Administering Change

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Source– The post is based on the article “Administering Change” published in The Times of India on 26th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Role of civil services in democracy

Relevance– Civil services reforms

News– The article explains the challenges faced by administration in India. It also suggests the solutions to reform the administration.

Recently, there was forced retirement of 10 senior department of telecom officials, some with doubtful integrity. Since 2014, GoI has retired around 400 officers for lack of integrity or non-performance. Most were Group A and Group B officers.

What are challenges to government administration?

Everyone enters the system young and there are equal opportunities to progress ahead. But the assured promotion system irrespective of performance, too many departments performing no significant functions ruin many officers.

There exist corrupt nexuses that form over a long career being close to netas and moneyed interests.

Lateral hiring is not given much importance. Recruits are struggling for acceptance and direction.

Only 4% of India’s workforce comprise public servants. Compare this to 22. 5% in the UK, 13. 5% in the US and 28% in China.

What is the way forward to reform administration?

Too many mid-career and senior officers have integrity and performance deficits. GoI must find ways to identify and offload them following due process. It should be done alongside recruiting meritorious replacements.

National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building that is aiming to reshape post-recruitment training mechanisms and GoI’s HR policies, is important.

Mid-career appraisals to weed out inept officers will have to proceed concurrently with greater public service recruitment.

State governments must also reform public employment policies. Combined employment of states is much more than GoI and state bureaucracy’s interface with the ordinary citizen is much larger.

Centre and states should also pursue disinvestment more vigorously. They should use part of the proceeds to reform administration.

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