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The mid-career training will be available to all government staff instead of the top officers alone, and their profile and assessment will be continuous. Photo: Mint
The mid-career training will be available to all government staff instead of the top officers alone, and their profile and assessment will be continuous. Photo: Mint

Govt okays civil services reform

The initiative that targets 4.6 million central government employees, will be based in three pillars of 'governance, performance and accountability'

New Delhi: Hitting a reset on civil services, the union cabinet Wednesday approved a mega human resource reform for all the government employees and decided to put in place a four tier mechanism including a PM HR Council to review performance, productivity and capacity of the bureaucracy.

The initiative that targets 4.6 million central government employees, will be based in three pillars of “governance, performance and accountability". It promises a shift from rules to roles, silos to coordination, inter disciplinary movements and a continuous capacity building exercise among other things

“The scale is so huge that it could probably emerge as the largest civil service reform in the world in terms of spread and in terms of the depth. And what is the ultimate purpose of all this -- it is basically to equip the civil servant, with domain and functional competencies, which would be goal driven, and also build behavioral competencies," C. Chandramouli, secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said after the cabinet meeting.

Giving an alliterative explanation of the initiative named “Mission Karmayogi", the secretary said: “Civil servant should be imaginative and innovative, proactive and polite, professional and progressive, energetic and enabling, transparent and tech-enabled, constructive and & creative in order to meet the challenges of the society."

DoPT minister Jitendra Singh said I from rule to role, this move will bring a huge change in the system and “reincarnate a government servant into an ideal 'Karmayogi' to serve the nation, by enabling him to be creative, constructive, proactive and technically empowered".

The move is consistent with NDA’s desire to reform the civil services through different initiatives -- be it lateral entry in joint secretary level positions, provision of non IAS officers in policy making roles, training of government servants through a program called ‘arambh’, and short term posting of young IAS officers at different central departments on a probation before their posting in districts.

The government said after the hiring reform it brought in last month through a nodal recruiting agency, this exercise will be for post recruitment reform across cadres and positions – from a constable to the director general of police, from an assistance section officer to the secretaries’ level.

As part of the exercise, there will be a PM HR Council headed by the PM and comprising some state chief ministers, few cabinet ministers and national and international experts. Then there will be a Capacity Building Commission to harmonies and training institutions, then there will be a Cabinet secretary Coordination Unit to monitor progress, and execution of plans. This will be followed by a special purpose vehicle (SPV), a company, which will manage all the digital resources, and also create a marketplace for content for effective training of government employees.

Other than the rue to role shift focus, a separate cabinet statement said the ocre ideas behind the program includes aligning work allocation of civil servants by matching their competencies to the requirements of the post, emphasis 'on-site learning' to complement the ‘off-site’ learning, to create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure and to make available to all civil servants, an opportunity to continuously build and strengthen their behavioral, functional and domain competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths.

The mid-career training will now on will be available to all government staff instead of the top officers alone, and their profile and assessment will be continuous. If there is need for some special appointment, then authorities can do so by looking at the profile of the officers by help of technology instead of depending on perceptions.

“There are diverse and fragmented training landscape. Now this has led to an evaluation of departmental level thinking, and has prevented shared understanding of India's development aspirations," Chandramouli said adding that the capacity building exercise will offer “common understanding of India's aspirations, development goals, national priorities etc. so there is a common approach to problems that face our country"

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