June 13, 2018
1 year

IAS’s scheme of posting and transfers values general competency more than specialised skills. In this context, do you think it is essential to move away from a permanent cadre of generalists towards an accountable set of specialists? Discuss in the light of recent decision by the government to allow lateral entry. (200 words)

Refer – The Indian Express 

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IAS Parliament 1 year


Drawbacks of Generalisation

·        The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was modelled on the colonial era Indian Civil Service as a generalist service.

·        It was conceived primarily to deliver the core functions of the state such as tax collection and maintenance of law and order.

·        But with the evolution of public administration and economic reforms changing the State's role, there is a higher demand for domain knowledge at policy level.

·        Thus moving away from a permanent cadre of generalists towards an accountable set of specialists is essential.

Draw backs of Specialisation

·        Generalists have a greater breadth of knowledge and understanding. Specialists tend to have a tunnel view.

·        They lack the experience of ground-level governance in India.

·        The “steel frame” of India, as the founders of the republic thought of the all-India services, must remain politically unconnected and able to have a broad experience of public service in all its facets before an officer reaches the decision-making level of joint secretary.

·        To preserve this, positions of crucial administrative power should remain reserved for tenured civil servants.

Lateral Entry system

·        The Centre’s decision to make possible “lateral entry” of “talented and motivated Indian nationals” into the senior levels of the bureaucracy is a much-needed reform.

·        The move could be a significant step towards fulfilling the longstanding need for domain specialists in positions crucial to policy-making and implementation of government schemes.

·        Yet much will depend on how these entrants are chosen, and how transparent the selection processes are.

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