Skip to main content

Washington study praises Modi initiative to "reform" IAS, seeks GDP-based growth as performance benchmark

Modi addressing IAS probationers in Feb 2015
By Rajiv Shah
A new study by a top Washington DC-based think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has sought to give thumbs up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent review of the negative performance of IAS bureaucrats who have completed 30 years in service, with 13 of them “compulsorily retired” in 2015-end for their “unsatisfactory performance.”
Carried out by two of the think tank’s scholars – Milan Vaishnan, senior associate, and Saksham Khosla, research analyst – the study wants Modi to continue the process, insisting, “This process of dismissing officers who are negatively rated at predictable career benchmarks should be institutionalized so that it does not rest on the preferences of any one government.”
Titled “Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data”, the study, however, quotes critics as saying that the new process has been instituted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), is suggests “centralizing power in the PMO” which “does not bode well for an effective administrative machinery.”
It further quotes critics to say that recently there have been “frequent reshuffles at the joint-secretary level”, and there is a falling number of officers “willing to work at the centre” which is the “evidence of this weakness.”
The study also laments that it calls the “most visible and lamentable aspect of political interference in the civil service has been the phenomenon of punitive transfers”, underlining “Today, in 2016, there is a lingering view that corruption and politicization of the civil services have become more, not less, entrenched.”
It quotes from an expert analysis of career histories of 2,800 IAS officers – combined with data on political changes, proxy measures of bureaucrat ability, and a measure of the perceived importance of different IAS posts – to show “how politicians use frequent reassignments to pressure bureaucrats.”
Pointing towards “two major sources of bureaucratic inefficiency”, the study says, “First, because politicians seek to exercise a degree of control over civil servants, important bureaucratic positions are not necessarily filled by the most qualified officers available.”
It adds, “Second, junior IAS officers systematically underinvest in skill acquisition because loyalty to powerful politicians, as opposed to merit-based advancement, offers an alternative path to career success.”
“The extent of what is often referred to as the Transfer-Posting Raj is extraordinary”, the study notes, adding, “The probability that an IAS officer would be transferred in a given year was 53 percent, and this is increased by 10 percent when a state elects a new chief minister.”
“The average tenure of an IAS officer in any given post was a mere sixteen months, which stands in contrast to recommendations of various expert committees that have argued for fixed tenures as long as five years”, it underscores.
The study insists that one of the bases for considering “an efficient bureaucracy” should be “economic performance”, quoting from an expert analysis, which “calculated a ‘predicted effectiveness’ score using a combination of individual and organizational level characteristics.”
It adds, “This comprehensive measure of predicted effectiveness of senior IAS officers was positively associated with per capita state-level gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial growth. Predicted effectiveness was also positively associated with higher total annual public revenue.”
The study simultaneously says, “Data suggests bureaucrats with strong local ties to their communities often outperform outsiders when it comes to delivering public goods.”
Quoting a 2015 paper by Rikhil Bhavnani and Alexander Lee, the study says, the data of 4,800 serving IAS officers suggest “those IAS officers serving in their home state (known as their state of domicile)—enhanced service delivery between 1991 and 2001.”

Comments

All this is facile data/info. The truth is that these clerks have been the bane of this country ever since the country attained political freedom in 1947. The inheritors of the mantle of the former ICS-selected and trained to serve colonial powers- these criminals in the corridors of power have led to governance becoming a synonym for corruption and... treason! One doesn't have to go further than the implementation of the only citizen-centric and democratic law in the country- the Right to Information Act- to understand the enormity of the crimes of these thugs, scoundrels and traitors! Those interested in my trysts with these criminals through RTI Act may go through my blogs at raviforjustice.blogspot.in

TRENDING

What's behind public sector banks showing huge profits in 2nd quarter of 2022-23?

By Thomas Franco*  The quarter two results of the public sector banks (PSBs) appear to be noteworthy compared to a few years ago. All these banks showed good profits in the financial year 2021-22. Twelve PSBs made a net profit of Rs 25,685 crore in quarter 2 of FY23 and a total of Rs 40,991 crore in the first half of 2023. The combined profit of 12 banks in March 2022 was Rs 66,539 crore which was 110% more than 2021 – Rs. 31,816 crore. The Asset Quality Review of 2015 saw a surge in NPAs of PSBs jumping to Rs 8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 from Rs 2.17 lakh crore in March 2014. This was simply because the norms for NPAs were changed from 180 days to 90 days, and all restructuring of even genuine accounts was done away with. In 2018 NPA of SBI was 5.73% which has come down to 0.8% in Q2 of FY23. The NPA of Canara Bank has come down to 2.19% from 7.48% in Mar 2018. The same trend is seen in all public banks. Now SBI has seen a jump of 74% in its net profit, while Canara Bank’s profit is

Business back to normal? IIM-A survey says, sales expectations have sharply improved

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management’s Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), which polls a panel of business leaders to find out their perception of slack in economy, including their inflation expectations, year-ahead cost expectations and the factors influencing price changes, such as profit and sales levels, etc., has said that the cost perceptions data indicates signs of moderation in price pressures. Carried out for September, the survey says, the cost pressure of the reporting firms has shifted from “very significant increase (over 6%) to moderate increase (3.1% to 6%).” It adds, “The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has declined. Over 21% of the firms in September 2022 round of the survey perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – down from 26% recorded in August 2022.” Claiming to be a unique survey, in that it goes straight to businesses -- the price setters -- rather than to consumers or household

Innovative, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's movies often banked on excessive sentimentalism

By Harsh Thakor*  Late Hrishikesh Mukherjee more popularly known as Hrishi Da, whose birth centenary was celebrated recently, ranks amongst India’s most progressive and innovative film makers, exhibiting mastery in craft of making socially relevant themes. Mukherjee knitted plots together with great visualisation and sensitivity, be it in comedy, pathos, anger or romance, weaving every ingredient in proper proportion.  Melodrama was restrained and scripts dissected with surgical skill. Without over romanticisation, Mukherjee would do complete justice to the role of the character. He did not champion art films, but gave commercial films an artistic touch. Rarely have artists transcended the medium of cinema to project the real essence of their cultural values so or film directors who narrate a simple tale of regular families that have characters of unique shades, characters which are bound to touch human emotions universally. His characters frequently underwent life-changing journeys

GoI's productivity linked incentives to corporates 'without independent analysis'

Counterview Desk  Wondering how prudent is the Government of India's (GoI's) Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, EAS Sarma, former secretary, GoI, in a representation to Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance minister, has said it appears to be nothing more than subsidy to the private sector without any responsibility. Giving a specific example against the backdrop of announcement of 50% subsidy covering the project cost of the Vedanta Group's decision to set up a semiconductor fabrication plant in Gujarat, in collaboration with Foxconn, Sarma says, "The total cost of this project is reported to be Rs 1,54,000 crore. 50% of this works out to Rs 77,000 crore." Stating that this creates the impression that the entire subsidy allocation for the semiconductor manufacturing sector would be appropriated by this company, Sarma says, "The Gujarat government did not lag behind in liberally announcing similar incentives for the Vedanta-Foxconn project. It offered 7

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

There aren't any hard data to prove forced conversion, why move for a Central law?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Srinivasan Jain, the popular TV anchor with NDTV, has done a tremendous service to the Constitution of India and, thereby, to the people of India! In a hard-hitting exposé on his weekly segment ‘Truth vs Hype’, released on 19 November, Jain talks about the so-called ‘Forced Conversions’ with incontrovertible facts and the falsehoods and myths that are built around the issue!   A good part of his expose is an interview with Ashwin Kumar Upadhyay, the petitioner in the current case on ‘forced conversions’ in the Supreme Court. Jain directly takes on Upadhyay and the 65-page petition submitted by the latter to the Supreme Court. Jain emphatically states that not a single example cited by Upadhyay in the petition comes under the ambit of ‘forced conversion’.  In fact, Jain proves that one of the examples is completely fake! Upadhyay, however, continues with his rant without being able to authenticate or substantiate or furnish a single bit of evidence to prove his

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Diminishing returns: Hydro projects contribute less than 10% of India's power generation

Counterview Desk  Pointing out that India’s hydro generation remains around 10% for the last six years, the advocacy group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that power generation from hydropower projects continues to show diminishing returns, as has been the story close to three decades now. Yet, says SANDRP in a note, the Government of India continues to push large hydro by announcing a slew of additional subsidies for hydropower projects, more for political economy reason. In fact, attempts are being made to flog unviable hydropower projects with various kind of manipulations, illegalities and violations, it adds. Text : In last six years, from 2016-17 to 2021-22, India’s large hydropower projects (projects above 25 MW installed capacity) have contributed just around 10% of the total power generation, going as low as 9.68% in 2017-18. In fact, in three of these six years, large hydro contributed less than 10% and recovering only marginally in the rest,

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.