THE CRUMBLING STEELFRAME OF INDIA

An analytical study of the philosophy and field dynamics of the policing in practice with live instances from the field penned by a Police Officer from India. The hypocrisy and the sad state of affairs in the profession in India and the UPSC as its appointing agent are effectively brought out by the author. police, policing, UPSC, Union Public Service Commission, Indian, post,independent, job, culture, corruption, criminalisation, politicisation, praveen, kumar,

Monday, September 16, 2002

 
praveen kumar on Indian police,policing and the UPSC and poems on love and human nature.



An analytical study of the philosophy and field dynamics of the policing in practice with live instances from the field penned by a Police Officer from India. The hypocrisy and the sad state of affairs in the profession in India and the UPSC as its appointing agent are effectively brought out by the author.

THE CRUMBLING STEELFRAME OF INDIA


The malleability of the Civil Services has been a cause for concern.
Once considered the backbone of administration, the steel frame
today is a pale shadow of its former self, needing urgent reorganisation



The All India Service were once called the Steel Frame that held India, a country which consisted of diverse political systems, comprising British Indian and many other big and small princely States, together. If India is one today- though in truncated form-the efficiency of its vintage. All India Services is as much responsible for this as the might of the British Empire.

The credit for India having made impressive progress, both in the domestic and international fields and having survived the uncertain, initial years of democracy, under leaders who had no experience of ruling a country of India’s size and diversity, also goes to the original All India Services- to its traditions and efficiency, that continued to survive for some years even after Independence.

The sterling performances of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel in the unification of India and the brilliant achievements of Jawaharalal Nehru in the international field are as much the success stories of their civil servant secretaries and advisers as of the leaders themselves.

The fall in standards of the All India Services, in the values of their officers and in their efficiency and performance, is symbolic of the fall India itself has experienced.

The All India Services experienced a setback after Independence. This deterioration was in depth of ideas, quality of performance and honesty of convictions of their officers. With this deterioration, to All India Service are no longer in a class of their own. Its members can no longer claim a distinguished standing in society as the All India Services have been reduced to merely good careers.

The Civil Services had inherited, as a result of their exclusive place in the higher levels of administration, high pay packets and good perquisites, attractive service conditions and an awe-inspiring tradition. But since this was not accompanied by superior performance, the consequence is that the reins of democratic India are now in the hands of people who are in no way superior in terms of intellectual worth, administrative skill or human qualities. This is a tragedy for a democracy struggling to progress.

The British created to All India Services to handle the administration of the country. They recruited talented people, imparted the best possible training to them and invested them with the trust, powers and opportunities to carry out their responsibilities.

They took care of all their personal needs, provided them with many opportunities for growth and surrounded them with a halo of exclusivity by endowing them with high social status and providing them with generous creature comforts.

Independent India needed brilliant people to handle its complex administrative problems and to implement its developmental schemes. It is tragic that India after independence not only failed to realise the importance of maintaining its Steel Frame and improving upon it, but positively contributed to its collapse in a very short span of time.

Indian leaders wanted the All India Service of independent India to break away from the British model they had originally been based on and they gave expression to this desire by altering the name of the Services. It is ironical that the change in name also initiated a steep fall in the quality of the Civil Services.

At present, the Indian Administrative Services is not even a pale shadow of the old Indian Civil Services. The Indian Foreign Service stands nowhere near the brilliant Indian Political Service and the present Indian Police Service lacks the backbone and professionalism of the good old Indian Police.

A major cause for the disappearance of excellence from the All India Services of independent India was the secret tendency of the new leaders to look at the All India Services as their rivals in running the country, rather than as the backbone of the State. A subtle fear of the All India Services inherited from British India days accompanied by a sense of awe that the services inspired because of the halo worn by its predecessor, stirred the new leaders who made every effort to cut the Civil Services to size and show them their proper place.

SORRY STATE OF AFFAIRS

This occurred together with a fall in the standards of management of the Civil Services because of the failure to recognise the importance of the Civil Services in administering the nation. This fall succeeded in bringing the All India Services of the post Independence era to its present state.

This brought the Services closer to the people of India in a way, while stripping it of all its brilliance, excellence and efficiency to give India a mediocre All India Services to handle its administration. And the result of this is the present state of the country.

The poor state of the Civil Services attracted people of poor calibre. This led to all kinds of evils including corruption, opportunism and lack of moral strength to stand by one’s values and convictions.

This situation led to loss of face and subordinated the All India Services to the ambitions of the political leadership. Its has been a long journey from the bold and awe-inspiring All India Services that existed at the dawn of Independence to the present meek and servile All India Services without any backbone to stand erect and hold its head high.

The reasons for the fall and the mechanism that brought about the change, are not far to seek. Everything that made the All India Services of the British days a powerful adminicle for the administration was just swept away while its new avatar in independent India was brought into existence.

The glory of the old All India Services was built on the 3 basic strengths of faultless recruitment, perfect training and the maintenance of the highest standards of professionalism and character t sustain it throughout. These strengths held the Steel Frame of India together for nearly a century. But independent India just failed to give these factors the importance they deserved while constituting its version of the All Indian Services.

The primacy British India gave to the process of selection of people of high calibre to the All India Services is perhaps the single major factor that made the Civil Services among the best in the world. Promising people with maturity and intellectual superiority were selected young through a vigorous and efficient filtering process of a carefully devised elaborate public civil examination process under the guidance, supervision and control of highly qualified professionals in the field.

Rarely was anything other than exceptional merit considered in the process of selection and human weakness like nepotism, corruption and parochial considerations rarely interfered in the process, as Britain was not prepared to compromise and accept anyone less than the best in the higher levels of administration. These people were, after all, to sit on equal terms with them and help in administering the country! These high standards in the process of selection and recruitment, made the All India Services of British days, a really superior cadre.

REASONS FOR DETERIORATION

The grand structure of British rule was to be mercilessly demolished later by independent India. Unimaginative and messy selection and recruitment procedures, which were poorly conceived and unskilfully executed became the order of the day. Corruption, nepotism, narrow considerations and caste and economic reservations corroded the foundations of the newly-constituted All India Services as time passed.

The reasons for this deterioration in the Civil Services are many. The first is the general lack of passion for quality and excellence in the Indian psyche. The agency in charge of the process of such selections, namely, the Union Public Service Commission, unlike in the British period, is unfortunately increasingly being manned by people unequal to the task either in terms of their professionalism, efficiency and passion for brilliance or in their basic character itself.

As the selection of members of the UPSC became politicised, mediocre people came to fill the slots and in the process, selections to the All India Services suffered. Since members owed their memberships or chairmanship to their political leaders, they could not avoid the obligatory quid pro quo. This continues to be the state of affairs today.

The Indian Civil Service, which once produced giants like K.P.S. Menon, now produces in its new avatar of the IAS and Allied Services only pigmies without voice or strength of conviction. In this matter, they are like those in the crippled institution of the union Public Service Commission who select them. The Steel Frame of the IAS has nor become a gilded plastic frame with its steel conscience crumbling into a plastic conscience in the present uncertain political atmosphere. A Steel Frame Civil Service would never have permitted such a degeneration.

The degeneration is manifeast at all ranks in all services, whether it is the administrative service, the foreign service, the police service, the forest service, the central services or the specialised services, whether at the sub-divisional or provincial level or at the highest levels of Central Government. The degeneration is uniform everywhere.

Whether it be in creative genius, intellectual heights, strength of character, moral values, width of human interests or noble qualities, the Civil Service of the post-Independence era are third rate. It does not have its own voice or any originality. Its members either as Chief Secretaries of State Governments or as Secretaries of various ministries of departments, are at best paper-pushers and mindless approvers of reports incompetently prepared by subordinates down the line.

Imagine people of such calibre presiding over the entire Civil Services. Thus develops a vicious circle that promotes the degeneration of the Civil Services.

Sturdy and sterling All Indian Services are indispensable for the survival of democratic and united India. Whether it is a cadre of generalists as the Indian Administrative Service is, or cadres of specialists in the fields of judiciary, health care, engineering, economics, foreign service, police etc the existence of All Indian Services functions as the basis of governance of India and adds to the emotional bonds binding the country together.

Also, as a pool of the cream of the people, it is supposed to bring distinguished and brilliant people to the job of administration of the country and thereby ensure good government to the country.

THE REMEDY

Any dilution of the high standards of these services is certain to throw the country to the wolves. British India knew this and perhaps, independent India also knows it. But it does nothing to arrest the dangerous fall in the standards of its All India Services.

India is preoccupied with myriad issues relating to economic and social development and perhaps the rapid deterioration of its All India Services does not appear to be important in comparison with these burning issues. But such a feeling is wrong. All India Services are a precondition for the survival of India. India must realise this fact and act fast.

This brings us to the quintessential question as to how the Civil Services can be brought back to their original standards and glory. How can we get back the original ideas, quality and performances and honesty of convictions that existed earlier?

The first and foremost task in this regard is pruning the Civil Services to a small brains trust of brilliance and commitment which will steer the country in the right direction by giving competent advice on statecraft and actually running the administration to political leaders.

A TINY SELECT GROUP:

Merciless pruning of the extant services to create this tiny, efficient and highly responsible core is a priority task. Only brilliance and the highest potential should be the criteria for membership in this nerve-centre.

This brains trust must be kept beyond the purview of extraneous constraints like reservation of any kind and even age restrictions. The guiding principle here is bringing together the best talents without restraints of any kind, for ensuring best results. The services should not be treated as an employment opportunity for the elite, but as the foundation of the Government.

INTELLECTUAL CALIBRE:
The training programmes for the services have to be made relevant today. Matter taught has to be updated every year by experts and made changing evento the brightest among the new recruits, unlike present training programmes which are intellectually impoverished, irrelevant to the times and which in no way help ensuring the right attitudes at the higher levels.

Another need is to make the passing of a promotional test, of a very standard, held by the UPSC or a similar Central agency, mandatory for promotion at every level. Only such tough measures will keep the Civil Services fit and productive as is required for the sound health of the administration of the country.

TONING UP THE UPSC:
Overhauling the present mediocre Union Public Service Commission to create an efficient and responsible set-up capable of handling the enormous responsibilities under Article 320 of the Indian Constitution, is essential in order to arrest the degeneration that has set in, in the set-up. This has led to blunders in identifying talent and in managing the Civil Services.

CREDIBILITY OF THE UPSC:
In a recent case, 3 promising officers from the State cadre of a southern State of India, were denied selection by the UPSC to an All India Service for no obvious reason for 10 years from 1990, while their juniors were elevated. The acute frustration and demoralisation caused by this led to the break-up of the family of one of the promising trio.

Violent behaviour by him repeatedly in public led to very embarrassing public humiliations, and ultimately involvement in a murder case led to his conviction. This is how a reckless and irresponsible UPSC ruined a promising life for no reason at all.

However, another of the trio was an officer of enormous inner strength as well as a poet and an intellectual of the highest calibre. He weathered the frustration of the 9 years to rise to a very high level in individual achievement and public esteem to the shame of the irresponsible UPSC.

The incident created much resentment in the State against the recklessness of the UPSC and considerably lowered its credibility. Such transgressions are common these days with the present state of affairs in the UPSC and the overhauling of the organisation should be aimed at preventing such irresponsible actions that can have such tragic consequences.

REORGANISATION OF THE UPSC:
The way to prevent such unprofessionalism on the part of the UPSC lies in transforming it to a highly efficient outfit managed by people of unimpeachable character and efficiency. This objective can be achieved by suitable amendment to Articles 316 and 317 of the Indian Constitution to ensure that only suitable people become Members and Chairman of the organisation and remain in the saddle only as long as they retain their moral and professional calibre.

This can be made possible by constituting a committee comprising the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chief Commissioner of the Central Vigilance Commission and the Speaker of Parliament as members. The Vice-President of India should be the Chairman and clear the names for appointment as Members and as the Chairman of the UPSC for a fixed tenure. These people should also be empowered to initiate actions for their removal by an appropriate procedure in fit cases.

Appropriate changes to this effect in Articles 316 and 317 of the Indian Constitution are likely to plug the existing loopholes that allow too much political interferences in the process of the selection of Members and Chairman of the UPSC and thereby in its fair functioning.






MY LIFE
















Archives

09/15/2002 - 09/22/2002  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?