Hoping to transform the steel frame of the Indian administrative set up, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) is set to recommend recruitment of potential civil servants right after the 10+2 as against the present system in which graduation is the minimum education qualification for taking the civil services examination.
There is also a proposal to institute a Senior Executive Service (SES) for Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary level officers who would be “implementing authorities” so far as government schemes are concerned. Yet another proposal is to develop “Domain Expertise”, that is, a system in which a civil servant with about 13-14 years of service is to be promoted and used only in those areas in which he has specialised during this period of service.
These and many other proposals are learnt to be in the final stages of discussion by the ARC headed by M Veerappa Moily. The ARC report on civil services reforms is likely to be submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh within the next four to six weeks, according to sources.
Earlier, the P C Hota Committee on Civil Services Reforms, set up by the NDA government, had also recommended a slew of steps, including lowering the minimum and maximum age of those appearing for civil services examinations, but there was no follow up on the report.
What imparts significance to the Second ARC proposal is the fact that Manmohan Singh himself has been keen to reform the civil services. He, in fact, set up a committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary to see the feasibility of the ARC report on terror, said official sources.
The idea behind the recruitment of 10+2 students as civil servants is to have “fresh, imaginative, clean slates” who will have the “drive” to transform society, according to an ARC member. As per the proposal under discussion, there will be a five-year course for those selected through an all-India examination for civil services; the syllabus will consist of Constitution, public administration, law, etc. This will be followed by a two-year course during which, depending on their inclination and capability, candidates will be allotted different services like the IAS, IPS and the rest.
About 50,000 candidates from among 10+2 students will be shortlisted for Civil Services training through the all-India examination.
The proposal is to establish separate universities or some other institutions to train these prospective civil servants. “Even if all of them do not show the potential to become a civil servant after their admission to the course, the syllabus will be such that they will land good jobs in different sectors after doing the entire or a certain part of the course,” said a source associated with the ARC.
As for graduates and above or those with engineering, management and medical degrees, the proposal is to offer them a “Bridge Course” — after being selected through an examination — to prepare them for civil services.
As for Senior Executive Service (SES) officers, their jobs would be to ensure the implementation of government schemes.
While the Secretary of a particular department under the guidance of the concerned Minister would be involved in policy making and those below a Joint Secretary engaged in“Secretariat works”, the SES officers would be devoted entirely to the implementation part, said sources.
“We would like the states also to follow this model of recruitment of civil servants, but these details can be worked out later,” said an ARC member.
The Second ARC set up in August 2005 has so far submitted eight reports —
Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance,
Unlocking Human Capital: Entitlements and Governance,
Crisis Management,
Ethics in Governance,
Public Order,
Local Governance,
Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution,