horne Affairs to monitor the comprehensive program and to ensure their all- round development. The financial allocations for the welfare of downtrodden have been increased tremendously after independence. The sincere effort towards their development began with Five Year Plans, which aimed at reducing the imbalances and disparities.

The First Five Year Plan identified the problem areas needed to be tackled viz absence of communication, paucity of drinking water, supply and irrigation, education and health facilities and universal poverty etc. Accordingly, many Integrated Development Plans and Sub–Plans were initiated besides reservations.

Reservations for OBC’s – In 1955, Kaka Kalelkar Commission on Backward Classes and in 1980, MandaI Commission, were appointed to suggest ways to improve the condition of poor people in India. On August, 1990, V.P. Singh’s Government accepted to implement, partially, the suggestions made by MandaI Commission viz. reserving 27% jobs for “Other Backward Castes” in all Central Government institutions or institutions aided by the Central Government. It received a great deal of resistance from the people and litigation in Supreme Court. Since 1992 27% seats in jobs are reserved for OBC’s.

Started as a temporary measure – Reservation was accepted by the constitution framers as a temporary measure. Article 330 provides for reservation in Legislature for ten years, unless at the end of this period the reservation is continued by an amendment of the Constitution. However, the Constitution was amended again and again in 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 to extend this period for another ten years at each instance. Now it has become a never-ending program. And the list of beneficiaries groups has kept on increasing. All state Governments have their own plans for job-reservations in their respective states and extending the list of beneficiary castes. At provincial level, different state-governments have fixed up their own quotas for different castes and communities.

Constitution on De-reservation – Before Independence, there was a provision of reservation in government services for Anglo-Indians. Article 336 of the Constitution clearly says that for the first two years after its start, reservations (in favour of the Anglo-Indians – a minority community) should continue on the basis as before; then during every succeeding period of two years, this reservation is to be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent, so that by the end of ten years all such reservation might cease.

The process of de-reservation could be started now for other sections of society, 70 years after the independence  in similar way, without much reactions. Reservations  could be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent after every few years, so that after a reasonable time, all such reservation could be ceased and people could be confident enough to move forward without chrutches.

As Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir had suggested during the Constituent Assembly Debates on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men ….  bn  should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.”

Arguments of the Supporters Of Reservation policy – Policy of reservation has been hailed by it supporters as a “Historic step” the advocates of reservation. To them policy of reservation has been adopted to break the shackles of caste and to improve the lot of the poor masses. Arguments in favour reservation policy –

  • Lower castes under-represented in power echelons – Backward castes constitute about 80% of India’s total population (15% Scheduled Caste, 8% Scheduled Tribes and 52% Other Backward classes), but their representation in echelons of power including the senior in Government of India is a paltry 4.69%. Therefore, supporters of reservation policy demand that employment in government services should be on pro-rata basis.
  • ‘Due share’ to lower strata in power echelons – Founder of Bahujan Samaj Party, Kanshi Ram said, “The reservation for SC/ST began with only 2% in 1935. Now it is 22.5%. Gradually all reservations would be according to proportion of different castes in the population. My aim is to give reservation (to the upper caste minorities), not to demand it. V.P. Singh has made my job easier.” … Ex Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, Prime Minister from Janata Dal, while implementing the MandaI Commission recommendations in August, 1990 said in his independence-day speech, “We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision-making to run country and improve things.”
  • Suppression of downtrodden for centuries – Lower castes had been treated unequally in the past, now they should be given a more than equal status to make empower them. Competition could be just and valid only among equals. Since upper castes had suppressed lower castes on basis of their birth, present generation has to correct age-old imbalances and make reparations by giving downtrodden advantage through reservations. It is a noble and just cause in return for centuries of oppression.
  • Little dilution of meritocracy does not matter – Forward castes are better educated and settled because of the environment, in which they are brought up. But deprived castes, in absence of proper environment and economic constraints are unable to compete on equal terms with upper castes for jobs in the government, public or private sectors. Besides educational capabilities and economic status, socio-political dominance of upper caste is a powerful factor influencing selection process. Witnessing all these aspects social justice demands that jobs should be shared with backward even at cost of little dilution of meritocracy.
  • Foundations of Reservations social, not economic – “All foundations for government’s reservation policy were social, not economic” says Ram Vilas Paswan “Each caste is standing with one foot on the forehead of the one below it in the social hierarchy…” Shri Ram Avdhesh Singh, a M.P. of Lok Dal says, “Even the rich backwards are not given the social status, which poor forwards enjoy. That is why we need representation in the government on caste basis, where wealth and respect go hand in hand. These reservations are not for the economic good, but to link backwards with the State.” (India Today, September 30, 1990) Therefore supporters of Reservation Policy are against the idea of economic criteria. V.P and his associates said that it was introduced in Tamil Nadu in the past, but did not worked there (Times of India news item on September 4, 1990).
  • Whitewash a bitter historical reality – Swami Agnivesh of Bandhua Mukti Morcha had said, “We have created our fractures and schisms – it was not the Mughals, it was not the British, it was the Vedas that consolidated the casteism in Indian culture. We can describe the reservation policy today as palliatives, an attempt to whitewash a bitter historical reality, sitting on a handful of armchair sociologists and pretending the rest of backward India doesn’t exist. That we need is radical social change.”
  • Reservation Policy has empowered backwards as a composite pressure group – “Reservations, on the basis of caste, give the backwards an identity as a composite pressure group. This is a concrete achievement, which will help them to unite and fight for equality. Besides, caste is still a dominant factor in Indian social-structure; its existence should be accepted for recognising the under-privileged groups.” (News item in Times of India, September 15, 1990)
  • Merit not a prerogative of upper castes only – Merit is not found in upper castes only. There are many meritorious and talented boys and girls amongst the SC/ST/OBC. They only need proper atmosphere and opportunities for education and employment in order to shine to their full capacity. In old Madras Presidency, there were 100% reservation/job quotas, both for “Forward” and Backward” castes. Today about 68% seats are reserved for SC/ST/OBC in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and they are far ahead of other provinces in matter of prosperity and good governance, where there is upper caste domination in administration.
  • Norm of ‘pull’ and ‘push’ – Ram Vilas Paswan, ex-minister says, “There is no such thing as merit in India today, there is only “pull” and “Influence”…. “Merit” is only a term used for the purpose of disruption by agitators.” Shri Paswan asks why forward class does not look towards merit in candidates admitted in institutions of higher learning because of capitation fee or selected for influential posts because of their family background.
  • ‘Bearer best knows where shoe pinches’ – V.P. Singh told the nation that society would be served best by filling the civil services by downtrodden as they were the bearers who knew where the shoe pinched. They had the qualities of heart, which the administration of the country needed more than the quality of head. They are committed to the uplift of their brethren. Syed Shabuddin of the “Insaf party” had said, “In a democracy every social group is entitled to share the fruits of development and keep a hand on the levers of power…. Both intra and inter group disparities must be reduced by Legislative policies. If the backward classes come into administrative posts, they may be able to increase efficiency, as they will be having grass-root knowledge of actual problems.” (News item in the Times of India, September 15, 1990)

In short, supporters of reservation consider it necessary to empower the downtrodden, to reduce economic inequalities, to give them social respectability, to reduce imbalances created due to upper class influence and to break the psychological barrier, to give downtrodden their due share in power structure.

Arguments of Anti-reservationists – Anti-reservationists doubt the efficacy of Reservation Policy. Reservation has been a source of turmoil in society many a time. They have shown their resentment every-time Parliament had extended the period for reservations. In seventies and eighties, the agitation against reservation policy took a major turn by taking a shape of national movement affecting many parts of the country. The agitation against reservation sparked violently in Gujarat in 1983 and spread to other places when a meritorious physically handicapped student of upper caste was denied admission in MD course and the quota student with much less marks was admitted. Such cases definitely arouse public sentiments and they criticise the government for following the policy blindly. Somehow the authorities were able to suppress it. But scars were left. They say –

  • Contrary to principles of equality – Reservations are contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice. There is something fundamentally wrong with Reservation Policy. In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are curtailed or negated. It benefits and increases the number of those, who are desirous to find an easier way-out.
  • Genesis of Reservation Policy in “Divide and Rule” dictum – Reservations were first introduced by the British rulers to “Divide” the Indian population and “rule” the nation as long as possible. The British government divided Indians on the basis of caste and community. British rulers, who got alarmed about the increasingly power and influence of Brahmins, purposely propagated myth of tyranny of the “Forward Castes”, especially of Brahmins over rest of the society. Therefore, British rulers pinpointed Brahmins as oppressors and tyrants, who wilfully kept others down. They encouraged anti-Brahmin formations in the South. They started the practice of fixing-up quotas in various educational-institutions and government jobs on one side and separate electorate for religious groups on the other. Later on, Reservations started in other parts of the country as well for backward communities.
  • Source of Vote-bank politics – Now many politicians and their parties advocate to fix a quota for more castes,  to increase the percentage of quota and extend its time-frame for ever in order to create vote banks. Like Britishers, politicians and supporters of pro-reservation want to divide the nation, on the basis of caste, community or gender. They want to grab and hold political power as long as possible. Already, there is a perplexing diversity in India along geography, culture, caste, religion and language lines. They are spreading venom in the heart of each identity against other. If not checked on time, communalism and casteism are bound to destroy the unity of the nation and narrow down the aspiration of people.
  • Administration and policy-making for Sustainable Development requires services of most talented – The task of administration is one of the most difficult. It is so complex that it requires services of most talented, sincere, hardworking and honest people. A preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent is not only unjust but against national interests. Reservations in employment contemplates putting those on responsible positions in the government, “Who are not qualified for the job” – (Arun Shourie). And in the process, power passes from meritocracy to mediocracy (Nani Palkiwala). It also means that sub-standard services would be rendered to the general public.
  • Common-men suffer more – The policy of reservation affects adversely the efficiency of administration as a whole. Deteriorating standards of working in government institutions and poor law and order situation have already done irreparable damage to the development of SC/ST and OBC communities and made their lives miserable. The larger objective of eradicating the poverty and bringing the downtrodden in the main-stream could never be achieved by laying stress on quantity rather than quality and lowering the standards of education or governance. Does reserving a very few places for SC, ST & OBC satisfy the basic needs of millions of underfed, under-clothed and under-read people of India
  • Contributions of upper class – Kaka Kalelkar had said in, ‘Note of Dissent of First Backward caste Commission “It would be well, if representatives of the Backward-classes remembered that whatever good they find in the Constitution and the liberal policy of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the upper classes themselves. Whatever Government is doing by way of atonement is readily accepted and acclaimed by the nation as a whole. The upper classes have contributed their share in formulating the policies of the Government. Removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice, special consideration for backward classes, all these elements found place in the Constitution without a single voice of dissent from the upper classes.” Upper castes are still contributing their share through taxes (the money collected from taxes is supposed to be spent on developmental plans.) Somewhere, they are supporting, elsewhere actively participating in formulating developmental policies of the government.
  • Quantity of reservation quota – So long as “only a few places” were kept aside for those severely disadvantaged – Harijans and Girijans, the people tolerated the policy as functioning of institutions did not stand much risk of being vitiated and consideration of caste and community were placed under control. But, when V.P. Singh announced to implement 27% for reservation in jobs for OBCs, in addition to 22.5% reservation for SC/STs in government jobs, heart burning and stir against Reservation Policy passed all the limits. The whole nation was in for caste wars.
  • Reservation policy ignores merit – Reservation policy as it ignores merit. In 1947, when the Constitution framers were dealing with the reservation policy, they showed clearly their concern for efficiency. Art. 335 directs that ‘reservations for SC/ST should be consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of administration.’ Today, when economy is in shambles, inflation has touched 13%, coffers are empty, and common man is suffering due to inefficiency and mal-functioning of the government, the nation can not afford to ignore merit and efficiency. In Private Sector, survival and prosperity depends on merit. It picks up the best talent available in the country from the educational institutions itself by conducting “Campus interviews” and does not allow sub­standard working. That is why it is attracting the talents of the nation and is prospering.
  • Discourages development of skills – Reservation has discouraged development of skills, resources and attitudes in SC/STs needed to succeed without the crutches of reservation and has encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit amongst the castes enjoying reservation.
  • Making people lazy and increases malpractices – People of lower castes have taken these concessions for granted and expect it to last for ever. It has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Guarantee of share in power structure without much effort develops an attitude never value the dignity of labour and work hard. The reservation policy is adding fuel to this attitude. Obtaining false certification about caste is increasing in order to get the advantage of the limited spoils. It has raised the expectation of others as well.
  • Short time measure – In many provinces, scheduled castes were enjoying the benefit of reservation in proportion to their population since 1935. Constitution had provided for state patronage to SC/ST for ten years i.e. till 1960, to SCs, because they were far away from the mainstream on account of “Untouchability” and other constraints, and STs because of “Social isolation due geographical reasons”. After the end of this period, the concession could be  continued by an amendment of the Constitution, which was not very likely. It was hoped that underprivileged would be at least in a position to stand on their feet by 1960.
  • Times have already changed – Vote-bank politics has changed everything since then. Successive governments have ignored the sweeping changes that have occurred throughout the country over the last 70 years. Through various measures, including Reservation Policy, people of all castes have progressed. Anti Brahmin movements in former Estates of Madras and Bombay had effectively eliminated Brahmins as a dominant political force. Lower strata of society had organized themselves, consolidated their economic and acquired political power. Through reservations they have succeeded in occupying position of power.
  • Shift of power in favour of Backwards – Political power has already shifted in favour of backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and UP, where they constitute nearly 40% of the Legislative strength. At State and local levels, especially in more populous rural areas their influence is continuously growing. Untouchables have made concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and to secure their upward mobility as may be seen in the case of Izhavas of Kerala, Mehars of Maharashtra, Chamars of UP, Meenas of Rajasthan, etc. Radical movement such as that launched by the militants Dalit Panther in Maharashtra have made the emerging strength of the lowest caste felt with increasing effectiveness.
  • Rigidity of caste wearing out – Rigidity of caste has been gradually wearing out. Introduction of railways, opening of hotels and restaurants, radio, TV and cinema houses have contributed to the relaxation of caste prejudices and rigidities. Besides education and training, land reforms, industrialisation etc have brought awareness amongst backward castes. The end of many practices, which created distances between different castes in the past, is a hopeful sign and guarantee for the future well being of every Indian citizen.
  • New lease of life to caste – Entry of caste into political arena through reservation policy has given a new lease of life to caste in the form of caste-ism. Caste-ism has not only held its ground but began to strengthen its hold in the politics at national as well as provinces levels. Politicians of Independent India are well-versed in making its increasing use in politics.
  • Time for gradual de-legitimization of caste – Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in the Jawaharlal Nehru University says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual de-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SCs and STs from the reserved quota.” (India Today, September 30, 1990)
  • ‘Past is past’ – Vasant Sathe of Congress (I) says “Reservation is no solution for a crime so many centuries old. Nor it is ethical to punish our present society for the sins of our fore fathers.” It is a law of jungle to hold responsible the present generation for the follies of its previous generations. According to Rule of law the present generation can not be punished for what their forefathers did.
  • Undermines ‘Principle of Equality’ – Anti-reservationists argue that there was a case to end the quota business in 1960 itself. Yet it has been allowed to continue till today. The Indian Constitution is committed to two different principles both of which relate to equality: ‘principle of equal opportunities’ and “principle of redress’. Now it is over due that ‘principle of equality’ be enforced in its true spirit without any favour. Since policy of reservation undermines the principle of equality, it should be gradually discontinued as had been done in the case of Anglo Indians in accordance with the Article 336 of the Constitution.
  • Inter and intra caste wars – Reservation policy does not consider all individuals equal. Instead caste becomes the basis to get this privilege. It leads to inter-caste rivalry. Anti-reservationists accuse the pro-preservationists for inciting the caste war by provoking public feelings. Brahmins and upper castes has been pinpointed as an enemy of downtrodden, who have always exploited the downtrodden mercilessly.
  • Distortion of historical facts – Political adventurers, dictators and fundamental fanatics have distorted the history in the past and used it as a ploy to serve their own selfish or partisan interests. It does not even matter to them, whether their own version of history is real or based on fantasy. When Hitler walked into Sudetanland, he claimed historical authority. When Mussolini attacked Ethopia in 30′s, he quoted history. When Zionists claimed Jeruselem, they tried to justify their act by citing history. When Saddam Hussain walked into Kuwait on August2, 1990, He staked his claim on the basis of raking up old history. Same thing had happened on August 15, 1990, when V.P. Singh announced 27% reservation for OBCs, it was hailed by his supporters as “A historic decision which will go a long way in giving the rightful share to socially and economically backward castes in the power structure of the country, of which they were denied under the pressure from the vested interests.”
  • Reasons of backwardness other than caste – At present, submerged section of society does not suffer so much due to discrimination on the basis of caste as for other reasons. Kaka Kalelkar, first Chairman of First Backward class Commission had said, ““If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it (in the past). Now that they have discovered their mistakes, it is for them to make the necessary efforts for making the leeway…As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the states with help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in life and have the advantage of mixing with other people.”
  • Glamorization of Backwardness –Earlier, backwardness was considered as stigma. People of lower castes attempted to improve mannerism in order to climb up in the ladder of social status. These days, many castes claim for a lower status and want to be included in the list of SC/ST, so that they may taste the fruits of reservation as well. No more any caste is ashamed of being called untouchable or backward. Reservations have created vested interests in the “Backwardness.” Now backwardness is a status symbol, because it eases the position, while one is in search of jobs. Therefore, more and more communities are clamouring for the “Backward class” tag. Those in power find it politically expedient to oblige them. The list of castes wishing for reservations has become very long. Witnessing all this it stands to logic that the beneficiary group should be kept under constant review, so that who have over the years reached a stage where they could survive with dignity without any crutches, could be delisted.
  • Creamy layer of lower castes at advantage – Benefits of Reservations are confined within the creamy layer of lower strata, while, it was supposed to benefit ‘poorest of the poor’. How can all the 80% downtrodden be accommodated in power echelons by reserving only 49.552% jobs out of 1% of total government jobs available in the country? Naturally, only few people are benefited, others are given only false assurances during the times of elections.
  • Economic criteria as a basis – Anti-reservationists argue that consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness is not just. Reservations, if it is necessary should be given on the basis of ‘economic criteria’ to all the poor regard less of their caste identity. There should also be an income ceiling for SC/ST and others with the entitlement of their children for reservations in job and admission to educational institutions. Then only really deserving people could be benefited.
  • Led to Brain drain – Reservation has shaken the confidence of the youth of so called forward class. About 50% reservations in government jobs have left many deserving and intelligent youths unemployed or underemployed. Some of them choose the path of crime or violence. Unemployment has been one of the reasons behind Punjab and Kashmir problems. Many intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get good return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. Reservations have, thus, led to brain drain. It has already squeezed out many meritorious by leading the country to massive brain drain.
  • Cry for social-Justice? – The attempt to establish a socialistic government does not carry much weight. The USSR a super-power of pre-1990 days collapsed like a house of cards, despite having Socialistic government for last 70 years. With all its State control and public support, it could not provide expected relief to its masses. How could socialistic ideals provide relief to the masses in India, where there exists so much corruption and inefficiency in administration?
  • Feeling of alienation – Creation and perpetuation quotas in educational institutions and jobs has made backward classes alienated from the main stream. It is adversely affecting national solidarity. It is sowing the seeds of hatred among the people and put hindrances on the way of mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust necessary for the development of the nation as a whole. Along with it, efficiency or excellence, probity, integrity of institutions and trust, which are required for overall well-being are adversely affected.
  • Reservations in Government jobs need not be a political program – Issue of Reservation in government jobs should not be politicized, keeping an eye on electoral mathematics. It has been envisaged to uplift the submerged sections of society and make their future better. Governance is one of the most difficult and specialized tasks. Government employees are supposed to have sufficient professional knowledge and expertise in various disciplines – functional, technical, specialist as well as managerial and generalist – so that they could properly aid and advise the elected representatives of the people and dig for them the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment. For attaining that expertise, they have to be equipped with knowledge in various educational institutions. Therefore, the government should be very careful while recruiting people in government jobs.

If politicians are so keen to give reservations to lower castes, a share in the power structure of the nation, why not quotas are fixed for members of different castes by law and elect turn by turn or by rotation – the President, the Prime Minister, the Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors, Governors, Chief minister of every state? In these positions, the representatives of the people are elected or selected and entrusted the power and make decisions for a fix period. If their performance is not satisfactory, at-least they can be removed or changed. But government jobs are permanent and government servants can not be removed easily till they retire after 32 or 35 years of service. Wrong person in wrong position could adversely affect the standard/functioning of the governance which should not be allowed.

Wanchoo Commission Report, 1968, and Railway Reforms Committee Report, 1983, on the working of Railways observed that reservations in jobs and promotions adversely affects the enthusiasm, incentive for hard work and devotion to duty and in-turn the efficiency and the morale of the civil servants. Sikri Commission on Railways, 1968, linked accidents with reservations. These three reports are just about one government department and that too when reservation is only 22.5% for SC/ST. What is going to happen, now when it is 50%? Who would be the ultimate sufferer. It is the innocent public only.

  • Double standard – The government itself has exempted certain services and posts from reservation in order to maintain efficiency, discipline and loyalty to the nation intact such as all the Defence Services, Scientific and technical posts in the Department of Space, Atomic Energy, Electronics, posts of pilots and top technical persons in Air India and Indian Airlines, all scientific posts of Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, teaching posts in IITs and IIMs, private secretary to the PM and other Ministers, Planning Commission Members etc. (A Handbook on reservation for SC/ST compiled by Sharma and Purohit). It proves that the government maintains double standards.
  • Reservations for women – If any class in India needs reservation on the grounds of social discrimination or under-representation in power echelons, it is only the women in India. How about reserving 50% seats for them in all educational institutions and government jobs? That would be their just share and will not divide the society along the caste lines either. If it cannot be done, then at least 50% of the reserved quota could always be kept aside for women of respective castes. Are the politicians prepared to make such provision for women too?

In short, Anti-reservationists think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Reservation Policy. It has been criticized for creating many conflicting identities like – majority and minority, backward and forwards, urban and rural, north and south and man and woman etc. It is being extended again and again with an aim to create “Vote-bank” in the garb of helping the needy.

In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are being curtailed or negated. It is a farce in the name of social justice, a slap on the face of education and merit, a vote catching measure and misuse of power by political parties.

Views of prominent persons on Reservation Policy – The views of some prominent leaders on reservation, are as follows:

  • Shri V.P. Singh – In his independence-day speech on August 15th, 1990, Shri V.P. Singh, ex-Prime Minister of India announced, while accepting the recommendations of Mandal Commission: “Bureaucracy is an important organ of the power structure and it has a decisive role in the decision-making exercise. We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision making to run this country and improve things. “
  • Mahatma Gandhi – In his book titled “India of my dreams” Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “So far as the reservations in the government departments is concerned, I think, it will be fatal to a good government, if we introduce there the communal spirit for administration to be efficient, it must be always in the hands of the fittest. There should be certainly no favouritism.”… “Distribution of posts should never be according to the proportion of members of each community. “… “Those who aspire to occupy responsible posts in the government of the country can only do if they pass the required test.”
  • Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru – In a letter dated June 27, 1961, addressed to Chief Ministers of various States, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Ex-Prime Minister of India wrote, “I have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of the traditional rut. This necessitates our getting out of the old habit of reservations and particular privilege being given to this caste or that group. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the SC/STs. That deserve help, but even so I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I react strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second rate standards. I want my country to be a first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost.” “This way, lies not only folly but disaster.”
  • Kaka Kalelkar – As Chairman of the Backward Class Commission, Kaka Kalelkar expressed his views on reservation in education (Backward Class Commission Report, 1956, Vol. I, page X). He wrote: “As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the States will help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.”                                       On page VIII of the same report, he has expressed his views on reservation in government services too, as under: “I am definitely against reservations in government services for any community for the simple reason that the services are not meant for the servants but they are meant for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and these may be found in all the communities. Reservation of posts for certain backward communities would be as strange as reservation of patients for a particular doctor. The patients are not meant to supply adequate or proportionate clientele to all the doctors what ever their qualifications.”
  • Sri B.D. Sharma – Shri Sharma, the Commissioner for SC/ST has pointed out in his 29th Report, tabled in Parliament on August 31st, 1990, as under: “The policy of reservation in government jobs has not improved the lot of the bulk of SC/ST in the country. In fact, in many cases, their condition has further deteriorated. “It is quite clear that even if the policy of positive discrimination were to succeed fully, it could benefit only a small section of these communities. On the other hand, if inequality continues to increase in our country or continues even at the present level, the maximum damage will” befall on the members of these communities themselves, because their condition is already the worst as in the case of the SC or because they are facing the most severe backlash of development as in the case of the S.T……” ” The policy of reservation is ironical, as it demands a share for the weaker section” in the gains of iniquitous system, which in the ultimate analysis cannot be anything, but the proceeds of exploitation of other poor belonging to the same group who remain at the bottom.”
  • Chowdhary Charan Singh – Chowdhary Charan Singh, the founder of Lok Dal and charismatic leader of Backward castes and class, wrote: “It must be conceded that reservation on the basis of caste is a vicious principle and creates many problems. More than reservation in recruitment, it is reservation in promotions that has led to great heart burning and great inefficiency in our services. Such reservation whether in favour of Scheduled or Backward castes, was, in my opinion beyond intentions of the founding fathers. Boys belonging to poor families, particularly those, where large section of our people are considered socially inferior for centuries past, are entitled to consideration rather than concessions at the hands of the government of independent India.”                                                                                                                      Chowdhary Charan Singh was also against extending reservation to SC/ST beyond 10 years “The intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. … “The Union Government, however, has for political reasons, been extending the period of reservations decades after decades. There should be bars on children of those who have benefited from reservation and those who are income tax payers, so that other less fortunates could be helped.” (A letter, February 12,1982 to Banarasi Dass, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh)
  • Ram Vilas paswan – The Dalit Sena president and Janata Party leader, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, in his speech at Benipatti, Madhubani, on December 12, 1987 demanded for amendment to the Constitution to end the prevalent reservation system for Harijans and other backward classes in the Government services and replacing it by right to work for every body…. Reservation system had failed to achieve its purpose and had created social tension in the country. Mr. paswan said that despite Constitutional provisions and related laws, the government at the Centre and State had failed to protect the interest of Harijans.                                                                                     Later on, Paswan became the champion of reservation policy. He advocated reservations in jobs and educational institutions on permanent basis. It should continue till the caste system persists in India. Since caste system can not be put to an end, therefore, there is no justification for finishing the reservation for the downtrodden.

Views of intelligentsia regarding reservations in government jobs –

  • Professor Andre BeteilIe – Professor Beteille said: “Once the uneven distribution of caste in public institutions comes to be perceived as a problem of distributive justice, institutional well-being takes the back seat.” “Job reservations in public institutions are required to protect the interest of SC/ST, backward classes and minorities – if this argument is believed to be right and acted upon then our institutions can not function as they ought to, their well-being will be irreparably damaged.” … “The best course would be to expand the pool of qualified candidates at the lower level but this would call for patience which no government in India has so far shown.” “A quicker course, whose effects would show immediately in official statistics, would be to alter the proportions directly, through reservation of jobs.” (6th T. T. Krishnamachari Memorial lecture on “Distributive Justice & Institutional well-being”, November 11, 1990, the Institute of Economic Growth)
  • Shri H.M. Seervai – Shri Seervai wrote: “Reservations affect five parties adversely: 
    • The State – to whose service persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commissions.
    • The public – As the very phrase “Public servant” shows.
    • The persons – who are discriminated against, by reservations in favour of members of SC/ST.
    • Members of SC/ST – In whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing reservation quota; and
    • The service – That is each service considered as a whole. (“Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India”, Indian Express, September, 1990)                                                               “A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.”
  • Nani A Palkiwala – Shri Palkiwala opined that Reservation policy suffers from five fatal flaws:
    • The sub-standard replaces the standard, and the reins of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocracy.
    • It ignores the reality that there are no backward castes but backward individuals.
    • Reservations in promotion are disastrous enough for the civil administration.
    • It divides the country on caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes.
    • Equality is the very heart of free republic, the foundation stone of true republic, the source of inspiration, the criteria for its citizenship and the hope for its welfare. The bedrock of reservation is discrimination in-reverse: it is discrimination against merit and calibre. (“Unity and security of State at stake”, Indian Express, September 14, 1990)
  • Arun Shourie – Arun Shourie, in an Article titled “This way lies not only folly but disaster” appearing in the Indian Express on August 22, 1990, writes: “A job should be something one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in. It should not be, advancement in it must not be anyone’s by right”. But reservation definitely develops the ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too because of by my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos?

An analysis of the issue

There are certain basic truths, which needs to be accepted and pay attention to, before taking policy-decisions. Such as:

Society as an organic body – Society behaves and develops like an organic body. Each organ does a particular function and coordinated working of all organs together keeps the whole body fit and alive. Like other organic bodies, each and every section of society is an indispensable part of the society, which needs equal attention and proper care for the balanced growth of the society as a whole.

Just like in an organic body, weaker parts need special care, but not at the cost of others. So is in the society. Each and every section of the society needs to be assigned a specific function. Each one should perform its respective job. Society needs the services of all sections of the society. The work of any section is neither inferior nor superior to other. Each and every section of society needs to be aware of its indispensability to the whole. A society can move and prosper to its fullest, when each and every section of society does its functions well and lives in harmony; and when there is mutual help, respect and trust amongst the various sections of the society.

Society as an organisation – For an efficient and smooth functioning, like an organization, society also needs –
•Division of labour – Nobody can do all the work by himself. Division of different functions required in a society is the first requisite.
•Grouping of activities – All functions and activities should be so grouped as to avoid confusion. Activities of similar nature or having same objectives are grouped under one section.
•Structure – An organization needs a structure with well defined functions. The structure must be simple and easy to understand. It should also ensure continuous growth and, therefore, should not be rigid.
•Balance of activities – Proper weight-age to different activities, in proportion to their contribution to organization as a whole, is necessary. No activity should either be over-valued or under-valued.
•Team spirit – Relationship between various groups within an organization should be based on the principle of “mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust”. It facilitates better coordination of diverse activities performed by different sections. Smooth relations amongst its constituent’s leads to optimal utilisation of resources and to satisfaction of all its constituent members.
•Specialisation – Concentration of a section on the performance of a single task, leads to greater efficiency and more specialisation. Functions need to be assigned on the basis qualifications, skills, attitude and aptitude of its employees.
•Creative thinking – A good organisation encourages initiative and creative thinking.
•Satisfaction – Organization must be able to satisfy the biological as well as psychological needs of its employees as an individual as well as a group.
•Adoption of new technologies and development – An organization helps adopts new improved means of doing things, permits prompt adoption and optimum use of technological advancements. It must avoid nepotism, favouritism and must give an upper hand to merit and talent.

Indian society contains all the essentials of a good organisation.

Truth about “Varna-system” – “Varna system” along with its castes and sub­-castes is not as bad as has been portrayed earlier by British rulers, now by some leaders and the pro­-reservationists. It is based on principles ‘mutual respect, trust and tolerance for each other’, ‘There is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed’ or ‘To each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity’. ‘Division of work’ was based on attitude and aptitude of an individual. It has given to India a solid social-structure, which is simple to understand. Above all, it has provided unity of culture which has been able to bind the people of Indian peninsula from one end to the other.

Mahatma Gandhi said “The main reason of our economic and spiritual degeneration is that we have not correctly followed the “Varna System”. This is the main reason of poverty and unemployment and one of the main reasons that there is untouchability”. He suggested to encourage education amongst the masses for the growth a self-contained and self-regulated society; all occupations to be given equal respect; people to be encouraged, not to be forced to adopt their hereditary occupations; and difference of income derived from various occupations should be narrowed down to the minimum.

“Policy of reservation” lost its validity – “Policy of reservation” adopted by the independent India has lost its value and justification now. Reformatory movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attempts of constitution-framers spread of education and awareness amongst general public. Many changes have come about in the whole atmosphere, in thinking, attitude and aspirations of common-men. Recent technological advancements have made the life of common-men easier and created enormous opportunities to earn more. The experiences of recent past reveal that Policy of reservation has lost its value and justification now because –

SC/STs and OBCs emerged as powerful pressure groups – After the green revolution of sixties, the economic and political status of people engaged in agriculture India has improved tremendously. India being an agricultural country, 75% of its population (mostly belonging to SC and OBC categories) is engaged in agricultural sector only. Reforms gave them permanent rights as owners or otherwise. New agricultural technologies, backed by administrative and financial support by governmental agencies, helped them the chance to get out of the trap of poverty. They have organized themselves and emerged as a very powerful pressure group both in the fields of economics and politics. Still, if many SC/STs and OBCs have not been able utilise this opportunity fully, fault lies somewhere else and not in caste system. In their under-nourished faces are written the failures of the successive Governments and their policies that have ignored their actual needs.

Caste is no longer a barrier in the matter of jobs – Doors of education have been opened for all. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically.

Immense choices in matter of occupation – Earlier people were forced to earn their living only by doing their hereditary jobs. But the Constitution of India gave everybody freedom and equal opportunity to select one’s source of earning. Society has accepted the change-over to any profession a person wishes to pursue and for that he has to prove his suitability in the job market. Educational facilities have been provided to them. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically. However, sub-merged people of SC/ST community have not so far been able to utilise this opportunity fully. Benefits are benefitting the creamy layer amongst them.

Label of Brahmin or Shudra meaningless today – Today, the label of Brahmin or of Shudra does not matter much in choosing a profession. There is no dearth of employment opportunities. From all sections of society, people are acquiring necessary qualifications and are entering into areas of their choice. Experience shows that all are doing well in almost all spheres.

Increasing opportunities in service sector – A vacuum has been created in the service sector, when many traditional jobs became obsolete. Jobs in service sector could also fetch a handsome amount of money. Recently some people engaged in this field such as tailors, carpenters, dyers and drycleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even Paanwalas are doing much better than ever before. The key to their success appears to be the very same as elsewhere – hard-work, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skill. Today, in the lure of safe and secure job, easy and quick money, government jobs in local, state or central levels are becoming very popular.

That day appears not to be far off when in complex technological society, the white-collared jobs would loose their present attraction and the service sector would get a prominent place. An excellent plumber then may become more admirable than an incompetent scientist. Therefore, instead of disturbing the efficiency and working of the organized sector, the government could concentrate on enormous opportunities of self­ employment available in this sector, and thus helping the downtrodden to establish well themselves in the society.

Creamy layer amongst beneficiary groups – On the one hand, it has been experienced that Benefit of reservations is confined within a few dominant and prosperous SC/ST and OBC castes. They have now acquired economic, political and above all muscle power. Many of them make vote banks for the politicians, capture booths during elections and could ask their unfortunate brethren to shut their mouths or to meet the consequences. In certain regions, they themselves have become the exploiters of their unfortunate brethren – suppressing the agricultural labours and are heaping atrocities on Harijans.

Efficiency in administration – A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.

It is feared that relaxation in matter of recruitment standard, as reservation policy suggests, adversely affects efficiency of administration. It creates a distance between quota officers and non-quota officers, adversely affects integrity and coordinated efforts of services for development of the nation as a whole. Merit oriented approach in matter of filling crucial and important posts, in principle, opposes reservation of any kind, which gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. It is a humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift and empower the weaker sections of its society. But it should not be done at the cost of efficiency in administration. Mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration makes the life of common people more miserable.

False assurances – Politicians and political parties with vested interests are luring the poor masses by promising them to give government jobs through reservations. Government jobs still fascinate the masses as with it are attached the attraction of fix salary, prestige, power, influence, security of employment and scope to distribute patronage. If without acquiring the needed qualifications and without much effort one can get all these things, no body minds it.

Vast reservoir of talents amongst the lower strata of society – There is a vast reservoir of potential/talent amongst backwards as well, only they need opportunities to grow. Their hidden qualifications and capabilities Sound education and training would make aware them aware of their hidden qualifications and their capabilities. Their confidence can be restored, only when they are brought to the level of forward castes people so that they could compete for jobs and promotions on equal terms.

Hurt feelings of poor belonging to upper castes – The deprived and poor people, belonging to so called “Forward caste”, feel betrayed by their own Government. They are being victimised because of no fault of their own. ‘Economic criteria’ offers a general formula to help to all extremely poor and underprivileged individuals irrespective of their caste or creed. Many dynamic and talented youths have lost their faith in the government and interest in government jobs. Upright officers do not get a proper atmosphere in the office or reward for their merit, intelligence, hard work and honesty. On the contrary, due to politicization, growing disregard for the work-culture and overstaffing, upright officers are sidetracked. Fixed salary is just sufficient to keep them from hand to mouth. They have to struggle all through their lives – after paying the taxes, meeting their children’s school fees and coping with ever increasing prices of essential items to maintain a decent life style.

Backwardness of some, not unique in India only – Backwardness of some sections of society having such massive demographic entities is not peculiar to the Indian conditions only. It is universal phenomena. Every nation has it and adopts its own ways to uplift the sub-merged people. The Chinese approach, in this regard is through education and not through unmeritorious reservation of jobs, as there is no need to create vote banks there. Grooming of downtrodden in India could also be done by providing sound education to them. Already there are many institutes and some more may be opened especially for lower strata of society, where they could study the same syllabi and to go through the same courses as other students from a good background. The students from poor background may take more time to go through the same courses and reach up-to the same standard as others. The process may be slow but is steady. The quality of education should not be allowed to deteriorate at any cost as is being done.

Times when Governmental intervention needed – When individuals are proved to be working under special handicap or are not allowed to function freely as citizens, then only the government may intervene irrespective of caste or creed so that deserving persons from all sections of the society may get the needed help. It should punish the culprits strictly and make special provision for advancement of under privileged or handicapped persons. It need not necessarily be in the form of reservations. Reservations have been proved to be disruptive to the peace of the society and unpractical.

Conclusion and suggestions

The past experiences have made it clear that the remedies suggested through reservation proved worse than evils, the leaders were out to combat. To some, this discrimination is positive and to others, negative and contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice.

Deserving people get lost amidst the gore and gusto – The faces of poor people, really deserving support from the government, have been lost amidst the gore and gusto of pro and anti-reservationist movements. ‘Shudras’ have been the life and blood of the Indian society for centuries in the past and led the nation to the ‘Golden Era’. They still provide essential services to the whole community in different disciplines. But in exchange, today, they get very little – not even enough to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

There is no denial to the fact that for centuries, Shudras have been the life and blood of the Indian society. They have been performing certain traditional standardised services for the whole community. In exchange, as usual, even today they get very little – not enough even to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

Side effects of Reservation policy – Reservations have developed many side affects. Instead of becoming a viable instrument for the upliftment of the submerged section of the society, it has created vested interests of the powerful lobbies of society. It is serving the interest of those people who do not need it any more and making the administrative machinery sick. Giving additional weapon in weak hands is no remedy. First the hands need to be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through awareness of the surroundings, sound education and-training. Then they themselves without any help from an outside agency will pick up the weapon in their hands and protect themselves and others in the society with it. Education alone can make them more knowledgeable in the fields of their works, more laborious and more confident, so that they could earn enough to live with honour and dignity.

Plans needs to be based on real issues – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, other development measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. Downtrodden must be made capable to stand upon their feet and make their due place in the society. Policy of generating confidence and inculcating skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education should be pursued, so that they could be brought to the required intellectual level, do justice to the jobs assigned to them, hold their positions without any complex and live in the society with honour.

Only two ends in Governance, ‘nation, and ‘individual’ – The unity and solidarity of the nation demands that its population should not be divided along the lines of different identities i.e. caste, region, language, religion or base – rural or urban – by giving preference or over- protection to one section or group over the other. As Kaka Kalelkar had suggested, while framing policies, government should recognise only two ends – the individual on the one hand and the nation as a whole on the other. No sectional or communal grouping should be encouraged to flourish itself in between the two, which could undermine the equality, liberty and freedom of the individuals and the solidarity of the nation.

Result-oriented action programmes needed – Issues should be identified rationally and result-oriented action programmes needs to be implemented sincerely as suggested by the Planning Commission, various government departments and voluntary organisations. The backwardness of most of the people is due to poverty, illiteracy and many evils that go with it such as ignorance, superstitions, mal-nutrition, lack of access to shelter, clothing, health, hygiene etc. These problems can never be solved by making policy of reservation as a major remedial measure. Other remedial measures are required for the development, which could produce desired results within time and cost parameters. More stress should now be given to fair distribution of surplus land and other anti poverty programmes, which could benefit a large number of poor people everywhere if honestly pursued.

Reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle” – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, some other measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. It was not only the first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, but Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, and Chowdhary Charan Singh, the charismatic leader of backward caste, considered reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle”.

Positive steps needed to be taken – More than Reservations is needed to the inculcation of concentrate on skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education. It would make weaker sections to stand upon their own feet and to survive without the crutches of Reservations. It would bring backwards to the required intellectual level, make them capable do justice to the jobs and fulfil their responsibility without any complex. It would ultimately generate confidence in them and live in the society with dignity and honour.

Vision of Nehru – The vision of Nehru suggested putting emphasis on education – “The real way to help a backward group is to give opportunities of good education; this includes technical education, which is becoming more and more important. Everything else is provision of some kind of crutches which don’t add to the strength or health of the body. We have recently made two decisions: one is universal free elementary education that is the base and the second is scholarships on a very wide scale at every grade of education to the bright boys and girls and this applies not merely to literary education but much more so, to technical, scientific and medical training. I lay stress on the bright and able boys and girls, because it is only they who will raise our standards.” …. “But if we go in for reservation on communal or caste basis we swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate.” (Chief Ministers Conference, June 27, 1961,)

Authorities like Shri B.D. Sharma, Commissioner for SC/ST, and many others have also opined that policy of reservations in government jobs has not improved the position of the bulk of SC/ST and CECs. Instead it had further developed many problems.

Winding up
•If India wants to emerge as a strong nation in the world, it should give preference to efficiency, motivation, discipline, tenacity of purpose and capacity of a person to achieve the desired goals.
•It is not the policy of reservation which is required but a policy of generating confidence in backward caste.
•Stress should be given to basic education.
•No sectional or religious group be allowed grow between the government and the individual.
•Really-deserving individuals needing special attention must be identified by assessing their economic condition without any bias.
•All help, such as free and extra tuition, subsidised and extra nourishment, residential accommodation etc., to overcome their disabilities and to acquire requisite abilities should be provided
•Abilities to shoulder responsibilities at entry point and performance throughout the career should always be given importance.
•In postings and promotions, Standard set should apply equally to all and strictly to all.
•At no time and at no level, the standard should be allowed to deteriorate.
•The method of assessment should be continually honed, so that more meritorious persons could be selected.
•Wages should be enough to enable them to work honestly and live in the society with dignity without clamouring for dishonest money.

In the words of Shri C. Rajgopalachari, which he said long ago that for any system “To be good and efficient as a whole we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation. The caste consciousness is a hard reality. It unites and divides in a very real manner today whatever be our goal and today is most important in matter of administration. Short-sighted favouritism and concessions to produce contentment among classes and castes will be very short-lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to the real efficiency.”

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , | Leave a comment

Sardar’s views on the issue of All India Services

Introduction – Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), popularly known as Sardar Patel, was an Indian politician. He served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. His commitment to national integration in the newly independent country was total and uncompromising, earning him the sobriquet “Iron Man of India”. By August 15, 1947, all except Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Kashmir acceded to India. Patel thereafter carried the three-fold process of assimilation, centralization, and unification of states. The states were amalgamated to form a union and that union was merged with the Union of India.

Sardar Patel also known as “patron saint of India’s civil servants” – He is also remembered as the “patron saint of India’s civil servants” for having established the modern all-India services system.

The institution of All India Services – The institution of All India Services is one of the oldest and most wonderful institutions, the British Government has bequeathed to India.  It has a long historical background and is a product of centuries.  It has prospered, slowly but steadily, under three successive regimes—The East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic.

Golden Period for All India Services from 1858-1919 – Under Crown, from 1858-1919  was the golden period of All Indian Services.  During this period, the civil services were institutionalized.  From 1858 to 1919, the All India Services, specially the ICS, attracted the best talent of British Society, who graduated from Oxford or Cambridge.

The civil services were classified into Convenanted (Higher-Imperial and Provincial) and Uncovenanted (Subordinate), on the basis of the nature of work, appointing authority and pay-scales.  Imperial services, occupying the higher rungs of civil services and controlled by the Secretary of State, was further divided into All India Services and Central Services. 

On the eve of the Government of India Act, the following nine All India Services (Report of the Royal Commission on Superior Services in India, Government of India Press, 1924, p.4.). According to Report of the Indian Statutory Commission, Vol. I, the strength of personnel of each service was as follows: 

Sl. No.                     Name                      Popular Name                   Strength

1.       Indian Civil Service            ICS                         1,350

2.       Indian Police Service                    IPS                         732

3.       Indian Forest Service                   IFS                         417

4.       Indian Service of Engineers          ISE                         728

5.       Indian Medical Service (Civil)                                      420

6.       Indian Education Service                                  421

7.       Indian Civil Veterinary Service                                     53

8.       Indian Forest Engineering Service                               –

9.       Indian Agriculture Service                                 157

  The oldest and the most important among the All India Services was the ICS, which owes its Origin to Lord Macaulay Report submitted in 1854.  The last to be added to the list of All India Services was the Indian Agriculture Service in 1906.  All these services were grouped into Security All India Services (ICS and IP) and Other All India Services.  Appointment and control of these services rested with the Secretary of State as it was thought  necessary to hold British control over the country. 

During this period, the civil services not only became rigid in its class structure, but also became bureaucratic in methods and procedure of work.  Unlike the decentralized administration during the East India Company, the growth of rapid means of communication made centralization of administration possible.  The whole system, from top to bottom, became well-knit, highly centralized and behaved like an unbreakable steel frame with all the characteristics of a full-fledged Autocracy. (M.V. Pylee, Constitutional History of India, 1600-1950, Bombay, Asia, 1967, p.28) 

Centralization tightened the regulatory functions of the officials to supervise and control the subordinate officials and made the office procedure elaborate and cumbersome.   Sir William Hunter commented, “He governed most, who wrote most”.  Thus cam into being multiplication of reports, returns and correspondence and obsession for office work. 

Under Dyarchy (1919-35)Dyarchy, also spelled dyarchy, system of double government introduced by the Government of India Act (1919) for e provinces of British India. The principle of dyarchy was a division of the executive branch of each provincial government into authoritarian and popularly responsible sections.

As the movement for Indianisation gained momentum, Indian public and leaders became allergic to All India Services, not on the basis of their actual performance, but because they were controlled by the Secretary of State and were a living symbol of foreign rule. 

Intensification of national movement, growing demand for Indianization of higher civil services and introduction of Dyarchy (which promised progressive realization of responsible and self-government in India) in the post 1919 period brought about many changes in All India Services. 

Dampening effect on attraction to join all India services – Criticism of the individual members of the services by questions in the provincial and Central legislatures, the `ignominy’ of working under Indian Ministers in provinces, the non-cooperation movement of 1920-22, the insufficiency of salaries due to high price-rise in the wake of the World War I, etc., left a dampening effect on the attraction of All India Services as  a career service for British Youth.  All efforts to attract them fell flat and the number of British Officers began to decline.

In 1923, the Lee Commission recommended abolition of certain All India Services, particularly, those dealing with subjects that had been transferred to Indian hands, namely, Indian Education Service, Indian Agriculture Service, Indian Veterinary Service and the roads and Building branch of the Indian Service of Engineers.  It, however, recommended retention of Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Forest Service, Indian Medical Service and the Irrigation branch of Indian Service of Engineers. 

It also recommended increasing Indianisation of these services as also that any British Official belonging to the services of transferred subjects would be free to take voluntary retirement on a proportionate pension at any time.  Effect was given to these recommendations.  These changes affected the “The Espirit de Corps” of these services.

National leaders against the system of All India Services – In 1928, the Committee under the Chairmanship of Moti Lal Nehru, appointed the All Parties Conference, recommended discontinuance of all the All India Services and pressed for their provincialisation.  Similar were the views of the Committee appointed by the United Provinces Legislative Council, which asserted: “We hold that retention of these services (i.e. All India Services) in a system of full provincial autonomy would unnecessarily complicate matters”. (Report of the Committee Appointed by the United Provinces Legislative Council to cooperate with the Indian Statutory commission, Allahabad, Government Press, 1929, pp. 104-5). 

Shiva Rao said: “I do not think it would be satisfactory to work these services on an All India basis and at the same time ensure a proper relationship between the Services and the Ministry.” (B. Shiva Rao, Indian Round Table Conference: Proceedings of the Sub-Committee, Vol. VIII, Calcutta, Central Publication Branch, 1931, p. 54) 

Bheemarao Ambedkar also said: “No Province can be deemed to have provincial autonomy, if it has not the right to regulate the civil services that is going to work in its area”.  ( Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Indian Round Table Conference: Proceedings of the Sub-Committee, Vol. VIII, opp. Cit., p.55).

In 1933-34, in the Joint Committee on Indian Constitution Reforms, some leaders again urged the provincialisation of All India Services, but it did not accept it, because it regarded the need for a regular supply of officers, both Indian and British, of the highest quality as vital to the stability of the proposed Constitution itself.    “It is of the first importance that in the early days of `New Order’ and indeed until the course of events in the future can be more clearly foreseen, the new Constitution should not be exposed to risk and hazard by radical changes in the system which has for so many generations produced men of the calibre.(Report of the Joint Committee on Indian Constitution Reforms, Vol. I, Part I, 1934, para 286). 

The net effect of all this turmoil was that India Act of 1935 allowed the continuance of only three All India Services, namely, Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Medical Service (Civil).  Other services were not abolished abruptly or altogether.  Only fresh recruitment into these services was discontinued, thus enabling its painless extinction through the natural process of retirement, resignation and causalities of its members.

Even Pt. Nehru was against the Bureaucracy – After Independence, many national leaders wanted to abolish the bureaucracy after Independence. Despite the strong arguments put forward by Sardar Patel, it was not an easy job to gain provincial acceptance for the proposed All India Services. Some important national leaders like Nehru, G.B. Pant, etc., and a few states like Punjab, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir were very critical of it.  They preferred to have their own `Superior Services’.  However, All India Services were pushed down their reluctant throats by Vallabhbhai Patel. (The Hindu, October 25, 1946, p. 4.)

Even Pt Nehru against continuance of All India Services – Nehru is on record to have said: “But of one thing I am quite sure that no new order can e built up in India, so long as the spirit of ICS (Indian Civil Service) pervades our Administrative Public Service.  That spirit of authoritarianism is the ally of imperialism and it cannot coexist with freedom.  It will either succeed in crushing freedom or will be swept away by itself.  Only with one type of State, it is likely to fit in and that is the Fascist type.  Therefore, it seems quite essential that the ICS and similar services must disappear completely, much before we can start real work on a new order.” (Jawarlal Nehru, An Autobiography, London, the Bodley Head, 1953, p.443.)

“Provincial Premiers Conference” – Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister, however, held an opposite view.  He foresaw the dire necessity of “All India Services” in independent India.  Therefore, he convened a “Provincial Premiers Conference” in October, 1946 to take a decision on All India Services. 

While presiding over the Conference, he said: “My own view as I have told you, is that it is not only advisable, but essential, if you want to have an efficient service, to have a Central Administrative Service, in which, we fix the strength as the Provinces would require them and we draw a certain number of officers at the Centre, as we are doing at present.  This will give experience to the personnel at the Centre leading to efficiency and administrative experience of the district, which will give them an opportunity to contact with the people.  They will thus keep themselves in touch with the situation in the country and their practical experience will be most useful to them.  Besides their coming to the Centre will give them a different experience and wider outlook in a larger sphere.  A combination of these two experiences will make the service more efficient.  They will also serve as liaison between the Provinces and the Government and introduce certain amount of freshness and vigor in the administration, both at the Centre and in the Provinces.  Therefore, my advice is that we should have an All India Service.” (Sardar Patel, Proceedings of the Premiers’ Conference, October, 1946).

Patel’s advice to National leaders – It was Sardar, who advised them at Bombay in October 1947. he said, We have only a small number of Civil Servants left. Many people say that they are working in their old way. But those, who have experience of administration, know under what circumstances and how much they are working. Outsiders can not appreciate their work. Many of them, loyal workers and patriots are working with us night and day. All that we have been able to achieve, whether it be in the sphere of states or in Kashmir or another theatre, has been possible only because of their loyalty and whole-hearted support.” 

Patel’s warning – Again speaking in the Constituent Assembly, he warned: “There is no alternative to this administrative system…The Union will go, you will not have a united India, if you have not a good All India Service, which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security that you will stand by your work..   If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution.  Substitute  something else…This Constitution is meant to be worked by a ring of service, which will keep the country intact.  There are many impediments in this constitution, which will hamper us.  But in spite of that, we have in our collective wisdom come to a decision that we shall have this model, which in the ring of a service will be such that will keep, the country intact.. these people are the instrument.  Remove them and I see nothing, but a picture of chaos all round the country.” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. X, No.3, October 10, 1946.)

Sardar Patel’s step proved to be a step in the right direction – The vision of Sardar Patel in continuing this institution proved to be a step in the right direction even after 70 years of independence. Administrative Reform Commission’s Report of the Study Team on Centre-State Relationship, (Chairman: M.C. Setalvad, Government of India) had justified it in 1967.

The ARC also observed, ”Not only do the original considerations for which the All India Services was set up in the beginning hold good even today, but they apply with greater force today and make it necessary that a service structure like the IAS should continue for foreseeable future.” (ARC, Report on Personnel Administration, August 1967, p.61)

Report of the Study Team on Centre-State Relationship – The Setalvad team said, “The Indian scene has changed in many ways since then. But in this respect, the change that occurred over the years serves only to confirm all that Sardar Patel said with prophetic insight many years ago. It should be needless to affirm the continued validity of all the objectives underlying the All India Services and yet in a country, in which the Constitutional parts are possessed with preemptive desire to assert their separations, such an affirmation is solely needed. The value of a system considered necessary for the administrative unity of the country despite the ubiquity of congress Party rule and found indispensable for securing fair-play and competence in administration, despite the acute awareness of their need in the most potent political figures at a time, when their power was untrammeled and their right ran through the length and breadth of the land, can in the less favourable conditions of today be ignored only at the cost of perilous consequences. Continuity also demands a system which can maintain links in administrative behaviour throughout the country, while political changes visit different States and the Centre.” (ARC,Report of the Study Team on Centre-State Relationship, (Chairman: M.C. Setalvad), Government of India, 1967.)

B.B. Misra felt concerned at the abolition of other All India Services. He said, “It was the ICS and IP that remained unaffected and continued to act as unifying force. Most of the other All India Services were abolished. Considerations of national unity, the positive need of India’s all round development and the attainment of a minimum uniform standard in administration were allowed to go by default.”

Experiences of last 70 years of Independent India proves that Sardar Patel’s step was a step in the right direction, The vision of Sardar Patel in continuing this institution proved to be necessary for for good governance of the whole of the nation. a step in the right direction even after 70 years of independence.

Thoughts of Misra read with the analysis brought out under sub-title, “The Need for Additional All India Services” leads to the conclusion that the country has erred in not allowing continuation of All India Services in other areas of national interest. However, as the saying goes “It is better to be late than never”, it is time that a beginning is made to set up All India Services for Health, Water, Power, Education and Judiciary, immediately. This should not be a difficult task as the Rajya Sabha has already passed a resolution to that effect, at least for Health, Water and Power, and it can always pass a bill for other two remaining subjects, viz., education and Judiciary.” (B.B. Misra, Administrative History of India, 1834-1947: General Administration, London, Oxford University Press, 1970, p.143.)

On the eve of Independence, when the entire administration exhibited the signs of wear and tear, Sardar Patel had warned the nation, India is passing through the most critical and troubled days of her long and checkered history and strong, efficient, experienced broad minded administrators were badly required at that hour to save the nation from the impending crisis . Today, 70 years after the independence, position is the same, because of vote-bank policy, caste-based reservations and politics of vendetta. Nation again shows the signs of wear and tear. It is good to remember today Sardar Patel’s views on important issues and contributions to the nation and pay attention to what he had said 70 years ago.

May 30, 2020 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | 1 Comment

Reservation Policy? Is it fixing quotas in Government civil services for Different Sections of society?

 “Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.” Anne Bradstreet

“Work is worship. There is no substitute for hard-work”

INTRODUCTION ­

Biggest experiment of Twentieth century – Policy of Reservations in government jobs is one of the biggest experiments in the history of Twentieth Century. It is a very sensitive issue. It was started to uplift the submerged sections of Indian society, to protect their rights and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture existed among various sections of society. From its very nature, the policy is discriminatory and exclusive. It empowers state authorities to give preference to one or more groups in the society to exclusion of others and encroach on domain of right to ‘equality to all’. Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy, as it also involves emotional feelings of people.

“Reservation in Government services” – Reservations in government services involves two contradictory principles – one, the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”. Reservation Policy aims at improving the lot of backward sections of society and empowering them for a better future. For a successful administration the keynote is efficiency, which means right people on right positions at right time.

An efficient administration can provide convenience to the public at large, and attain the developmental and welfare goals of the nation within time and cost parameters. It could secure maximum results with minimum labour and resources. However, Reservation policy suggests, as understood by Indian authorities, to appoint less- qualified persons on the crucial positions of power structure by relaxing the standards and fixing up a separate quota for each of its weaker sections.

Issues – The question arises, is it possible to find out a way, which can keep a balance between the two contradictory principles? Is it not desirable to make weaker sections strong and eligible first and then facilitate their entry into such services of the nation? How can a capable and confident team from amongst vast majority of backward people be prepared to shoulder responsibilities of administration judiciously?

What is Reservation Policy – Dictionary meaning of Reservations – According to the “New Webster Dictionary”, reservation means “Keeping aside something for some specific purpose.” In the Indian context, Reservation Policy refers to a situation, wherein Quotas are fixed up for different sections of society in the recruitment and promotions in government jobs, to uplift the submerged section of society.  Some other facilities and concessions are also given to reserved category’s people, so that they could be brought back into the mainstream of the nation. The Constitution-framers have made the provision of Reservation only for 10 years.  

Social structure of Indian society – Before discussing the views of supporters and critics of Reservation Policy, It is necessary to know something about Social Structure of India. In ancient India, Hindu society was classified in four functional groups known as “Varna” –

  1. Brahmins to preach,
  2. Kshatriyas to rule and defend the community,
  3. Vaishyas to carry on the business and
  4. Shudras to do the menial jobs for the society as a whole.

During Ancient period, though the concept of Nation-State was non-existent, but Hindu philosophy, its values, systems and culture had bound the people of this peninsula from one end to the other. The systems worked well. So much and so, that ancient India was known as ‘Sone ki Chiriya’ ( A Bird of Gold). However, the system Developed deformity with passage of time.

  • In ancient India, numerous social groups came to India in waves at different points of time and desired to join the mainstream. All of them were assimilated into it without any conversion by giving each one a different caste name. It gave rise to the caste-system.
  • Then Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India. Earlier, they drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands. But afterwards, they conquered and made India their homeland. There had been alien rule in the country for centuries, first of Mughals rule and then of British.
  • Developed deformity with passage of time – As time passed, there developed many distortions. The society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes within each of four Varnas. Disparity and inequality grew amongst them with the passage of time.
  • Pathetic condition of Shudras and untouchables – By the beginning of twentieth century, the condition of Shudras/untouchables and women became quite pathetic  due to ignorance, superstitions, illiteracy and they were in general economically deprived. There were prejudices/discrimination against them in every sphere of life, from day-to-day living to work to social status.

Social Reformative movements of nineteenth and twentieth centuries – From time to time, Intelligentsia, nationalist leaders and social reformers were deeply concerned about the inequality and injustice prevalent in the society against lower castes and women of the society.  Reformative movements during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century were seriously concerned about the sufferings of women and untouchables. They  made efforts to uplift their position and eliminate all forms of exploitation, oppression, discrimination and evil practices prevalent in the society.

It was also impressed upon the masses that “Abhava” (Scarcity), “Agyan” (Ignorance), “Anyaya” (Injustice), and “Alasya” (Laziness) were the sources of all the evils. To get over these shortcomings, they organized many awareness programs for the masses. Intelligentsia, nationalist leaders and social reformers made people alert and aware of their rights. They advised masses no more to accept from now onwards, misery, ignorance and economic deprivation, which they earlier accepted as their lot,

Start of Quota system by British Government to improve the status of weaker sections In the later half of the Nineteenth century, British government in India started the practice of ‘Quota system’ in India. First, it opened up the doors of Modern education for all sections of society including  Brahmins to prepare Indians for government jobs.  But preponderance of Brahmins in the administration had alarmed them. To balance the power, the British government gave some special concessions and preferences to Non-brahmins through the policy of fixing up Quotas (former form of ‘Reservation policy’), in government jobs for different sections of Indian society.

Scene after World-War II – After World War II, “Laissez-faire” theory of government’s function gave way to the concepts of “Welfare State”, and “Development Administration”. These concepts aimed at bringing about “Social, political and economic justice” and “Betterment to the lot of the submerged sections of the society” by building up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy, in which the downtrodden could have a better deal.

With the general acceptance of the concepts all-over the world, the national governments gradually assumed the responsibility of welfare of all its citizens from “Womb to tomb”. Specific concessions, protections and assistance were given to the weaker sections of society in one form or the other all-over the world.

Much before, Dr. Ambedkar demanded Reservations for untouchables in Government jobs and separate electorate for them (a demand conceded by the British Governments in 1932), many Provincial Governments, especially those in the South, had already fixed up quotas on the basis of castes and communities. They were giving preferences to certain castes and communities in educational institutions and government jobs.

Interestingly enough the Government of India Act, 1935, did not contain any specific provision for reservation. It, however, contained a few Sections (Section 275 and 298) which indirectly dealt with the subject through “Negative Protection” to those suffering from disability by reasons of race, religion, place of birth, descent, colour or any of them. The reservations in the Central services started since 1943, whereas the ST’s became eligible for reservations since 1950.

India, which got freedom from British rule in 1947, also thought of pursuing some protective measures like “Reservation Policy”, to bring back the submerged sections of society into mainstream.

Scene after Independence

 There has been a perplexing diversity in geography, culture, caste, religion and language in India. Along with it, there has been a great disparity between different sections of society – socially and economically. The attention of national leaders was drawn towards illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, and taboos on food, drink and marriages, social segregation, lack of communication, living in inaccessible areas, unhealthy loyalties, continuing discrimination and lack of security,­ economic, social and legal.

Primary Goals  according   – After independence, India, being a democratic country pursued the principles of ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Social Justice’ after the Independence. The primary goals of the government for the independent India were:

  • To build a self-reliant nation through optimal utilization of its resources.
  • To establish an egalitarian and tolerant society based on the principles of justice, social economic and political,
  • To ensure to everyone equality of status and opportunity and
  • To give underprivileged a fair start

Views of Constituent Assembly members – Different views were exchanged during constituent Assembly debates –

  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Chairman of Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution and founder of reservation policy in India, was of the opinion that social structure of India and its ‘Principle of Varna’ was responsible for the pathetic condition of ‘Avarna Hindus’, and keeping them far away from the mainstream and progressive influences. Varna system has divided the whole society of India into – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas (Savarna Hindus) and Shudras (Avarna Hindus). Saverna Hindus were in privileged position. But the condition of Avarna Hindu castes, low Castes, Primitive Tribes, Untouchables and Criminals was pathetic. Avarna Hindus were given neither fair start nor equal opportunity nor square deal. Bringing these submerged sections of society into main stream needed Government’s intervention and initiate the practice of reservation as a government policy.

According to Ambedkar, lower castes did not have the courage to demand reasonable wages for their labour. They did not hold property (Land or cash) – they were born to work or starve. They were there only to wait, serve and submit. They were there to do or die.

  • Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir – Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir, a member of the Constituent Assembly thought that India had made the Harijans live in very poor condition for hundreds of years. He, therefore, advocated during the Constituent Assembly Debates on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men are uplifted.”…. “They should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.”
  • Shri Subhash Lal Saxena – Shri Subhash Lal Saxena, another member of the Constituent Assembly, said during the Constituent Assembly Debate on same day as Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir i.e. November 27, 1947: “If capable Harijans are available, they should be recruited to superior posts. Besides the ordinary posts, the Harijan should be given all such jobs for which they are eligible. Harijans should be recruited in the Police. They should be given the post of Patwaries, School masters and Head masters etc. These posts would remove the inferiority complex, which is prevailing among them.
  • Many constituent Assembly members apprehended the fall of efficiency and administrative standard. Pt Hriday Narayan Kunjru feared, The regulations, made in this regard, may be unnecessarily wide or they may even be changed in such a way, from time to time, as to enable the executive to exercise a considerable amount of undesirable patronage.  

Constitution on Reservation – Seeing the pathetic condition of masses, Constitution-framers thought, if independent India made the weak to stand and compete with the strong on equal footing, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Therefore, the Constitution authorizes Central and State governments to take special care of millions of under-fed, under-read and under-clothed people of free India and make special provisions for their sustainable development. Therefore,  Article 15(4) primarily provides for educational opportunities and Article 16 (4) to job opportunities. Directive principles, through Articles 38, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46 etc. gave some guidelines to the future Government. It  allowed  the government to make provisions for reservations for ten years after the implementation of the Constitution and empowered the Parliament to extend the period, if required. The aim was to include and absorb lower strata of society into the mainstream of the nation.

While the Constitution framers were dealing with the topic, special provisions relating to certain classes specifically mentions that as far as the government services are concerned “The claims of the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of Administration, in the making of the appointments to services and to posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State”.

Article. 17 of Constitution of India abolished “Untouchability” and made its practice a cognizable offence the most heinous aspect of the Indian society by. Article 15 guarantees equality of opportunity for all citizens irrespective of religion, race, caste, descent, place of birth or any other reason.

Areas, in which Reserved category people get benefits – Reservation Policy benefits reserved category people (SCs, STs and OBCs) in the following areas –

  • Political institutions consisting of the elected representatives of the people.
  • Admission in educational institutions.
  • Reservations in jobs.
  • Reservations in promotions.

In addition to it, candidates, belonging to reserve quota, if succeed to get jobs on their merit, their names are included in General category list, not in the reserved category/quota list. That means the number could even be more than mentioned above in a year. Besides if the candidates with required qualifications are not found in a particular year, the unfilled vacancies are carried over and added in the next years. These can not be filled with other qualified persons.

Measures taken to uplift submerged sections – Under Article 340 of the Constitution, a Commission is to be appointed by the President to investigate the condition of socially and educationally backward citizens, the difficulties under which they labour, make recommendations for removal of those difficulties and other ameliorative measures needed to be taken.

In 1978, a Commission for SC/ST was setup within the Ministry of Horne Affairs to monitor the comprehensive program and to ensure their all- round development. The financial allocations for the welfare of downtrodden have been increased tremendously after independence. The sincere effort towards their development began with Five Year Plans, which aimed at reducing the imbalances and disparities.

The First Five Year Plan identified the problem areas needed to be tackled viz absence of communication, paucity of drinking water, supply and irrigation, education and health facilities and universal poverty etc. Accordingly, many Integrated Development Plans and Sub–Plans were initiated besides reservations.

Reservations for OBC’s – In 1955, Kaka Kalelkar Commission on Backward Classes and in 1980, MandaI Commission, were appointed to suggest ways to improve the condition of poor people in India. On August, 1990, V.P. Singh’s Government accepted to implement, partially, the suggestions made by MandaI Commission viz. reserving 27% jobs for “Other Backward Castes” in all Central Government institutions or institutions aided by the Central Government. It received a great deal of resistance from the people and litigation in Supreme Court. Since 1992 27% seats in jobs are reserved for OBC’s.

Started as a temporary measure – Reservation was accepted by the constitution framers as a temporary measure. Article 330 provides for reservation in Legislature for ten years, unless at the end of this period the reservation is continued by an amendment of the Constitution. However, the Constitution was amended again and again in 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 to extend this period for another ten years at each instance. Now it has become a never-ending program. And the list of beneficiaries groups has kept on increasing. All state Governments have their own plans for job-reservations in their respective states and extending the list of beneficiary castes. At provincial level, different state-governments have fixed up their own quotas for different castes and communities.

Constitution on De-reservation – Before Independence, there was a provision of reservation in government services for Anglo-Indians. Article 336 of the Constitution clearly says that for the first two years after its start, reservations (in favour of the Anglo-Indians – a minority community) should continue on the basis as before; then during every succeeding period of two years, this reservation is to be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent, so that by the end of ten years all such reservation might cease.

The process of de-reservation could be started now for other sections of society, 70 years after the independence  in similar way, without much reactions. Reservations  could be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent after every few years, so that after a reasonable time, all such reservation could be ceased and people could be confident enough to move forward without chrutches.

As Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir had suggested during the Constituent Assembly Debates on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men ….  bn  should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.”

Arguments of the Supporters Of Reservation policy – Policy of reservation has been hailed by it supporters as a “Historic step” the advocates of reservation. To them policy of reservation has been adopted to break the shackles of caste and to improve the lot of the poor masses. Arguments in favour reservation policy –

    • Lower castes under-represented in power echelons – Backward castes constitute about 80% of India’s total population (15% Scheduled Caste, 8% Scheduled Tribes and 52% Other Backward classes), but their representation in echelons of power including the senior in Government of India is a paltry 4.69%. Therefore, supporters of reservation policy demand that employment in government services should be on pro-rata basis.
    • ‘Due share’ to lower strata in power echelons – Founder of Bahujan Samaj Party, Kanshi Ram said, “The reservation for SC/ST began with only 2% in 1935. Now it is 22.5%. Gradually all reservations would be according to proportion of different castes in the population. My aim is to give reservation (to the upper caste minorities), not to demand it. V.P. Singh has made my job easier.” … Ex Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, Prime Minister from Janata Dal, while implementing the MandaI Commission recommendations in August, 1990 said in his independence-day speech, “We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision-making to run country and improve things.”
    • Suppression of downtrodden for centuries – Lower castes had been treated unequally in the past, now they should be given a more than equal status to make empower them. Competition could be just and valid only among equals. Since upper castes had suppressed lower castes on basis of their birth, present generation has to correct age-old imbalances and make reparations by giving downtrodden advantage through reservations. It is a noble and just cause in return for centuries of oppression.
    • Little dilution of meritocracy does not matter – Forward castes are better educated and settled because of the environment, in which they are brought up. But deprived castes, in absence of proper environment and economic constraints are unable to compete on equal terms with upper castes for jobs in the government, public or private sectors. Besides educational capabilities and economic status, socio-political dominance of upper caste is a powerful factor influencing selection process. Witnessing all these aspects social justice demands that jobs should be shared with backward even at cost of little dilution of meritocracy.
    • Foundations of Reservations social, not economic – “All foundations for government’s reservation policy were social, not economic” says Ram Vilas Paswan “Each caste is standing with one foot on the forehead of the one below it in the social hierarchy…” Shri Ram Avdhesh Singh, a M.P. of Lok Dal says, “Even the rich backwards are not given the social status, which poor forwards enjoy. That is why we need representation in the government on caste basis, where wealth and respect go hand in hand. These reservations are not for the economic good, but to link backwards with the State.” (India Today, September 30, 1990) Therefore supporters of Reservation Policy are against the idea of economic criteria. V.P and his associates said that it was introduced in Tamil Nadu in the past, but did not worked there (Times of India news item on September 4, 1990).
    • Whitewash a bitter historical reality – Swami Agnivesh of Bandhua Mukti Morcha had said, “We have created our fractures and schisms – it was not the Mughals, it was not the British, it was the Vedas that consolidated the casteism in Indian culture. We can describe the reservation policy today as palliatives, an attempt to whitewash a bitter historical reality, sitting on a handful of armchair sociologists and pretending the rest of backward India doesn’t exist. That we need is radical social change.”
    • Reservation Policy has empowered backwards as a composite pressure group – “Reservations, on the basis of caste, give the backwards an identity as a composite pressure group. This is a concrete achievement, which will help them to unite and fight for equality. Besides, caste is still a dominant factor in Indian social-structure; its existence should be accepted for recognising the under-privileged groups.” (News item in Times of India, September 15, 1990)
    • Merit not a prerogative of upper castes only – Merit is not found in upper castes only. There are many meritorious and talented boys and girls amongst the SC/ST/OBC. They only need proper atmosphere and opportunities for education and employment in order to shine to their full capacity. In old Madras Presidency, there were 100% reservation/job quotas, both for “Forward” and Backward” castes. Today about 68% seats are reserved for SC/ST/OBC in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and they are far ahead of other provinces in matter of prosperity and good governance, where there is upper caste domination in administration.
    • Norm of ‘pull’ and ‘push’ – Ram Vilas Paswan, ex-minister says, “There is no such thing as merit in India today, there is only “pull” and “Influence”…. “Merit” is only a term used for the purpose of disruption by agitators.” Shri Paswan asks why forward class does not look towards merit in candidates admitted in institutions of higher learning because of capitation fee or selected for influential posts because of their family background.
  • ‘Bearer best knows where shoe pinches’ – V.P. Singh told the nation that society would be served best by filling the civil services by downtrodden as they were the bearers who knew where the shoe pinched. They had the qualities of heart, which the administration of the country needed more than the quality of head. They are committed to the uplift of their brethren. Syed Shabuddin of the “Insaf party” had said, “In a democracy every social group is entitled to share the fruits of development and keep a hand on the levers of power…. Both intra and inter group disparities must be reduced by Legislative policies. If the backward classes come into administrative posts, they may be able to increase efficiency, as they will be having grass-root knowledge of actual problems.” (News item in the Times of India, September 15, 1990)

In short, supporters of reservation consider it necessary to empower the downtrodden, to reduce economic inequalities, to give them social respectability, to reduce imbalances created due to upper class influence and to break the psychological barrier, to give downtrodden their due share in power structure.

Arguments of Anti-reservationists – Anti-reservationists doubt the efficacy of Reservation Policy. Reservation has been a source of turmoil in society many a time. They have shown their resentment every-time Parliament had extended the period for reservations. In seventies and eighties, the agitation against reservation policy took a major turn by taking a shape of national movement affecting many parts of the country. The agitation against reservation sparked violently in Gujarat in 1983 and spread to other places when a meritorious physically handicapped student of upper caste was denied admission in MD course and the quota student with much less marks was admitted. Such cases definitely arouse public sentiments and they criticise the government for following the policy blindly. Somehow the authorities were able to suppress it. But scars were left. They say –

    • Contrary to principles of equality – Reservations are contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice. There is something fundamentally wrong with Reservation Policy. In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are curtailed or negated. It benefits and increases the number of those, who are desirous to find an easier way-out.
    • Genesis of Reservation Policy in “Divide and Rule” dictum – Reservations were first introduced by the British rulers to “Divide” the Indian population and “rule” the nation as long as possible. The British government divided Indians on the basis of caste and community. British rulers, who got alarmed about the increasingly power and influence of Brahmins, purposely propagated myth of tyranny of the “Forward Castes”, especially of Brahmins over rest of the society. Therefore, British rulers pinpointed Brahmins as oppressors and tyrants, who wilfully kept others down. They encouraged anti-Brahmin formations in the South. They started the practice of fixing-up quotas in various educational-institutions and government jobs on one side and separate electorate for religious groups on the other. Later on, Reservations started in other parts of the country as well for backward communities.
    • Source of Vote-bank politics – Now many politicians and their parties advocate to fix a quota for more castes,  to increase the percentage of quota and extend its time-frame for ever in order to create vote banks. Like Britishers, politicians and supporters of pro-reservation want to divide the nation, on the basis of caste, community or gender. They want to grab and hold political power as long as possible. Already, there is a perplexing diversity in India along geography, culture, caste, religion and language lines. They are spreading venom in the heart of each identity against other. If not checked on time, communalism and casteism are bound to destroy the unity of the nation and narrow down the aspiration of people.
    • Administration and policy-making for Sustainable Development requires services of most talented – The task of administration is one of the most difficult. It is so complex that it requires services of most talented, sincere, hardworking and honest people. A preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent is not only unjust but against national interests. Reservations in employment contemplates putting those on responsible positions in the government, “Who are not qualified for the job” – (Arun Shourie). And in the process, power passes from meritocracy to mediocracy (Nani Palkiwala). It also means that sub-standard services would be rendered to the general public.
    • Common-men suffer more – The policy of reservation affects adversely the efficiency of administration as a whole. Deteriorating standards of working in government institutions and poor law and order situation have already done irreparable damage to the development of SC/ST and OBC communities and made their lives miserable. The larger objective of eradicating the poverty and bringing the downtrodden in the main-stream could never be achieved by laying stress on quantity rather than quality and lowering the standards of education or governance. Does reserving a very few places for SC, ST & OBC satisfy the basic needs of millions of underfed, under-clothed and under-read people of India
    • Contributions of upper class – Kaka Kalelkar had said in, ‘Note of Dissent of First Backward caste Commission “It would be well, if representatives of the Backward-classes remembered that whatever good they find in the Constitution and the liberal policy of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the upper classes themselves. Whatever Government is doing by way of atonement is readily accepted and acclaimed by the nation as a whole. The upper classes have contributed their share in formulating the policies of the Government. Removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice, special consideration for backward classes, all these elements found place in the Constitution without a single voice of dissent from the upper classes.” Upper castes are still contributing their share through taxes (the money collected from taxes is supposed to be spent on developmental plans.) Somewhere, they are supporting, elsewhere actively participating in formulating developmental policies of the government.
    • Quantity of reservation quota – So long as “only a few places” were kept aside for those severely disadvantaged – Harijans and Girijans, the people tolerated the policy as functioning of institutions did not stand much risk of being vitiated and consideration of caste and community were placed under control. But, when V.P. Singh announced to implement 27% for reservation in jobs for OBCs, in addition to 22.5% reservation for SC/STs in government jobs, heart burning and stir against Reservation Policy passed all the limits. The whole nation was in for caste wars.
    • Reservation policy ignores merit – Reservation policy as it ignores merit. In 1947, when the Constitution framers were dealing with the reservation policy, they showed clearly their concern for efficiency. Art. 335 directs that ‘reservations for SC/ST should be consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of administration.’ Today, when economy is in shambles, inflation has touched 13%, coffers are empty, and common man is suffering due to inefficiency and mal-functioning of the government, the nation can not afford to ignore merit and efficiency. In Private Sector, survival and prosperity depends on merit. It picks up the best talent available in the country from the educational institutions itself by conducting “Campus interviews” and does not allow sub­standard working. That is why it is attracting the talents of the nation and is prospering.
    • Discourages development of skills – Reservation has discouraged development of skills, resources and attitudes in SC/STs needed to succeed without the crutches of reservation and has encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit amongst the castes enjoying reservation.
    • Making people lazy and increases malpractices – People of lower castes have taken these concessions for granted and expect it to last for ever. It has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Guarantee of share in power structure without much effort develops an attitude never value the dignity of labour and work hard. The reservation policy is adding fuel to this attitude. Obtaining false certification about caste is increasing in order to get the advantage of the limited spoils. It has raised the expectation of others as well.
    • Short time measure – In many provinces, scheduled castes were enjoying the benefit of reservation in proportion to their population since 1935. Constitution had provided for state patronage to SC/ST for ten years i.e. till 1960, to SCs, because they were far away from the mainstream on account of “Untouchability” and other constraints, and STs because of “Social isolation due geographical reasons”. After the end of this period, the concession could be  continued by an amendment of the Constitution, which was not very likely. It was hoped that underprivileged would be at least in a position to stand on their feet by 1960.
    • Times have already changed – Vote-bank politics has changed everything since then. Successive governments have ignored the sweeping changes that have occurred throughout the country over the last 70 years. Through various measures, including Reservation Policy, people of all castes have progressed. Anti Brahmin movements in former Estates of Madras and Bombay had effectively eliminated Brahmins as a dominant political force. Lower strata of society had organized themselves, consolidated their economic and acquired political power. Through reservations they have succeeded in occupying position of power.
    • Shift of power in favour of Backwards – Political power has already shifted in favour of backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and UP, where they constitute nearly 40% of the Legislative strength. At State and local levels, especially in more populous rural areas their influence is continuously growing. Untouchables have made concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and to secure their upward mobility as may be seen in the case of Izhavas of Kerala, Mehars of Maharashtra, Chamars of UP, Meenas of Rajasthan, etc. Radical movement such as that launched by the militants Dalit Panther in Maharashtra have made the emerging strength of the lowest caste felt with increasing effectiveness.
    • Rigidity of caste wearing out – Rigidity of caste has been gradually wearing out. Introduction of railways, opening of hotels and restaurants, radio, TV and cinema houses have contributed to the relaxation of caste prejudices and rigidities. Besides education and training, land reforms, industrialisation etc have brought awareness amongst backward castes. The end of many practices, which created distances between different castes in the past, is a hopeful sign and guarantee for the future well being of every Indian citizen.
    • New lease of life to caste – Entry of caste into political arena through reservation policy has given a new lease of life to caste in the form of caste-ism. Caste-ism has not only held its ground but began to strengthen its hold in the politics at national as well as provinces levels. Politicians of Independent India are well-versed in making its increasing use in politics.
    • Time for gradual de-legitimization of caste – Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in the Jawaharlal Nehru University says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual de-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SCs and STs from the reserved quota.” (India Today, September 30, 1990)
    • ‘Past is past’ – Vasant Sathe of Congress (I) says “Reservation is no solution for a crime so many centuries old. Nor it is ethical to punish our present society for the sins of our fore fathers.” It is a law of jungle to hold responsible the present generation for the follies of its previous generations. According to Rule of law the present generation can not be punished for what their forefathers did.
    • Undermines ‘Principle of Equality’ – Anti-reservationists argue that there was a case to end the quota business in 1960 itself. Yet it has been allowed to continue till today. The Indian Constitution is committed to two different principles both of which relate to equality: ‘principle of equal opportunities’ and “principle of redress’. Now it is over due that ‘principle of equality’ be enforced in its true spirit without any favour. Since policy of reservation undermines the principle of equality, it should be gradually discontinued as had been done in the case of Anglo Indians in accordance with the Article 336 of the Constitution.
    • Inter and intra caste wars – Reservation policy does not consider all individuals equal. Instead caste becomes the basis to get this privilege. It leads to inter-caste rivalry. Anti-reservationists accuse the pro-preservationists for inciting the caste war by provoking public feelings. Brahmins and upper castes has been pinpointed as an enemy of downtrodden, who have always exploited the downtrodden mercilessly.
    • Distortion of historical facts – Political adventurers, dictators and fundamental fanatics have distorted the history in the past and used it as a ploy to serve their own selfish or partisan interests. It does not even matter to them, whether their own version of history is real or based on fantasy. When Hitler walked into Sudetanland, he claimed historical authority. When Mussolini attacked Ethopia in 30′s, he quoted history. When Zionists claimed Jeruselem, they tried to justify their act by citing history. When Saddam Hussain walked into Kuwait on August2, 1990, He staked his claim on the basis of raking up old history. Same thing had happened on August 15, 1990, when V.P. Singh announced 27% reservation for OBCs, it was hailed by his supporters as “A historic decision which will go a long way in giving the rightful share to socially and economically backward castes in the power structure of the country, of which they were denied under the pressure from the vested interests.”
    • Reasons of backwardness other than caste – At present, submerged section of society does not suffer so much due to discrimination on the basis of caste as for other reasons. Kaka Kalelkar, first Chairman of First Backward class Commission had said, ““If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it (in the past). Now that they have discovered their mistakes, it is for them to make the necessary efforts for making the leeway…As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the states with help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in life and have the advantage of mixing with other people.”
    • Glamorization of Backwardness –Earlier, backwardness was considered as stigma. People of lower castes attempted to improve mannerism in order to climb up in the ladder of social status. These days, many castes claim for a lower status and want to be included in the list of SC/ST, so that they may taste the fruits of reservation as well. No more any caste is ashamed of being called untouchable or backward. Reservations have created vested interests in the “Backwardness.” Now backwardness is a status symbol, because it eases the position, while one is in search of jobs. Therefore, more and more communities are clamouring for the “Backward class” tag. Those in power find it politically expedient to oblige them. The list of castes wishing for reservations has become very long. Witnessing all this it stands to logic that the beneficiary group should be kept under constant review, so that who have over the years reached a stage where they could survive with dignity without any crutches, could be delisted.
    • Creamy layer of lower castes at advantage – Benefits of Reservations are confined within the creamy layer of lower strata, while, it was supposed to benefit ‘poorest of the poor’. How can all the 80% downtrodden be accommodated in power echelons by reserving only 49.552% jobs out of 1% of total government jobs available in the country? Naturally, only few people are benefited, others are given only false assurances during the times of elections.
    • Economic criteria as a basis – Anti-reservationists argue that consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness is not just. Reservations, if it is necessary should be given on the basis of ‘economic criteria’ to all the poor regard less of their caste identity. There should also be an income ceiling for SC/ST and others with the entitlement of their children for reservations in job and admission to educational institutions. Then only really deserving people could be benefited.
    • Led to Brain drain – Reservation has shaken the confidence of the youth of so called forward class. About 50% reservations in government jobs have left many deserving and intelligent youths unemployed or underemployed. Some of them choose the path of crime or violence. Unemployment has been one of the reasons behind Punjab and Kashmir problems. Many intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get good return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. Reservations have, thus, led to brain drain. It has already squeezed out many meritorious by leading the country to massive brain drain.
    • Cry for social-Justice? – The attempt to establish a socialistic government does not carry much weight. The USSR a super-power of pre-1990 days collapsed like a house of cards, despite having Socialistic government for last 70 years. With all its State control and public support, it could not provide expected relief to its masses. How could socialistic ideals provide relief to the masses in India, where there exists so much corruption and inefficiency in administration?
    • Feeling of alienation – Creation and perpetuation quotas in educational institutions and jobs has made backward classes alienated from the main stream. It is adversely affecting national solidarity. It is sowing the seeds of hatred among the people and put hindrances on the way of mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust necessary for the development of the nation as a whole. Along with it, efficiency or excellence, probity, integrity of institutions and trust, which are required for overall well-being are adversely affected.
  • Reservations in Government jobs need not be a political program – Issue of Reservation in government jobs should not be politicized, keeping an eye on electoral mathematics. It has been envisaged to uplift the submerged sections of society and make their future better. Governance is one of the most difficult and specialized tasks. Government employees are supposed to have sufficient professional knowledge and expertise in various disciplines – functional, technical, specialist as well as managerial and generalist – so that they could properly aid and advise the elected representatives of the people and dig for them the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment. For attaining that expertise, they have to be equipped with knowledge in various educational institutions. Therefore, the government should be very careful while recruiting people in government jobs.

If politicians are so keen to give reservations to lower castes, a share in the power structure of the nation, why not quotas are fixed for members of different castes by law and elect turn by turn or by rotation – the President, the Prime Minister, the Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors, Governors, Chief minister of every state? In these positions, the representatives of the people are elected or selected and entrusted the power and make decisions for a fix period. If their performance is not satisfactory, at-least they can be removed or changed. But government jobs are permanent and government servants can not be removed easily till they retire after 32 or 35 years of service. Wrong person in wrong position could adversely affect the standard/functioning of the governance which should not be allowed.

Wanchoo Commission Report, 1968, and Railway Reforms Committee Report, 1983, on the working of Railways observed that reservations in jobs and promotions adversely affects the enthusiasm, incentive for hard work and devotion to duty and in-turn the efficiency and the morale of the civil servants. Sikri Commission on Railways, 1968, linked accidents with reservations. These three reports are just about one government department and that too when reservation is only 22.5% for SC/ST. What is going to happen, now when it is 50%? Who would be the ultimate sufferer. It is the innocent public only.

  • Double standard – The government itself has exempted certain services and posts from reservation in order to maintain efficiency, discipline and loyalty to the nation intact such as all the Defence Services, Scientific and technical posts in the Department of Space, Atomic Energy, Electronics, posts of pilots and top technical persons in Air India and Indian Airlines, all scientific posts of Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, teaching posts in IITs and IIMs, private secretary to the PM and other Ministers, Planning Commission Members etc. (A Handbook on reservation for SC/ST compiled by Sharma and Purohit). It proves that the government maintains double standards.
  • Reservations for women – If any class in India needs reservation on the grounds of social discrimination or under-representation in power echelons, it is only the women in India. How about reserving 50% seats for them in all educational institutions and government jobs? That would be their just share and will not divide the society along the caste lines either. If it cannot be done, then at least 50% of the reserved quota could always be kept aside for women of respective castes. Are the politicians prepared to make such provision for women too?

In short, Anti-reservationists think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Reservation Policy. It has been criticized for creating many conflicting identities like – majority and minority, backward and forwards, urban and rural, north and south and man and woman etc. It is being extended again and again with an aim to create “Vote-bank” in the garb of helping the needy.

In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are being curtailed or negated. It is a farce in the name of social justice, a slap on the face of education and merit, a vote catching measure and misuse of power by political parties.

Views of prominent persons on Reservation Policy – The views of some prominent leaders on reservation, are as follows:

    • Shri V.P. Singh – In his independence-day speech on August 15th, 1990, Shri V.P. Singh, ex-Prime Minister of India announced, while accepting the recommendations of Mandal Commission: “Bureaucracy is an important organ of the power structure and it has a decisive role in the decision-making exercise. We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision making to run this country and improve things. “
    • Mahatma Gandhi – In his book titled “India of my dreams” Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “So far as the reservations in the government departments is concerned, I think, it will be fatal to a good government, if we introduce there the communal spirit for administration to be efficient, it must be always in the hands of the fittest. There should be certainly no favouritism.”… “Distribution of posts should never be according to the proportion of members of each community. “… “Those who aspire to occupy responsible posts in the government of the country can only do if they pass the required test.”
    • Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru – In a letter dated June 27, 1961, addressed to Chief Ministers of various States, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Ex-Prime Minister of India wrote, “I have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of the traditional rut. This necessitates our getting out of the old habit of reservations and particular privilege being given to this caste or that group. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the SC/STs. That deserve help, but even so I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I react strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second rate standards. I want my country to be a first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost.” “This way, lies not only folly but disaster.”
    • Kaka Kalelkar – As Chairman of the Backward Class Commission, Kaka Kalelkar expressed his views on reservation in education (Backward Class Commission Report, 1956, Vol. I, page X). He wrote: “As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the States will help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.”                                       On page VIII of the same report, he has expressed his views on reservation in government services too, as under: “I am definitely against reservations in government services for any community for the simple reason that the services are not meant for the servants but they are meant for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and these may be found in all the communities. Reservation of posts for certain backward communities would be as strange as reservation of patients for a particular doctor. The patients are not meant to supply adequate or proportionate clientele to all the doctors what ever their qualifications.”
    • Sri B.D. Sharma – Shri Sharma, the Commissioner for SC/ST has pointed out in his 29th Report, tabled in Parliament on August 31st, 1990, as under: “The policy of reservation in government jobs has not improved the lot of the bulk of SC/ST in the country. In fact, in many cases, their condition has further deteriorated. “It is quite clear that even if the policy of positive discrimination were to succeed fully, it could benefit only a small section of these communities. On the other hand, if inequality continues to increase in our country or continues even at the present level, the maximum damage will” befall on the members of these communities themselves, because their condition is already the worst as in the case of the SC or because they are facing the most severe backlash of development as in the case of the S.T……” ” The policy of reservation is ironical, as it demands a share for the weaker section” in the gains of iniquitous system, which in the ultimate analysis cannot be anything, but the proceeds of exploitation of other poor belonging to the same group who remain at the bottom.”

    • Chowdhary Charan Singh – Chowdhary Charan Singh, the founder of Lok Dal and charismatic leader of Backward castes and class, wrote: “It must be conceded that reservation on the basis of caste is a vicious principle and creates many problems. More than reservation in recruitment, it is reservation in promotions that has led to great heart burning and great inefficiency in our services. Such reservation whether in favour of Scheduled or Backward castes, was, in my opinion beyond intentions of the founding fathers. Boys belonging to poor families, particularly those, where large section of our people are considered socially inferior for centuries past, are entitled to consideration rather than concessions at the hands of the government of independent India.”                                                                                                                      Chowdhary Charan Singh was also against extending reservation to SC/ST beyond 10 years “The intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. … “The Union Government, however, has for political reasons, been extending the period of reservations decades after decades. There should be bars on children of those who have benefited from reservation and those who are income tax payers, so that other less fortunates could be helped.” (A letter, February 12,1982 to Banarasi Dass, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh)

  • Ram Vilas paswan – The Dalit Sena president and Janata Party leader, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, in his speech at Benipatti, Madhubani, on December 12, 1987 demanded for amendment to the Constitution to end the prevalent reservation system for Harijans and other backward classes in the Government services and replacing it by right to work for every body…. Reservation system had failed to achieve its purpose and had created social tension in the country. Mr. paswan said that despite Constitutional provisions and related laws, the government at the Centre and State had failed to protect the interest of Harijans.                                                                                     Later on, Paswan became the champion of reservation policy. He advocated reservations in jobs and educational institutions on permanent basis. It should continue till the caste system persists in India. Since caste system can not be put to an end, therefore, there is no justification for finishing the reservation for the downtrodden.

Views of intelligentsia regarding reservations in government jobs –

    • Professor Andre BeteilIe – Professor Beteille said: “Once the uneven distribution of caste in public institutions comes to be perceived as a problem of distributive justice, institutional well-being takes the back seat.” “Job reservations in public institutions are required to protect the interest of SC/ST, backward classes and minorities – if this argument is believed to be right and acted upon then our institutions can not function as they ought to, their well-being will be irreparably damaged.” … “The best course would be to expand the pool of qualified candidates at the lower level but this would call for patience which no government in India has so far shown.” “A quicker course, whose effects would show immediately in official statistics, would be to alter the proportions directly, through reservation of jobs.” (6th T. T. Krishnamachari Memorial lecture on “Distributive Justice & Institutional well-being”, November 11, 1990, the Institute of Economic Growth)
    • Shri H.M. Seervai – Shri Seervai wrote: “Reservations affect five parties adversely:

       

        • The State – to whose service persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commissions.
        • The public – As the very phrase “Public servant” shows.
        • The persons – who are discriminated against, by reservations in favour of members of SC/ST.
        • Members of SC/ST – In whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing reservation quota; and
      • The service – That is each service considered as a whole. (“Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India”, Indian Express, September, 1990)                                                               “A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.”
    • Nani A Palkiwala – Shri Palkiwala opined that Reservation policy suffers from five fatal flaws:
        • The sub-standard replaces the standard, and the reins of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocracy.
        • It ignores the reality that there are no backward castes but backward individuals.
        • Reservations in promotion are disastrous enough for the civil administration.
        • It divides the country on caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes.
      • Equality is the very heart of free republic, the foundation stone of true republic, the source of inspiration, the criteria for its citizenship and the hope for its welfare. The bedrock of reservation is discrimination in-reverse: it is discrimination against merit and calibre. (“Unity and security of State at stake”, Indian Express, September 14, 1990)
  • Arun Shourie – Arun Shourie, in an Article titled “This way lies not only folly but disaster” appearing in the Indian Express on August 22, 1990, writes: “A job should be something one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in. It should not be, advancement in it must not be anyone’s by right”. But reservation definitely develops the ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too because of by my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos?

An analysis of the issue

There are certain basic truths, which needs to be accepted and pay attention to, before taking policy-decisions. Such as:

Society as an organic body – Society behaves and develops like an organic body. Each organ does a particular function and coordinated working of all organs together keeps the whole body fit and alive. Like other organic bodies, each and every section of society is an indispensable part of the society, which needs equal attention and proper care for the balanced growth of the society as a whole.

Just like in an organic body, weaker parts need special care, but not at the cost of others. So is in the society. Each and every section of the society needs to be assigned a specific function. Each one should perform its respective job. Society needs the services of all sections of the society. The work of any section is neither inferior nor superior to other. Each and every section of society needs to be aware of its indispensability to the whole. A society can move and prosper to its fullest, when each and every section of society does its functions well and lives in harmony; and when there is mutual help, respect and trust amongst the various sections of the society.

Society as an organisation – For an efficient and smooth functioning, like an organization, society also needs –
•Division of labour – Nobody can do all the work by himself. Division of different functions required in a society is the first requisite.
•Grouping of activities – All functions and activities should be so grouped as to avoid confusion. Activities of similar nature or having same objectives are grouped under one section.
•Structure – An organization needs a structure with well defined functions. The structure must be simple and easy to understand. It should also ensure continuous growth and, therefore, should not be rigid.
•Balance of activities – Proper weight-age to different activities, in proportion to their contribution to organization as a whole, is necessary. No activity should either be over-valued or under-valued.
•Team spirit – Relationship between various groups within an organization should be based on the principle of “mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust”. It facilitates better coordination of diverse activities performed by different sections. Smooth relations amongst its constituent’s leads to optimal utilisation of resources and to satisfaction of all its constituent members.
•Specialisation – Concentration of a section on the performance of a single task, leads to greater efficiency and more specialisation. Functions need to be assigned on the basis qualifications, skills, attitude and aptitude of its employees.
•Creative thinking – A good organisation encourages initiative and creative thinking.
•Satisfaction – Organization must be able to satisfy the biological as well as psychological needs of its employees as an individual as well as a group.
•Adoption of new technologies and development – An organization helps adopts new improved means of doing things, permits prompt adoption and optimum use of technological advancements. It must avoid nepotism, favouritism and must give an upper hand to merit and talent.

Indian society contains all the essentials of a good organisation.

Truth about “Varna-system” – “Varna system” along with its castes and sub­-castes is not as bad as has been portrayed earlier by British rulers, now by some leaders and the pro­-reservationists. It is based on principles ‘mutual respect, trust and tolerance for each other’, ‘There is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed’ or ‘To each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity’. ‘Division of work’ was based on attitude and aptitude of an individual. It has given to India a solid social-structure, which is simple to understand. Above all, it has provided unity of culture which has been able to bind the people of Indian peninsula from one end to the other.

Mahatma Gandhi said “The main reason of our economic and spiritual degeneration is that we have not correctly followed the “Varna System”. This is the main reason of poverty and unemployment and one of the main reasons that there is untouchability”. He suggested to encourage education amongst the masses for the growth a self-contained and self-regulated society; all occupations to be given equal respect; people to be encouraged, not to be forced to adopt their hereditary occupations; and difference of income derived from various occupations should be narrowed down to the minimum.

“Policy of reservation” lost its validity – “Policy of reservation” adopted by the independent India has lost its value and justification now. Reformatory movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attempts of constitution-framers spread of education and awareness amongst general public. Many changes have come about in the whole atmosphere, in thinking, attitude and aspirations of common-men. Recent technological advancements have made the life of common-men easier and created enormous opportunities to earn more. The experiences of recent past reveal that Policy of reservation has lost its value and justification now because –

SC/STs and OBCs emerged as powerful pressure groups – After the green revolution of sixties, the economic and political status of people engaged in agriculture India has improved tremendously. India being an agricultural country, 75% of its population (mostly belonging to SC and OBC categories) is engaged in agricultural sector only. Reforms gave them permanent rights as owners or otherwise. New agricultural technologies, backed by administrative and financial support by governmental agencies, helped them the chance to get out of the trap of poverty. They have organized themselves and emerged as a very powerful pressure group both in the fields of economics and politics. Still, if many SC/STs and OBCs have not been able utilise this opportunity fully, fault lies somewhere else and not in caste system. In their under-nourished faces are written the failures of the successive Governments and their policies that have ignored their actual needs.

Caste is no longer a barrier in the matter of jobs – Doors of education have been opened for all. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically.

Immense choices in matter of occupation – Earlier people were forced to earn their living only by doing their hereditary jobs. But the Constitution of India gave everybody freedom and equal opportunity to select one’s source of earning. Society has accepted the change-over to any profession a person wishes to pursue and for that he has to prove his suitability in the job market. Educational facilities have been provided to them. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically. However, sub-merged people of SC/ST community have not so far been able to utilise this opportunity fully. Benefits are benefitting the creamy layer amongst them.

Label of Brahmin or Shudra meaningless today – Today, the label of Brahmin or of Shudra does not matter much in choosing a profession. There is no dearth of employment opportunities. From all sections of society, people are acquiring necessary qualifications and are entering into areas of their choice. Experience shows that all are doing well in almost all spheres.

Increasing opportunities in service sector – A vacuum has been created in the service sector, when many traditional jobs became obsolete. Jobs in service sector could also fetch a handsome amount of money. Recently some people engaged in this field such as tailors, carpenters, dyers and drycleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even Paanwalas are doing much better than ever before. The key to their success appears to be the very same as elsewhere – hard-work, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skill. Today, in the lure of safe and secure job, easy and quick money, government jobs in local, state or central levels are becoming very popular.

That day appears not to be far off when in complex technological society, the white-collared jobs would loose their present attraction and the service sector would get a prominent place. An excellent plumber then may become more admirable than an incompetent scientist. Therefore, instead of disturbing the efficiency and working of the organized sector, the government could concentrate on enormous opportunities of self­ employment available in this sector, and thus helping the downtrodden to establish well themselves in the society.

Creamy layer amongst beneficiary groups – On the one hand, it has been experienced that Benefit of reservations is confined within a few dominant and prosperous SC/ST and OBC castes. They have now acquired economic, political and above all muscle power. Many of them make vote banks for the politicians, capture booths during elections and could ask their unfortunate brethren to shut their mouths or to meet the consequences. In certain regions, they themselves have become the exploiters of their unfortunate brethren – suppressing the agricultural labours and are heaping atrocities on Harijans.

Efficiency in administration – A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.

It is feared that relaxation in matter of recruitment standard, as reservation policy suggests, adversely affects efficiency of administration. It creates a distance between quota officers and non-quota officers, adversely affects integrity and coordinated efforts of services for development of the nation as a whole. Merit oriented approach in matter of filling crucial and important posts, in principle, opposes reservation of any kind, which gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. It is a humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift and empower the weaker sections of its society. But it should not be done at the cost of efficiency in administration. Mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration makes the life of common people more miserable.

False assurances – Politicians and political parties with vested interests are luring the poor masses by promising them to give government jobs through reservations. Government jobs still fascinate the masses as with it are attached the attraction of fix salary, prestige, power, influence, security of employment and scope to distribute patronage. If without acquiring the needed qualifications and without much effort one can get all these things, no body minds it.

Vast reservoir of talents amongst the lower strata of society – There is a vast reservoir of potential/talent amongst backwards as well, only they need opportunities to grow. Their hidden qualifications and capabilities Sound education and training would make aware them aware of their hidden qualifications and their capabilities. Their confidence can be restored, only when they are brought to the level of forward castes people so that they could compete for jobs and promotions on equal terms.

Hurt feelings of poor belonging to upper castes – The deprived and poor people, belonging to so called “Forward caste”, feel betrayed by their own Government. They are being victimised because of no fault of their own. ‘Economic criteria’ offers a general formula to help to all extremely poor and underprivileged individuals irrespective of their caste or creed. Many dynamic and talented youths have lost their faith in the government and interest in government jobs. Upright officers do not get a proper atmosphere in the office or reward for their merit, intelligence, hard work and honesty. On the contrary, due to politicization, growing disregard for the work-culture and overstaffing, upright officers are sidetracked. Fixed salary is just sufficient to keep them from hand to mouth. They have to struggle all through their lives – after paying the taxes, meeting their children’s school fees and coping with ever increasing prices of essential items to maintain a decent life style.

Backwardness of some, not unique in India only – Backwardness of some sections of society having such massive demographic entities is not peculiar to the Indian conditions only. It is universal phenomena. Every nation has it and adopts its own ways to uplift the sub-merged people. The Chinese approach, in this regard is through education and not through unmeritorious reservation of jobs, as there is no need to create vote banks there. Grooming of downtrodden in India could also be done by providing sound education to them. Already there are many institutes and some more may be opened especially for lower strata of society, where they could study the same syllabi and to go through the same courses as other students from a good background. The students from poor background may take more time to go through the same courses and reach up-to the same standard as others. The process may be slow but is steady. The quality of education should not be allowed to deteriorate at any cost as is being done.

Times when Governmental intervention needed – When individuals are proved to be working under special handicap or are not allowed to function freely as citizens, then only the government may intervene irrespective of caste or creed so that deserving persons from all sections of the society may get the needed help. It should punish the culprits strictly and make special provision for advancement of under privileged or handicapped persons. It need not necessarily be in the form of reservations. Reservations have been proved to be disruptive to the peace of the society and unpractical.

Conclusion and suggestions

The past experiences have made it clear that the remedies suggested through reservation proved worse than evils, the leaders were out to combat. To some, this discrimination is positive and to others, negative and contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice.

Deserving people get lost amidst the gore and gusto – The faces of poor people, really deserving support from the government, have been lost amidst the gore and gusto of pro and anti-reservationist movements. ‘Shudras’ have been the life and blood of the Indian society for centuries in the past and led the nation to the ‘Golden Era’. They still provide essential services to the whole community in different disciplines. But in exchange, today, they get very little – not even enough to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

There is no denial to the fact that for centuries, Shudras have been the life and blood of the Indian society. They have been performing certain traditional standardised services for the whole community. In exchange, as usual, even today they get very little – not enough even to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

Side effects of Reservation policy – Reservations have developed many side affects. Instead of becoming a viable instrument for the upliftment of the submerged section of the society, it has created vested interests of the powerful lobbies of society. It is serving the interest of those people who do not need it any more and making the administrative machinery sick. Giving additional weapon in weak hands is no remedy. First the hands need to be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through awareness of the surroundings, sound education and-training. Then they themselves without any help from an outside agency will pick up the weapon in their hands and protect themselves and others in the society with it. Education alone can make them more knowledgeable in the fields of their works, more laborious and more confident, so that they could earn enough to live with honour and dignity.

Plans needs to be based on real issues – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, other development measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. Downtrodden must be made capable to stand upon their feet and make their due place in the society. Policy of generating confidence and inculcating skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education should be pursued, so that they could be brought to the required intellectual level, do justice to the jobs assigned to them, hold their positions without any complex and live in the society with honour.

Only two ends in Governance, ‘nation, and ‘individual’ – The unity and solidarity of the nation demands that its population should not be divided along the lines of different identities i.e. caste, region, language, religion or base – rural or urban – by giving preference or over- protection to one section or group over the other. As Kaka Kalelkar had suggested, while framing policies, government should recognise only two ends – the individual on the one hand and the nation as a whole on the other. No sectional or communal grouping should be encouraged to flourish itself in between the two, which could undermine the equality, liberty and freedom of the individuals and the solidarity of the nation.

Result-oriented action programmes needed – Issues should be identified rationally and result-oriented action programmes needs to be implemented sincerely as suggested by the Planning Commission, various government departments and voluntary organisations. The backwardness of most of the people is due to poverty, illiteracy and many evils that go with it such as ignorance, superstitions, mal-nutrition, lack of access to shelter, clothing, health, hygiene etc. These problems can never be solved by making policy of reservation as a major remedial measure. Other remedial measures are required for the development, which could produce desired results within time and cost parameters. More stress should now be given to fair distribution of surplus land and other anti poverty programmes, which could benefit a large number of poor people everywhere if honestly pursued.

Reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle” – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, some other measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. It was not only the first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, but Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, and Chowdhary Charan Singh, the charismatic leader of backward caste, considered reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle”.

Positive steps needed to be taken – More than Reservations is needed to the inculcation of concentrate on skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education. It would make weaker sections to stand upon their own feet and to survive without the crutches of Reservations. It would bring backwards to the required intellectual level, make them capable do justice to the jobs and fulfil their responsibility without any complex. It would ultimately generate confidence in them and live in the society with dignity and honour.

Vision of Nehru – The vision of Nehru suggested putting emphasis on education – “The real way to help a backward group is to give opportunities of good education; this includes technical education, which is becoming more and more important. Everything else is provision of some kind of crutches which don’t add to the strength or health of the body. We have recently made two decisions: one is universal free elementary education that is the base and the second is scholarships on a very wide scale at every grade of education to the bright boys and girls and this applies not merely to literary education but much more so, to technical, scientific and medical training. I lay stress on the bright and able boys and girls, because it is only they who will raise our standards.” …. “But if we go in for reservation on communal or caste basis we swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate.” (Chief Ministers Conference, June 27, 1961,)

Authorities like Shri B.D. Sharma, Commissioner for SC/ST, and many others have also opined that policy of reservations in government jobs has not improved the position of the bulk of SC/ST and CECs. Instead it had further developed many problems.

Winding up
•If India wants to emerge as a strong nation in the world, it should give preference to efficiency, motivation, discipline, tenacity of purpose and will to achieve the desired goals.
•It is not the policy of reservation which is required but a policy of generating confidence in backward caste.
•Stress should be given to basic education.
•No sectional or religious group be allowed grow between the government and the individual.
•Really-deserving individuals needing special attention must be identified by assessing their economic condition without any bias.
•All help, such as free and extra tuition, subsidised and extra nourishment, residential accommodation etc., to overcome their disabilities and to acquire requisite abilities should be provided
•Abilities to shoulder responsibilities at entry point and performance throughout the career should always be given importance.
•In postings and promotions, Standard set should apply equally to all and strictly to all.
•At no time and at no level, the standard should be allowed to deteriorate.
•The method of assessment should be continually honed, so that more meritorious persons could be selected.
•Wages should be enough to enable them to work honestly and live in the society with dignity without clamouring for dishonest money.

In the words of Shri C. Rajgopalachari, which he said long ago that for any system “To be good and efficient as a whole we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation. The caste consciousness is a hard reality. It unites and divides in a very real manner today whatever be our goal and today is most important in matter of administration. Short sighted favouritism and concessions to produce contentment among classes and castes will be very short-lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to the real efficiency.”

 

 

April 12, 2020 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services, Reservation/Affirmative action program | | Leave a comment

Bureaucracy in India

Origin of civil services in India – The civil services in India can, without doubt, be regarded as the most remarkable of all the institutions, Britain has bequeathed to India. The term `Civil Service’, which is now applied to the general body of persons employed on non-combatant work connected with the administration of states, was first used in the late eighteenth century to designate those employees (known as ‘writers’) of East India Company, who were engaged in Mercantile work.

Civil Servants being transformed from traders into administrators – As the character of the company changed – its trading operations were first supplemented by territorial dominion and eventually replaced by the responsibilities of government – its civil servants were transformed from traders into administrators.

Initially in trading roles – Roughly from 1606 to 1740, the civil servants were managing primarily trading operations, and incidentally administrative work. When it grew more and more in size, as the East India Company acquired territorial possessions notably after the battle of Plassey, its  role started changing and administrative tasks increased with time. Precisely from 1741 to 1834, the civil servants were entrusted with purely administrative activities.

After transfer of power to British Crown in 1858 –  By 1858, when the transfer of power from East India Company to the British Crown became a reality, the foundation of the Indian Civil Services was formally implemented. Soon after the termination of the `Rule of Company Bahadur, it was replaced by the `Rule of Crown’. An organised bureaucratic hierarchical structure came into existence in India.

During this period, the Secretary of State for India, in Britain, was at the top the Viceroy and Governor General of India just below him; Provincial Governors/Lt. Governors/Chief Commissioners below Viceroy; and Collector/Magistrates or Deputy Commissioners and other civil servants etc. occupying the lowest rung of the four tier structure of the centralised white bureaucracy.

In India, the Viceroy and the Governor General (the supreme bureaucrat for the Government of India) was the Crown’s representative. His office was set up by the Regulating Act of 1773, while the Act of 1858 decorated its title as Viceroy and the Governor General of India. He had assumed much authority in his own hands on account of being the `man on the spot.’ All provincial and local administration was under his absolute control. Due to the policy of maintaining a uniform administrative system all over the country, his control was very extensive in the administrative field. Though the public services were recruited by the Secretary of State, it was the duty of the Government of India to lay down policies of reform and progress of the administrative system in the form of Resolutions.

The Act of 1919 and that of 1935 had relaxed Central control over the provincial administration, but Governor continued to act as the concrete embodiment of the bureaucratic administration under the absolute superintendence, direction and control of the Governor General.

The civil servants of different ranks, i.e. Commissioners/Deputy Commissioners/District Collectors and Magistrates etc., were entrusted with the responsibility of running the administration of their division, district or some such local area according to the dictates of the upper echelons of British Bureaucracy.

System of recruitment From 1805 to 1885, the higher civil servants were nominated by the individual Directors of the Company. From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India more efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission was created in 1855 and given the responsibility to select officials through competitive examination.

Bureaucracy under British government in India – Bureaucracy under British government in India is still remembered allover the world for its efficient and effective governance. How British rulers had created an instrument for it is appreciable. They had created and propped up the Indian Civil Service as an elite service meant predominantly to be engaged in the governance of the country. Its officers controlled virtually all the levers of the governance, deliberated directly at the highest level of policy formulation and decision making. In return, it offered ICS officers best career opportunities, more power, higher salaries, better perquisites, quick promotions, and responsibilities with full freedom to work and superior status than any other service and a place of pride.

Developed traditions of Independence, integrity and hard work – Under British rule, higher Civil Services in India had developed traditions of Independence, integrity and hard workthough these qualities served the British rulers and not the Indian masses. This was the reason that ICS has often been called the “Steel-frame”, which reared and sustained British rule in India for such a long time.

British Government laid stress on merit. It was very particular about the recruitment and training of its elite services, engaged specially in Control Functions. British rulers, in accordance with their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of White-man’s superiority in its appointments. They did not considered Indians capable enough to participate in the governance of the country by holding higher administrative jobs.

Steps taken to maintain White-men’s superiority – Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 entitled all Indians, irrespective of race or creed, to be freely impartially admitted to the offices in the services, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge. But for a long time, the Indians were deliberately kept at bay. Entrance competitive examination for ICS was held in England till 1922. Very few Indians could bear hazards, expenses of going abroad and taking the risk of extremely remote chance to succeed there. Illbert Bill controversy confirms the fact that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share control administrative functions with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.

Lord Lytton said We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straightforward course. Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893; It is indispensable, that an adequate number of members of the Civil Service shall always be European. Viceroy Lord Landsdown stressed Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained.

In 1867, Lawrence said, We have conquered India by force of arms, though the policy and good Government have already aided us. In the like manner, we must hold it. The Englishmen must always be in the forefront holding the post of honor and power, as the condition of our retaining of our rule. In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they were pursuing with regard to White-man’s superiority in Civil Service. The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigor of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule and any other rule being in the circumstances of the case impossible. The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.

Bureaucrats provided “Care, protection and guidance” to the people, they ruled – Generally the youths, who joined Indian Civil Services, were mainly graduates from school to Oxford or Cambridge belonging to British professional middle classes. The main attractions for them to join the ICS, were the status and perquisites, British government gave to it. Good salaries, background, sense of duty and their living in ivory tower kept it honest and made any rumor extremely uncomfortable.

The officers belonging to higher civil services took jobs as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance to the people, they ruled. Mr. Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager… Here are simple people, who need leadership. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said,Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration. Philip Maser said that there was esprit de’corps amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, It is the Esprit de’corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code.” It did not need to be articulated. Every body knew it. “The smallness of service– just over a thousand at any given time – made for a strong sense of service loyalty.Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence pointed out to only a minute handful of officers being corrupt.

Stress on merit – Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic Steel-frame speech, said on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said,I do not care, what you build on it, If you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse. There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – British Civil Service in India.” The British rulers were not only particular about the appointments in the ICS, but also provided sound training, while on job and atmosphere conducive to efficient performance.

Immediately after their arrival in India, new recruits were attached to district for rigorous on-the-job training for eighteen months. During one year of district training, the officers had to get thoroughly acquainted with villages, administrative compulsions and a working knowledge of the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters like police, agriculture, local bodies etc. Another six months were directed to more intensive revenue work in district under land settlement. It meant harder and more complicated work.

Great stress was laid on touring and camping out. They had to maintain diaries, which were thoroughly scrutinized by their seniors. It was made clear to senior district officers vide G.O. No. 738, published on 18th April, 1916, in ICS Manual, Madras, “The great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depends so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career.” The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever, from acquiring knowledge about the basics of administration, and to learn about the problems of each and every area of their jurisdiction. Guidance of the seniors prepared them to deal with those properly. The Government paid all the attention to see that, the new recruits were shaped into ICS role properly.

National leaders like Gandhiji, Gokhale, Tilak, Patel and others put pressure on the British for holding Civil Services examination in India, simultaneously with that of England. They demanded more higher jobs for Indians. Consequently, from 1922 onwards, the British Government started holding Civil Services examination in India also. As a result more and more Indians joined the iCS.

To maintain the standard, dignity and honour of the services as earlier, the British Government arranged three years of rigorous foundational training for the Indians selected from Indian center. For appointees selected from UK center it was two years. They were required to undergo a years training in U.K., at one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin, immediately after joining ICS. This training was for duration of two years for those, selected from the Indian center (Delhi). From 1937, it was reduced from two to one year. The purpose of longer probation period, in Britain, for Indians was to bring them in close touch with British way of life, broaden their outlook, develop loyalty to Britain and develop the mentality of a foreign ruler. The Indian officials had to appear in two examinations at the end of their probation in U.K., while their British counterparts, selected from London center, appeared only in one examination. In all other matters like emolument and privileges, the Indian ICS officials got equal treatment, as was given to their British counterpart.

No doubt, all these efforts have helped ICS developing gradually into one of the most efficient/powerful services in the world. It is unfortunate that today, neither the politicians, nor bureaucrats think or care on these lines i.e. to give the nation an efficient and effective governance by placing right persons on right positions at right time or to remove growing slackness in recruitment and training processes, which has ultimately led the nation to ineffective governance.

With the intensification of National movement, birth of Indian National Congress Party in 1885 and the demand for greater Indian participation in Government and its administration left a dampening effect on the attraction of British youths to join ICS. All the attempts to attract them fell flat. The number of British officials began to decline.

Balancing the Administrative power – The British rulers saw to it that no section of Indian society could become strong enough to pose a threat to its rule in India. The dominance of Brahmins in administration and modern callings, their being main force behind the entire national movement, agitation and terrorist activities cautioned the ruler. To balance the power and to counter preponderance of Brahmins and forward castes, the rulers propped up other sections of the society.

Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and 1932, the British fixed up quota on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc., in government jobs and gave them separate representation in Legislative Councils, and Assemblies. They bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and Government jobs for different upcoming groups.

British rulers transferred some service functions to the Provinces and along with it, delegated the authority of appointments,promotions etc in those areas to the Provincial Governments. The Colonial rulers were aware of the consequences of this delegation of authority. They knew well that all these move would generate rivalry between different sections of the society, divide Indian society and adversely affect its administration.

Firm and clear message of British rulers to up-coming social groups – Till the last, British Government kept its elite services untouched from the quota system. They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for any body, as on it depended efficient governance of the country. It told the upcoming groups in clear terms, “With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their countrymen for duties of administration and public.

“Communal Award” of 1932 could not be implemented till 1943, because of the procedural constraints. In 1943, the British Government issued orders for 8 1/3% Reservation of posts for SC candidates in Central Government Services, raising the age limit for them to enter in competitive examinations, and lowering the examination fee for them. However, after 1943, the recruitment to ICS was suspended, earlier due to Second World War and later, because of transfer of power to Indians.

Position of bureaucracy when national movements started Post 1919 period witnessed the intensification of national movements, emergence of Gandhi and Congress and the acceptance of the methods of violence by some parties as a means to achieve independence. During this period the main task of the administration was to maintain law and order intact at any cost.

Bureaucracy under British rule not accountable to Indian people – The civil service throughout British rule was characterized as hierarchy of officers neither chosen nor accountable to the Indian people. At the level of local administration, it meant `Raj’ to the masses of the country, as the rule of an officer “was based on fear and awe and mass obedience was extracted by repression and suppression of popular demands”. The higher civil servants were appointed and for that reason, accountable to those above them.

All these developments during first half of the twentieth century show that British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of Reservation policy on basis of caste and community before quitting. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap.

After Independence In 1947 came the Independence. With the attainment of Independence and adoption of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goals, the demands on administration undergone a qualitative change. The basic task of administration changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of development administration, promoting a rapid socio-economic change.

Since then, the pressure on administration has increased manifold, because of –

  • Quantitative expansion in the work load of modern governments;

  • Increasing complexity of the problems of modern governments;

  • The accelerative thrust of science & technology;

  • Demand for specialisation,

  • The rapidly rising tempo of political consciousness among masses;

  • The dependence of national stability upon the ability of government to satisfy at least a minimum of popular need and expectations;

  • An urgent need for radical change in the attitudes of the government employees

More the problems, more efficient and better equipped bureaucracy of the nation should be, its being an important instrument to solve nation’s problems, to face the challenges and meet new demands.

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

Secondary School education in Government schools and Teenagers

“There is no requirement of atom bombs or long range missiles.Lowering the quality of educational system, is enough to destroy any nation.”

Education for All – In India, according to Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 instruct government schools to give admission to all children above six years of age. According to described in DRTE Rules 2011, “It is to be ensured that the student gets admission in a school within 14 working days from the date of the submission of application as per neighborhood criteria.”

Connection between Secondary education and Adolescence – Special focus of Government should be on Secondary education (class VI to Class XII), when adolescent children (in the age group of 12 to 18) learn and develop their personality in negative or positive way. Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). It is the most creative, energetic and impressive age in human life also. This is the time, when the minds of growing up children are in a formative stage. This period should be utilized to increase knowledge, understanding of growing up children and develop attitudes, which could help them to move ahead and get better adjusted to their working environment. They should be facilitated by the government’s educational system to learn, how to acquire and apply their knowledge and skills in the world of realities. Secondary School’s education should develop power of observation and thought-process, mental and moral faculties of growing-up children in a positive way. 

Secondary education, the weakest link of Indian education system – However, Secondary school education is the weakest link of Indian education system, which allows a large number of teenagers/adolescent boys and girls out of school. It is not good for their personality development of in right direction. Empty mind is devil’s workshop. To earn money by hook or crook is their basic necessity to survive. It is easier for them to adopt the wrong way. Bad company, poverty or charm of consumerist world drives them towards wrong direction.

In order to spend their spare time, a large number of teenagers join criminal world just for the sake of thrill they get, to get handsome amount of money from the local Dons. Some of them choose the path of violence, snatching, stealing etc. Other option for them is to remain poor forever and join the band of unemployable, unskilled labor-force, work as daily-wagers.

One of the root causes of increasing number of juvenile crimes is inability of the Government schools to give admissions to all adolescent children in schools. In order to earn easy money, some of them join the gangs who are busy in snatching, stealing. Some boys and girls join the world of crimes/violence.

Dependence of poor on government schools – For middle class and upper class people, there is not much of a problem, because they can spend  money to educate their children in good private/publc schools, where the fees is very high. But to educate their children, poor people solely depend on government schools.

Upper Age limit for Non-Plan Admissions in Govt. secondary schools – Admissions In government secondary schools are done –

  • Under ‘Planned Scheme’ and
  • Under non planned Scheme

Under ‘Planned Scheme’ – Under ‘Planned Scheme’, there is no problem in admission for students coming from primary feeder schools, regardless of their age or academic qualification. Remaining available seats are from standard VI to VIII are filled under non planned Scheme.

Under non planned Scheme – However, for Admission under ‘Non-Planned Scheme’, the circular issued by GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF DELHI, Directorate of Education; School Branch, Old Secretariat: Delhi-110054, No. DE.23 (363)/Sch.Br./2016/1553, Dt. 19.09.2018 fixes upper age limit criteria for admissions in government schools. Many children are announced ineligible for getting admissions in Secondary schools because of their being overage as per the circular mentioned above.

Age bar in admissions for Non-Plan admissions according to this circular – According to the above mentioned circular, appropriate age should be at the time of school admissions in primary and secondary schools on 31st March of the year 2018 is as follows –

  • Class 1  – Age 4+, but less than 5 years.
  •   ”      II –  Age 5+, but less than 6 years and so on and so forth.

 For admissions in Secondary schools –

  •   Class  VI –  10+, But less than 12 years,
  • ,   ”      VII – 11+, But less than 13 years,
  •    ”       VIII – 12+, But Less than 14 Years.

Denial of right to be admitted in Government schools under the law of ‘education to all’ –  According to this circular, school authorities are not allowed to admit an admission-seeker, even though there  are vacant seats there. Only 6 months age relaxation can be given to an overage candidate seeking admission in a government’s secondary school. But Government does not mind giving age relaxation up to 10 years at the time of recruitment in Government jobs to backward sections of society (OBC, SC & ST candidates). Is there any rationality in giving age-relaxation of only 6 months in education and when it comes to giving government-jobs and empowering weaker sections of society, the government gives them age relaxation up to 10 years?

Government Circulars like this issued from time to time denies right to education to poor, SC, & ST children in govt. schools.  Upper-age limit criteria type circulars or notifications are not good for the creation of an inclusive society for the sustainable development nation. It continuously deprives a large number of teenagers belonging to poor, rural and deprived sections of society to remain outside the regular schools. It is a ground reality that children of these sections of society start their education rather late. They are still far away from the mainstream of the nation. The creamy layer of the Scheduled castes, Scheduled tribes  and Other Backward Castes take advantage of all such protective schemes initiated by the government to uplift thousands of poor economically weak families. Quality of education also suffers, because the focus is on age of student. School authorities are instructed not to detain students till class VIII.

Provision of open schools – Open school system does not serve the purpose. It is not a viable alternative for the growing up adolescent children, still in their formative period of life. In regular schools, children remain busy throughout the day. They hardly get spare time to get trapped in bad company. Initially Open Schools were initially opened for already employed persons, desirous to increase their educational qualifications. Their busy schedule at work place does not give enough time to join regular schools.

Social issues linked with poor quality of education – Many social evils/burning problems are linked with a large number of adolescent children remaining out of school throughout the day, like –

  • Quality of education –  Along with many other measure to be taken for providing quality of education to all its future citizens, the first step is to give admissions to students in different grades or classes should be on the basis of child’s ability to understand and grasp, what is being taught and level of knowledge one’s about ‘3 R’s’.
  • Increasing number of juvenile crimes – Mostly adolescent boys and girls, who are not mature enough to take right decisions, get trapped in criminal or terrorists activities. Therefore, it is very necessary to keep them busy throughout the day in creative activities.
  • Reservations – Providing more than 50% reservations in education and government jobs stops their natural growth, doing their own efforts to stand on their own feet. Instead of making youth self-dependent, reservation makes a large number people dependent on crutches of government support forever.
  • Brain-drain – A large number of talented youth are either joining private sector helping rich to become richer or shift every year to foreign lands, in search of better working atmosphere, better career prospects and fatter salaries.
  • Problem of providing proper care, safety and security to the senior citizens, as it is difficult to manage their basic needs economically or get themselves adjusted emotionally in foreign lands.

Conclusion – Amongst all the challenges, the most crucial one is about improving the education system. Children of present day need to learn  independent thinking. Education system should not focus only on giving information and knowledge. Children of present day need to learn  independent thinking , but it also give importance to self-efforts for improving their calibre , creativity, wisdom and experience as well.  To nip negative feelings and criminal mindset right in the bud, sound system of education and training is very necessary, which could keep the minds of the growing up children occupied throughout the day.

Weaknesses of secondary school system are neither good for the sustainable development of adolescent boys and girls of the poor and deprived sections of society, who start their education late, nor for society or the nation. To improve the quality of education, first thing to do is that upper age for giving admissions in different grades or classes should be finished and admissions be done on the basis of child’s ability to understand and grasp, what is being taught and level of knowledge one’s about ‘3 R’s’.

 

 

 

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Education and training of civil services, General | Leave a comment

India’s experiment with Democracy and its electoral-politics

“A good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has disease.”           William Osler

“Don’t find faults, find remedies.” Henry Ford

Introduction –  According to Lincoln, “Democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people”. The word ‘democracy is derived from two ancient Greek words: demos (the people) and katos (strength). In a democracy political power is ultimately in the hands of the whole adult people. A democratic government may be Direct or Indirect.

Direct Democracy – In a direct democracy, people themselves legislate and execute them. In modern times, the most successful and long-term experience of it is Switzerland, where a host of ordinary policy questions are routinely put to the electorate, following a tradition dating to the 16th century.Earlier in city state, it was possible for people to rule themselves directly. In modern age, democratic government governs the nation through the representatives of the people.

Direct democracy depends on the following methods for its functioning –

  • Initiative – It is a method whereby a group of citizens can put a legislative proposal directly – may be to enact a new law, or to repeal an existing law or to amend it – for determination in referendum.
  • Referendum – It is a method of referring a question or set of questions to the electorate directly rather than allowing them to be settled by people’s representatives in the legislature.
  • Plebiscite – Plebiscites are referendums, a system for allowing the whole of the electorate to give their opinion on some political question.

Indirect Democracy  – Indirect rule by representatives of the majority of the electorate is known as indirect democracy. In this system, people vote for representatives. The main instrument of choosing the representatives is periodical elections. Political decision -making is done by this small number of people’s representatives,  elected by the whole electorate.

Representative Democracy is usually equated with Liberal Democracy which describes the political system which originated in the USA and Western Europe. It has subsequently been adopted by Third World countries. Indirect democratic regimes may be classified as either Presidential or Parliamentary systems.

Indirect democracies are based upon several interrelated principles:

  1. the existence of regular, free, fair elections based upon universal suffrage and secret ballots;
  2. the existence of competing political parties offering electoral choice;
  3. the existence of electoral laws supervised by an independent judiciary;
  4. freedom of speech and association ;
  5. freedom to stand as an election candidate;
  6. “reasonable” relationships between votes cast and representatives elected;
  7. availability of accurate unbiased political information.

Diagnosis of the disease of electoral politics – Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst of all systems except for alternatives” To strengthen democracy is needed a civil society. People are becoming very insensitive in tolerating dissent views these days especially in political arena. And also that, Americans will do the right thing after they have exhausted all the alternatives.

The major problem with this kind of democracy is that quite often it leads to negative electoral-politics, as voters do not have any choice in selecting the candidates, who fight elections. It is the job of rival political parties to select the candidates and woo the voters to vote for their prospective candidates.

Today, in any democratic country, one of the main reason of chaos in political arena is its electoral politics and vested interests of its political leaders. No system of choosing the representatives of the people through elections can be foolproof in any democratic nation. At present many ill-practices have developed in the electoral politics like –

  • A politician can fight elections from two seats, but a citizen can’t vote from two places.
  • One has to be a graduate to get a job in government at supervisory level (class III, II or class one job). But there is no educational qualification for a political leader for fighting an election. Even an illiterate politician can become a minister.
  • A politician can fight elections while in jail. No citizen can enter into the government service, or can continue in any government service, if he has ever been convicted and imprisoned in jail continuously for more than two-three days in a criminal case or case of financial irregularity  But a politician can occupy even a post of PM, CM or minister even after being in jail for criminal or economic crime several times.

How much the electoral politics has led to poor governance and slow development be cured, when the elections are not fought with fair objectives. People usually fight  elections to gain political power by hook or crook, and then control the destiny of millions of people for their own interest  or the interests of their followers. It is a big problem how to elect true representatives, who can serve the masses  honestly and sincerely.

It has been seen that usually most of the elected representatives in legislatures do not understand what to legislate, how to lay down policies, because of the lack of understanding of real issues  and monitor its implementation properly. Executive lacks the ability to supervise the functioning of bureaucracy/execution of plans and policies. effectively and efficiently. Members of Opposition parties are more busy in criticizing all the time functioning of party in power with negative mindset and do not allow the government institution to function in public interest.

For winning the elections or creating votebanks for themselves, political leaders adopt ‘policy of divide and rule’.  They  shamelessly divide the electorate on the basis of their diverse identities and create numerous watertight compartments, appease different sections of society, give priority to sectional interests over national interest and thus woo the voters.. In such a situation how can government maintain law and order  in the country or function efficiently and effectively in a democratic state?

Till the people in power echelons understand the reasons, why electoral system has got derailed and think about the ways and means to remove the shortcomings, developed of present electoral process, neither the government would be able to treat the disease nor the patient. it will be difficult to elect deserving candidates to run the government. It is necessary to diagnose the disease correctly before working for its cure.

People wish to see in their political-leaders maturity, dynamism, positive approach to tackle problems, mannerism and unbiased grasp of the problems/needs of all communities and cultures.

India’s experiment on Democracy and electoral politics – When India got Independence from British rule in 1947, it chose Since then Democracy is the backbone of our country. The Constitution of India is founded on the principle that all voices should be heard. Institutions are established here for the benefit of nation and its citizens. The thinking that legislators can make any law, they want and impose it on people, or executive can execute in any manner, it likes, is absurd.

Situation that led to electoral-politics – The introduction of electoral politics, in the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to Power in numbers. Through modern education system, British imperialists created differences between different castes and communities, and developed a complex in Indian minds about their heritage and social values and systems.

Factors that led to electoral-politics in India – The British gathered information, exploited material relating to social, demographic, linguistics, religious and cultural diversities of India.  It gave political leverage to the non-Brahmin castes on account of their numerical strength. Since then, their influence in politics has been growing continuously.

  • Discrediting Indian values and systems – British rulers exaggerated the distortions developed into the system during century’s after the decay of Hindu Raj. They carefully avoided telling the whole truth or strengths of Indian thoughts and its social systems.  They depicted the Indian culture and practices as discriminatory barbarous, uncivilized and its social system highly stratified”, where multiplicity of communities and their cultures were exploiting each other for their own advantage.  They forcefully implanted in the minds of people, the real and imaginary, evils of Hindu practices.  The European teachers, missionaries, bureaucrats and British easily put all the blame on Social-structure of India for masses poverty, misery,  deprivation and exploitation
  • Introduction of Modern education system – During British rule Modern education system, people got access to the enlightened spirit of many liberal thinkers, like Locke, Mill Rossseau, Voltaire, Spencer and Burke; and the knowledge about English, French, American revolutions, through modern education. It offered to Indian intelligentsia, the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of Modern West. It opened up the doors of knowledge and widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia. Modern means of transport and communications shortened distances and made mobility faster and easier, Every thing together had destroyed the local character of governance. Small local castes, confined within a small area earlier, grew in size, embracing a much wider area than before.
  • Census operation – After consolidating its position, the British Government in India made an effort to know about the people, whom they want to rule and chalk out strategies for the colonial governance. A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country. This effort culminating in 1872 has been popularly labeled as the first population census of India. However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881.                                                                                British anthropologists worked very hard to collect data. For the first time, the Census operations drew the attention of the rulers, intelligentsia and public to the diversity of Indian society and multiplicity of castes and sub-castes throughout India.                                                                     Earlier, the Hindu Society was classified into four Varnas embracing numerous castes and sub-castes within its fold.  Census operations divided it into five and created new unbridgeable compartments within Indian social structure. – Backward caste, forward caste (caste Hindus), untouchable or scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and minority.  Through legal process, they gave each one a new separate and distinct identity.                It changed the older system in a fundamental way, giving rigidity to social stratification and hierarchical ranking. It led to casteism in politics. Dr. GS Ghurya says, The activities of the British Government has done very little toward the solution of the problem of caste.  Most of these activities, as must be evident, were dictated by prudence of administration and not by desire to reduce the rigidity of caste.  On the whole, the British rulers of India, who have throughout professed to be the trustees of the welfare of the country, never seem to have given much thought to the problem of caste, in so far as it affects the nationhood of India… Their measures generally have been promulgated piece-meal and with due regard to the safety of British domination.” (Dr. Ghurye GS, Caste and Class in India, pp 283-84.)
  • Importance of numbers in elections –  The introduction of electoral politics, in the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to Power in numbers. While introducing elections in India, the British very diplomatically divided the Hindu population into two uncompromising groups viz. `We the Non-Brahmins and `They the Brahmins and caste Hindus. They instilled deeply in the minds of millions of unlettered Hindus, venom against each other.
  • Democracy and people’s rights should go side by side. But the way political leaders perceive and claim to promote people’s interests, is neither beneficial for the country, society nor the poor. For them, elections in a democracy means only shifting of political power from one group to another. For them most important is to usurp political power , through which they can control the treasury of the nation and rule over the general public. For winning the elections, and remaining one up as long as possible, they are more interested in strengthening their vote banks by promoting populist policies and serving sectional interests of special groups. It tends to divide society into watertight compartments. Nation suffers from communal violence and sectarianism. While serving sectional interests and giving special interests to particular group/groups invite conflicts, because the interest of one group is promoted at the expense of others and others. Some people are coerced by the authorities to give up some of their legitimate rights. Equal treatment to all citizens encourages co-ordination and co-operation.
  • Leverage to Non-Brahmins in politics – Power of numbers in elections gave political leverage to the non-Brahmin castes on account of their numerical strength.  Earlier non-Brahmin movements had economic and social thrusts demanding education and land for backwards and freedom from caste rigidities. Later, it resisted the hold of Brahmins in the spheres of education and jobs in government. Non-Brahmins’ demand for a share in modern callings was quickly recognized by the British. They acquired considerable amount of political clout, in early 20th century, with the introduction of electoral politics. Since then, their influence in politics has grown enormously.

Preparation of grounds for electoral-politics – Various communities feared that Hindu majority government would dominate them.[i] Leaders of non-Brahmin community united numerous endogamous jatis into region wise alliances, increased in size and emerged as powerful pressure groups in different regions.

Justice Party in Bombay in 1917, and South Indian Liberation Federation in Madras in 1916, united the lower and intermediate castes.  In Maharashtra, Phule and Ambedkar challenged the influence of Brahmins and Marathas. In Tamil Nadu and other Southern States, lower and intermediate castes got united under the leadership of Periyar by fusing in them Dravida and Tamil identities and led anti Brahmins movement.  They regarded lower and middle castes as descendants of the original non- Aryans natives of India, who believed in egalitarian pattern of society.  Aryans conquered them and through caste system, Brahmins established their superiority over them.

In AP and Karnataka, intermediate peasant castes like Reddy, Kammas, Lingayats, Vokkaligas came forward against Brahmins.  In Kerala, caste identities became rallying points for class like party formation starting with Ezhawwas, at one time the most depressed of all communities.  In Gujarat, ground level consolidation of Dalits, Adivasis and minorities rose.

The leaders of Non-Brahmins like Mahatma Phule, Ambedkar or Gopal Ganesh vehemently criticized Hindu hierarchical structure, and regarded untouchability as an inevitable concomitant of caste system. Therefore, eradication of caste system became their major plank. They taught the lower castes to get united and work for abolition of caste system as it was responsible for treating them as lesser human beings. It engaged them to forced labor or unsavory jobs, imposing many restrictions on them, preventing them from joining the mainstream of the society; and the subjugating them with the help of the religion. They also attacked the hypocrisy of Brahminism and emphasized reforms and spread of education.

Being non-militant by nature and very small in number, comprising only 3% of the total population, the Brahmins in South yielded to the pressures of non-Brahmins without much resistance and moved out from there to other parts of the country, where non-Brahmin movement was either weak or non-existent.

There was another group led by non-Brahmin political leaders, who wanted a share in the power-structure, special attention and intervention of the British government in electoral politics and government jobs, and thus improve the position of Backwards. In the South and Bombay Presidency, the non-Brahmin leaders voiced forcefully against the domination of Brahmins in government jobs and other modern callings. British had full sympathy with them.   This demand ultimately gave birth to the policy of Reservation. Electoral policy, Census operations, and Reservation Policy. Together, these policies were responsible for the entry of casteism and communalism into the political life of the country, which was non-existent hitherto.

In 1918, Mysore Government denominated all communities, but Brahmins, as backward and gave the backwards special protection in the form of scholarship, admission in educational institutions, quota in jobs and other concessions and benefits.  Special Government officers were appointed to look after their welfare.  Madras and Bombay Presidencies followed their example.

Government of India Act, 1919, accorded special representation by granting a few nominated seats, in the Legislative Assembly, for depressed classes.  Legislative regulations and administrative orders declared denial of access to untouchables to schools, well, roads and public places as illegal.  So far, untouchable activities were combined with the non-Brahmin movement.

By 1928, untouchables separated themselves from the intermediate caste and established their independent identity at national level. Until 1932, the Government of India avoided itself from stigmatizing any group, by official acknowledgement, of their low social status and considered it unfair because Owing to the social disabilities, to which members of the depressed classes are exposed, it would be in the highest degree undesirable that any official authorization might appear to extend such qualification. The fluidity of social distinctions and the efforts of the classes lowest in the scale, aided by social reformers, to improve their status make it more desirable, that government should abstain from doing anything, which would tend to give rigidity to these distinctions.(Indian Statutory Commission, 1930, VI, p 341)

The joint Select Committee of the British Parliament, while reviewing the South Borough Report on measures to secure representation of minorities or of Backward classes for Indian Constitutional Reforms 1919, commented that they attached importance to the educational advancement of the depressed and Backward classes. (Mukherjee P, Indian Constitution and all Relevant Documents relating to Indian Constitutional Reforms of 1990, p 528).

In 1930, Starte Committee suggested to sub-divide the backward classes into untouchables, aboriginal hill tribes and other backward class.  Political expediency and imperial designs to keep balance of power got victory over rational thinking.

Through Communal Award 1932, British created a permanent split in Hindu Society. It perpetuated casteism and made impossible the assimilation of different castes under one fold.  Dr. Rajendra Prasad said, The principle of dividing population into communal groups, which had been adopted in the Minto Morley reforms had been considerably extended, even beyond what had been done by Montagu Chelmsford Reforms… The electorate in 1919 was broken up into ten parts, now it is fragmented into seventeen unequal bits… Hindu community was further weakened by giving separate representation to Scheduled castes. Division on the basis of religion, occupation and service were made.  Every possible cross division was introduced by the British.(Cited in Mehta and Patwardhan, The Communal Triangle, p72). The Communal Award strengthened the roots of casteism in politics.

By the end of the 19th century, the concern for the downtrodden and the movement against the hold of the Brahmins on land, wealth, and education was turned into a political movement. It aimed at obtaining legal rights and position of power through government intervention, Dr. Ambedkar made it abundantly clear that through political power, untouchables were to find their solution, not through acceptance by Hindus.

Ironically, as their political power increased, they insisted on their separate identity. They sought special legal protection and share in politics and administration on the basis of caste. By 1920’s, numerous caste organizations, especially in the South and West, organised themselves into larger collectiveness by keeping contacts and alliances with their counterparts at other places; formed associations and federations at local and regional levels and emerged as a powerful political force.

Beginning of electoral politics – Granting separate Muslim electorate through Government of India Act 1909,  (Minto Morley Reforms) brought the idea of communal electorate to the forefront. Granting special electorate to Muslims made the numbers important.

Around 1909, the non-Brahmin Community was divided into two – Backwards and Untouchables.  For the first time, the lowest strata of Hindu Community were conceptualized under the name of untouchables in the political circles.

New dimension to electoral politics – In 1908, the untouchables comprised about 24% of the Hindu Population and 16% of the total population. The suggestion of Census Commission, to exclude untouchables from Hindu group, gave a new dimension to casteism in politics. The suggestion of Census Commissioner to exclude untouchables from Hindu fold, in the forthcoming 1911 census, immediately increased the importance of untouchables in political circle, in social circle, and in their own eyes too.

Such a move alerted national leaders. This was not acceptable to Hindu leaders at any cost. Their fear proved to be right  as the number of Hindus has fallen down continuously. The following chart, based on various censuses, establishes this fact: Hindu population was 73.3% in 1881, 72.3% in in 1891, 70.3% in 1901, 69.3% in 1911, 68.4 in 1921, 68.2 in 1931 and 65.9 in 1941.

In order to overcome the problem, the Hindu leaders gave top most priority to the abolition of untouchability. They interpreted Vedas liberally and said that purified Varna System expressed equality. The reformers pointed out that untouchability was neither an outcome of caste system nor an integral part of Hinduism, but an external impurity and sinful blot on Hinduism.  They were clear that segregation of lower castes in Hindu Society was not based on economic status or their incapability to do any intellectual work, but on cultural grounds – unclean habits, undisciplined  life style, speaking foul and abusive language etc.  They tried to improve the status of untouchables through Sanskritisation. The emphasis was on education, moral regeneration and philanthropic uplift.[ii]

From historical facts, above, it is clear that the British fanned casteism and communalism in electoral-politics for political reasons. Earlier, though there were few stray incidents of violence, the nation was largely free from caste wars or class clashes.

After Independence, sectional interests have aroused the agitation among different castes and communities all over the nation.  There started a cut-throat competition for scarce positions of power and prestige.

Conclusion – The seeds of casteism and communalism, which were sown by the British, blossomed to its full in the electoral politics of independent India.

 

 

 

 

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

Role of Indian Administrative Service in India

PART- I

Introduction – It is an attempt to promote deeper understanding of the functioning of Indian Administrative Service in present environmental framework, to identify and isolate problem areas, analyze the reactions and responses and evolve suitable remedial measures. Some of the special features IAS are –

  • It is one of the oldest administrative institutions.
  • Its genesis lies in the Indian Civil Service of British India.
  • Its officers hold practically all-strategic posts, both at state and center.
  • Though the service is controlled by the Central Government, its primary functional area is that of states, where it comes into direct contact with people.
  • It is one of the services having most elaborate training arrangement.
  • While the role of Indian Civil Service was traditional, the role of Indian Administrative Service is developmental.
  • The service does not have functional cadres. Its officers move from one functional area to another.
  • Right from the beginning till end, it works at very senior and decision-making level, both at the centre and provincial level.

Why existence of IAS required?– In a large country like India, there exists, since ages, perplexing diversities in geography, language, race and culture affecting every aspect of life. Therefore, it becomes necessary to evolve such standards and guidelines, which could take care of the interest of the nation as whole. Fortunately, the British Government had evolved an administrative set up known as Indian Civil Service (ICS) – IAS being a successor of the same.  It knew what these strategic posts were and who were those right persons to hold them.

After Independence, leaders like Pt. Nehru desired that the ICS and similar other services should disappear completely. Some states like Punjab, West Bengal, J&K etc., also were very critical about it. However, Sardar Patel warned “I am speaking with a sense of heavy responsibility that in point of patriotism, in point of loyalty you can not have a substitute…The Union will go, you will not have a united India, if you have not a good All India Service.” The vision of Sardar Patel in continuing the Institution of All India Services proved to be a step in right direction even now.

The Setalvad Team (1967) on Center-State relation observed “In this respect, the change that occurred over the years serves on to confirm all that Sardar Patel said with prophetic insight many years ago. It should be needless to affirm the continued validity of all the objectives underlying the All India Services and yet in a country in which the constituent parts are possessed with pre-emptive desire to assert their separations, such an affirmation is solely needed.”

Patel Study Team of the ARC also commented “Not only do the original considerations for which the IAS was set up in the beginning hold good even today, but they apply with every greater force in some respects.  There are some additional reasons like the emergence of a new tier of representative government, which make it necessary that a service structure like the IAS should continue for the foreseeable future.”

Present scenario – IAS is constituted of regular recruits including candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes (through Reservations) selected through an yearly open competitive examination conducted by the UPSC and officers selected by promotion from State Administrative and other services.

According to the Constitution, the ultimate authority over its appointments, disciplinary control and imposition of penalties rests with the Government of India in order to provide officers the strength to take impartial and right decisions, without being unduly subjected to the strains of local politics and influence. Their placement, salary and pension are met by the state Government.

The Government of India controls structure of IAS. Sub Rule (1) of Rule 4 of the IAS (cadre) Rules, 1954 provides that the strength and composition of each cadre shall be determined by the Central Government in consultation with the State Government Concerned. Its Sub-Rule (2) of Rule 4 provides that the Central Government shall, at an interval of every three years, re-examine the strength and compositions of each cadre in consultation with the State Government(s), as the case may be, and make such alterations, therein, as it deemed fit.

Recruitment and training – IAS remains the most sought after the service for the youth. The recruitment and training system for this service remains, more or less, the same as it was during the British days. It is still based on academic performance having an open competitive written examination followed by personality test.

Government of India arranges a well-planned professional training for IAS officers to provide efficient and motivated administrators to lead all spheres of administration. The probationary period is two years, which follows three stages sandwich schedule –

  • foundation training,
  • phase-I and
  • phase-II.

Foundation training gives trainees inputs in general administration and management, development administration and rural economics, law, constitution and political theory and basic knowledge and language of the state allotted. Phase-I course gives practical training. It is perhaps the most important period of the induction level training for an IAS officer. He/she learns in the field the socio-economic conditions, historical and cultural background of the state and the local legislation under which district administration functions. Phase II of the training brings together their theoretical understanding and practical field observation.  During this course, they reflect upon their training and share their experiences with colleagues and staff members. After its completion, officers are sent to different state cadres allotted to them either by position in order of merit and choice or by lottery.

Expectations and demands – In order to meet the challenges of development administration, certain qualities are expected in IAS officers, which are as following –

Quality of leadership -The quality of leadership provides administrators a sense of direction, purpose and priorities and develops a sense of commitment for achieving organizational goals. It helps them to keep balance between self, subordinates, tasks and the organizational setting. Maximum leadership quality is needed at local field administration, where civil servants come into direct contact with people.

Quality of supervision – Quality of supervision develops team spirit and helps the performance of organization’s task in congenial conditions. As a supervisor IAS officer is to have an educative as well as consultative role.

Ability to coordinate – Larger the size of administrative machinery, greater is the demand for coordination to avoid conflicts or duplication of efforts. Quality of coordination avoids concentration on one aspect of work at the cost of exclusion of other aspects and curbs the greed for power in different units of the government.

Ability to communicate – Communication is the “Blood stream of administrative organization.” Communication provides not only information, but understanding also. Effectiveness of communication depends on its being clear, consistent, adequate, timely, uniform, flexible and acceptable to recipient.

Quality of decision-making – Having quality of decision making is a must as decisions are constantly made and remade in the governance in response to changing requirements.

Efficiency – Efficiency is necessary for effective planning and direction of governmental activities.  It is required at all the levels of administration to secure maximum result with minimum labor and resources, fiscal and material, in least possible time.

Importance of the service – IAS officers play a crucial role in the administrative work of the nation. They usually work either in Secretariat for policy making or in field organizations for implementation of policies and Plans.

Secretariat is the nerve center of the Government, both at the Center as well as in the States. In secretariat, they perform important functions like policy decisions, overall planning and finance, legislative business, personnel management policies, communication with central institutions and overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work done by the field organizations.

Working in provinces may be posting either in a District or in different departments/head offices etc. The district administration occupies a key position.  It is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of civil administration can be concentrated and where it comes into direct contact with the people. The arrangement being so, working in a province gives them knowledge about conditions prevailing in that state and experiences of tackling various problems and challenges, they have to face.

Working at the center gives them a different kind of experiences and wider outlook. The combination of these two makes the service more efficient and both, the state and center, get benefited by such arrangements. The state Government gets the advantage of their officers getting familiar with the policies and programs of the Government of India.

Brings uniform development of the whole nation – The All India character of IAS makes it possible for less developed states to get services of the best talents of the nation. It makes it possible for the national government to take care of the interest of the nation as a whole and bring a uniform development of each and every area.

No functional cadre – IAS is the only service, which does not have functional cadres. Its officers move from one functional area to another and occupy virtually all the top positions in the government, Central and State, in almost all the departments, be it general administration, policy formulation, monitoring, developmental activities or medical, technical, transport or industrial field. They virtually hold all the levers of power, controlling almost all national activities.

Weaknesses that has developed – The service has, however, developed certain weaknesses like reckless expansion, seething conflict between generalists and specialists, no differentiation between competent and incompetent, its trend of working on equations of pull and push in matters of transfers and postings and above all, the prevailing mistrust between the political executive and bureaucracy. The issues that come out on the basis of on an opinion poll, are here as under:

Legacies and traditions of imperial past – IAS has inherited from its colonial past several features, such as:

  • Generalist supremacy – IAS has inherited and retained it up-to-date. ICS, meant predominantly for British, was an elite service occupying important and top-level posts and getting substantially higher emoluments than any other Central Service.  Government of India, also, accords similar status to IAS Cadre. It gets more powers, higher responsibilities, better status, perquisites, fatter salaries and direct access to ministers. It enjoys supremacy over other services right from the beginning of the career and continues to enjoy it till retirement. Such an attitude militates against a coordinated working of the government as whole. Amongst other services, it has become a cause of dissatisfaction, bringing not only a sense of despondency, inefficiency and lack of involvement, but also results in flight of trained, mature and experienced civil servants to public/private sector or abroad.
  • Pr. A.K. Dasgupta and Prof. Nihar Ranjan Ray, Members of the Third Pay Commission, in their note of dissent expressed their opinion in the following words – “Maintenance of disparities in the services has done harm to our society…It is absurd in our view that a government, which has embarked on a comprehensive program of economic development and has accepted technical progress in its widest sense as the major aim of policy, should still continue to accord a lower value to a scientist, an engineer or a doctor than it does to an administrator”.
  • Anonymous character – The civil service of independent India still retains its anonymous character. In a democratic country, administration should be conducted with openness. The reasons for inefficiency negative behavior delay in taking any decision or action, corruption, failure of assiduously prepared plans and poor results of the hard work of few sincere officers lie in the anonymous character of civil service.
  • Procedure oriented system – Procedures are unavoidable in an organized system of governance, but it cannot be an end in itself. Mass of procedural complexities bewilders a common man. Even a legitimate job needs the support of middlemen. Masses are interested in the results and not the mechanism of decision making.
  • Centralization of power– During British rule, the whole system of administration was highly centralized. Even after independence it is so. Due to it, matters of financial and administrative nature (especially pertaining to rural areas) are the worst sufferers. Delegation of authority is necessary for making the situation better.
  • Apathy towards masses – It is alleged that IAS officers, like ICS officers, remain aloof from life of common people and remain in their ‘ivory tower of pride and glory’.
  • System of recruitment – The system of recruitment adopted in 1858 remains more or less the same depending on academic performance, classical knowledge and literary ability. It does not meet the requirements of Modern India.

Inadequate training time – The training period has been considered to be inadequate by a cross-section of people. It hardly gives them adequate knowledge and understanding of real life and social realities, Law and Order position, land dealings, developmental activities and other administrative work needed for a dynamic welfare administration.

Field postings – First five or six years of service, when they get trained in the field for the superior posts, are crucial for IAS officers. Earlier ICS spent first seven to eight years in the field. Then only they were moved to important posts. But now after mere two years training and one or two years at the sub-divisional level, an IAS officer gets promoted to important positions. They are hardly matured enough to coordinate the activities of various functionaries at higher level either service-wise or age-wise. It has become a cause of resentment amongst other functionaries, such as health, irrigation, power, agriculture etc.

Earlier the work of Collector and district experience was considered the basic qualification of ICS.  Today it has lost its validity, which it had earlier. There are many IAS officers, who have not worked as Sub-Divisional Officers for two full years or worked enough as district officers. The plans made by officers, without having sufficient knowledge of the problems of the people and enough contacts with field conditions, remain often far away from the reality and the actual needs and aspirations of the people.

Lack of Specialization – In the modern life, there are very few jobs, which can be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, training or experience. The need of specialization in IAS is much more than it was for the ICS officers. Administrative work has become more challenging and complex with fast changing environment in the country. However, the knowledge about the subject matter is of no importance for the appointment of IAS officers to higher posts, with the result that usually, policy advice becomes amateurish and alternatives are not properly put forward by them, when politicians have to be advised on policy. At present, most of the time, comparatively ignorant generalist officers are advising the comparatively ignorant politicians – the situation is of blind leading the blind.

IAS officers should confine themselves to the areas, which are well known to them and should not encroach upon those areas, which rightfully belong to others and for which others have acquired special knowledge and training.

No responsibility – These officers do not own responsibility for any wrong policy because of the policy of frequent transfers to different functional areas.

Village Training – During British Period emphasis was given to get the young ICS officers thoroughly acquainted with villages and the administrative structure dealing with matters, which were important from the villager’s point such as land, irrigation, government loans etc. They provided redress for injustice by decisions openly arrived at on the spot. Unfortunately since Independence and progressively over years, IAS officers they lack grass root knowledge due to the lack of direct and close contact with rural masses, especially of remote areas.

Apathy among senior officers towards training – During the British period, senior ICS officers, right to the top level of government, watched the working of their junior officers and guided them properly. That is why, young ICS officers possessed a marked degree of intelligence, character, skill, uprightness, honesty, and capacity to command and execute forcefully and effectively the policies of the government. Unfortunately, after independence, the senior officials could not spare much time for this task, as they are too busy with the ever-increasing tasks of the administration to spare time for the junior officers.

Reservation issue -. Shortsighted favoritism and concessions are usually very short lived and deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions.

Nor trained to lead a simple life – The standard of living in their training institutions is so high, that, later on, the officers cannot keep that standard in their life with the salaries, they get. It tempts to corrupt practices. In a country, where 70% population lives in villages and a god deal of people live below the poverty line, officers should be inspired to lead a simple and honest life.

Hampering technological advancement –The technical people feel curbed and constrained by the authoritarian habits, attitudes and behavior of IAS personnel. Such an attitude is harmful to the progress of nation, more especially at a time of its history, when it is vigorously engaged in transforming its backward primitive agricultural economy to an advanced industrial order.

Part – II   – Perceptions

ICS, formed in1854, was considered the “Steel-frame of the whole structure, which reared and sustained the British rule in India.” After independence, for some time, like old timer ICS, IAS officers possessed character and qualities essential for the fair administration and displayed efficiency in governance. Under the able, sincere and visionary leadership of Patel, Nehru and Pant, the performance of IAS was at the best during 1950’s. There was a perfect tuning between the leadership and administration. Together, they built the infrastructure for all round development of modern India.

In the early 1960s, for the first time, at the advent of five-year Plans, administrators were exposed to economic development besides their normal executive work. This put the service under stress and changed its value system later on. The proliferating corruption in political and administrative set up had started. During this period, the administrators were criticized for their ivory tower life style and alienation from common man. Though ivory tower life style prevented them from succumbing to outside pressures and helped them to remain upright and impartial, while on work, ignorance about the pulse of public started making them weaker day by day.

In 1970s, with the old visionary leaders having gone from the national scene, the trend of committed bureaucracy and its nexus with politicians started. During Mrs. Gandhi’s rule, in the name of socialism, the government assumed absolute authority, which intoxicated the politicians, Transfers, posting, and extensions became powerful weapon in politician’s hands to make bureaucrats compliant. Political patronage gave encouragement to ambitious officials to toe the footsteps of political leaders. They became willing tools in the hands of politicians. Toeing politician’s line gave them humiliation and devaluation and a secondary role in the matter of administration. Political pressures and other extraneous influences increased on the service.  Upright officers were sidelined. Slowly, but steadily the service lost effectiveness and advice impartially without any fear or favor. Compromise, delays in decision making, shielding unjust acts of political masters, half-hearted implementation and monitoring of developmental plans, policies including new economic policy flourished in full during this period.

The period of 1980’s saw demoralized and insecure bureaucracy despite of its having constitutional support. Its quality, work-culture and ethos were adversely effected. It was not felt immediately, but later it became evident and harmed the integrity of the service to large extent.

The period of 1990’s is known for political instability, rampant corruption and misappropriation of public funds. Numerous scams and scandals took place due to nexus between the politicians and the bureaucrats. After 1990, the card of Reservation and representation of Backwards in higher bureaucracy has been overplayed. It has diluted the standards and integrity of the service as a whole.

At the advent of 21st century administrators have become confused and depend on others for taking decisions. Disregards for merit, political patronage to some, and bloated size of the service, insecurity and changes in values shook the steel frame. Polarization of cross sections of society, in-discipline, violence and lawlessness increases all over the country. Socialist ideology prevented free administration of a free state. The suffocating atmosphere in the government services distracted bright young people to join the government. All this has mortgaged the national interests and throttled Sardar Patel’s dream of apolitical IAS.

Winding up with conclusion and suggestion – The nation needs, more than in the past, specialization and qualified administrators. Either the administrator should be selected earlier and then trained properly for the job as is done for Defense Services or MBA degree is made compulsory for appearing in competitive entrance examination. Lateral entries could also be made to get bright persons already employed like technocrats having sufficient experience in management, professionals from other civil services and   entrepreneurs willing to switch over. A combination of the above three would be the best.

Officers should be encouraged to upgrade their skill and knowledge. Senior officers should plan carefully postings and transfers of new officers during the first few years to give them right experience at right time. An officer should be given a reasonable tenure, in one post, to get grip over the situation, to understand the atmosphere, to plan, to implement it and to see the results, as also for the reasons of accountability. Promotions in the service should be based on good performance.

Today, local politicians could exert pressure on administrators as they are closer to people. Closer contact, coordination and confidence of people in administrators could save them from undue political pressures. They will understand better the ground realities, actual needs and aspirations of the people.

IAS officers should be confined to areas, which are well known to them and should not usurp the areas, for which, others have acquired special knowledge and experience.

There is still a hope for IAS to meet successfully the challenges of 21st century. The way out is making it a smaller service with a smaller role, greater transparency and setting up a statutory Civil Service Board to control postings, promotions and transfers to avoid undue pressures and political interference.

Suggestion – For the governance and development of the country and delivering goods to public at large the role of IAS is significant, as it occupies almost all the strategic posts throughout the nation, both at the center and in the states. Its officers are always associated with exercise of authority.Therefore they should be smart, effective and efficient enough to supervise, communicate, and coordinate properly, and impartial, while working.

It has been felt by the cross sections of society that pre entry educational system; recruitment system and post entry training of IAS officers call for a radical change to put dynamism in administration. Imparting proper knowledge, shaping attitudes, cultivating skills and building work habits for positions of power and responsibility requires catching youths when they are still in their formative years of life, say after higher education. Only then they would get enough training time to the articulate their thinking, attitude and knowledge needed for welfare development administration through a well-designed scheme of education and training.

Some lateral entries of MBA or professional degree holders could is made after graduation. Also some bright persons like technocrats having sufficient experience in management, professionals from other civil services and entrepreneurs willing to switch over could be appointed in IAS.

The other organizational changes required to enhance the effectiveness of governance are perfect tuning amongst politicians and administrators; no political interference in administrative work; smooth relationship between specialist and generalist; closer contact with people; formation of a smaller service with a smaller role; greater transparency and setting up a statutory Civil Service Board to control postings, promotions and transfers to avoid undue pressures and political interference.

October 22, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | 4 Comments

“Right Persons at Right Places” – Recruitments in Government Services

“For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation” Shri C. Rajagopalachari

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.” Anne Bradstreet

The saddest part of life right now is that science gather knowledge faster than society gains wisdom. Isaac Asmov

Introduction – Government service is not just another job. It requires a deep sense of commitment to public good. It requires proper understanding and appreciation of indian reality with all its strengths and weaknesses. It needs good inter-personal relationships. It needs to identify itself with ethos of Indian society and its cravings. It needs men and women of real substance, well aware of the changes happening at a very fast speed around the world due to liberalization, modernization, and globalization.

Today’s youth are ready to take up challenges and try their best to emerge victorious. They are willing to learn from their mistakes. It is a real challenge for  upright young men and women to be successful in the general category of competitive entrance examination, which requires regular hard-work, motivation, dedication, and well-focussed effort. They are energetic, hard-working, daring and a the same time very demanding. They value their independence. They want due reward for their efforts – be it monetary, credit, promotions or in any other form.

‘Mores’ – The more the challenges and problems to be tackled, the more is the pressure on government and its institutions, especially its civil services or bureaucracy, responsible implementation of developmental plans and policies. More the government is required to place ‘right men at right time on right places’ in its bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy can, without doubt, be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. The quality and success of governance depend on the nature, behaviour, systems and working style of its government services. Weakening of this pillar spells disaster [ii].  For any administration to be good and efficient as a whole, the right type of men placed in crucial positions in the government is more important than anything else.

Strategic posts in administrative set-up – There are certain strategic posts in every bureaucratic/administrative set up, which maintain uniformity, and supervise the working of various organizations in such a manner that public at large can live comfortably and taste the fruits of development. For manning such posts and running the administration in the country smoothly, bureaucracy or government civil services, both at the Local, State and Central, at secretariat or field levels, play a pivotal role. It takes important decisions, formulate government policies, plan, design strategies, initiate actions, execute policies, monitor the progress and taking remedial actions.

Right men at right places – Therefore, as Shri C. Rajagopalachari suggests, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation” Its administrative cadres should have wisdom to take right decisions at right time, capability to do unbiased evaluation from time to time to find out challenges. While  working on those decisions taken at ground level, it is necessary to  understand the hurdles coming on way of its implementation and then make corrections/improvements.  The success of government plans and policies depends largely upon its decision-making capacity and efficient implementation. Correct decisions doubles the confidence of officers. But wrong decisions enriches their knowledge and experiences. Efforts to take right decisions should continue.

Position of civil services in the government – In a democratic country, for the governance and delivering goods to public at large, the Government roughly depends on the following two general processes: –

       Process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and

       Process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants.

Most powerful wing of a democratic government – Every democratic government has three organs – Legislature to make laws, Executive to implement them and judiciary to act as a watch dog. Among these three, Executive, comprising of elected representatives + permanent civil servants, is the most powerful wing. It is the executive, as it prepares plans and policies of the government and execute them.

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge” (Anne Bradstreet) – Henry George comments “When democracy becomes corrupt, the best gravitates to the bottom, the worst to the top.” And then its government becomes “the Government of the poorest, the most ignorant and the most incapable, who are necessarily the most numerous.” (Lackey)

Personnel, of administrative apparatus, i.e. civil servants should be wise enough to shoulder the heavy responsibility of governance.  Any deficiency in its recruitment and training makes the whole system weak and corrupt. Therefore, Government should create sound systems for recruitment and education and training of civil servants ((people responsible for governance).

Position of political-leaders vs bureaucrats – Theoretically the administrative machinery is sub-ordinate to the political arm of a government. The decision making power rests with ministers. Bureaucracy is there to assist elected representatives of the people in governance. But, in practice, its role is very important and influential in governance of a country, because –

  • Need of expert knowledge to run the Government – Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more and more expert knowledge in governance for improving the quality of service, the responsibility of political chiefs becomes exceedingly formal in matter of governance. They are forced to listen the advice of the bureaucrats, who dig the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment.
  • Bureaucracy’s importance, is of influence and not of power – The civil services role in relation to the ministers is that of influence and not of power. Owing to other preoccupations of elected political leadership and its lack of technical know-how, the responsibility of bureaucrats in governance, policy making and its implementation, has become a determining factor. Converting available into policy, plans, programs and projects is an inevitable function of an action-oriented administration.
  • Bureaucracy a permanent link between successive elected governments – Elected representatives come for a fixed period. They come and go. But Bureaucracy is permanent, It maintains continuity and forms a link between successive elected governments. Therefore, it can visualize the whole scenario before taking decision on any vital issue and in guiding the social changes and development in desired direction, especially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.
  • Ultimately, responsibility of Decision-making on bureaucracy – Governance is about taking tough, even unpopular, decisions. Usually elected representatives hesitates taking tough decisions, as they have to please the voters. There never is a good time for politicians to take tough decisions. In reality, this responsibility also falls on the shoulders of permanent bureaucrats, whose position is constitutionally safeguarded.  Most of political leaders remain busy in vote-bank politicking, distribution of pre-election and after-election freebies, pleasing their voters through adopting populist measures and techniques to polarize public opinion, create different conflicting social groups and create vote-banks for themselves.
  • Create conflicting groups in society – Self-aggrandizement, inflated ego and recklessness are the reasons for polarizing different social groups instead of working to bring disparate together, create an inclusive society and lead them to live in harmony.
  • Three ‘I’s for taking right decisions – Taking right decisions at right time is a very tough job for Politicians. For taking bold decisions, three ‘I’s are required – ‘Intention’, ‘Initiative’ (courage to take bold steps), and novel ‘Ideas’/Vision.  Therefore, this responsibility also falls on the shoulders of civil servants.

Very few political leaders have courage and time to take bold decisions, as Modi government took in India in 2016, like surgical strike against Pakistan’s terrorist training camps, or demonetization with an aim to control terrorism, drug-mafia, human trafficking, Naxalism, and control corruption in one stroke. Both these acts of present Modi government have been appreciated by majority of the people living in India.

Being so, as far as governance in a country is concerned, bureaucracy could be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. The quality and success of governance depend on the nature, behaviour, systems and working style of its government services. Weakening of this pillar spells disaster [ii]. For any administration to be good and efficient as a whole, the right type of men placed in crucial positions of bureaucracy is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation.[iii]

Future lies not in jobs but on job-holdersFuture of any country lies not in jobs, but on jobholders. A well-equipped administrative machinery is needed to face day today challenges of governance, to solve the issues and to improve the quality of governance.

The report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel, appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA in 1935 says, “No element of career service is more important than the recruitment policy.” [iii] Gladden also points out that on recruitment rests, “The nature and degree of the usefulness of administrative machinery, to the service of which the human elements are dedicated” [iv]

Recruitment in government services 

 It is one of the primary duty of the government to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills, which are required to supervise their staff ably with sense of responsibility. Initial selection of the services, if properly conducted, can provide the government efficient and effective managers, bringing positive results within who can implement its policies purposefully and achieve the goals within time and cost parameters.

For smooth functioning of governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, it is must for a nation to have an efficient civil service. Initial selection of the services, if properly conducted, can in more positive terms, provide the government with the type of officials, who can implement its policies and program in a systematic and purposeful manner. Therefore, it becomes one of the primary duty of the government to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for higher posts.

Nothing damages governance more than faulty recruitmentNothing damages the administration more than faulty recruitment.  A solid permanent structure cannot be built on weak foundation.  Any system can be strong, only when its foundations are laid strong. Any laxity in the recruitment and performance of this Service jeopardizes the objective and pushes the developmental goals behind.

Entry of sub-standard persons into administrative cadre, inflicts a permanent, cascading and damaging effect on the system.   No amount of training or coaching, pre or post, can convert the inherent weaknesses into strength within a short period. Today’s wrong selection could be tomorrow’s organizational problem.

How to find out and recruit ‘Mr. Rights’ – It is one of the prime functions of any national Government to recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work at every level and then make all the feasible arrangements to train its recruits well, so that they can shoulder the heavy responsibilities of governance judiciously.

These Mr. Rights could either be recruited directly and then be trained or could be selected from amongst already trained, experienced and skilled persons. New entrants should be told clearly about their role in administration, their responsibilities, key result areas and impact of their working on the whole system and the general public.

Study of Job requirements a must for recruitments at every level – Before working on recruitment policy, a thorough study needs to be done on job requirements, in the context of present and future roles.  The candidates should be selected on the basis of their capabilities, attitudes, aptitude and adaptability to meet the position profile.  The focus should not be only on job skills, but on attitude and behavior as well.

There are certain strategic posts in every set up for maintaining uniformity and high standard in the administration, so that public at large can live comfortably and everybody, irrespective of caste or creed could taste the fruits of development. For manning such posts and running the administration smoothly, civil servants, who hold strategic and top most posts in different departments, both at the State and Central at secretariat or field levels, play a major role. These are the people who are responsible for taking important decisions, policy formulation, planning, designing strategies, initiating actions, executing policies, monitoring the progress and taking remedial actions.

‘Merit concept’ for recruitment in career services -The need for a sound recruitment policy was first realized by China, centuries ago, which started the adoption of merit principle based on competitive examination.  Prussia was the first country, in modern times, to evolve a sound recruitment system.  Later on, the principle of merit was adopted by India in 1853, Britain in 1857 and U.S.A. in 1883 (through Civil Service Act of 1883).  Now all the nations accept that a good initial selection in positive term provide the Government with the right type of officials to implement its plans, policies and programs in a systematic and purposeful manner.

Right men at right places – C. Rajagopalachari suggests, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation” Its administrative cadres should have wisdom to sort out different pressing problems and capacity to meet various challenges, a government faces every day. The success of government plans and policies depends largely upon their efficiency.

About Government/Civil Services

What is ‘Civil Service’ – The administrative machinery or Civil Service is a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.[i]  The main characteristics of any administrative services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working.  It is always associated with exercise of authority.  Theoretically, the administrative machinery is subordinate to the elective body i.e. the Council of Ministers. But in practice, it plays a different role. The responsibility of political chiefs becomes formal, as they are forced to listen to the advice of the civil servants, which can dig and present data in a matter as they consider fit. The service role in relation to the minister is that of influence and not of power.[ii] It is this administrative apparatus that has all the authority and responsibility to run the government.

Bureaucracy according to Max Weber – According to Max Weber2, whose study on bureaucracy has become a base for the modern exponents of the science of administration, the main characteristics of a civil service are as following:

  • Merit based selection and training – technical competence as a formal condition of employment;
  • Promotions regulated by merit and seniority;
  • Division of labour – defined rights and duties prescribed in written regulations;
  • Hierarchy – (a) Systematically ordered authority relationship;
  • Full time career-based service with fixed monetary salaries;
  • Impersonality – strict separation of office and incumbent in the sense that employee does not own the means of administration and cannot take the advantage of their position for promoting self-interest.
  • A system of rules and files – its operations are government by a consistent system of abstract rules.
  • Team-work – One of the important feature of bureaucracy is team-work, i.e. ability to work together toward a common vision. It is ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” (Andrew Carnegie, TOI, P.18, Feb 7, 2017)

Job-requirements for administrative apparatus to be well-equipped – “Life is not going to be the same as the world move to the 21st century, ” says Philip Crosby. (Ascent, TOI, 20.9.2000, p.1). Civil Service is a major instrument to effect the change and translate the developmental plans into realities of life. Therefore, it goes without saying that the civil servants should possess certain personal qualities to face the challenges of modern times. These are –

  • Knowledge – Knowledge is the most precious requirement/asset for a person willing to join Government service. It inculcates spirit of learning, insights, understanding, flexibility, practical know-how that makes one to function intelligently, effectively and efficiently. Along with it it can bring in power, monetary benefits, and leverage over others. How one handles it, holds the key to success in future. Knowledge means full utilization of information and data, coupled with potential of his skills, competencies, ideas, intuitions, commitments and motivations. It protects intellectual assets from decay, and enhances decision making capacity. Knowledge leads to effective practices, processes and technology used to collect, organize and distribute knowledge to people, who need it. Four steps are required to use knowledge positively –
    • Capture in the form of Data.
    • Think in what form captured Data to be stored processed, secured and used to benefit all.
    • Processing information by grouping, filtering and analyzing the database.
    • Communication – Share assimilated knowledge with others by using information systems.
  • Quality of Leadership – The term leadership has been defined by Dimock as, “all the means by which individuals are motivated to achieve group goals”1.  Haimen claims “Leadership refers to that process, whereby an individual directs, guides influences or controls the thoughts, feelings or behaviour of other human beings”2.  Brown and Cohen define, “Leadership as a process of influencing the activities of an organised group in its efforts towards goal – setting and goal achievements”.

As a leader, an officer needs to inculcate a sense of commitment among his colleagues and staff and influence the process of setting and achieving goals. Leadership is most effective, when a degree of congruence exists between the characteristics and demands of the following four variables –

      • Leader himself
      • His subordinates,
      • Tasks to be done and
      • Environment or organizational setting of any activity.

In government, a leader should be committed to the welfare of the masses, courageous, radical, humble, trusting, accountable, open, patient, sensitive to public needs and aspirations and self-confident.  He should have desire to assume responsibilities, possess critical knowledge and ability to organize himself with subordinates and with the people.  He must avoid fear of people, impatience and a show-off of authority.  His attitude should be positive and action oriented.   He should possess the quality of decision making.  He must be aware of his environment, views of the people, and principal aspect of the contradiction that is oppressing to the people at present.

The success of welfare and developmental plans depends on many factors, but none more important than the qualities of leadership exhibited present in its senior level civil servants.  To provide the administration with a sense of direction, purpose and priorities, they are required to encourage and control the staff and colleagues in a way that optimizes the performance of organization.  They have to see that right men are engaged in right job at right time.  Will, judgement, commitment, vision and initiative are required here.

The Middle level civil servants are the agents of development. They executive authority to supervise the implementation of policies and program.  Therefore, leadership capabilities are required at this level also. But the maximum leadership quality is needed at local field administration, where civil servants come into direct contact with people and take positive steps to create an appropriate atmosphere and attitudes, perceptions and relationship among their staff to make the local governance effective.

  • Quality of Supervision – Supervision is another important administrative task to implement the plans and policies properly.  As a supervisor, he should have command of job-content; ability to communicate his ideas to subordinates and make them understand the government’s point of view; wider outlook; courage to take decisions and assume responsibility; knowledge of administrative technology and intellectual alertness and receptivity to new ideas.  According to Halsay, a civil servant with supervisory role should have the qualities of thoroughness, fairness, initiative, tact, enthusiasm, emotional control, etc.

   As a supervisor, an official is responsible:

    • To arouse the feelings of the subordinates of their personal worth and their importance to the success of the organization.
    • To encourage subordinates to develop mutually satisfying relationship.
    • Emphasize the importance of organizational goals and encourage, within his groups, the desire for excellence.
    • Facilitate such performance by ensuring that the organization’s task can be performed under congenial conditions. These can be achieved by adequate cataloging, coordinating and planning of resources.

Besides, a supervisor should has an educative as well as consultative role too.  He should be capable to teach his subordinates the best way of doing their work and give them proper advice and guidance from time to time.  He should be smart enough to select right person for each job and to arouse in each person an interest in his work.

  • Quality of Coordination – Larger the size of administrative machinery greater is the demand for coordination to avoid conflicts or duplication of efforts.  As a coordinator, an officer should be able to prevent or discourage concentration on one aspect of work at the cost of exclusion of other aspects and to curb the greed for power in different units of the government.  Difficulties arise on the way of coordination due to uncertainty of future; the lack of knowledge, experience, wisdom and character; confused mind-set or conflicting ideas and objectives; lack of administrative skill and techniques; the vast number of variables involved; and lack of orderly methods of developing, considering, perfecting and adopting new ideas and programs.
    Coordination, largely depends upon the effectiveness of verbal and written communications which channel information and ideas up and down and across the chain of Command.
  • Quality of communication – Communication is the “blood stream of administrative organization”or “the heart of management”.  Apart from imparting knowledge or transmitting information, it includes interchange of thoughts for taking of ideas and a sense of participation and sharing.  The essence of communication is, therefore, not information, but understanding.

 For effective communication, a civil servant should be clear, consistent with the expectation of recipient, adequate, timely, uniform, flexible and acceptable.  An official should be well-informed. He should be able to establish a mutual trust in each other within his team; find a common ground of experience; use mutually known words; have regard for context; secure and hold the receiver’’ attention; employ examples and visual aids and practice delaying reactions.

The main difficulty on the way of communication is the complexity of language.  The problem becomes more complicated in a nation like ours with fourteen officially recognized languages and several dialects.   The lack of common experience and common background, difference in background education, lack of will or desire to communicate, size and distance and lack of definite and recognized means of communication add difficulties to existing barriers.   Good and well planned system of education and training may make officials good in communication.

  •  Quality of decision-making –Quality of taking right and timely decision is a must for smooth and effective governance. Decision-making requires careful collection of detailed facts, their analysis and interpretation, the use of broad concepts of human and physical behavior, ability to predict future developments etc.  Decisions are constantly made and remade in response to changing requirements.  It is a plural activity in government.  One individual may pronounce a decision but many contribute to the process of reaching the decision.   The factors, which influence decision-making are – Legal Limitations, Budget, Facts, History, Internal Morale, Impartiality, Future as Anticipated by Supervisors, Pressure Groups, Staff, Nature of Program and coordination of subordinates.
  • Efficiency – For securing maximum result with minimum labor and resources – fiscal and material – in the least possible time depends on the efficient working of civil servants.  Efficiency in civil servants is very necessary for effective planning and direction of governmental activities.  It is required at all the levels of administration.   A group of civil servants headed by an inefficient official is as bad as an inefficient group headed by an efficient leader. To increase the overall efficiency in government, it is necessary to keep up the morale of the civil servants.  The morale is concerned with minds, attitudes, emotions and motives of the employees.

Besides, there should be –

  • Mental framework – it should never be conservative. It should have a scientific outlook and should be progressive, innovative, reformist and even revolutionary in mental attitudes and approaches.
  • Knowledge – it should have knowledge of science, technology and social sciences.
  • Skills – it requires conceptual skills (ability for innovative problem – analysis), planning skills, technical skills, managerial skills and human skills.
  • Vision – A development bureaucrat requires the vision of a statesman and not that of either narrow-minded politicians or a rule-minded bureaucrat.
  • Structures – it requires less hierarchical and more team-like structures such as Commissions, Boards, Corporations etc.
  • Behavior – The behavioral pattern should consist of (a) action and achievement orientation (b) responsiveness (c) responsibility (d) all round smooth relations inside with juniors and seniors and outside with clientele and the public (e) commitment to development ideologies and goals.

At organizational front, there should be –

  • A working partnership between the civil servants, elected representatives in the government and the people.
  •  A sense of service, a spirit of dedication, a feeling of involvement and a will to sacrifice for the public welfare.
  •  A pragmatic application of the basic democratic principles. Higher civil servants should provide the required leadership to the lower levels of administration.
  •  Constant field inspection by senior officials.
    • to provide the government with the ability to be in constant contact with the people; and
    • to make the people conscious that the government is alive to their problem;
  •  A smooth and harmonious relationship between generalist administrators, experts and specialists is a must.
  • Witnessing the fast modernization and technological advancement process, willingness to upgrade one’s knowledge and competence.
  • Training from time to time to understand the success already achieved in the field of development administration and the efforts to be initiated in future.

Recruitment in government services in India

 In India, its recruitment policy is a product a long experience.  It evolved gradually and always tried to give nation a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work. Recruitment in its government services has been done through open examinations conducted by an autonomous body long.

During British rule – Nobody has ever had any doubt about the efficiency and effectiveness of its civil services. In the past, it had even puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, Von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers…. They wondered how was it possible for British administrators to administer such a big empire in India  with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? Even Indian nationalists were more likely than not to agree with such an assessment. … Or how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. It became possible only because British rulers managed to recruit in its bureaucracy ‘Mr. Rights’ at its supervisory levels of its bureaucracy, whether at national level, provincial level or district level.

Historical Background – When British East India Company consolidated it power in India, there had been different opinions on the matter of selecting the administrators. Some preferred military men and thought them to be best qualified for the job of administration, while others thought that administrative posts should be exclusively filled by civilians.  It was argued that noblemen, carrying with them the impression of high rank and birth, having served the Company for some time and possessing local knowledge and acquaintance with the affairs and people of India, should alone be appointed. However the rulers preferred to employ the most loyal persons for its administrative work.  It gave rise to spoil system/patronage system of recruitment.

Rise to spoil/patronage system in recruitments – From 1805 to 1885, the higher civil servants were nominated by the individual Directors of the Company.  From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission created in 1855, was given the Charge to select officials through competitive examination.   During this period the main task of the administration was to maintain law and order intact at any cost. The appointments of covenanted civil servants were made by nomination by the individual Directors of the East India Company.  But it did not work very well.

When British Crown took over the charge in 1858 from East India Company, the British Government felt that favoritism, patronage or promotion of personal interests in recruitment would deprive the Government of the services of bright youth, who otherwise could have been selected. The realization, that Civil Service was not the conglomeration of individuals or groups, and it should comprise people with talent, integrity, dedication and apolitical and impartial approach, gave rise to the principle of Merit. The British Government desired to have a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative framework.  They felt, If a succession of men of great talent and virtues cannot be found, or if the operation of any influence or party feelings and principles prevents their being chosen, we (the British) must reconcile ourselves to the serious hazards of the early decline, if not the loss of the great power, we have founded in the east.[i]

Therefore, the nomination system was abolished in 1855 by the Parliament in England and it was decided that the induction would be through competitive examinations of all British subjects, without distinction of race. The direct recruitment by competitive examination was envisaged with the idea that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding senior positions.

Beginning of the system of recruitments based on “Merit” – Lord Maculae initially shaped the recruitment policy in 1854, which was based on the ‘Principle of Merit’ for higher services. He recommended for an open competitive examination, which should be conducted by an independent body. The procedures needed to be open, transparent and generally trouble free. Idea of direct recruitment through competitive examination was envisaged with the purpose that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding superior/managerial positions in the government. The basic ingredients of this system were:

  • Selection of really brilliant young people – the caliber of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition.
  • An intensive training program for new recruits– An intensive training either formal or informal for two years; and
  • Stress on Field Duties – Actual field work for at least a period of five to seven years, during which officials were supposed to be fully molded to suit the needs of the organization, they were serving.

Selection and nurturing ‘Mr. Rights’ –

  • From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission created in 1855, was given the charge to select officials through a competitive examination every year.
  • Till 1922, the entrance competitive examinations for selection of senior officials were conducted only in England. Since 1922 onwards, India was also included as one of the competitive examinations centers.
  • So far, British Civil Service Commission was conducting the competitive examination for recruiting officers of covenanted civil service. From 1926 onwards, the newly formed public service commission was constituted for India and it began to conduct ICS examination on behalf of British Civil Service Commission. This position continued till 1937, when the Public Service Commission (India) was replaced by Federal Service Commission under Government of India Act 1935.  After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was stopped.

Intake in higher government services – British Government was particular about the intake of the material into its elite service. It firmly believed in the ‘concept of Merit’, thinking that if recruitment was done properly, the person would develop the capacity to become a good bureaucrat.[ii]

It did everything to have –

  • British Government for Principle of Merit – British government strictly followed the principle of merit while recruiting personnel for its bureaucracy. Any other system, which excluded knowledge, talent and virtue was not acceptable to British rulers. Qualifications to do a job well appeared to the British, the only worthwhile principle to select administrators. Their aim was to locate the administrators, “Capable of fulfilling duties of a nature, so particularly delicate and important, both as they respect the peace and happiness of Indian subjects and the rights and privileges of the European Community in our eastern dominion.”[iii]
  • Esprit d’ corps amongst its officersPhilip Maser said that there was esprit d’ corps amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, It is the Esprit d’ corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code. It did not need to be articulated.  Everybody knew it.
  • Smallness of service – It maintained “The smallness of service”, just over a thousand at any given time which instilled amongst officers a strong sense of service loyalty.
  • Incorruptible Bureaucracy Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence points out to only a minute handful of officers of being corrupt. “It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable.[iv]
  • Satisfactory work atmosphereThe bureaucracy, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British rulers and not the Indian masses. This was the reason that ICS has often been called the Steel Frame, which reared and sustained British rule in India. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic Steel-frame speech, said on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, I do not care, what you build on it. If you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse. There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.
  • Stress on TrainingThe British government was not only very particular about appointments in the ICS, but also provided atmosphere conducive to efficient performance, while on job. They believed that for being a good bureaucrat something had to be learnt by experience. Therefore, immediately after their arrival in India, the new recruits were attached to district for on-the-job training for eighteen months.

During one year of district training, the officers had to get thoroughly acquainted with villages, administrative compulsions and a working knowledge of the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters like police, agriculture, local bodies etc. Another six months were directed to more intensive revenue work in district under land settlement. It meant harder and more complicated work.

  • Great stress on touring and camping out – Great stress was laid on touring and camping out. They had to maintain diaries, which were thoroughly scrutinized by their seniors.
  • Guidance of the seniors – It was made clear to senior district officers vide G.O. No. 738, published on 18th April, 1916, in ICS Manual, Madras, The great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depends so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career.

The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever, from acquiring knowledge about the basics of administration, and to learn about the problems of each and every area of their jurisdiction.  Guidance of the seniors prepared them to deal with those properly. The Government paid all the attention to see that, the new recruits were shaped into ICS role properly.

White-man’s superiority during British Rule – The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of ‘racial discrimination’ for recruiting officers in administration. They followed the dictum of White-man’s superiority” for the appointments of higher civil services in Government of India.  Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 clearly stated, “It is our further will that so far as may be, our subjects of whatever race or creed, be freely impartially admitted to the offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge.[v] But it was not meant to be followed. The rulers virtually prohibited Indians to join higher civil services intentionally for a long time. They did not want to give Indian any control over the governance of the country.

Views of some British rulers on ‘White-men Superiority”Lord Lytton, in his confidential document, acknowledged that the pledge of the Royal proclamation of 1858 was never intended to be carried out.  He said, We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straight forward course.[vi]

Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893; It is indispensable, that an adequate number of members of the Civil Service shall always be European.

Viceroy Lord Landsdowne stressed Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained.[vii]

In 1867, Lawrence commented, We have conquered India by force of arms, though the policy and good Government have already aided us.  In the like manner, we must hold it.  The Englishmen must always be in the forefront holding the post of honor and power, as the condition of our retaining of our rule.[viii]

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they were pursuing with regard to White-man’s superiority in Civil Service. The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigour of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule  and any other rule being  in the circumstances of the case impossible.  The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.[ix]

Illbert Bill controversy proves that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.

Dictums on which policy of recruitment was based during Imperial ruleDuring British Imperial rule, the policy of the government for manning its crucial positions depended on following dictums –

  • Background of the recruits British youth, who usually joined covenanted civil services, were mainly from the ranks of British professional middle classes. They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge. The main attractions for them, to join the Indian Civil Services, were extremely generous salaries, opportunity to do something worthwhile, quick promotions, and responsibilities with full freedom to work.
  • Paternalistic outlook of officers – These officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled.[x] Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager… Here are simple people, who need leadership. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.
  • Restrictions on Indians to join higher services The British deliberately kept Indians at bay by creating conditions, which prohibited Indians’ recruitment in higher administrative jobs. They held the entrance competitive examination for Civil Services in England up to 1922. Only a very few Indians could bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad. There were extremely remote chances of succeeding in that examination.

With the birth of Indian National Congress Party in 1885, and intensification of the nationalist movement, the demand for greater Indian participation at higher levels in Government and its administration grew. Gandhiji, Gokhale, Tilak, Patel and other devoted leaders put great pressure on the British for holding Civil Services examination in India, simultaneously with that of England. The intensification of National movement and increasing demand of Indianization of Civil Services left a dampening effect on the attraction of British youths to join ICS. All the attempts to attract them fell flat. The number of British officials began to decline.

Start of holding Competitive Examination in India – The British Government started holding Civil Services examination in India as well from 1922 onwards. It gave opportunities to more and more Indians to join its elite services like ICS/IP. Along with it, it had transferred some service functions to the Provinces and abolished other All India services dealing with those service functions. The rulers continued their authority over control functions and services engaged in them – services ICS & IP.  British delegated the authority to Provincial governments to recruit personnel for their respective Provincial civil services, and organize the functioning of those activities.

  • Balance of power – In matter of recruitment in government jobs, another dictum, which the Colonial rulers followed, was that of ‘balance of power’. With the intensification of national movement, the rulers tried their best to balance the power in such a way, that no section of Indian society could become strong enough to pose a threat to its rule in India. They regarded Brahmins as the main force behind the entire struggles and agitations for gaining freedom from British rule. To control their movements, British thought it necessary to balance the power.

Act of ‘balancing the power’ led to start of quota system and policy of ‘Divide &rule’ – The dominance of Brahmins/upper castes had cautioned the ruler. To stop the preponderance theirs in administration, freedom struggles and elsewhere in modern white-collared occupations, British rulers propped up other sections of the society. To prepare other sections of society and make their entry possible in administrative set up, Rulers gave preferential treatment by fixing up separate Quotas for them in education and government jobs.

Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and 1932, the British divided the Indian population into different groups, on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc., and gave them separate representation in Legislative Councils, and Assemblies. They bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and Government jobs for different upcoming groups. Some seats were reserved for Muslims and Anglo-Indians in Central Services (Class I).

In 1932, the British accepted Reservations for scheduled castes at National level through Communal Award”. But it could not be implemented till 1943, because of the procedural constraints. After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was suspended, earlier due to Second World War and later, because of transfer of power to Indians.

British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of quota system before quitting India, knowing well that it would divide Indian population and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap. British policy of communal representation took the shape of Reservation Policy in Independent India.

Hamstrung by lack of qualified candidates to fill up mandatory quota seats, the government of India has lowered the cut-offs for reserved category of students from time to time. It has also took initiative to arrange for   preparatory courses for aspirant candidates belonging to under-privileged communities.

British rulers, not ready to lower standard of its elite services – British-rulers were not prepared to weaken their Steel frame at any cost. British Government gave preferential treatment to upcoming groups in government jobs, but kept its elite services engaged in control functions (ICS/IP) untouched from the quota system till the last.  They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for anybody, as on it depended efficient governance of the country. It told the upcoming groups in clear terms, With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their country-men for duties of administration and public.[xi]

  • Rigorous Foundation training for IndiansIn order to maintain the standard, dignity and honour of the services, British Government arranged for three years of rigorous foundational training for the Indians selected in its elite services. For appointees selected from UK center initial training was for two years. They were required to undergo a years training in U.K., at one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin, immediately after joining ICS. This training was for duration of two years (+ one year) for those, selected from the Indian center (Delhi) after 1922. From 1937, it was reduced from two to one year.

Purpose of longer probation periodThe purpose of longer probation period for Indians in Britain, was to bring Indian recruits in close touch with British way of life. It was to train in such a way that they “should ….. be Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.” No doubt, the rigorous training system for them had broaden the outlook of Indian recruits, developed their sense of duty as administrators and loyalty to the Government.

The Indian officials had to appear in two examinations at end of their probation in U.K., while their British counterparts, selected from London center, appeared only in one examination.  In all other matters like emolument and privileges, the Indian ICS officials got equal treatment, as was given to their British counterpart.

No doubt, all these efforts have helped ICS developing gradually into one of the most efficient/powerful services in the world.

                                                             Independent India

Independent India

About Governance in India – Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems. Mr. Nani Palkiwala, a leading lawyer also expressed the same feeling saying “50 years of self-rule, gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines after 50 years of self-rule”. He said, Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens.[i] A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable.

Present scenario of governanceRecently, Mr. VN Narayan has described beautifully the present climate, “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalisation). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles)”

Administrative apparatus of the government – In a democratic country like India, for the governance and delivering goods to public at large, the Government roughly depends on the following two general processes:

  • Process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and
  • Process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants.

In theory, position of political-leaders vs bureaucrats – Theoretically the administrative machinery is subordinate to the political arm of a government. The decision making power rests with ministers. But bureaucracy assists the elected representatives of the people in governance of the country of administration. But, in practice, its role is very important in governance of a country.

Importance of bureaucracy in governance – The administrative machinery or Civil Service, is a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.[i], It plays an important role in governance of a country. The main characteristics of civil services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working. It is always associated with exercise of authority.

Theoretically, the administrative machinery is subordinate to the elective body i.e. the Council of Ministers. But in practice, it plays a different role. The civil services role in relation to the minister is that of influence and not of power.[ii] As far as governance in a country is concerned, bureaucracy could be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests.

Difficulties and problems posed on free India – Very few nations in the world have started out with greater initial difficulties of political, economic, social and administrative character as India had to do. Periods of unity, in Indian history, have been lesser as compared to periods of strife and conflict. Immediately after Independence and as time passed on, India has to  face many the mind-boggling challenges like –

  • After-effects of  two World Wars, or Unification of the country out of 560 and odd princely states in splendid manner and almost within a year. First President of India Rajendra Prasad wrote in May 1959, “That there is today an India to think and talk about, is very largely due to Sardar Patel’s statesmanship and firm administration.
  • Partition of the country, and settlement of a large number of refugees coming from East and West Pakistan.
  • India, still, is a transient society moving from traditionalism to modernism. It had a long tradition of authoritarianism and institutionalism. The caste, class and feudal heritage still dominate its social fabric. In the words of Nirad Chaudari 1, “An extraordinary thing about all the civilizations of India is that there have been superstructures imposed on a primitive, peasant, labor and artisan community, which itself has hardly changed since the end of the neo-lithic age in Western Asia”
  • Periodical famines and floods,
  • Bleeding economic condition.
  • Poverty, illiteracy of masses.
  • Coming up of new divisive forces, which base themselves on cultural, emotional and linguistic variations of the country.
  • Violent activities of Naxalites and disturbances in many provinces due to one reason or the other,
  • Terrorist activities in border areas which pose serious challenge before the administration at various levels and that unless local problems are solved speedily, they are likely to pose a new threat to the unity and stability of the nation as a whole.
  • Still the growth has been very slow and the economy is in a bad shape. Some basic problems of Indian economy are low per capita income, dependence of at least ¾ of her population on agriculture, industrial backwardness, capital deficiency, rapid population growth, unemployment and under-employment, prevalence of backward technology, under-utilization of natural resources and unsuitable social structures.
  • Generally law follows social change, but in India the Government is trying to foster social change through law.
  • Pervasive corruption and indiscipline has weakened the social fabric beyond repair.
  • Population is exploding virtually unchecked.
  • Standards of education have declined beyond any remedy and it has become inefficient, wasteful, dysfunctional and increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations.
  • Illiteracy of masses is still a problem in the society.
  • Some unpleasant changes took place in the past and are increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the 6-7 main constituent of the national elites – political executive, legislators, media, businessmen, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats.
  • Sectional and regional imbalances are also sources of great social and psychological tensions.
  • Over and above it, there is disincentive to hard work, talent, honesty and sincerity, lack of accountability and alienation of common man.
  • Last but not the least tolerance of people of India is also responsible, who accept sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the authorities to upgrade their performance.

Until and unless, each of the above mentioned issues are not solved firmly and speedily, efficient and effective governance will remain a distant dream.

Why success seems to be far away? – People hold bureaucracy, ‘the steel frame of governance’, responsible for all the mess-up. People wonder why the steel-frame of yesteryears is shaking and failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations. No doubt, there has been decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country. Bureaucracy is shaking under its own pressures. But more than that, it seems that political and administrative systems are not in harmony with the developmental activities.

Like Four Blind Men and the Elephant, leaders of different political parties and groups of intellectuals perceive and project disparate parts of nation’s issues differently, always criticizing each other’s point of view vehemently. They ignore harsh realities/facts and attract public attention on emotional, sensitive abstract issues. Maximum damage is done by vested interests of different pressure groups, which usually spread their opinions based on half cooked knowledge or incomplete data. Their eyes are on short term gains. Success depends on how those in the realm of authority perceive and handle the real issues, find out possible solutions and decide without bias what are issues needed to be tackled on priority basis. Pressing problems needs to be analyzed taking the whole scenario in view, and then be tackled sincerely and honestly without any bias for the sustainable development of the nation.

What to do?Just as correct diagnosis is necessary for curing a disease properly, in the same way a nation needs to assess correctly the real issues, which are hampering its development within time and cost parameters. Smooth governance and Development of nation demands awareness, honesty and a sense of responsibility amongst elected representatives, of the people, government officials, and masses. Then only they can get over challenges hampering the progress of the nation as a whole. They should not waste their efforts and energy on peripheral/abstract issues for short terms gains.

To face the challenges of the day, there is a need to consciously move towards –

  • Humanizing the political and social institutions, not communalise or secularize them and
  • Creating sound systems for recruitment, education and training of personnel to be engaged in the work of governance. Today India needs more than yesterday to induct into its administrative set-up, upright, honest and best available talents, for whom interest of the country and welfare of the people always remain on the top of their mind and deed.

Recruitment in Civil Services in India after Independence –  In India, the present recruitment policy has been evolved after a long experience. In order to provide the nation a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, the recruitment to its superior government services is being done through open examinations conducted by Union Public Service Commission.

The forefathers of the Constitution knew well the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance to the country and providing the safety of the nation. Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service cannot make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).

Position of Indian civil services according to Constitution of India – To provide the nation ‘Development Administration’ of a ‘Welfare State’, the Constitution of India has entrusted the responsibility of improving the quality of life of common-men, together to i.e. the Parliament to lay policy and frame laws for governance, the Judiciary to act as a watchdog and Executive to implement policies, laws and programs. Amongst all the three, the Executive affects the daily life of the people the most, as it implements the policies, the laws and the programs through Civil Services of the nation.

Mr. Subharajan said during Constituent Assemble debates, “Without an efficient civil service, it would be impossible for the Government to carry on and continuity to be kept. The importance of the Governmental administration has been in the fact that there is continuity and unless this continuity, there is chaos” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p952).

After Independence, many national leaders desired that ICS and similar services must disappear completely. According to them the basic task of administration had changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change. They wanted the Civil Services of independent India to be constituted on a new basis, to fit in with the new system of Welfare State. and form the civil services of India on a new basis to fit in with the new philosophy, role, aims and objectives of a Welfare state. According to them, there were of maintenance of law and order and revenue collection only.

No drastic change possible in the administrative set-up – Visionary Sardar Patel, then the Home Minister of India, had realized that at the dawn of independence, circumstances were such that no drastic change could be made in the then existing system. Immediately after the independence, the number of IAS officers decreased to a great extent. Many British ICS officers took premature retirement after the independence. Also, a large number of Muslim officers opted for Pakistan. Many critical problems were there due to the task of unification of states, partition of the country in 1947, and bleeding economic situations. He insisted to continue the existing Institution of Civil Services. He told the national leaders very clearly that it would not be practically a wise decision to abolish the existing civil services. This decision proved to be a right direction, as the nation was facing many challenges. Consequently, save minor changes here and there, the administrative machinery set up during the Raj moved into the post-Independent era except for minor changes here and there.

Process of Recruitment in dependent India – After Independence, for smooth, efficient and effective governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, Government of India focused its attention to conduct properly the initial selection of the services. It desired to select those candidates/officials for its civil services, who could implement its policies and programs in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner. In order to provide the nation with a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, it decided to follow the earlier British Government practice of the recruitment in higher services with minor changes here and there.

Structure of higher civil services at national level – After Independence the government of India has formed some new civil services in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist cadres.

All India services and Central Services – Services like Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and some Central Services fall in the first category. These are meant for performing the control and policy making functions of the government. All India Services are meant basically for providing personnel for national and state administration. Maximum number of policy level posts under the Union are held by Officers belonging to this group.

Among the three, elite status is given to Indian Administrative service (IAS). Right from its inception, Indian Administrative Service attracts the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country. Also for an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of IAS, as it was with the ICS in pre-independence days. The Government offers them best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement. Its officers deliberate directly at the highest level of policy formulation and decision making.

Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service are incorporated in Article 312(2) of the Constitution. Government offers to IAS best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle.

Central civil services – Central civil services are professional by nature. Its functional areas are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution, such as Railways, Posts and Telegraphs, Excise and Customs etc. Appointments in professional services does not require any professional qualification or experience.

Technical Civil services – The government has the power to create technical and specialized government services as and when nation require them. Technical Civil Services require knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, diploma and/or experience for appointment to these services. Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category.

These services deal especially with developmental programs or work for building up infrastructure for the development of the country. It is considered expedient to have a Central Control/guidance for uniformity in technical fields such as water resources management, power generation etc. Some Technical Services are Indian service of Indian Meteorological Service; Overseas Communication Service; Indian Statistical Service; Indian Economic Service; Indian Railway Services of Engineers (of Electrical Engineers; Signal Engineers; Mechanical Engineers; (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics, Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Engineering Branch).

Recruitment System after Independence

After 1947, independent India needed, more than earlier, in its managerial cadres, energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook to meet the challenges of insurgent India. Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, were added to the responsibilities of the administrative service. Now India required more in numbers, “The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [i]

Recruitment pattern after Independence – After Independence, for smooth, efficient and effective governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, Government of India focused its attention to conduct properly the initial selection of the services. It desired to select those candidates/officials for its civil services, who could implement its policies and programmes in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner. In order to provide the nation with a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, it decided to follow the earlier British Government practice of the recruitment in higher services with minor changes here and there.

The recruitment pattern remains almost the same after Independence except for some marginal modifications, here and there, from time to time. Recruitment in all the government services is to be done through open examinations every year. The responsibility to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of administration is entrusted to an autonomous body called Union Public Service Commission at the centre and State Public Service Commission of the respective state.

The basic ingredients of the system are: –

  • Selection of really brilliant youths through an open competitive examination, conducted annually by an independent agency – Union Public Service Commission and Provincial Public Service Commissions, which have been entrusted with the responsibility to spot out good candidates.
  • Promotion of brilliant officers into Central from the State Civil Services.
  • Intensive formal and informal training to nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of higher posts has been planned by the government. There has been arrangement for two years foundation training for new recruits and many in-service training programs, refresher courses, seminars, workshops etc., at frequent intervals.
  • Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years, “What constitutes of being a good bureaucrat is something, he has still to learn and it can only be learnt by experience, for it is a lot of things, which one never can get into books.”[ii]

Twenty-first century India needs more than earlier, in its managerial cadres, energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook to meet the challenges of insurgent India. Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, are added to the responsibilities of the administrative service. Now India required more in numbers, “The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [iii]

Therefore, government needs to induct the best available talents into the service. Candidates recruited on an all India basis would help the state administration to acquire broader outlook and exposure. Broader vision and outlook of candidates would make them objective, enable them to withstand local influence and provide them strength to give free and frank opinion. At present, there are many divisive forces within the country based on cultural, social, religious, lingual status etc. which may threaten the unity of the country at any point of time. In such an atmosphere, bureaucrats are supposed to play a role of an integrating force. They can do so by objectively reconciling conflicting viewpoints and diverse interest of the people and always keep the interests of the nation on the top.

India has everything, a nation needs for its development – like tremendous amount of skilled and unskilled manpower, all kind of raw materials in abundance, a good legal system, a huge market and potential to export virtually everything, provided cost of its inputs are kept at international levels.

Pattern of Central Civil Services competitive examinationBefore 1979, the written examination consisted of three compulsory subjects of 450 marks – Essay, General English and General Knowledge. These were required to be taken by all the candidates. There were three optional papers, of 200 marks each, for candidates trying for IAS and IFS and Central Services Class I and II. For Police Services of Union Territories, candidates had to take only two optional papers of 200 marks each. Candidates appearing for category – I had to take two more optional subjects (Higher papers) carrying 200 marks each, additionally. This position is summarized in the table below: –

The standard of the lower papers (Optional papers) was approximately of an honors degree examination of an Indian University. The standard of two additional subjects (higher papers) for category I was higher than that of an honors degree examination, that, too, were examined, only if a certain minimum marks, as fixed by the Commission, in three compulsory and three optional papers had been secured by the candidates. Interview for personality test carried 400 marks for IFS, 300 for IAS and 200 for all other services. From 1969 onwards, candidates had the choice to answer the compulsory papers in English or in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Kothari Commission’s recommendations In 1975, under Dr. D.S. Kothari, a Committee was set up to review to suggest improvement in the system of recruitment to the higher services. The Commission observed, that in order to meet the challenges and to achieve rapid socio-economic and political development, the administrators must have not only relevant knowledge and skills, but also Socio-emotional and moral qualities for working with the community. Therefore, some changes in the recruitment policy and selection method were suggested. On the basis of Kothari Commission’s recommendations a common Civil Service Examination, having equal number of papers, for all the three categories, which is conducted by UPSC, has been introduced since 1979.

It recommended unified competitive examination consisting of a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services, an objective type to facilitate identification of those, who have the requisite range of knowledge, main examination in four compulsory and four optional papers to test the depth of knowledge and an interview to examine communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership qualities, ability to exchange meaningful ideas and attitude. This scheme came into practice from 1979. Since then, it is done in three stages –

  • Preliminary examination (MCQ type) – The first stage is of Unified competitive examination consisting of a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services. It facilitates quick identification of those, who have the requisite range of IQ. Preliminary examination consists of General Studies paper of 150 marks and an optional subject of 300 marks. This examination is of objective type with multiple choice questions. Through preliminary examination, about 85,000 to 10,000 candidates are short listed in order of merit, who are allowed to appear in the second stage of examination known as Main Examination.
  • Mains examination (descriptive type)The qualified candidates of preliminary examination are called for Mains examination. Main examination to tests the depth of knowledge in compulsory and optional subjects of candidates’ choice. consists of conventional essay type paper in any Indian language, as per the Eighth Schedule, consisting of 300 marks, a paper of 300 marks in English, General studies I of 300 marks, General Studies II also of 300 marks, and two papers in each of the two optional subjects, each carrying 300 marks. Indian language and English papers are part of the qualifying examination. These two papers are of matriculation standard. Marks secured in these papers are not added to the total score.
  • Personal interviewThose, who succeed in main examination, are called to appear for an Interview/Personality test for final selection. Its purpose is to find out leadership qualities, depth of knowledge, attitude and willingness to understand all sides of a problem, communication skill and command over language. The merit list of successful candidates is prepared on the basis of their performance in the main examination (1800 marks) and interview (250 marks).

Qualifications For entering directly into the managerial cadre of different government services, candidates should have the following qualifications –

  • Educational Qualification – A graduate degree is needed from a recognized university (incorporated by an Act of Central OR State Legislature in India OR Other educational institution established by Parliament Act OR announced to be deemed university under section-3 of the UGCA), 1956 or an equivalent degree. a simple graduate degree from anywhere in India can appear in the Civil Services examination conducted by UPSC. Appointment into non-technical professional civil services does not require any special professional qualification or experience. Professional civil services’ functional areas are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution.
  • Age Limit– The upper age limit varied between 24 to 28 years for general category candidates, from time to time. Age limit differs from time to time. Sometimes it is 21 to 24, sometimes from 21 to 28 years and at present according to official notice 2016 (If there is change UPSC updates)
Category Upper age limit No. of attempts
General 32 Years 06 Attempts
OBC 35 Years 09 Attempts
SC/ST 37 Years No bar
PH (Blind, Deaf, Orthopedic) 42 Years

SC/ST= No bar

J & K Domicile GEN=37 Yrs, OBC= 40 Yrs, SC/ST=40 Yrs, PH=50 Yrs No bar
Disabled servicemen, disabled from duty. GEN=37 Yrs, OBC=40 Yrs, SC/ST=40 Yrs. No bar
  • The allocation of services – the IAS, IFS, IPS, or the Central Services – is on the basis of merit and choice. Normally, the top rankers opt for either the IAS or the IFS.
  • Concessions to weaker sections – However some seats are reserved for SC (15%) ST (7.5%) and OBC (27%) on relaxed ground in all the services.
  • Concessions to SCT – In order to increase the number of SC/ST in government services, in addition to Reservation of posts, many other benefits are also given to them in direct recruitment. These are: –

      • Age relaxation. The maximum age of direct recruitment for SC/ST increased by 5 years.
      • SC/ST allowed taking as many attempts, to appear in the competitive examination, as they could avail. This works out to as many as 9 attempts.
      • SCT candidates qualifying by general standard not to be adjusted against quota.
      • SC/ST candidates exempted from payment of examination fees.
      • Separate interviews for SC/ST.
      • Pre-entry coaching classes organised by the Government for them.
      • Relaxation in standard to further improve their representation in the service.
      • If, in any particular year, the number of suitable candidates available is less than the number of reserved posts, the posts, so in excess, are to be treated as unreserved for that particular year. However, in the next year, the number of posts unreserved would be added to the reserved posts of that year. This carrying over process is to operate for a period of two years, at a time.
      • Reservation in Promotions, not given effect to, in a particular year is carried forward to three subsequent recruitment years. SC/ST candidates to be given Reservation leading to their accelerated promotions. As per the Supreme Court judgement, in Indira Sawney case, delivered on 16.11.92, Reservations in promotion could not continue beyond 15.11.97. Hence 77th Amendment Act, 1995, notified on 19.6.95 (issued on 13.8.97), enabled the State, vide Art 16(4A), to continue it indefinitely.
      • De-reservation in a group A services permissible only in exceptional cases having: –
        • The approval of the Minister in charge of Department of Personnel,
        • On the basis of recommendations of a committee, comprising the secretaries in the Ministries of Personnel, Welfare and the administrative Ministry concerned.
        • Only after receiving the comments of the national Commission on SCT.
    • Concessions given to OBCs – The concessions to OBC’s are less than SC/ST in following respect:
        • They get relaxation in upper age limit up to 3 years only,
        • Number of chances available within the relaxed age limit for appearing in competitive examination limited to seven as against 9 in the case of SC/ST.
        • Relaxation in standard of suitability has been prescribed to further improve the representation of OBCs.
    • Steps taken to implement Governments decision for appointment of OBCs are as follows-[iv]
        • A list of caste/communities, to whom the orders of Reservation are applicable are notified.
        • The persons/sections (Creamy layer), to whom the Reservation shall not apply, are specified.
        • A model format of an application form for claiming the benefit of Reservation, as well as, their not belonging to the creamy layer have been prepared and sent to State Government authorities, competent to issue certificate in respect of OBC status.
        • The Chief Secretaries of the state Governments are advised to issue necessary instructions to their district authorities for providing certificates required by the OBCs.
        • The existing 40-point roster for recruitment by open competition on an All India basis has been revised to a 200-point roster.
    • Concessions to Women – As for as women were concerned, on 17th July 1948, the Government of India announced that woman, too, were eligible for any public service including IAS and IFS.[ii] However, till 1965, there were some restrictions on married woman on joining IAS or appearing in the competitive examination. If they got married after the selection, their retention depended on the performance of their work.[iii]  Though percentage of women comprising of 50% is very little in the corridor of of power, much lesser than the percentage of STC or OBC, still they have always been expected by political leaders to compete with others on merit. It is a matter of pride for them that their number in various  civil services is continuously increasing. They have also been amongst the top rankers in various competitive examinations held annually by UPSC.

One of the toughest competitive Examination – Civil Services Examination (CSE) is one the toughest examination in India, with more than 900,000 applicants having one of the lowest in the world success rate of 0.1%­0.3%. a nationwide competitive examination in India for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. The process takes roughly one year from the notification of the pre examination to declaration of the final results.

Foundational training – Immediately after their selection into various services, the successful candidates are sent to various training Institutions for their foundation training so that they may get the picture of the political, social and economic aspect of the administrative set-up and they may get acquainted with the basic concepts and requirements of their jobs.

Technical Civil servicesBefore Independence, there existed some technical All India Services which were recruited and controlled by the `Secretary of State’. These died their natural death, when in 1935, authority and control of the services engaged in service functions was handed over to provincial government. Very few remained with Central Government. After Independence, the government created some new technical and specialized government services as and when nation required them. Some of the services on technical side are Indian service of Indian Meteorological Service; Overseas Communication Service; Indian Statistical Service; Indian Economic Service; Indian Railway Services of Engineers (of Electrical Engineers; Signal Engineers; Mechanical Engineers; (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics, Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Engineering Branch); In India,

Technical Civil Services require knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, diploma and/or experience for appointment to these services. Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category.

These services deal especially with developmental programs or work for building up infrastructure for the development of the country. It is considered expedient to have a Central Control/guidance for uniformity in technical fields such as water resources management, power generation etc. For Technical and Specialist services, UPSC conducts separate examinations.

The pattern of examination is slightly different for technical services. No preliminary screening has been considered necessary as technical graduates have already undergone a rigorous curriculum in their respective fields of study. For joining various organised group `A’ services on technical side, the candidates have to appear in various competitive examinations conducted annually by UPSC itself.

Some weaknesses of present recruitment system – Many efforts have been done so far to improve the system of recruitment to induct officials of caliber, character and leadership capabilities in Government services. But general public feels that the performance of civil services has been deteriorated day by day. The changes, brought in so far have not improved the situation. Something more is required to be done. There are some inherent weaknesses in the recruitment system. Until and unless, necessary changes and improvements are not done in the following areas, not much can be expected from bureaucracy –

  • Only a graduate degree not enough to enter into elite services of the nation –  One of the striking features is that in this age of specialization and very fast technological advancements, government still does not give enough importance to specialisation.  In the modern times, there are very few jobs, which can be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, training or experience.  The nature and degree of specialisation have to be geared to the nature of the job and responsibilities to be shouldered. Each new area of administration , be it economic, social, industrial, technical, science or agriculture – has its own body of academic requirements, knowledge and techniques.  The effective administration of each demands an intimate knowledge of its underlying principles and an awareness of its problems.  This knowledge can only come through the study and understanding of that area for a longer period of time. Then only,when politicians are to be advised on policy matters, alternatives can be properly put forward by government officials.

Even in 21st century, in most of the areas with which government deals, the system of collecting information, analysing data and using modern theoretical studies is inadequate and unsatisfactory. Most of the time policy advice continues to be primitive and amateurish.  Usually comparatively ignorant politicians are being advised by comparatively ignorant officers – the situation is of blind leading the blind.    

  • Age-relaxation – By increasing the age limit for entering into the government services, nation is losing the services of the youth at the time when they are full of energy and their minds are fresh and creative stage.
  • Diluting the integrity of the Government services  – No compromise should be done with integrity and merit-oriented recruitment in the government services. Mr. Appu says, “No reforms would work without improving the political atmosphere of the country”. System of fixing quotas for different sections of society has created a wedge between quota and non-quota candidates.

After the First World War, a wave of socialism and emancipation of submerged people through governmental measures had swept all over the world. The leaders of independent India, too, thought to do something more for the downtrodden. They felt, if the nation allowed the weak to stand and compete on equal footing with the strong, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Already after the departure of British, the administration fell into the hands of affluent people. If nothing special were done for the Backward-class, the affluent class would keep the poor suppressed.

At the time of independence, some weaker sections of Indian society were alarmingly under-represented in the corridor of power. They did not have access to education, gainful employment, land ownership and other civic facilities. Social justice and commitment to welfare ideologies demanded Governments intervention.

During Constitutional Assembly Debates, it was advised to keep in mind consideration to maintain a balance between efficiency in administration and protective measures, so that neither they negate merit, competitiveness, nor development of underprivileged groups. They warned the nation that  this effort may create greed or abuse of power, increase communalism, or hamper the growth of national unity and solidarity.[i]

Pt Hriday Narayan Kunjru feared, The regulations, made in this regard, may be unnecessarily wide or they may even be changed in such a way, from time to time, as to enable the executive to exercise a considerable amount of undesirable patronage. Many constituent Assembly members apprehended the fall of efficiency and administrative standard.

Constitutional provision  -Feeling that if something more was not done for this vast segment of society, it would remain backward, exploited and deprived forever, , the forefathers thought of giving preferential treatment to weaker sections in matter of education, jobs and other civic facilities. With his unparalleled skill of speech Dr. Ambedkar calmed down all the voices raised against protective measures at that time, and with his legal acumen shaped the Constitutional provision about Reservation.

Thus, with Art. 15 guaranteeing equality to all irrespective of caste, creed or gender, Clause (4), was included through First Amendment Act, on the pressures of leaders from South like Kamraj etc. It authorizes the state to take special care for the advancement of any socially, educationally and economically backward class of citizens or Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes. Art. 16 (4) permitted the state to make a provision for the Reservation of appointment, in posts, in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of state were not adequately represented in the services under the state. Simultaneously, the emphasis was laid that the claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency in the administration, while making appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of Union or of a State (Article 335).

The Constitution framers neither fixed up any quota, nor designated the people, who could be put in SC/ST or backward class list, nor did they fix any period. However the debates of the constituent Assembly clearly indicated that Reservation were meant only for a limited period.

In pursuance of the constitutional provisions contained in Art. 16(4) and 335, various instructions were issued, from time to time, providing Reservation for SC/ST and OBC. The Government of India made provision for Reservation for SC/ST in Government jobs. By a resolution in 1950, the Government reserved 12.5% (for SC) and 5% (for ST) of the total available vacancies in all the Civil Services of Government of India, on the basis of their numerical strength in total population. It was raised to 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in 1970.

The Central Government issued orders for 27% Reservation for OBC on 13.8.90. This was challenged in the court of law. The judgement was delivered on 16.11.92. Based on the judgement, revised orders were issued on 8.9.93. Reservation for OBC started at national level from 1994. The Reservations for minorities was terminated by the Constitution.

Impact of Reservation No doubt, immediately after the independence provision of preferential treatment/Reservation has compensated and helped the underprivileged to offset the accumulated deprivation and make their empowerment a reality. It has provided opportunities to some of the most neglected sections of the society to come up and join the administrative services. Their inclusion has made the composition of the service broad based.

As a result of the Reservation, there has been a considerable increase in the representation of SCT in terms of absolute member and percentage of the total number of employees in IAS and other group A” services. In 1953, there were only 0.35% (absolute numbers of 20) of SCs and 0.10% (absolute number 6) of STs in Civil Services group A. Their numbers rose to 96 SC and 34 ST in 1966, 227 (8.56%) for SCs and 132 (4.8%) for STs in 1976. Non-adjustment of the meritorious SCT candidates against reserved vacancies, in direct Civil Services-recruitment has increased their number to more than 15% and 7 1/2%, respectively, every year.

OM No.1/1/70 Estt. (SCT) dated 25.7.70, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, stipulates that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates are not available, on the basis of the general standard, to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, the SCT candidates should be selected on relaxed standards provided they are not unfit for such posts. The UPSC continues, till now, the practice of relaxing standards, to the extent possible, while recruiting candidates belonging to SCT, to make up the short fall in reserved quota provided, they were otherwise considered fit for appointment.

It was hoped, that the candidates selected on relaxed standards would come up to the standard of other recruits selected along with them after receiving additional instructions, foundational training, in-service training and on- the jobs experience cum training arranged by the Government. But, so far, neither there is enough arrangement for giving formal additional training to the candidates selected on relaxed standards, nor for scrutinizing strictly or taking stern steps to improve their standard, apparently because of political reasons.

Hamstrung by lack of qualified candidates to fill up mandatory quota seats, the government lowers the cut-offs for reserved category of students from time to time. It has not arranged enough preparatory courses for aspirant candidates belonging to underprivileged communities, so that they can compete with others on equal footings.

But now, the deliberate policy of the Government of India to give patronage to certain castes and communities under reservation policy has aggravated the crisis. It has generated rivalry between different sections of the society and created slackness in recruitment and training, which has ultimately led the nation to ineffective governance. There is not

Seed sown by British blossomed in Independent India – It is quite evident that the British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of Reservation policy before quitting, knowing well that it would divide Indian society and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap. The deliberate policy of the Government of India to give patronage to certain castes and communities under reservation policies has aggravated the crisis. It has generated inter-cast and intra-caste rivalry. It has compromised with the integrity, efficiency and effectiveness of the government services.

The political leadership needs to come out of this trap. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials in recruitment and promotions naturally leads to inefficient or mal-administration and sub-standard services to general public. C Rajagopalachari was absolutely right in commenting, Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.

Suggestions – As has been seen, the Indian Civil Service has a long historical background and is a product of centuries, and so is the case of its Recruitment system and systems of their further Education and Training. These systems have been progressed slowly, but steadily under three regimes – the East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic.

Although considerable attention has been paid to Recruitment into government services and their Education and Training, yet it has not been able to bring out the desired results – an inference based on various opinion polls and interviews. It has been pointed out by different levels of officers  that  Recruitment system should be job-oriented instead of its being degree oriented. Training time of initial training is insufficient and training system is too general. There is lack of interest among senior officers towards training, as it was during British rule. Officers are not trained to lead a simple life. Generalist services hampers technological advancement. IAS officers generally occupy almost all the higher posts even in departments of technical nature. Appointments of technical personnel would adversely affect their career prospects. In training institutes, usually sidelined officers are sent as trainers.

Building up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, he joins the civil services, but right from the day he starts his education.

  • The pre-entry education has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the prospective citizens, whether or not they join the civil services. The pre-entry education should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of higher civil servants.
  • If the education and training after their recruitment is correctional in nature, its effectiveness and efficiency would receive a set-back and a much more massive effort for training would be called for.
  • As of today, the general pre-entry education system especially the higher education in India is increasingly becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations, in-efficient, wasteful and dis-functional.
  • As any deficiency in recruitment system is likely to have an adverse effect on the system of civil service itself. It frustrates the efforts of national reconstruction. One of the grave weaknesses in recruitment system is that it is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented.
  • Competitive entrance examination system for civil services is  academic and favors the examination minded candidates. Just assessment of different subjects poses difficult problems in evaluation of comparative merits.
  • Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education system and recruitment system, it is suggested that the recruitment to various Government Services should be done immediately after higher secondary education at a raw age, when the minds of candidates are in formative, creative and energetic stage.
  • The idea of such Recruitment, Education and Training is not new to India and has proved to be successful in Defense and Railways.It could be done through an open competitive examination as is being done for Defense Services and Indian Railways Mechanical Engineering Service (successful candidates trained in Jamalpur).
  • It would facilitate the Government to arrange properly for their continuing education and intensive and comprehensive training at various administrative colleges and training institutions.
  • It would not only make it possible to have the intellectual knowledge and qualities required for performing their specific jobs, but would also inculcate in them emotional qualities and capacities required for doing their jobs such as social purposefulness, ability to understand the administrative and political implications of a problem and resourcefulness in solving them, capacity for team-work and flair for leadership, which are basic requirements of any welfare administrators.

Other organisational changes – While the civil servant is an important element in the scheme of civil services and, he must possess the qualities discussed above. The goals may still remain elusive, if the civil service, as an organisation, lacked the qualities conducive to effective working.  The civil servant as an individual cannot improve the overall efficiency in administration.  It cannot hope to solve a large number of organisational maladies, which have already resulted in loss of cohesion, espirit-de-corps and even raison d’etre (rationale).  Reckless expansion, virtual stagnation of salaries for more than a century, disparities in career prospects within civil services and seething conflict between generalists and specialists have affected adversely the efficiency of services as an organisation.  Above all, the prevailing mistrust between the political executive and bureaucracy is truly most frightening.  While politicians regard civil-servants as a bunch of self-serving, corrupt and arrogant obstructionists, the bureaucrats regard them as a pack of ignorant unprincipled opportunists.

In order to get an efficient and effective administration and streamlining the working of civil service, Mr. A. D. Gorwala (Chairman, Report of Public Administration, New Delhi, Planning               Commission, Government of India, 1951, P.4) had made the following suggestions:-

  • Clear distinction between formulation of policy and its execution;
  • More and better coordination at the secretariat level;
  • Better selection from a wider range of officials for the Finance Ministry;
  • Improved Cabinet procedures of work;
  • More supervision and inspection by senior officers;
  • Decentralization of pay, rewards and punishments;
  • Better discipline by means of better pay and rewards and punishments;
  • Improved techniques of selection of higher officials;
  • Harmonious Minister-Secretary relationship;
  • Non-interference by the Ministry in the working of the various departments;
  • Greater freedom for administrative ministries from too minute control of the Finance Ministry;
  • Better organisation of parliamentary control through the Estimates and Public Accounts Committee.

Some other changes, though not directly related to training, could, to a great extent, help in increasing the effectiveness of the education and training of government Servants.

  • The independent Indian needs smooth relationship between politicians and civil servants.
  • There should not be any undue political interference on administrator.
  • There should be working partnership between generalist and specialist.
  • Career prospects and salary structure should be reasonable and just, otherwise recruitment  and retention of good officers would be difficult and situation would lead to inefficiency and corruption.
  • There appears to be no scientific and sound rationale for keeping a substantial differential in the pay scales and career prospects of IAS and non-IAS services, because in no way IAS personnel are superior to others either in intelligence, or in quality or recruitment, or in degree of responsibility or in nature of job or inequality of work-load.
  • Therefore, there should be unified civil service with integrated pay structure, so that government could bring a sense of equity amongst various disciplines of civil service of their choice and would enable the candidates to go in for the service of their choice and aptitude.
  • The government would be able to gain the full advantage of the sincere and honest working of scientists, engineers, doctors, economists and officers of other disciplines.

Winding up – Key characterstic to be developed in the bureaucrats of 21st century at all levels are –

  • Strategic awareness,
  • Adaptability,
  • Sensivity to different cultures,
  • Ability to work with international teams,
  • Language skills
  • Basic understanding of international finance.
  • High task orientation.
  • Networking to develop Human relationship
  • Understanding of Global scenario.
  • Self-reliance

[i]   Speeches of Raj Bahadur, pp622-24, Avanta Sayanam Ayyangar, pp 626-628, Constituent Assembly Debates.

[ii]   Hindustan Times, Milestone P8, August 15, 1997.

[iii]   All India Service (Recruitment) Rules 1954, introduced vide MHA Notification NO.13/7/56 (AIS) (III dt. 25.4.1957).

[iv]   Report of Ministry of Personnel, 1995-96.

[i]   Administrative Decentralization Report, Chairman Flotcher AL, 1956.

[ii]   Zinkim M, Development for free Asia, p83, 1963.

[iii]   Administrative Decentralization Report, Chairman Flotcher AL, 1956.

[i]   Palikawala, We the People – The Lost Decade, p3.

[i]   Major General Sir John Malcolm, Political History of India from 1784 to 1823.

[ii]   Zinkin M, Development for free Asia, p83, 1963.

[iii]   Malcolm, ibid, p79.

[iv]    Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2.

[v]    Banerjea AC. Indian Constitution documents, Volume II, p28, 1948.

[vi]    Annie Besant, How India wrought for freedom, p420.

[vii]    Bipin Chandra, Modern India, p158.

[viii]    Tara Chand, History of Freedom Movement in India, p497.

[ix]    Supplement to Gazette of India, June 4, 1904, p937.

[x]    Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993.

[xi]    Times of India Archives, May3, 1918.

[i]      Finer. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, p709, 1950.

[ii]      Paipandikar VA, Bureaucracy in India – An Empirical Study, IJPA, pp187, Vol. xvii, no.2, April-June, 1971.

[iii]    Report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA (1935 P.37)

[iv]   Gladden N, Civil Service – its problems and future, p64.

 

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services, General | | 1 Comment

Reasons for Corrosion of the Government Services (Civil Services) in independent India

 further”Better to starve free than be a fat slave.” Aesop

Introduction

Better to starve free than be a fat slave” – India got its Independence from a long period of slavery  under British rule in 1947 after lots of struggles and sacrifices. After receiving its freedom, the country needs many more efforts to maintain it justifiably and progress further.

Legacy of past – The general framework of its Civil services, recruitment system, training system, generalist supremacy, anonymous character procedure oriented system, salary-structure, centralization of power, caste-considerations in recruitment to higher services and apathy towards masses are some of the legacies, India has inherited from the British India.

To find out when and what went wrong in the system of governance and what best can be done in which area, analysis of what bureaucracy was under British Government and what it is now becomes important. Seventy years have already passed since India got its independence. During this period, it has taken many right as well as wrong turns.

Right steps – After  Independence, the prominent national leaders along with dedicated civil servants put India on the path of progress, like, they did it –

  • It appeared to be an unattainable dream in early 60’s to put foundations of ISRO, which has made it possible to carry developmental measures into homes all-over the country.
  • Now the government can reach out to the people, provide communication through networks in remote areas.
  • It has developed disaster warning systems, quick research surveys to target ground water etc.
  • Dreams of many Indians in IT sector, scientific, agricultural, cultural, artistic and social fields have come true.

But somehow, the progress was slow. Then developed many undesired systems in the body-politic of the country, which pushed it backwards.

The dreams of our forefathers in these areas has just partially been achieved. Still it has to cover a long distance.

Wrong steps – The successive governments failed to provide efficient and effective governance to the country. So far, it has not been able to provide enough basic services to the people like sound ‘education to all’, income-generating skills to millions of unskilled poor labor, employment to youth, poverty (still millions are living below poverty line), proper health-care to common-men, 24 hour electric supply, especially in rural areas without break etc. Business suffers. People are strained. Farmers are committing suicides day-in and day-out. Governance has collapsed. Power-hungry leaders and bureaucrats work to acquire immense power to control the destiny of others without responsibility and accountability. Above all law and order situation has become almost irreparable – not enough safety for women and senior citizens without caste-considerations. Is it the freedom for which many Indians had in the past and even now are sacrificing everything in life?

One of the reasons is population explosion since 1921. Every year almost 20 millions Indians are added to the nation. It is a tough task to enable such a large number of poor masses to rise well above the poverty-line, to have improved health, education, self-esteem and contribute more productivity to the nation. To progress at faster speed, India needs to ignite young minds up-to the maximum.

Efficient governance during British Raj“It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers…. how was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? Even Indian nationalists were more likely than not to agree with such an assessment. … Or how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century.

“Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule, and, in a fascinating episode, when Subhas Chandra Bose, the leader of the rebel Indian National Army, flew to Berlin during the Second World War to solicit help from Hitler, the Führer dismissed him, taking the view that Indians needed to be civilized by another hundred years of British rule.”

Corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ started before Independence

Corrosion of steel-frame started during British Raj itself. But situation became from bad to worse after Independence. With the intensification of national movement and introduction of Diarchy, the downfall in the quality of governance had started. The spirit of mild ‘parentalism’ for the people in civil servants began to fade. Pannikar says, “The Lee Commission (1923) was the first evidence of the breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India, for after that there was no claim, that the British Civil Service in India, competent though they continued to be to the end, was anything more than a group of officers doing their work for purely material considerations. The idealism of the past had vanished” (Pannikar KM, The Development of Administration in India, Bulletin of Public Administration, Patna, Patna University’s Institution of Public Administration, vols. 2 and 3, p14).

Rowland Committee Report – The Rowland Committee remarked “The present position, in our judgment, is thoroughly unsatisfactory both from the point of view of the district officer himself, as well as, from the point of view of the efficiency of the governmental machine and welfare of the people in the district…. He is expected to see that nothing goes wrong in his district, but he has little power outside. The Magistrates and Collectors failed to see that things go right. He is supposed to compose differences between other officers, but he has no power to impose his will upon the recalcitrant. He can cajole and persuade, he cannot compel… In our view, the situation, if left to itself, can only deteriorate further, because activities of the Government in the mofussil will increase and practically every department is thinking in terms of Provincialized Service and makes little attempt to disguise its determination to go ahead with its own plans, without reference to any other part of the Government” (Report of the Bengal Administrative Enquiry Committee, 1944-45, p18).

Position after Independence – After Independence, the situation deteriorated further. Civil services have become more and more spineless, ineffective and powerless as time passed on. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country. Once known as the “Steel frame” of the “Whole structure”, the bureaucracy appears to be unable to meet the challenges of the day. Sometime down the line, the ‘steel frame’ started shaking under its own pressure. There has been a gradual decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country. Why and how it got derailed is a point to ponder.

Forefathers of Indian Constitution aware of the importance of Civil Services – Immediately after the independence, the forefathers of the Constitution realized the challenges, Indian government was going to face in order to provide safety to the nation. They were also aware of the importance and crucial role to be played by the bureaucracy in order to ensure good governance to the country and its importance for the safety and development of the nation in future.

The forefathers of the Constitution views about governance – Pt. Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India and many other important leaders like Pt. G.B. Pant, etc., did not like the idea that for building up a new India, the very machinery that was till now hampering and countering the freedom movement should be used. Pt. Nehru is on record to have said: – “…But of one thing I am quite sure that no new order can e built up in India, so long as the spirit of ICS pervades our Administrative Public Service. That spirit of authoritarianism is the ally of imperialism and it cannot co-exist with freedom. It will either succeed in crushing freedom or will be swept away by itself. Only with one type of State, it is likely to fit in and that is the Fascist type. Therefore, it seems quite essential that the ICS and similar services must disappear completely, much before we can start real work on a new order.”

Other members of the Constituent expressed their opinions –

  • Mr. Subha Rajan – Mr. Subha Rajan said during Constituent Assemble debates, “Without an efficient civil service, it would be impossible for the Government to carry on and continuity to be kept. The importance of the Governmental administration has been in the fact that there is continuity and unless this continuity, there is chaos” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p952).
  • Mr. MV Kamath – Mr. MV Kamath Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service cannot make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).
  • Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel – In his letter to the Prime Minister, Sardar Patel wrote, “I need hardly emphasize, that an efficient, disciplined and contended (civil) service, assured of its prospects as a result of diligent and honest work, is a “Sine-Quinan” of sound administration, under a democratic regime, even more than under an authoritarian rule. The (civil) service must be above party and we should ensure that political consideration, either in its recruitment or its discipline and control, are reduced to the minimum, if not eliminated altogether” (Patel Vallabh Bhai in a letter to Mr. Nehru).
  • Dr. Radhakrishnan – After Nehru’s midnight hour speech between 14th and 15th August 1947, Dr. Radhakrishnan warned the nation, “Our opportunities are great, but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil days. We should develop competence and ability, which would help us to utilize the opportunities, which are now open to us. A free India will be judged by the way, in which it will serve the interests of the common man in the matter of food, clothing, shelter and social services.”
  • Speaking in the Constituent Assembly, Sardar Patel said “There was no alternative to this administrative system….The Union will go, you will not have a united India, if you have not a good All India Service, which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security …. If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution…. This constitution is meant to be worked by a ring of service, which will keep the country intact. There are many impediments in this Constitution, which will hamper us. ….. These people are the instruments. Remove them and I see nothing but a picture of chaos all-round the country.”

Issue Seeing the pitiable condition of Civil Services, the diagnosis of its ailments becomes necessary. One wonders, what were the reasons for the corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ of yester years? why the steel-frame of yester years has failed miserably after the Independence to do its job effectively and judiciously, despite having a constitutional status and enough powers to perform its duties freely and frankly. Why it could not take a stand against the unjust dictates of political leaders or corrupt senior officers? What stops it from doing its job sincerely?

Indian civil services were well-known for their efficiency and effectiveness during British rule.

Before Independence, Reasons for efficient performance of bureaucracy under British Rule – British ruled India for a long time. The East India Company came to India in 1600 AD to trade. And established trading posts and factories in Madras, followed by Calcutta and Bombay. East India Company handed over the charge of governance to the British crown in1858. Since then, efficient governance was a reality during British rule. Gilmour comes to the sensible conclusion that the men of the ICS displayed a mixture of motives, skills and temperaments. Often a District officer in his early twenties would arrive fresh from his ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. The wide-ranging responsibilities of the District Officers of the ICS were responsible for almost everything. The structure of the service started from the District Officers to the Magistrates, Residents, Political Agents, Deputy Collectors, Lieutenant Governors, and so on. (From Rup Narain Das, titled ‘Marx and 1857’, published in TOI, P.22, 16.5.07, excerpts quoted from an article of Gilmour on Marx, June July 15, 1857 in New York Daily Tribune as a leading article). Following were the salient features of Indian Civil Service, which made it so strong –

  • Family background – Most of them belonged to British professional middle classes.
  • Recruitment Process – A number of individuals were ‘coming to the institution through stiff competition, not the other way round’.
  • Educational background – They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Incorrupt Bureaucracy – “One reason for this perception was that the ICS was manifestly neither venal nor corrupt in the way in which, for example, some officials and officers of the old East India Company had been. There are, however, other forms of corruption, including assumptions of racial superiority and the conviction that the ICS always knew best”.
  • Sense of responsibility – The ICS, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work. They had deep sense of responsibility. However, these qualities served mainly the British rulers and not so much the Indian masses. They had full freedom and opportunity to do something worthwhile.
  • Work atmosphere – So far as it did not jeopardized the Imperial interests, Civil Services officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, “Care, protection and guidance” ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled (Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2). Mr. Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, “I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager… Here are simple people, who need leadership.” Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, “Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.”
  • Bright career prospects – Extremely generous salaries and quick promotions.
  • Slim and trim service – just over a thousand at any given time – made for a strong sense of service loyalty.
  • Esprit-de’-corps – Philip Maser said that there was esprit de ’corps amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, “It is the Esprit de’ corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code.” It did not need to be articulated. Everybody knew it.
  • Honesty – Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence pointed out to only a minute handful of officers being corrupt. It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable (Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993).
  • Extra-curricular activities were an integral part for the jobs at the higher levels in civil services.

Above mentioned were the reasons, why ICS was called the “Steel Frame”, which reared and sustained the British Raj.

After Independence

Corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ – With many of the old visionary leaders having gone from the national and state scene in the sixties, a rot started setting up rapidly in the administrative set up.t Again during late eighties, once again the political complexion of the nation underwent a revolutionary change after the fall of Rajiv Gandhi’s Government and then disappearance of Nehru-Gandhi family from the political scene. The era of instability started.

Mr. VN Narayan commented on the climate of 1990’s, “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalization). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles) There is only one solution to all problems – a human and spiritual solution. We have to consciously move toward humanizing our social institutions and spiritualize (not communalize or secularize) ourselves” (Narayanan VN, Hindustan Times, June 1, 1995, p13).

Since beginning of 21st century, over the years, there has been decline in the quality, competence and commitment of the civil services officers. Rarely are factors like competence, aptitude, past experience and public spirit taken into account, while making appointments to responsible posts. Generally officers feel that it is better to toe the line of political leaders than standing up for principles and paying the price for it. The Vohra Committee has vividly described the nexus that has developed between unscrupulous politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, media persons and criminals. The appointment of tainted officers at crucial positions itself makes the intentions of the politicians clear. Corruption and caste-ism has corroded the steel frame.

Reasons for Corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ Reasons for corrosion becomes clear when one analyses the scene before independence and after independence. These are as following –

Red tape-ism in Government

Before Independence

Lord Curzon’s had said, “Round and round like the diurnal revolution of the earth went the file – stately, solemn and slow”. Similarly, decades later, Malcolm Muggeridge observed, “It was governments pure and undefined, endlessly minting and circulating files, which like time itself has neither beginning nor end.”

After Independence

Mr. Arun Shourie comments, “… – a mindless, endless, shuffling (of files) in slow motion – is not a device, it is more than a habit. It has become a nature. You will find it in every aspect of governance – big or small.”  Jayant Narlikar, an eminent scientist, has observed that India always has one of the most obdurate, cold, insular and inflexible Civil Service, the free world has ever known. In government there has always been a soulless movement of files. (Times of India, December 25, 1995) (Narikar Jayant, Two Cheers for Bureaucracy, Times of India, December 13, 1995, p10)

Status of All India services

Before independence

Bureaucracy was mainly responsible for keeping law and order situation and revenue collection. Rulers were not concerned much about welfare or developmental activities. The concept of Welfare State and Development Administration gained popularity only after Second World War. Still, on the eve of the Government of India Act 1919, there were 9 All India Services to provide talented manpower in different areas at managerial level for supervising uniform and all-round development of the country.-

    • Indian Civil Service;
    • Indian Police Service;
    • Indian Forest Service;
    • Indian Education Service;
    • Indian Medical Service;
    • Indian Civil Veterinary Service
    • Indian Forest Engineering Service
    • Indian Agricultural Service; and
    • Indian Service of Engineers.

After independence

From traditional tasks of the government, Indian government is committed to infra-structure building, and other welfare and developmental activities/rapid socio-economic development of the whole of nation. However, the circumstances were such just before and immediately after the Independence that out of nine All India Services, seven All India services existing in socio-economic or technical spheres were discontinued or provincialized just before the Independence to be formed afterwards. Only IAS and IP, the services engaged in control functions,  continued to function as unifying force.  B.B. Misra says, “Most of the other services were abolished. Considerations of national unity, the positive need of India’s all-round development and the attainment of a minimum uniform standard in administration were allowed to go by default.”

Nation needs urgently to create more All India Services – With the shift from traditional to Developmental tasks after independence and now with the trend towards Globalization and liberalization, time demands that there should be more All India Services in developmental or infra-structure sector at par with IAS. All the areas like economic, education, legal, industrial, technical, scientific or agricultural areas urgently need talented personnel at managerial levels for speedy and all-round development of the nation. All the disciplines require amongst its officers at its managerial level personnel having in-depth knowledge and experience of the relevant areas.

There is a provision in the Constitution for creation of one or more All India Services. Article 312(2) says: “If The Council of States declares by Resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest to do so”. Since 1960’s, a need to create more all India service was felt, so that apart from control functions, best talents could be provided on strategic posts at various levels in the areas of development/specialized functions. Each and every discipline needs personnel having enough knowledge about the subject-matter of their respective work. Along with it they should have skills, attitude and know-how of techniques to co-ordinate properly with other functionaries at district, provinces or centre and to face different kinds of challenges, current economic and socio-political developments poses on their way.

In accordance with the above provision, and seeing the need of the day, the Rajya Sabha, on December 6, 1961, adopted a resolution for creating the following three All India Services on technical side:

  1. Indian Services of Engineers
  2. Indian Medical and Health Services, and
  3. Indian Forest Service.

Out of these three, only one service—Indian Forest Service—could see the light of the day since July 1, 1966. Others could not because the State Governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Himachal Pradesh revised their stand mainly on the ground of State autonomy.

It has been increasingly felt that in modern life, there are very few jobs, which could be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, training and experience. Doubts were expressed about the capacity of IAS to act as an instrument of modernization and technological advancement. It is felt that in this age of fast-growing technological advancements, liberalization and Globalization, there are many areas such as power, irrigation, industry, steel and mines, petroleum and chemical, which require technical expertise and in-depth knowledge of the subject-matter. It has been experienced now and then that in the Secretariats, there is little or no appreciation of the technical aspects of most of the present problems. It has also been felt that when a generalist officer transmitted professional or specialist advice to the minister, he sometimes fails to transmit or interpret the advice with clarity and precision with which a specialist officer can do.

Chairman, K.N. Nagarkatti of a reform commission says “Each new area of administration, be it economic, social, industrial, technical, scientific or agriculture – had its own body of academic requirement, knowledge and techniques. The effective administration of each demanded an intimate knowledge of its underlying principles and an awareness of its problems. This knowledge could only come through practice and experience of administration in relevant area over a long period of time, in some cases, at least, long enough, in fact, to amount to a commitment – a professional commitment.” (ARAC Report on Promotion Policies, Govt. of India, 1968, p.26.)

Besides, All India services are losing its all India character/outlook. Professor Maheshwari says, “In a never ceasing see-saw game of adjustment and bargaining between the center and the states in federal cum competitive politics, neither its all India outlook, nor its talent, nor even its supposed loyalty to the center comes into active play.” (Maheshwari SR, The All India Service, published in the lecture series of 80th Course on Personnel Policies in practice organized by 11PA, 1980, P305) The Union Home Ministry has, from time to time, advised Chief Secretaries of the states not to recommend transfer of cadre members to their home states, but those with influence are able to manage it. In many states like Bihar, Punjab etc, more than 60% of the officers are from within the state. It is mainly because of the political ties. (Saxena NS, IAS and IPS at war with the state cadre, Times of India, April 6,1984)

Elite status

Before independence

The British Government was very clear about its aims and objectives. The British Government in India did not favour its indulgence in any kind of social welfare activity, which would, later on, pose problems for Imperial rule in India. The primary object of the government was to keep the nation under subjugation for economic exploitation, collection of revenue and to ensure the supremacy of the European race. In order to achieve these aims, it gave primacy to the administrative services and entrusted with the task of revenue-collection and maintenance of law and order. These services were supposed to have majority of European officers. It was against this background that higher civil services in India functioned.

  • ICS and IP were given the elitist character or the place of pride    Most of the officers in these services were Europeans. The responsibilities of these services were primarily – maintenance of law and order in the whole of country, revenue collection and perpetuation British rule in India as long as possible. In accordance with these objectives, the ICS responsible for law and order situation and revenue collection, was conceived and propped up as the elite service meant predominantly for British citizens and was bestowed with all kinds of authority, favours, concessions and privileges. Owing to its high prestige, remuneration and enormous authority, it was nicknamed as the “Heaven Born Service”. At the level of local administration, ICS officers were dubbed as “Little Napoleons”.
  • For services catering to subjects like Education, Finance, Medicines, Telegraph and Communications, Railways and Survey of India etc. which occupied in order of priority a place next to the paramount functions of law and order and revenue collection. An admixture of European and native officers was considered suitable; and
  • Scientific and technical services which would not pose any serious danger to the Empire were allowed to be managed by the Natives, because sufficient British personnel were not available to man these services.

Historic “Steel-frame” speech – British government gave the elite status to ICS amongst all the services under it. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic “Steel-frame” speech, said it very clearly on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants.

He said, “I do not care, what you build on it, if you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse. There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.

After Independence

Elite status given only to Indian Administrative Service (IAS)Indian Administrative Service (IAS, the successor of reputed, efficient and powerful institution ICS) virtually controls all the levers of the governance of the country. It has been given an elite status. Right from its inception, Government pays maximum attention to IAS. Its officers deliberate directly at the highest level of policy formulation and decision making. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement.

A Glamorous service – Still until 1960s, there was very little difference between the standard and behavior of IAS officers and other central government officers (class 1) in Government of India. Today, IAS officers deal directly with politicians, plan bigger things, moves all over the world frequently. It has added glamour to the service. The result of this development has been that the IAS has attracted the attention of politicians, especially of those pursuing the sectoral interests. To youth, entry into IAS is the surest and quickest means to get control over others, to improve one’s status in the society, to command instant admiration and respect of the people, thus in reaching quickly to the commanding position in the society. It is supposed to be the manifest symbol of power. It makes an easy access to levers of authority. It enables them to occupy positions having immense power and privileges at the highest level in the Government. Once in service, a person could lead an easy life, is a general conception.

IAS, an attraction for educated youth –For an educated youth, it has been a matter of pride to be a part of IAS. Like ICS, the Government offers to IAS best career prospects, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle. That is why, IAS has always remained the most sought after of all the services for the talented youth, as it provides the highest entry point in bureaucracy. Its officers have to pass through well-planned professional training.

The craze for getting into the service has increased in a large scale amongst the newly emerging sections of the society. Most of them are now not bothered about the high ideals, intellectual competence and high standards of administration, commitment to public service, constitutional values, or concern for justice. They are mainly interested in getting entry into the service anyhow and exercise the State authority over millions of powerless people and in making as much money as possible by misusing their authority.

Responsibility of IAS as Administrators – The IAS officers play a significant role in administrative work of the Government both at the centre and in provinces as well as in the Secretariat as well as in fields. Along with a few officers of other services, they look after policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. For doing justice. For efficient performance of work and doing Justice to the responsibilities, there is need for really bright and talented officers with in-depth knowledge and experiences in their respective areas.

  • In the Secretariat -However, most of the top posts in almost every department in Central Secretariat as well as in the State Secretariats are occupied by IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy. Officers from other civil services have limited scope to get postings in Secretariat. In Secretariats following functions are being done:
    • Obtaining decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
    • Overall planning and finance,
    • Legislative business,
    • Personnel management policies,
    • Legal advice,
    • Coordination and cross clearance among the administrative departments, in the Secretariat,
    • Communication with central institutions like the Planning Commission etc., and
    • Overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work being done by the field organizations.
  • District Administration – Administrative work in the fields has its distinctive challenges. In district, an IAS officer as Collector continues to play a pivotal role in the District Administration. He performs both regulatory as well as developmental tasks. District is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of Civil Administration can be concentrated and where it comes into direct contact with the people. Its importance arises from the fact, that it is at this level, that bulk of people gets affected, favorably or adversely by the governmental policies, programs and its implementation.

It is here, that people judge the quality and efficiency of the governmental administration.An IAS officer enjoys immense power and prestige at district level. During first five or six years of service in the state, IAS officers go on field postings to get the feel and first-hand knowledge of real life and social realities.

In addition to the traditional task of collection of revenue and maintenance of law and order, IAS officers as a collector of various districts are responsible – coordinating activities of various departments at district level.

Field-experience during postings in districts open up the minds of young officers, by bringing them into direct contact with administrative life, with people at grass-root level, with their concrete problems and with different human and social conditions prevailing there. They are also acquainted with the administrative structure in the district and the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters. The experiences of this period makes them ripe for senior positions.

Recruitment

Before Independence

“White-man’s” superiority” – The British Government was very particular about the intake of the material into its elite services. The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of racial discrimination on the dictum of “White-man’s” superiority for the appointment in Imperial services of the nation. For a long time, the Indians were virtually prohibited to join this service intentionally. The rulers never wanted to give Indian any control over the governance of the country. The British deliberately kept Indians at bay by creating conditions, that prohibited Indians’ recruitment in higher administrative jobs. They held the entrance competitive examination for Civil Services in England up to 1922. Only a few Indians could bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad.

Lord Lytton, in his confidential document, confirmed that the pledge of the Royal proclamation of 1858 was never intended to be carried out. He said, “We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straightforward course.” (Annie Besant, How India wrought for freedom, p420)

Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893; “It is indispensable, that an adequate number of members of the Civil Service shall always be European.” Viceroy Lord Landsdowne stressed “Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained” (Bipin Chandra, Modern India, p158)

In 1867, Lawrence said very clearly, “We have conquered India by force of arms, though the policy and good Government have already aided us. In the like manner, we must hold it. The Englishmen must always be in the forefront holding the post of honor and power, as the condition of our retaining of our rule.” (Tara Chand, History of Freedom Movement in India, p497)

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they were pursuing with regard to “White-man’s superiority” in Civil Service. “The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigor of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule and any other rule being in the circumstances of the case impossible. The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.” (Supplement to Gazette of India, June 4, 1904, p937)

From 1805 to 1885, the higher civil servants were nominated by the individual Directors of the Company. From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission created in 1855 to select officials of higher services through competitive examination.

Though the British Government initiated the practice to give preferential treatment to upcoming groups of Indian society in government jobs, they kept the ICS untouched from the quota system till the last. They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for anybody, as on it depended efficient governance of the country. It told the upcoming groups in clear terms, “With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their countrymen for duties of administration and public.

After Independence

There was a time, when Government services attracted the best talents of the nation. A large number of intellectuals, engineers, doctors, MBAs and other professionals wished to join central government services. Willingness of talented and meritorious best brains to join the Government services is are no more the attraction. It is like a passing tide. There is no freedom to the officers to do any creative work. Modern youth find the work atmosphere suffocating. Disincentive to hard-work, merit and sincerity has demoralized the honest and upright officials. Present system encourages pen-pushers according to the dictates of their political bosses. Reservation of about 50% posts has further eroded the charm to join government services. Liberalization and globalization has given enough opportunities to the best talents of the nation to join either private sector, especially IT sector or explore the green pastures abroad.

The best-talent syndrome – For last few years, constant political interference in administrative work and 49% of quota system in recruitment has diluted the charm of many talented youth to join Central civil Services under Government of India including IAS. It is a myth now that Civil Services attract the best talents and most competent and qualified youth from all over India.

It appears rather odd that a simple graduation is required to enter into the most prestigious services of the nation. While in other services like Indian Economic Service and Indian Statistical Service, the requirement is a post-graduate degree. For Engineering/technical services or medical services, a basic graduate degree is required, which can be acquired after four years of hard-work, while studying and rigorous training on various aspects to pass out the graduation course.

The time demands the government to have a cadre of better qualified administrators in its generalist nature of services as well, more than in the past. Either the candidates should be selected earlier, say after passing out higher secondary courses and then trained properly for any particular job, as is done for Defense Services. Or MBA degree must be made a basic requirement for appearing into competitive entrance examination in competitive, as is done in the case of Engineering/medical services. Lateral entries could also be made by including bright persons already employed elsewhere, like: –

  • Technocrats having sufficient experience in management,
  • Professionals from other civil services,
  • Entrepreneurs, willing to switch over.

Promotions in the service should be strictly based on good performance. Administrator should be encouraged to upgrade, sharpen, and focus their knowledge towards analysis and problem solving

Bloated Size

Before Independence

As stated earlier, “It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule, and, in a fascinating episode, when Subhas Chandra Bose, the leader of the rebel Indian National Army, flew to Berlin during the Second World War to solicit help from Hitler, the Führer dismissed him, taking the view that Indians needed to be civilized by another hundred years of British rule.”

After Independence

– There has been a continuous increase in number of government servants. After Independence, the IAS has gradually grown into a bloated and top heavy service. The IAS cadre, which had only 957 officers in 1950, is having 4991(as on 1.1.1997) administrators at present. The first causality of this obesity is its efficiency. The cadre strength of its predecessor – the ICS, so-called steel-frame, had always remained less than 1500. With that cadre strength, they were able to cope with the administrative work of the undivided India efficiently and effectively. In Independent India, the annual intake went up from about 33 in 1947 to 138 in 1965 and to 160 in 1985. It again came down to 80 in 1990. The cadre strength in various years is given below: –

Cadre Strength of IAS after Independence

Year Authorized          Cadre-strength                 In-position

1951                               1232                           957              (Includes 336 ICS)

1981        4599                               3883

2017                                                                                   5004

Source: Civil lists Pay Commission Reports, Report of Dep’t. of Personnel.

Outcome of this increase – The rot set in on account of continuous increase in its cadre strength resulted in:

  • Adverse effect on the “Espirit-d’corps” in the service,
  • Creation of additional high level posts to accommodate timely promotions.
  • Establishment expenditure is eating away most of the resources generated by the Government for development projects.
  • Continuous increase at entry point has led to stagnation at Joint Secretary level, resulting in frustration,
  • Creation of many insignificant unnecessary posts, that has very little work or authority,
  • Generating resentment in Non-IAS Services against IAS officers for encroaching the preserves of other services,
  • Side-lining upright officers, thus discouraging excellence of performance. A large number of officers are always there in the queue, who were willing to toe the line (dictates) of politicians with vested interests.

The “Bloated size” led to unbalanced infrastructural development with cadre-reviews, creating multiple layers in administrative hierarchy. It led to poor communication, duplication of work, and delay in action and decision taking.

Almost Pay Commissions have noticed the “Bloated size” of the service and advised the Government to reduce the flab at-least by 30%. For efficient and effective administration, the 21st century administrative machinery needs to be lean, thin and down-sized.

Lack of Specialization

One of the striking feature is that responsible authorities do not give enough importance to specialization. In the modern life, there are very few jobs, which can be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, training or experience. The nature and degree of specialization have to be geared to the needs that have to be met.

Before Independence

Stress on attitude, knack/aptitude – Before Independence, during British period, there were nine All India Services to provide adequate manpower at the top of various disciplines. Even within ICS, immediately after the recruitment, the officers were geared to attain knowledge and experience for higher assignments, during probationary period and thereafter-early years of service. Mr. L.K. Jha, an ICS officer said that specialization during British Raj started immediately after joining the service. The display by ICS officers for one kind of work rather than the other, their special knack and aptitude for particular type of work was taken into account for deciding their future career.

While promoting officers on the posts of higher responsibility, the display of their work done during field postings, their attitude and aptitude and knack for particular type of work were taken into account. Thus, in practice and not in theory, the Government was building up a cadre of specialists in administration and also encouraging further specialization in different areas of administration. It was done, not as a rule or through formal training, but through experience in doing a job under the supervision of those with greater experiences in those particular areas. Thus the Government was organizing a cadre of experts in different disciplines not through formal training, but through gaining experience by doing job under the supervision of those, having greater experience. (LK Jha, Administrator as Specialist Management in Government, July-September, 1980). Following were the three distinct areas identified for specialization –

  1. General Administration
    1. Personnel Administration
    2. Financial administration
    3. Defense Administration & Internal security
  2. Agricultural & Social Welfare Administration,
    1. Agricultural & rural development administration
    2. Social Services & Educational Administration
    3. Planning
  • Economic Administration
    1. Economic and Commercial Administration
    2. Industrial Administration

After Independence

Constant battle between Generalists and Specialists – The story does not end here only. In order to avoid stagnation, make enough space for its elite service, and keep them satisfied, Government creates many cushy jobs at top-level of bureaucracy, in public sector, corporations, which are mostly manned by IAS officers. As a consequence, a battle is going on between Generalist administrators and Specialist or other professional and also between IAS and State Civil Services just to get top posts in the public sector corporations. While this battle has become something of a scandal, no one bothers, whether services are achieving the objectives, for which they are created.

The need of specialization after the independence is much more than it was earlier as socio-economic development and other welfare activities have become much more important than earlier. Besides, role of whole of bureaucracy has become more demanding and challenging due to the complexity of modern times and fast changing social, political, economic and technological developments in the recent past. But for one reason or the other, contrary are the trends. The officers of the elite service are supposed to perform duties of an extraordinary variety and technical difficulty. In addition to it, an administrator might be in-charge of personnel today, tomorrow in-charge of steel, on the third day in charge of health and so on. The results of this practice are there for all to see –

  • Owns no responsibility – The quick changes, from one type of job to another, make the knowledge of administrators, occupying top level postings, superficial. There are some hard working and sincere IAS officers, who are eager to learn the maximum about the subject matter of their job. But they are also constrained because of the swift changes from one functional area to another. The real knowledge is obtained by sustained hard work for a long period in one type of job, which enables a person to develop innate ability needed for the smooth functioning and development of that area. Administrators own no responsibility for a wrong policy. By the time, the results of a policy or the implementation of a program comes out or is evaluated, the officer concerned might be in a quite different department.
  • Jack of all but master of none” – Administrators are “Jack of all trades, but master of none”. The knowledge about the particular field is no importance for the appointment of the officers to senior posts. The knowledge of any particular subject/area is of no importance for appointments at the top-level of bureaucracy or at the Secretary level posts. Consequently, just as politicians depend on secretaries for knowledge, secretaries depend on their specialist subordinates and technical staff for the fundamental concepts, knowledge, data and information. Time demands that bureaucrats should have Sufficient and in-depth knowledge of the area, in which one works.
  • Blind leading the other blind – Knowledge in technical and professional areas, modern systems of collecting information, analyzing data and using modern innovations has been advanced at a very speed especially after information technology revolution. When comparatively ignorant politicians are being advised by comparatively ignorant generalist officers on policy matters or on critical issues, situation becomes like blind leading the blind. Quite often alternatives are not put forward by officials properly, whose knowledge and experiences are in-adequate or not professionally sound enough in that particular area. It is one of the reasons why many times policy advice on critical issues remains primitive, amateurish, untimely, or not up to the mark. Some IAS officers desired that some sort of technical training – a layman’s bird’s eye view on certain technical matters like power, irrigation, industry, agricultural techniques – and knowledge about the functioning of technical departments should be given to them.
  • Meaning of Specialization in the present day context – Specialization with varied experience, in present atmosphere, means that an officer for strategic senior post should have sufficient knowledge of the area he is supposed to work. In addition to that in their own discipline, there should be varied experience of different aspects and activities concerned with it – such as planning, coordinating work at different levels, advising ministers on policy matters, taking into account the social, legal and economic constraints, particularly in his/her functional area etc. All this could be achieved only after working in any area for a reasonable period.
  • Suggestion of ARC (1968) – ARC had also suggested way back in 1968 that the IAS officers should be confined to areas, which are well known to them. They should not try to encroach those areas, which belongs to others and for which others have acquired special knowledge and training. (Report of ARC on Personnel Administration in Government of India, 1969, p16)
  • Even in their own area, there should be some specialization, because the role of each posting in the government has become more challenging and complex with the fast changing environment all over the world.   The pressures of achieving better results while dealing with more complex and difficult situations, it is necessary to place a premium on improvements and specialization in administration.
  • Creation of more posts through cadre-reviews– In order to solve the problem stagnation, there the government creates more and more posts at the top level of bureaucracy, as a remedial action. Through cadre-reviews, one job is sub-divided into multiple jobs. The outcome of it is that many personnel at various levels have hardly two or three hour of work a day. What is worse, a number of them are doing jobs, which was earlier done by their juniors.
  • Multiplicity of focal points – By creating too many posts in any cadre, the Government creates many points of control and coordination. Multiplicity of too many focal points, in turn, creates overlapping of functions and jurisdictions. More men, less wok, duplication of efforts, lack of supervision and control have resulted in confusion and inefficiency.

Field Experience

An administrator is supposed to maintain links with the people directly through the channels of understanding and persuasion, not through authority or force. Many ICS officers claimed that earlier they had been closer to public than present day administrators. The work experience at district or sub-division level was considered to be a qualification for ICS officers.

Before Independence

Personal knowledge of village conditions – During British rule, the rulers insisted on personal knowledge of its executives of what was happening in the farthest village. Administrative officers established and maintained contact with rural masses at the highest level of the administrative hierarchy. Great emphasis was laid on getting young officers thoroughly acquainted with village and the administrative structure dealing with matters, which touched the rural people, such as land, irrigation, Government loans etc. The most important of these, from villagers’ point of view, was his right on land – whether as owner, tenant or worker. It had to be correctly recorded.

Rendering effective, just and quick service to the villagers – Also, various exaction of government, such as land revenue, higher irrigation dues, return of loans etc. were to be fairly assessed and collected. The village community had a vested interest in the efficiency and honesty of revenue system. Whatever be the motivation of British administration, it certainly rendered effective, just and quick service to the villagers. The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever from acquiring knowledge about village conditions and methods to deal with them. (Mangat Rai, Commitment my style in ICS, 1973)

Exhaustive touring from village to village – The officers made exhaustive tours, moving from village to village and lived a camp-life for considerably long period. The symbol and instrument of village contact was horse. This was partly because of the manner, in which these were conducted, were slow, and easy, involving staying out near village and imbibing thoroughly their atmosphere and conditions.

Close contact with people, source of strength in a democracy – The close contact with the people and the people’s faith in their uprightness gave them the strength to become the “Steel frame” of the whole system. Now many retired ICS officers claim, that the nature of functioning before the independence was such, that they had better understanding and knowledge of the people of their area than officials of today.

After Independence

Field experience, lost its validity – Unfortunately, after independence and progressively over the years, importance of field experience has lost its validity. Most of the officers are habitual of leading a comfortable urban life. It is difficult and troublesome for them to spend enough time in rural areas. As a result, they have to depend to a great extent on the advice of their subordinates posted and living in rural or far-off areas. As a result, many times decision-makers do not get timely and reliable information.

Escape from field postings – Many smart and ambitious officers find their way out and skip rural, sub-divisional or district experience. A study by DPAR, in 1981, has shown that in eight state cadres, 70% or more IAS officers of the elite service have not done sub-divisional charge even for two years. (Seventy Seventh Report of Estimate Committee of Seventh Lok Sabha, August 17,1984, pp76-77) It is fast becoming a secretariat service.

Little grass-root contacts – The same is the story of district charge. Many officers manage their postings at the center and/or state capitals throughout their career and do not care to revive or develop what little grass-root contacts, they had earlier.

Official tours to remote areas just a formality – Because of the improved road network in the villages and availability of fast moving vehicles, such as cars, jeeps etc, the district officers lack the intimate knowledge of the rural areas. The tendency of officers is merely to complete the formality of being on tour, as might have stipulated by the state Government. They make touch and go visits to rural areas, especially the one, which are easily accessible by road, spend the prescribed compulsory number of night halts in some wayside Dak bungalow.

Lack of grass-roots contacts making ‘Politicians’ stronger and ‘Bureaucrats’ weaker – The basic truth that in a democracy people are the sovereign and real source of strength, is often forgotten by many government servants. Such an attitude makes the position of bureaucrats weaker in comparison to political leaders. Politicians are closer to people than bureaucrats. It is due to this lack of enough field experience, grass roots knowledge and experience in the absence of direct contact with the rural masses that the local politicians could exert pressure on administrators.

Closer contact with people could save bureaucrats from undue political pressure – Today’s politicians think themselves to be exclusive guardians of the people. The government servants have, lost the faith of the people. The people doubt their credibility and efficacy of occupying policy level posts.

Alienation from the common man leads the administrator to base their decisions on second hand information. Because of inadequate data, inefficient resource allocation and inward looking project monitoring; plans and policies remain, often, far away from the reality and actual needs and aspirations of the people. Closer contact, coordination with people and their confidence in administrator could save them from undue political pressure.

Corruption

Before Independence

As pointed out earlier, Majority of the Imperial services’ officials were manifestly neither venal nor corrupt in the way in which, for example, some officials and officers of the old East India Company had been. There are, however, other forms of corruption, including assumptions of racial superiority and the conviction that the ICS always knew best”.

Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence pointed out to only a minute handful of officers being corrupt. It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable (Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993).

After Independence

Unlimited Authority without Responsibility – It is said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The concept of “Welfare state” and “Development administration” has bestowed immense authority in the hands of Government, which is mainly exercised by the executive, meaning the ministers and the Bureaucrats. But authority of bureaucracy is without owning any responsibility.

Extensive Government levers of controls and vast powers have been given to bureaucrats. They can find out unlimited opportunities to make money, through delays, dilatoriness and excuses. In addition to get political patronage and good postings, they can support the greedy and power hungry politicians.

Always someone else held responsible – Whatever may go wrong, either at the field level or at policy-level, administrators are never held responsible. If law and order situation deteriorates in a district, IPS officer is held responsible. If a policy decision goes wrong, it is said that those in echelons of power were wrongly advised by the specialists or specialized organizations dealing with that particular subject.

Various factors like colonial tradition, monopoly of few groups in power echelons, no regard for meritocracy or expertise for development of the nation, monopoly of coercive power, tiredness of workforce, inadequacies and instability of political leadership and the near absence or weakness of groups exercising countervailing force over authorities men and to work for the development of nation.

Swift changes makes difficult to fix responsibility – Swift changes, from one functional area to another, make it difficult to hold an officer responsible for any wrong policy. By the time, the results of a policy or the implementation of a program is evaluated, the concerned officer gets shifted to another post, department or goes back to his parent state.

Political Interference in day today work

Before independence

Before independence – ICS enjoyed the authority to take decisions.

After Independence

After the independence, corrupt and self-seeking administrators have become expensive parasites on the system and society. Wheels of justice are not moving fast enough to punish the guilty. Procedural delays, political patronage and resistance from within the bureaucracy, appear to be helping corrupt officials evade the long arm of the law. Many excuses are given to protect them. Many reports confirm that an increasing number of senior bureaucrats figures in corruption cases. .

Political patronage – The ministers and politicians used to find their authority shadowy over them. The table has been turned. Now, the minister dictates and the officers obey without any resistance. Dominance of political consideration over administrative and economic matters has been one of the prominent features of independent India, which is responsible for large scale of corruption, the deteriorating situation of law and order and slower rate of economic growth.

The political leaders have acquired the authority to reward and punish officers, through transfers and postings. It has become an effective tool to make officers fall in line with them and be loyal to them. Honest and upright officers face quick transfers, bad entries, judicial inquiries, and loyalist officer’s prestigious postings, foreign trips special allowances etc. It has made many officers to succumb almost absolutely to political pressures. Growing politicization of services and lack of support from seniors has put a negative effect on the initiative and creativity of young officers.

Mr. SC Vaid has very correctly said, “In most of the cases as long as bureaucrats support misconduct of politicians, they remain in their good books. Strict compliance with code of conduct by bureaucrats comes in the way of selfish interests of politicians. It causes a lot of discomfort to legislators. Hence the latter frequently transfer honest officers. The government must adhere to the Supreme Court directive stipulating minimum tenures for bureaucrats and curb arbitrary transfers.” Upright officers needs to be enabled to create an ideal condition for development and good governance by giving them enough opportunities to do their jobs without unnecessary political interference.

Premature promotions

Before Independence

Earlier, ICS officers used to work under senior officers for about seven to eight years, before they were given independent charge as collector.

After Independence

Now officers have to take the responsibility of independent jobs prematurely. After foundation-training of two years, hardly a year or 18 months passes, when an IAS officer gets promoted to the responsible post of collector. He is not mature enough either service-wise or age-wise to handle the challenging job of a collector. When officer himself does not have enough experience as a collector (head of district administration), how can he take up the responsibility of training others?

Lack of senior’s support

Before Independence

During British period, young ICS officers were placed under the strict supervision of senior officers, who used to take keen interest in the development of their capacity to run the administration effectively. It was made clear to senior district officers, that it was very important to pay attention to the young officers, who were put under their guidance. Their success in life and reputation, as good officers, depended greatly on the assistance; they received from their seniors at the outset of their career. (GO No.738, published on April 18, 1916, ICS Manual Madras) As a result, the junior officers were groomed well on job ad possessed a marked degree of professionalism in their area of activity. Their claim of superiority, over others, was clearly established.

After Independence

Not enough protection from Senior officers – Many incidences and recent Durga Shakti Nagpal (an upright officer’s) case, initially administrators ware gradually losing interest in their subordinates. Reasons for it are generally the following –

  • Unfortunately, now the main function of the administrative service has become to maintain status quo and defend the wrong practices of its political masters, not to guide well the junior officers or stand by them when in difficulty. Today the efficiency of the service as a whole is at its lowest ebb. Complete breakdown of discipline everywhere is mainly responsible for the disintegration of administrative system and its future.
  • Because of changing political culture, senior officers themselves are so insecure, how can they instill sense of security and confidence amongst their juniors?
  • There is scarcity of well-experienced senior officers at the district level. Most of them have drifted to the central and state secretariats or to public corporations etc,
  • There is too much political interference in their day-to-day work.
  • There is lack of sound personnel planning.
  • Senior officers are so occupied with their own work, that they hardly spare enough time and attention to see and guide the work of their juniors.

In short

Diagnosis of the Ailments – In short, the reasons of the corrosion of the steel-frame are poor personnel policies, excessive protectionist policies of the Government, bloated size, unbalanced infrastructural development with concentration of authority in a few hands, cumbersome office procedures, increased paper work, delay in action and decision – taking, disincentive to hard work, talent and sincerity, lack of accountability, alienation from the common man and the last but not the least tolerance of people of India, who accept sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the officers to upgrade their performance.

Suggestions

  • First of all, the Government of India should merge all its civil services – technical as well as non-technical – into one unified service with an integrated pay structure. The Government should ensure complete parity in pay scales, same time- frame for all services for getting promoted into next grade, promotional avenues and career development.
  • The attainment of high standard of administration depends a great deal on the environment of work, which requires selection of capable officers, proper placement of officers and proper atmosphere of work.
  • It requires a change in attitude, more of field work, people’s cooperation, not by force or use of authority, but by prompting, persuading, suggesting, stimulating and inspiring them.
  • It must be realized by each and every bureaucrat that he is there only because of the people and for the people, not the people because of him. People are not an interruption to his work, but the purpose of it. In a country like India, where most of its people are illiterate or semi-literate, mere functional efficiency cannot stir warmth. A little glow of welcome in the eyes of civil servant converts disappointment into exhilaration in the public. People, after meeting a civil servant, should return with satisfaction that they were heard patiently and sympathetically and that someone would be taking interest in their problems.
  • Last but not the least, each and every citizen must realize, as Napoleon has said, “The world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!”

July 30, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

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