It is after over 70 years of independence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has initiated a serious exercise to transform the governance mechanism in this country. True to his style, he has gone ahead to introduce several pathbreaking and out of box reforms. And true to his eye on the smallest details, he was the first Prime Minister after 42 years who undertook a special trip to Mussoorie and spent two days there studying minutely the curriculum and training programmes, and constantly introspecting on the ways and means to adapt the same according to the requirements of the New India of his vision.
Reform was long overdue in the Indian Civil Services, a crucial pillar of the Indian state, but after more than 73 years of Independence, it was again Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who tried afresh to recast the Steel Frame. After undertaking a series of Governance Reforms since 2014, Shri Modi gave enough hints for a complete overhaul of Civil Services in his address to them at Kevadia, Gujarat last year, where he said, “Every effort made with impartial and selfless spirit is the strong foundation of New India. To fulfil the dream of a New India, 21st century thinking and dreams are indispensable in our bureaucracy – a bureaucracy that is creative and constructive, imaginative and innovative, proactive and polite, professional and progressive, energetic and enabling, efficient and effective, transparent and tech-enabled”.
And to walk the talk, the Government has taken several steps to unlock the potential of civil services, whilst transforming the work culture in government, eliminating department and service-based silos and strengthening government institutions and processes. The Mission Karmayogi – the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) that the cabinet approved on 2nd September, 2020 will emerge as the strongest pillar for all future civil service reforms. It is a holistic initiative to transform capacity building, talent management and human resource organization within the government. This will create a bureaucracy capable to address the challenges of New India as we near the 75th anniversary of our Independence.
It’s not out of place to mention that the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Mussorie had started conducting “Combined” Foundation Course by enlarging the spectrum of this course, which earlier included only IAS and a few other Services. For the first time, the Academy was conducting a “Combined” Foundation Course by including over 20 different Services from the government sector and in future, an attempt will be made to further enlarge the spectrum of Foundation Course by including other Services also. This is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to come out of a state of silos and, instead, develop a common perspective and a common vision for all functionaries, across the services.
The civil service in India is recognized as a preferred vocation that allows the youth of the country to serve and create prosperity for their fellow citizens. They are the first point of contact with the government and have a constitutional role in providing good governance, ensuring quality service delivery and be focal instruments of policy-making. As we embark on a vision of a New India as a nation, an empowered, accountable and future-ready civil service rising up to meet the shared aspirations of our citizens will be the key. If anything, the recent COVID-19 related health, social and economic crises, have re-emphasized the need for the civil service to step forward and meet these challenges. We need a civil service that is inspired by our cultural moorings even as it learns from the best global practices.
A Competent Civil Service to Deliver Public Services Efficiently
Capability building has to be underpinned by a competency framework, what we call the Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRAC). This has been conceived indigenously to suit the unique needs of India and its civil service. Through FRAC, we will map the roles, activities and required competencies for various posts in the government. The work allocation will then shift from a ‘Rules’ to ‘Roles’ paradigm, where only the most suited civil servant will be posted on every position. Every official will understand the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to excel in their current or future positions, and will be guided to build their skill sets as they progress in their career. iGOT Karmayogi, a comprehensive, online capacity building platform that enables online, face-to-face and blended learning on any-time-anywhere-any-device basis, will enable to create, scale and democratise the process of building capacity.
Linkages between FRAC and iGOT Karmayogi will allow artificial intelligence enabled assessment of competency levels and competency gaps, and data driven HR decision making in the government. This will enhance the overall level of public service delivery and will also ensure that the right person is available for the right job at the right time. The citizens will be assured that at each level, i.e., the Centre, State, Municipal or Panchayat level, their services are being handled by competent officials.
Open and Transparent Civil Service, Backed by an Accountable Institutional Structure
An efficient, transparent and accountable bureaucracy has been the clarion call of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and was also emphasized in NITI Aayog’s report on [email protected] With Mission Karmayogi, for the first time in the country, the Civil Service Capacity Building plans will be approved and monitored by an eminent Council led by the Prime Minister himself. Introducing accountability and transparency by design, multiple mechanisms have been devised to ensure real-time and credible evaluation, monitoring and reporting. The Prime Minister’s iGOT Karmayogi Dashboard will enable real time monitoring of the Mission, providing continuous snapshots of each department’s progress and score card. A State of the Civil Service Report will also be prepared and released annually. A Global Public HR Summit is also envisaged as a first-of-its-kind forum on public sector HR, bringing together public and private sector global HR leaders.
At the heart of the institutional structure shall be the Capacity Building Commission, an autonomous, impartial and empowered entity with the responsibility of harmonization, regulation and provision of insight and analysis for the entire Mission. The Commission will be endowed with the highest degree of independence and autonomy and create shared learning resources and faculty for world-class training.
Enabling a Citizen-Driven Approach to Governance
Through Mission Karmayogi, capacity building transformation is possible at a never-before scale. Investing in the full potential of the civil service will catalyse the economic, social and political growth of India whilst positively impacting India’s performance on indicators like Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Living.
To sum up, Mission Karmayogi is, in real sense, a focused endeavour to reincarnate a civil servant into a true “Karmayogi” in the service of nation and, at the same time, to ensure his continuous uninterrupted growth both at professional as well as personal level.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.