From withdrawal of government from sectors that are best operated by the private sector, to encouraging public to report cases of corruption by rewarding them, a paper at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has made several recommendations to improve problems in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). The paper analyses the relationship between the administrative services and crony capitalism and recommends several steps to arrest the same.
Titled 'Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Crony Capitalism', the review paper has been authored by Vishal Gupta of IIM-A. The paper is of the view that while the IAS was formed to serve the people of the county. However, over time it has become increasingly dysfunctional and divorced from public interest. It has problems both internal and external that are plaguing it.
"Perceptions of honesty and civil behavior have undergone a major decline during the years," the paper states. A review of how the Indian Administrative Service exists today with its problems, issues and challenges it faces, the paper presents some recommendations that may be useful in improving the state of Indian administrative services, the top-rated civil services of the country.
One of its recommendations is to firstly acknowledge governance breakdown. However, to salvage this breakdown, the paper suggests reforms through classes that make up the new India. "For reforms in governance, the classes that are making the new India - the entrepreneurs and the middle-class professionals - have to weld themselves into a team of advocates. These classes must step outside their specialisations and participate in the democratic process all the more. They must devote at least a part of their creativity, energy and financial muscle to the public sphere," it suggests.
While this happens, the paper calls for withdrawal of government from sectors that are best operated by the private sector. However, the government should retain its responsibility as a prudent regulator. "The government should refocus public spending towards achieving developmental goals; and undertake focused communication to address concerns arising from the dramatic changes involved."
Further, the Government will need to draft a clear citizen charter for routine services citizens need on a regular basis like the provision of industrial approvals, birth certificates, or driving licences. Citizens' rights, departmental responsibilities, and the quality and timeframe for providing the service will need to be clearly specified. On the other hand, government employees need to be trained to provide quality service.
Its other recommendations include encouraging civil vigilance, introduction of effective reward and appraisal systems, passing on the power of transfers and postings to department heads instead of the government, empowering CVC, and increasing ease of review through adoption of e-governance.
Meanwhile, the paper also recommends increasing accountability of civil servants through annual assessment by an independent team comprising professionals such as journalists, retired judges, academicians, activists, NGOs, and even retired government servants.