GS-2, Indian Polity, Public Admin 2, Uncategorized

Forging the steel frame

Introduction

  • The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration was simply called the Academy of Administration when it was set up in 1959 in Mussoorie.
  • It signalled a resolve to systematically train members of the higher civil services in order to equip them to be the change agents of a resurgent India.
  • The two All-India Services, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service, instituted earlier under a specific provision of the Constitution, as also other Services attracted some of the finest minds from the university system.
  • The IAS motto, ‘Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam (proficiency in action is yoga)’, and the Academy song, ‘Hao Dharomete Dheer, Hao Karomete Bir (Be firm in your faith, courageous in action)’, symbolised the nation’s expectation from them.
  • The Academy introduced in 1960 a common Foundation Course (FC) in order to “instill a shared understanding of government and build camaraderie among the civil services”.
  • It is the professional training institution for the IAS, and continues to conduct an FC for various All-India and Central Services.

How is the Academy coping with the changing times?

  • The content and methodology of training have changed to meet the demands of time, the pattern introduced in 1969 — of district training being sandwiched between institutional exposures at the Academy — has remained broadly unaltered.
  • On successful completion, IAS trainees are now awarded an M.A. degree in Public Management by the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
  • Besides, the Academy also conducts mid-career training programmes for officers, in keeping with their varying job requirements from policy implementation towards policy formulation.
  • The Academy now houses five national research centres on rural studies, disaster management, gender, public systems management, and leadership development and competency assessment.
  • Pursuant to the Kargil Review Committee recommendations, a joint civil-military programme on national security was introduced in 2001.

Some limitations

  • First, the correlation between the training imparted in Mussoorie and the quality of public services in the heat and dust of Indian polity should be unquestionable
  • Second, there has been no serious attempt to record the experiences of the trainees/officers at the field/secretariat levels and publish them in scholarly journals, enabling others to benefit from such exposures.
    • The Academy journal, The Administrator, does not seem to have any discernible impact on the academic discourse on the various facets of our governance.
  • Third, what have been the outputs of the five national centres?
    • How does such research reform the training curriculum?
    • Has the Academy realised its potential to emerge as the main think tank for civil service reforms?

What should the Civil servants do?

  • Civil servants are aware that the public sometimes resent the bureaucracy, often for valid reasons.
  • Politicians criticise the bureaucracy as blocking the course of development. These days, Ministers are not always willing to accept responsibility for their own decisions.
    • The reputation of officers is being unduly tarnished all the time.
  • The civil servants should maintain their integrity and efficiency while serving in a system that deals with power play and corruption.
  • The Academy help build a national consensus on contentious issues of dealing with Politicians and public.

Conclusion

  • In defending and expanding the constitutional values and in adhering to the spirit of various progressive legislation, the IAS and other Services have played a significant role in nation-building.
  • Despite our ‘uncertain glory’, if one looks at the trajectory of independent India and compares it with that of our immediate neighbours, our higher bureaucracy appears to be a defining difference.
  • The Academy in Mussoorie deserves the credit, but changing times has brought new areas that require better understanding to solve problems. It is this that needs focus and reforms.

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