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Mains Answer Writing

15-March-2024

Q1) Civil services need to evolve to keep pace with the needs of socio-economic development. In this context, suggest reforms in civil service for transforming India into a developed country by 2047.

(250 Words/15 marks)

Civil services in India are acclaimed as the steel frame of the country because of the strength provided to administrative structure by the civil servants and their role. Civil services/bureaucracy need to evolve with needs of socio-economic development as:

  1. Policy Formulation: Civil services need to evolve in order to provide adequate policy responses with changing socio-economic paradigm.

E.g., policies for regulation of AI; for inclusion of LGBTQIA+ into social mainstream.

  1. Implementing Laws & Policies: Civil servants require to transform with time to perform their core task of policy implementation.

E.g., In the era of social media, nudge approach/behavioral change is important.

  1. Welfare of vulnerable sections: In era of knowledge economy, as we progress towards the goal of attaining the status of a 5 trillion USD, the civil services need to evolve so that the welfare credentials of the government are not diluted.

E.g., people oriented civil services; right based approach to service delivery.

  1. Crisis management: With climate change, extreme weather events, epidemics, and urban hazards increasing in magnitude and frequency, the crisis management role of civil servants has also changed.

E.g., health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Specialization: With problems, at local, regional, national, and global level, becoming more complex and graver, the civil services need to evolve in order to attain a more specialized role.

E.g., A seasoned economist as Finance secretary can handle impacts of global polycrisis on domestic economy with deftness.

In light of the changing needs and aspirations of the society/citizens, the civils services reforms are necessary and vital to make India a developed country by 2047:

  1. Tech-upgradation: Hota committee recommended e-governance initiatives to make government more accessible, effective and accountable. Such initiatives are vital to balance the economic progress with equitable growth.

E.g., creating robust Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).

  1. Capacity building: The civil servants need to be equipped for emerging and unexpected challenges (like pandemic). A well-trained civil servant can act as a force multiplier in the governance process in the contemporary times.

E.g., Mission Karmayogi for a future-ready civil services.

  1. Domain knowledge would complement the role of general administration in civil services. 8 such domains have been recommended by Surinder Nath Committee Report (2003). Emerging push for privatization, challenges of inflation etc. calls for specialization in economics and associated aspects.
  2. Dealing with bureaucratic inertia: Performance based incentive and penalty for nonperformance need to be induced in bureaucracy. In absence of merit-based incentives, civil services cannot be unshackled from its colonial slumber.
  3. Equal importance to all civil services: Dominance of services like IAS, IPS must be replaced with equal recognition of all civil services for a collaborative approach.
  4. Insulating civil servants from unjust political interference and pressures.

E.g., The quantum of political interference can be seen from the recent tussle between Centre and Delhi government over the control of civil services.

India as a country is moving at a rapid pace to gain its rightful place in the global comity of developed countries. A technology savvy civil services with an orientation and commitment for citizen-oriented governance is the need of the hour.

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