In the last five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has taken several steps to reform Indian bureaucracy and civil services. Now the government is planning to 'rationalize' 60 plus civil services. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has prepared a five-year vision plan for reforming the Indian Civil Services structure.
NITI Aayog’s “Strategy for New India @75” talks about Civil Service Reforms
➨Niti Aayog in its report “Strategy for New India @75” issued in the year 2018, recommended conducting a single exam with an All India ranking for the services. It states that “The existing 60-plus separate civil services at the central and state level needs to be reduced through rationalization and harmonization of services.”
At present, there are more than 25 Group A civil services and more than 30 Group B services. The Union government might classify 60 plus civil services into three broad groups. The report further states ““Recruits should be placed in a central talent pool, which would then allocate candidates by matching their competencies and the job description of the post. Concomitantly, the number of exams for civil services should ideally be brought down to one with all India ranking. States may also be encouraged to use this pool for recruitments.”
As per the report, no decision regarding how to undertake the rationalization has been done by the government. However, a possible solution could be to classify civil services into three groups.
“One way of doing it is dividing the services into Indian Administrative Service, which would include all non-technical services; the Indian Police Service that would include all security-related services and the Indian Technical Services, which would include all technical services,” the official said.
➨ Recruitment Based on Skill-set
In the report, the Commission recommends “There is a mismatch between positions and skillsets. Recruitment is not competency specific and often, the right person is not placed in the right job.”
NITI Aayog recommends to recruit and employ the officers based on their skillset and education to utilize their knowledge in a particular service. For example, an officer holding a medical degree could perform well better in the Health Ministry than employed under the Ministry of Finance.
➨ Encourage Lateral entry: Inducting specialists at higher levels of government will provide much-needed expertise.
➨ Nurture Specialization: The key to reform in civil services are encouraging officers to cultivate specializations based on their education and skills early on in their careers. Wherever possible, longer tenure postings need to be made based on the officers’ expertise. However, it is also necessary to ensure cross-sector mobility for civil servants from areas where they have become surplus to areas of emerging importance.