We can improve the quality of public administration by encouraging bright youngsters to join civil services, who can make the public administrative apparatus responsive and sensitive to people’s needs, says G.Ramachandran.
There are good opportunities for the youth in civil services both at the centre and the states. Bureaucracy- a professional body of civil servants- is the permanent executive of the government. It provides continuity and stability to public administration. The political executive, made of the elected representatives of the people, is temporary, keeps changing periodically depending on the electoral fortunes.
How efficient is the public administration depends on competence and integrity of the millions of the civil servants who work for the government. Public administration is government in action. The Principal Secretary to a ministry, an IAS officer, is the administrative head of the ministry and the minister, the political head, is his immediate boss. The ministry is run by the Principal Secretary with assistance of thousands of civil servants working under his administrative control. The minister is not an expert. He depends for guidance on the senior civil servants. It is they who provide necessary inputs required for policy formulation and decision making.
The civil servants are the public servants and responsible for implementation of policies and programmes. What we need do to improve the quality of public administration is to encourage young people of impeccable integrity to join civil services. It is these bright youngsters who can make the public administrative apparatus responsive and sensitive to people’s needs and aspirations.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts competitive exams every year for recruiting people into central civil services. The Civil Services Examination is common for all India services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS and other Group A and Group B Central Services. It has three parts. The first part called the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) has two objective type papers with special emphasis on candidates “aptitude for civil services” and “ethical and moral dimension of decision making.” The candidates who clear the CSAT are eligible to take the main Civil Services Examination. And those who pass the main examination are called for interview. Any graduate from any faculty can take the Civil Services Examination. The age limit is 21-30 years for general candidates and 21-33 for OBC, SC and ST candidates. A general candidate can attempt four times, while there is no restriction on number of attempts for others.
At the state level, the State Public Service Commission conducts civil services examinations for recruiting Deputy District Collectors, CEOs Zillah Parishads, Tahisildhars, BDOs, Deputy Registrars of Cooperatives, Sales Tax Officers etc.
The careers in the civil services are very challenging. They provide opportunity to serve the people in various capacities throughout the career stretching over three decades, having security of service, attractive pay scales and perks and ample scope for promotions .The youngsters who are good in GK and current affairs having effective communication skills in English, Hindi and other regional languages can crack these prestigious examinations.
The author is Professor of Political Science and retired Principal, Kandivali Education Society’s College, Mumbai