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Civil Service Reforms


Breaking Down the Basics

  • What are Civil Services?
    It is a collective term for a sector of government hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadership.
    “Permanent executive branch of India.”
    The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country.

  • What are Civil Service Reforms?
    Deliberate actions taken in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness, professionalism, representativity and democratic character of a civil service.
    These reforms may be undertaken by way of –
    Data gathering and analysis;
    Organizational restructuring;
    Improving human resource management and training;
    Sustainability enhancing pay and benefits;
    Strengthening measures for performance management, public participation, transparency, and combating corruption.
    In simpler words, it’s a mixed policy of corruption control and performance improvements.


Importance of Civil Services

  • Service presence throughout the country - strong binding character.

  • Administrative and managerial capacity of the services.

  • Effective policy-making and regulation.

  • Effective coordination between institutions of governance.

  • Leadership at different levels of administration.

  • Service delivery at the cutting-edge level.

  • Provide ‘continuity and change’ to the administration.

Problems That Needed Reform… And Still Do

  • Lack of professionalism; poor capacity building.

  • Inefficient incentive systems that do not appreciate upright and outstanding civil servants but reward the corrupt and the incompetent.

  • Obsolete rules and procedures that restrict the civil servant from performing effectively.

  • Systemic inconsistencies in promotion and empanelment.

  • Lack of adequate transparency and accountability procedures - there is also no safety for whistle blowers.

  • Arbitrary and whimsical transfers – insecurity in tenures impedes institutionalization.

  • Political interference and administrative acquiescence.

  • A gradual erosion in values and ethics.

  • Patrimonialism (authority is based primarily on the personal power exercised directly or indirectly.)

Civil Service Reforms

  • Forced retirement of corrupt officers
    2011 – Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) put forward proposal to retire and remove incompetent, inefficient and unproductive All India Service officers after 15 years of service.
    Accepted; rule 16(3) of the All India Services (death-cum-retirement benefits) Rules of 1958 was amended on 31 January 2012.
    2016 – The very first action was seen
    Ministry of Finance dismissed 72 and prematurely retired another 33 Indian Revenue Service officers for non-performance and on disciplinary grounds.
    2019 – 22 corrupt officers fired from Indian Revenue Service (IRS)
    284 Central Secretariat Service officers under performance audit by review panel headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

  • Citizen empowerment
    DoPT accepted to receive requests from private persons seeking sanction for prosecution in respect of IAS officers without any proper proposal and supporting documents.
    2019 –
    12 (IRS IT) dismissed on corruption charges.
    15 IRS Customs and Central Excise officers dismissed on charges of bribery.

  • Direct hire or lateral entry for domain experts from 2018.

  • 360-degree appraisal system implemented in 2014 entailing –
    “Annual Confidential Report" (ACR)
    Review of work-related attitude and behavior based on confidential feedback from peers, subordinates, and outsider stakeholders who have dealt with the officer.
    Replaced previous system of ACR written by just the boss.

  • “Minimum government and maximum governance” (Modi’s Principle)
    Focused on reforms to align country’s civil service with the strategic national goals.

“Mission   Karmayogi”-   National   Programme   For   Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB)

  • Mission Karmayogi is a comprehensive Civil Services reforms programme aimed at better services delivery to the public, approved this year in September.

  • The mission targets 4.6 million central government employees.


  • The Programme will be delivered by setting up an Integrated Government Online Training-iGOT Karmayogi Platform.
    Portal on the Ministry of HRD’s DIKSHA platform for the purpose of capacity building.

  • The main principles include:
    Supporting Transition from 'Rules based' to 'Roles based’.
    To emphasize on 'on-site learning' to complement the ‘off-site’ learning.
    To create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure including that of learning materials, institutions and personnel,
    To calibrate all Civil Service positions to a Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRACs) approach and to create and deliver learning content relevant to the identified FRACs in every Government entity,
    To make available to all civil servants, an opportunity to continuously build and strengthen their Behavioral, Functional and Domain Competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths.
    To enable all the Central Ministries and Departments and their Organizations to directly invest their resources towards co-creation and sharing the collaborative and common ecosystem of learning through an annual financial subscription for every employee,
    To encourage and partner with the best-in-class learning content creators including public training institutions, universities, start-tips and individual experts,
    To undertake data analytics in respect of data emit provided by iGOT-
     Karmayogi pertaining to various aspects of capacity building, content
     creation, user feedback and mapping of competencies and identify
     areas for policy reforms.

  • A Public Human Resources Council comprising of select Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, eminent public HR practitioners, thinkers, global thought leaders and Public Service functionaries under the Chairmanship of Hon'ble Prime Minister will serve as the apex body for providing strategic direction to the task of Civil Services Reform and capacity building.

The role of the mission:

1. To assist the PM Public Human Resources Council in approving the Annual Capacity Building Plans.
2. To exercise functional supervision over all Central Training Institutions dealing with civil services capacity building.
3. To create shared learning resources, including internal and external faculty and resource centers.
4. To coordinate and supervise the implementation of the Capacity Building Plans with the stakeholder Departments.
5. To make recommendations on standardization of training and capacity building, pedagogy and methodology
6. To set norms for common mid-career training programs across all civil services.
7. To suggest policy interventions required in the areas of HR Management and Capacity Building to the Government.

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