The formation of an independent civil service free of political considerations either in its recruitment or in its discipline and control was the idea of the statesman from Gujarat, Sardar Vallabbhai Patel. In the Constituent Assembly, amidst strong opposition from several Chief Ministers, Patel said, “The Indian Union will go.
You will not have a united India if you do not have a good All-India Service which has independence to speak out its advice. If you do not adopt this course, I will take the services with me and go.” Patel had his way and the services (IAS and IPS) were established to give a fair and just administration to the country and manage it on an even keel.
To safeguard civil servants from vicissitudes of political convulsions, these services were covenanted in the Constitution. Another big leader from Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming the mantle of the Sardar, will have the service which withstood the test of time during the last seven decades, drastically transformed if he is able to have his way.
The Department of Personnel and Training in a letter to Union government ministries has sought to examine if “service allocation/cadre allocation to probationers selected on the basis of the civil services examination be made after Foundation Course, and to examine the feasibility of giving due weightage to the performance in the Foundation Course and making service allocation as well as cadre allocation to all-India services officers based on the combined score obtained in the civil services examination and the foundation course.” The Prime Minister’s Office wanted the suggestion and necessary action on it for implementation from the current year itself.
At present, probationers of all services do the first three months of the course together and then go to academies specific to their service for further training. IAS probationers stay back in Mussoorie to continue their training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.
Their cadre is decided before the end of the first year and they begin to learn the language of their cadre state. The UPSC examination results are signed and sealed and cannot be manipulated. Some of the probationers may do well in the foundation course. That does not mean they should be allotted IAS or the IPS.
The proposed move to allocate service after the foundation course can be manipulated easily by ‘committed’ senior bureaucrats and academecians who can handpick loyal and subservient probationers to the IAS/IPS, the most coveted services.
The move is “an absurd and retrograde step,” said former IAS officer MG Devasahayam. Already Samkalp coaching centres with close connection to the RSS have mushroomed all over India The Modi proposal is the antithesis of Sardar Patel’s idea of having an independent All-India Civil Service.