Civil Services Reform


Corruption in the civil services is deep-rooted. In such a scenario, the government’s recent proposal to give weightage to the performance of probationers in the foundation course in allotting cadres to them would amount to merely tinkering with the existing processes.

Efficiency of a democracy

  • Evidence suggests that the efficiency of a democracy does not depend only on representative institutions. Non-representative and non-elected institutions, such as the civil services, have a critical role in enhancing the efficiency of Indian democracy. However, there can be no two views that the steel frame of the civil services in India stands rusted today.

Hits and Misses of Civil Services

  • The major hits include the successful holding of elections with zero error, keeping the country together despite political instability and the massive rehabilitation and resettlement of refugees after Partition and during disasters.
  • However, the misses far outnumber the successes.
  • Several reports by Transparency International have highlighted the deep-rooted corruption in the civil services.
  • The Vohra Committee report highlighted the lack of secular governance and pointed to the intellectual deficiencies of civil servants after they join the services.

A wake-up call:

  • Civil servants need a wake-up call to address the issues confronting the country today.
  • They need to re-orient themselves to the task of the socio-economic integration of India, particularly because sections of the subaltern classes in parts of the country are showing a worrying propensity to use unconstitutional methods. 
  • There is no point talking about innovation in management unless the basic cause pertaining to the loss of morale is addressed: Untimely and unjust transfers.
  • With the liberalisation of the Indian economy, the role of a civil servant has become that of a facilitator.
  • Increasingly, the bureaucracy is called upon to take decisions in an environment of economic and political uncertainty.

Reforming the civil services

  • Several committees have been constituted to frame guidelines for reforming the civil services but most of their recommendations have not been implemented.
  • In many parts of the world, the revolution in public sector management is due to two reasons: Political commitment and the emphasis on integrity.
  • In India there has been an unhealthy symbiosis between politicians and civil servants. They have come to share a mutually beneficial relationship, at the cost of subaltern classes.


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