Civil services in India – Study Material

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Civil services in India – Study Material

  • Indian Civil Service may also refer to Imperial Civil Service, the Indian civil services during the British Raj.
  • The Civil Services refer to the civil services, the permanent executive branch of the Republic of India. The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country.
  • In the parliamentary democracy of India, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the elected representatives of the people which are the ministers. But a handful of ministers cannot be expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration. Thus the ministers lay down the policy and it is for the civil servants to carry out this policy.
  • The executive decisions are implemented by the Indian civil servants. The members of civil service serve at the pleasure of the President of India and Article 311 of the constitution protects them from politically motivated or vindictive action. Civil servants are employees of the Government of India or of the states; however, not all employees of the Government are civil servants. Civil servants in a personal capacity are paid from the Civil List. Senior civil servants may be called to account by Parliament.
  • As of year 2010, there were total 6.4 million government employees in India, and less than 50,000 civil servants to administer them. The civil service system in India is rank-based and does not follow the tenets of the position-based civil services.
  • In 2015, the Government of India approved the formation of Indian Skill Development Service. Further, in 2016, the Government of India approved the formation of Indian Enterprise Development Service.

History :

  • Warren Hastings laid the foundation of civil service and Charles Cornwallis reformed, modernised and rationalised it. Hence, Charles Cornwallis is known as the ‘Father of Civil Service in India’. He introduced Covenanted Civil Services (Higher Civil Services) and Uncovenanted Civil Services (Lower Civil Services).
  • The present civil services of India is mainly based on the pattern of the former Indian Civil Service of British India. The civil services were divided into two categories – covenanted and uncovenanted. The covenanted civil service consisted of only Europeans (i.e., English personnel) occupying the higher posts in the government. The uncovenanted civil service was solely introduced to facilitate the entry of Indians at the lower rung of the administration.

The All India and Central Services (Group A) were designated as Central Superior Services as early as 1924. From 1924 to 1934, Administration in India consisted of 10 All India Services and 5 central departments, all under the control of Secretary of State for India, and 3 central departments under joint Provincial and Imperial Control.

Modern  Era :

  • The present modern civil service was formed after the partition of India in 1947. It was Sardar Patel’s vision that the Civil Service should strengthen cohesion and national unity. The values of integrity, impartiality and merit remain the guiding principles of Indian civil services.
  • By the early 21st century, Indian civil servants have been colloquially called “babus”, while Indian bureaucracy is called “babudom”, as in the “rule of babus”, especially in Indian media.

Constitutional Provision for All – India Services :

The constitution under Article 312 provides for All India Civil Services branches to be set up by giving the power to the Rajya Sabha (upper house of the Parliament of India) to resolve by a two-thirds majority to establish new all-India services. The Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service are set up under this constitutional provision.

Power, Purpose and Responsibilities :

  • The responsibility of the civil services is to run the administration of India. The country is managed through a number of Central Government agencies in accordance with the policy directions given by the ministries.
  • The members of the civil services are represented as administrators in the central government and state government; emissaries in the foreign missions/embassies; as tax collectors and revenue commissioners; as civil service commissioned police officers; as permanent representative(s) and employees in the United Nations and its agencies and as Chairman, Managing Director, full-time functional Director/Member of the Board of Management of various Public Sector Undertakings/ Enterprises, Corporations, Banks and financial institutions. Civil servants are employed to various agencies of India and can also be appointed as advisors or special duty officers or private secretaries to ministers of the Union and the State Government.

Governance :

  • The highest ranking civil servant is the Cabinet Secretary. He is ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board; the chief of the Indian Administrative Service and head of all civil services under the rules of business of the Government of India. He also holds the 11th position in the Order of Precedence of India.
  • The position holder is accountable for ensuring that the Civil Service is equipped with the skills and capability to meet the everyday challenges it faces and that civil servants work in a fair and decent environment.

Values and Codes :

Values :

A member of the civil service in discharge of his/her functions is to be guided by maintaining absolute integrity, allegiance to the constitution and the law of the nation, patriotism, national pride, devotion to duty, honesty, impartiality and transparency.

Codes :

The Government of India promotes values and a certain standard of ethics of requiring and facilitating every civil servant

  • To discharge official duty with responsibility, honesty, accountability and without discrimination.
  • To ensure effective management, leadership development and personal growth.
  • To avoid misuse of official position or information.
  • To serve as instruments of good governance and foster social economic development.

Construction :

The Higher Civil Services of India can be classified into two types – the All India Services and the Central Civil Services (Group A). The recruits are university graduates (or above) selected through a rigorous system of examinations: Civil Services Examination, Engineering Services Examination, Combined Geo-Scientist and Geologist Examination, I.E.S./I.S.S. Examination, Combined Medical Services Examination, Central Armed Police Forces of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for Group A posts.

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