Sri M. Venkaiah Naidu noted with concern things aren’t going well in the civil service and called for reforms to enable meritocracy in bureaucracy so as to meet the new challenges and complexities of the changing time. Speaking to Trainee Officers at the Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy Human Resource Development Institute, Hyderabad on Civil Services Day, he discussed a range of issues.

Shri Naidu said that while the Indian Civil Service (ICS) was set up by the British to perpetuate the exploitative colonial rule unmindful of the concerns of the people, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was envisaged to work for and with the people in pursuit of the welfare and development agenda of free India, guided by the broad Constitutional objectives of ensuring Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and ensuring the dignity of living of people based on certain rights and entitlements. He noted with concern that the civil services are perceived to be falling short in actualizing this vision.

In discussing India’s development journey since independence, Shri Naidu said there is still work to be done on poverty, illiteracy, gender, and social discrimination, among other things. He said the Civil Services Day offers an opportunity to introspect and understand the opportunities and challenges of the services.

Shri Naidu noted: “The civil services have played an important role in this journey of ours (since Independence) but all is not well with the services, and they are in need of revamp, reawakening and reorientation to meet the challenges of the time”.

Vice President calls for moral resurgence of civil services

Shri Naidu called for addressing the causes so that effective decision making is enabled, and service delivery is substantially improved. He elaborated on the need for incentivizing and rewarding performers and promoting meritocracy in civil services instead of mediocrity.

Shri Naidu highlighted the flawed system of incentives and penalties and performance evaluation in which the performers and shirkers are not properly differentiated. He stressed that “Continuation of the civil servants should be based on regular assessment of their contribution to formulation and execution of policies and programmes through new ideas, initiatives and practices”.

The Vice President voiced concern over the perceived rising nexus between the political executive and civil servants and its consequences for the people and the country. He urged the civil servants to be frank and honest and stand for what is right and to speak truth to the political executive. He further said that politicians being wise and receptive to good suggestions would not like the risk of being punished for any bad decision and wrongdoing and hence, the officials should present the truth and various scenarios in a convincing manner.

Shri Naidu said: “When you (civil servants) are instructed to present a particular issue in a particular manner that suits the political executive, all you need is to speak for the right and if required, to do so in writing. If you are overruled, the concerned authority would be taken to task. Political and permanent executive should work in tandem and in the right manner. Political executive should definitely change”.

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