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Role of Civil Service in Democracy

The Conflict Between Civil Servant and Minister Relationship

In the Indian context, the relationship between civil servants and ministers is critical for the smooth functioning of the government machinery. However, there are times when conflicts may arise due to various reasons.


Here are some pointers that highlight potential sources of conflict between civil servants and ministers:

  1. Difference in opinion: Civil servants and ministers may have different opinions or perspectives on policy matters, which can lead to disagreements and conflicts. While civil servants are experts in their field and offer technical advice, ministers are political representatives who may have their own political agenda.
  2. Political pressure: Ministers may exert pressure on civil servants to act in a certain way or make decisions that align with their political goals. This could lead to a conflict of interest and strained relations between the two parties.
  3. Bureaucratic resistance: Bureaucrats may resist the directives of ministers if they feel the proposed policy or action is not in the best interest of the nation, causing friction between the two.
  4. Decision-making authority: Disputes may arise when ministers feel that bureaucrats are overstepping their boundaries or encroaching on the minister’s authority in decision-making.
  5. Transparency and accountability: Civil servants are expected to maintain transparency and be accountable for their actions. However, they may sometimes face pressure from ministers to withhold information or manipulate facts to serve political interests.
  6. Seniority and hierarchy: The Indian bureaucracy functions on a strict hierarchical system, which can sometimes lead to conflicts between bureaucrats and ministers who may not fully understand or respect this hierarchy.
  7. Political interference: Frequent political interference in administrative matters may cause resentment among civil servants, leading to conflicts with ministers.
  8. Performance appraisal: Ministers may sometimes be dissatisfied with the performance of civil servants, leading to conflicts and strained relations between the two parties.
  9. Corruption: Instances of corruption involving either civil servants or ministers can lead to conflicts, as each party may blame the other for the problem.
  10. Frequent transfers: Civil servants may face frequent transfers due to political reasons, leading to a sense of insecurity and frustration, which can further strain relations with ministers.


To minimize conflicts and ensure a harmonious working relationship between civil servants and ministers, it is important to establish clear lines of communication, promote transparency and accountability, and encourage mutual respect for each other’s roles and responsibilities.


Here are some examples illustrating conflicts between civil servants and ministers in various contexts:

  1. The Ashok Khemka case (India): Ashok Khemka, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, has been transferred over 50 times during his career, often due to his actions against corruption and illegal land deals. One such instance was when he canceled a land deal involving Robert Vadra, son-in-law of then Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, and the real estate giant DLF, leading to tensions with the state government and his subsequent transfer.
  2. The H.D. Deve Gowda case (India): In 1996, when H.D. Deve Gowda was the Prime Minister of India, he faced resistance from the bureaucracy over his proposal to shift the capital of India from New Delhi to Bengaluru. Civil servants argued that the move would not be in the best interest of the country, leading to disagreements between bureaucrats and the political leadership.
  3. The Shivraj Singh Chouhan case (India): In 2012, during Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tenure as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, several IAS officers reportedly faced harassment and threats for questioning the government’s decisions or exposing corruption. This led to strained relations between civil servants and the ruling party.
  4. The Yes Minister TV series (United Kingdom): While fictional, the British television series “Yes Minister” and its sequel, “Yes, Prime Minister,” provide numerous examples of conflicts between civil servants and ministers. The show often depicts the protagonist, a senior civil servant named Sir Humphrey Appleby, employing various tactics to manipulate or resist the minister’s decisions, highlighting the tensions that can exist between bureaucrats and politicians.
  5. The Trump Administration (United States): During the Trump Administration, there were several instances of conflicts between civil servants and political appointees. For example, when President Trump downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious disease expert and civil servant, publicly disagreed with the President’s statements, leading to tensions between the two.



Importance of Civil Services in Modern Day Democracy

  1. Policy formulation and implementation: Civil servants are responsible for providing policy advice to the government and ensuring effective implementation of policies and programs. They play a vital role in transforming political vision into reality. Example: The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, a financial inclusion program, was successfully implemented by civil servants, resulting in millions of new bank accounts for underprivileged citizens.
  2. Maintaining law and order: Civil servants, particularly those in the Indian Police Service (IPS), are responsible for maintaining law and order and ensuring the safety and security of citizens. Example: The Delhi Police, headed by IPS officers, played a critical role in maintaining law and order during the 2020 Delhi riots.
  3. Disaster management: Civil servants coordinate disaster relief and management efforts, ensuring timely and efficient response to natural disasters and other emergencies. Example: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), led by civil servants, played a crucial role in rescue and relief operations during the 2018 Kerala floods.
  4. Social welfare and development: Civil servants work to ensure that the benefits of government schemes reach the intended beneficiaries, contributing to the overall social and economic development of the country. Example: The implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) by civil servants has provided millions of rural households with employment opportunities.
  5. Public service delivery: Civil servants are responsible for delivering essential public services like healthcare, education, and public transportation, ensuring that these services are accessible and affordable for all citizens. Example: Civil servants in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) played a crucial role in the implementation of the National Health Mission, which aimed to improve healthcare infrastructure and services across the country.
  6. Ensuring accountability and transparency: Civil servants are expected to maintain transparency in government operations and ensure the proper utilization of public resources, thereby holding the government accountable to the public. Example: The implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act by civil servants has empowered citizens to access government information and hold public officials accountable.
  7. Maintaining political neutrality: Civil servants are expected to serve the government of the day, irrespective of their personal political beliefs, ensuring the continuity and stability of government functions. Example: During the transition between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) governments in 2014, civil servants ensured a smooth transfer of power and continued the functioning of the government machinery.
  8. International representation: Civil servants, particularly those in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), represent India’s interests in international forums, negotiations, and diplomacy. Example: IFS officers played a crucial role in negotiating the Paris Agreement on climate change, ensuring that India’s interests and concerns were adequately addressed.
  9. Industrial development: Civil servants play a key role in formulating and implementing industrial policies, promoting ease of doing business, and facilitating the growth of industries across the country. Example: The “Make in India” initiative, aimed at transforming India into a global manufacturing hub, was spearheaded by civil servants who devised strategies to attract foreign investment and boost domestic manufacturing.
  10. Economic planning: Civil servants contribute to economic planning by formulating and implementing various policies and programs aimed at fostering economic growth and development. Example: The Five-Year Plans, which were the cornerstone of India’s planned economic development, were designed and implemented by civil servants, including economists and administrators.
  11. Addressing population problems: Civil servants are involved in devising and implementing policies and programs to tackle population-related issues such as overpopulation, family planning, and resource allocation. Example: The National Population Policy of 2000, aimed at achieving a stable population by 2045, was developed and implemented by civil servants across various government departments.
  12. Managing urbanization and metro city issues: Civil servants play a vital role in addressing the challenges of urbanization, including housing, transportation, infrastructure development, and environmental concerns in metro cities. Example: The Smart Cities Mission, which aims to develop sustainable and inclusive urban centers across India, is being implemented by civil servants in collaboration with state governments, urban local bodies, and private partners.
  13. Tackling environmental issues: Civil servants contribute to environmental conservation and sustainable development by formulating and enforcing regulations, as well as implementing programs to address issues such as pollution, deforestation, and climate change. Example: The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which aims to reduce air pollution in Indian cities, is being implemented by civil servants in coordination with state governments and other stakeholders.
  14. Infrastructure development: Civil servants play a crucial role in planning, implementing, and monitoring infrastructure projects such as highways, ports, railways, and airports, which are essential for the country’s economic growth. Example: The ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana, a highway development program, is being implemented by civil servants in collaboration with various government agencies and private partners.


Evolution of civil service in India

  1. Civil Services in Ancient India:
  • Origin: Civil service system traces back to the Mauryan period in ancient India.
  • Kautilya’s Arthashastra: Outlines principles of selection, promotion, performance evaluation, and code of conduct for civil servants.
  • Example: The Mauryan Empire had a highly organized administrative system, with various departments and officers responsible for different functions.
  1. Civil Services in Medieval India:
  • Mughal civil service system: Focused on land revenue management, government factories administration, and the establishment of the patrimonial state.
  • Akbar’s contribution: Founder of the Mughal civil service, initiated land reforms in 1457 AD, and established the land revenue system.
  • Welfare and regulatory orientation: Mughal civil service aimed at ensuring the well-being of citizens and regulating society.
  • Example: Akbar’s administrative system, known as the Mansabdari system, categorized civil servants into different ranks and assigned them various responsibilities related to land administration and revenue collection.

  1. Civil Services in Colonial Era:
  • East India Company: Civil service initially focused on commercial functions and law and order, detached from the common people.
  • District Collector: Created in 1771 by Lord Warren Hastings.
  • Lord Cornwallis: Founding father of modern Indian Civil Services; established police, judicial, and revenue services, and formulated code of conduct and promotion procedures. Indians were barred from high posts.
  • Fort William College: Founded in 1800 by Lord Wellesley for civil service training, replaced by Hailey Bury College in London in 1806.
  • 1813 Charter Act: Established the civil service office with an annual salary of 500 pounds.
  • Lord William Bentinck: Restored and revived magisterial powers of the district collector.
  • Charter Act of 1853: Ended companies’ patronage and introduced open competition for recruitment.
  • Indian Civil Service (ICS): Established in 1911, initially restricted to British recruits; Indians allowed to take the examination in 1921 due to pressure from the Indian National Congress.
  • 1935 Interim Rule: Increased the number of Indian subjects in the civil service after the exodus of British subjects.
  • Indian Civil Service and Central Civil Services: The statutory civil service was phased out, leaving the Indian Civil Service and Central Civil Services as the two main civil services during the colonial era.
  1. Civil Services in Independent India:
  • New challenges: Civil servants were no longer expected to perform police state roles but focus on the welfare of Indian citizens.
  • Key tasks: Included refugee settlement, safeguarding national borders, and promoting internal peace.
  • Homogenous cadres: Civil service posts grouped into distinct cadres under a common Service based on specific functions.
  • Classification of services:
    1. Central Civil Services, All India Services, and State Civil Services.
    2. Group A, B, and C categories based on roles and responsibilities.
    3. Technical and non-technical services (e.g., Indian Administrative Service as non-technical, Indian Economic Service as technical).
  • Central Services: Function under the Union Government, administering subjects assigned to the Union under the Constitution.
  • All India Services: Common to the Union and the States.
  • State Services: Function only under the State Governments.

In independent India, civil services have evolved to address new challenges and focus on the welfare of citizens, with distinct classifications based on functions, roles, and responsibilities, as well as technical and non-technical services.


Classification of Services:

  • Indian Administrative Service: Established under Article 312(2) in Part XIV of the Constitution of India and the All-India Services Act, 1951.
  • Constitution does not provide detailed classifications; however, services are categorized as follows:
    1. All India Services (AIS)
    2. State Services
    3. Local and Municipal Services
  • Central Services: Grouped into four categories: Group A (e.g., Indian Foreign Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Statistical Service), Group B (e.g., Central Secretariat Service, Geographical Survey of India, Zoological Survey of India), Group C, and Group D.
  • Central Secretariat Service and Indian Revenue Service (IT and C&CE) have the highest personnel strength among all civil services in India.

Latest Developments:

  • Indian Skill Development Service: Established in 2015 by the Government of India.
  • Indian Enterprise Development Service: Established in 2016 by the Government of India.
  • Indian Railways Management Service: Created in 2019 after the Cabinet of India approved merging all civil services under Indian Railways.
  • Lateral entry: Professionals from various fields are now being recruited directly into Civil Services.


  • The Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) was established by merging eight different railway services to bring more efficiency, accountability, and uniformity to the Indian Railways’ management and operations.

Role of Civil Services in the Post-Liberalization era in India:

  • Shift from “Licence Raj”: Liberalization aimed to remove unnecessary controls, restrictions, and bureaucratic hurdles, enabling industrial and business enterprises to work smoothly and contribute to economic and social development.
  • Facilitator, coordinator, and catalyzer of change: Civil services play a crucial role in the liberalized economy by:
    1. Integrating India with the global economy and enabling aggressive participation.
    2. Transitioning from an over-extended, inefficient public sector to a focused one, addressing core functions like defense, health, and education.
    3. Ensuring well-functioning markets and allowing a more efficient private sector to drive growth.
    4. Encouraging entrepreneurship and providing ease of doing business and easy exit (e.g., bankruptcy laws for risk-taking and new ventures).
  • Local governments: 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments aimed to enable rural and urban local governments to become self-governing institutions, but progress remains slow. Fundamental changes are required at the district level.
  • Collaboration with civil society organizations and private sector: Civil servants should view these entities as partners in governance, recognizing their increased role in service provision and advocacy for better governance.


  • The 1991 economic reforms liberalized the Indian economy, reducing regulations, and allowing more foreign investments. Civil servants played a vital role in facilitating these changes.
  • Civil servants have contributed to the implementation of various schemes to promote entrepreneurship, such as the Start-Up India initiative, which supports innovation and start-up culture.
  • Public-private partnerships (PPP) in infrastructure development, such as the Delhi Metro project, exemplify the collaboration between the public sector and private players, facilitated by civil servants.
  • The Right to Information Act (2005) is an example of increased transparency and accountability in governance, which civil servants have been responsible for implementing and upholding.


Why Civil Service Reforms Need:

  1. Rapid global changes
  2. Globalization impact
  3. Advancements in technology
  4. Increased decentralization
  5. Social activism growth
  6. Economic reforms

Indian Civil Services Bottlenecks:

  • Insufficient capacity building
  • Inefficient incentive systems
  • Outdated rules and procedures
  • Systemic inconsistencies in promotion
  • Lack of transparency and accountability
  • Inadequate whistleblower protection
  • Arbitrary transfers and insecure tenures
  • Political interference and administrative acquiescence
  • Dominance of elite services
  • Structural issues: Generalist vs. Specialist
  • New challenges: Cybersecurity, complex business, trade, legal aspects

Recent Reforms:

  • Mission Karmayogi:
    1. Focus on better service delivery, governance, performance, and accountability
    2. Shift from rules-based to role-based training
    3. Emphasis on behavioral change

Example 1: Under Mission Karmayogi, a civil servant working in the health sector will receive role-based training, focusing on understanding the healthcare system, policy implementation, and public health management. This tailored training will help the officer perform their duties more effectively and efficiently, ultimately leading to better healthcare delivery for the citizens.

Example 2: Mission Karmayogi also focuses on behavioral change, which is crucial for improving the interactions between civil servants and the public. For instance, a civil servant working in a revenue department will be trained in customer-centric behavior and effective communication skills to better serve citizens visiting the office for tax-related issues.

Example 3: One of the key features of Mission Karmayogi is the continuous learning opportunities for civil servants. Suppose an officer from the Ministry of Environment is assigned to work on a new project related to climate change. In that case, they can access relevant courses and resources to enhance their understanding of climate change policies, mitigation strategies, and international negotiations. This continuous learning approach helps civil servants stay updated with the latest knowledge and trends in their respective domains, ultimately leading to better decision-making and policy implementation.


  • National Programme for Civil Service Capacity Building:
    1. Access to learning resources from top institutions
    2. Mid-career training for all government staff
    3. Technology-based officer profile assessment

Key Features of New Reforms:

  • Transition from rules-based to roles-based HR management
  • Align work allocation with competencies
  • Combine on-site and off-site learning
  • Create shared training infrastructure ecosystem
  • Utilize FRACs approach for civil service positions
  • Continuous learning opportunities for civil servants
  • Encourage collaborations with top learning content creators

Way Forward:

  • Realign outdated structure and culture
  • Shed colonial hangover
  • Rationalize and harmonize services


  • Civil servant capacity augmentation is crucial
  • Transformational change in Civil Service Capacity should link work culture, public institution strengthening, and modern technology adoption
  • A reformed bureaucracy is essential for a progressive future


Lateral Entry: Direct Induction of Domain Experts

    • Refers to recruiting experts at middle or senior administrative levels
    • Not limited to promoting regular civil servants
  • Generalists vs. Specialists Debate
    • Long-standing discussion in governance reforms
    • Many professionals, commissions, and commentators support lateral entry
  • Lateral Entry in India
    • Previously, experts appointed to specific posts (e.g., Reserve Bank of India, Chief Economic Advisor, NITI Aayog)
    • Not an institutionalized recruitment mechanism
    • Examples: Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Raghuram Rajan, E. Sreedharan
    • In 2019, the Indian Government recruited nine joint secretaries from the private sector (2 resigned)
  • Proposal for Lateral Entry Expansion
    • Plans to hire 400 directors and deputy secretaries in the Indian Government through lateral entry


  • Total of 37 officers appointed through lateral recruitment
  • Serving at different levels in bureaucracy
  • 7 selected in 2019, 30 in 2021
  • Lateral entrants sign a 3-year contract
  • Contract extendable by 2 years based on performance


Need of Lateral Entry

  • Need for lateral entry to bring fresh talent and new dimensions in policy making
    1. Example: Lateral entry helps government understand policy impact on stakeholders (private sector, NGOs, public)
  • Enhance efficiency and governance by introducing competition within the system
    1. Example: NITI Aayog’s Three-Year Action Agenda (2017-2020) recommended sector specialists through lateral entry to boost competition in bureaucracy
  • Address increasing complexity in governance with specialists and domain experts for emerging issues (globalization, digital governance, financial frauds, cybercrime, organized crime, terrorism, climate change)
  • Fill officer vacancy gap: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions reported a shortage of nearly 1,500 IAS officers; Baswan Committee (2016) supported lateral entry to address shortage
  • Facilitate entry and retention of talent in government: Justice BN Srikrishna-led Sixth Central Pay Commission report (2006) endorsed lateral entry for retaining talent in high-demand government jobs
  • Widen talent pool for appointments: Current recruitment process for IAS officers at a young age limits assessment of potential administrative and judgment capabilities, lateral entry helps address this limitation


Challenges of lateral entry:

  • Scope of utility: depends on political executive’s willingness to facilitate functioning of external experts
  • Resistance from bureaucracy:
    1. Example: existing officials might resist working with outsiders; tensions between generalists and specialists
  • Difficulty adjusting to bureaucratic work culture (addressing manners, work speed, knowledge of rules, punctuality)
  • Demotivation of existing officials due to uncertain career progression
  • Transparency in recruitment: risk of political interference, nepotism, and spoils system
  • Lack of long-term stakes compared to current civil service
  • Ensuring responsibility and accountability with short tenures (3-5 years)
  • Lack of field experience: lateral entrants may have domain knowledge but limited experience in fieldwork
  • Issue of reservation: unclear if reservations will apply to lateral entry recruitment


New Cadre Policy (2017) for All India Services:

  • Previous issues:
    1. Uneven distribution of officers
    2. Cadre states closer to home states
  • 26 existing cadres divided into 5 zones:
    1. Zone-I: AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories), Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana
    2. Zone-II: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha
    3. Zone-III: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh
    4. Zone-IV: West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland
    5. Zone-V: Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala
  • Advantages:
    1. Promotes national integration
    2. Officers work in states not their place of domicile
    3. Example: Officers from North India may work in South India, enhancing understanding of different regions


Reforms needed for Civil Services in India:

  • Greater Convergence:
    1. Encourage cross-departmental working
    2. Adopt shared services model
  • Connected Civil Services:
    1. Global connections for best practices
    2. Horizontal connectivity between state departments
  • Lateral Entry and Exit:
    1. Learn from past experiences
    2. Longer tenures for lateral entrants
    3. Deputation to private sector
    4. Remove non-performers
  • Longer tenure for Secretaries:
    1. Promotion to Secretary close to retirement (From additional secretary to secretary)
    2. 2 years or less left
    3. Causes inefficiencies
    4. Short time horizon issues
    5. Hesitation to take major initiatives
    6. Fear of post-retirement corruption allegations
    7. Decision-making reluctance
  • Public administration universities:
    1. Develop deep knowledge and improved skills
  • Institutionalize goal setting and tracking:
    1. Outcome-based goals with clear timelines
  • Implement HR system for government employees:
    1. Unified single online platform
  • Continuous skill upgradation:
    1. Train civil servants in contemporary domains like Industry 4.0, Climate Change, Cyber Security, etc.


Drawbacks of frequent transfers in Civil Services:

  • Affects governance and performance of civil servants as they are not allowed to stay in a position long enough to acquire adequate knowledge and experience, and understand the culture and problems they need to address.
  • Prevents civil servants from building mutual confidence and understanding, which is necessary for administrative leadership.
  • Leads to lack of accountability and corruption.
  • Prevents civil servants from instituting or sustaining reforms, which is demoralizing and demotivating.
  • Adversely affects civil servants’ job satisfaction, children’s education, and family togetherness, as noted in the Civil Services Survey report.
  • Officers are placed at the mercy of corrupt influences due to frequent transfers.

Example: If a civil servant is frequently transferred from one position to another, they may not have enough time to understand the problems that need to be addressed or implement effective solutions. This can lead to inefficiencies and corruption.


Additionally, the constant upheaval and uncertainty caused by frequent transfers can affect the officer’s job satisfaction, their family’s well-being, and their children’s education. Therefore, it is important to have fixed tenures and minimize unnecessary transfers.


Various committees recommendation:

  • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2000) observed that arbitrary and questionable methods of appointments, promotions and transfers of officers by political superiors led to corrosion of the moral basis of its independence.
  • Surinder Nath Committee (2003) recommended Parliament to enact a Civil Services Act to establish a Civil Services Board for the Union Government to perform functions presently done by the Central Board presided over by the Cabinet Secretary.
  • P C Hota committee (2004) suggested the establishment of civil service boards/establishment boards comprising senior civil servants, proposing that a Civil Services Act be enacted to make these boards at the Centre and states as statutory bodies. The proposed set-up at the Centre would have an appointments committee of the cabinet as the final authority on the transfer of administrative personnel under the central staffing scheme.
  • 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) pointed out that frequent transfers often based on caste, community or monetary considerations lead to the erosion of morale and reinforce caste and communal divisions in bureaucracy. The commission recommended autonomous personnel boards to manage personnel policy including placements, promotions, transfers, and fast-track advancements functioning similar to the Union Public Service Commission.

SC directives in TSR Subramanian case (2013)

The Supreme Court (SC) directed the government to set up Civil Services Boards (CSB) for all civil servants


The CSB would ensure transparency and accountability in governmental functions.


The SC recognized that the views of CSB could be overruled by the political executive, but only after recording reasons.


Minimum assured tenure for civil servants was recommended to ensure efficient service delivery and increased efficiency.


Civil servants were directed to respond to only recorded instructions and refrain from acting on oral instructions of political bosses, except in certain exceptional circumstances.


Acting on oral directions could defeat the rights guaranteed to citizens under the RTI Act and create room for favoritism and corruption.


Recording instructions was necessary to fix responsibility and ensure accountability in the functioning of civil servants and uphold institutional integrity.


Until a proper legislation for setting up CSB is enacted by the Parliament, the government should constitute such boards if they are not already in place.


  • Civil Services Board (CSB)
    1. Shields bureaucracy from political interference
    2. Addresses frequent transfers of civil servants
    3. Supreme Court directive in 2013 for establishment
  • Composition
    1. Headed by state’s Chief Secretary
    2. Senior most additional chief secretary or equivalent
    3. Principal Secretary or Secretary, Department of Personnel as member secretary
  • Functions
    1. Decides on transfers before completion of fixed tenure
    2. Submits annual report on meetings to central government
  • Example: State-level CSB
    1. Ensures transparency in transfers and postings
    2. Reduces undue influence on bureaucratic decisions


Constitutional provisions

  • Articles 53 and 154 of the Indian Constitution vest the executive power of the Union and the States in the President or Governor directly or through officers subordinate to them.
  • Part XIV of the Constitution (Services under the Union and States) (Article 308- 323) governs the permanent civil service.
  • The Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules define the manner in which officers are required to assist the President or Governor in exercising their executive functions.
  • Article 309 empowers the Parliament and State legislatures to regulate the recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or any State.
  • Article 310 establishes the doctrine of pleasure, which means that every person in the Defence service, Civil Service, and All India Service holding any post connected with the above services holds office during the pleasure of the President or Governor of the State.
  • Article 311 deals with the dismissal, removal, or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State.
  • Article 312 deals with All India Services.
  • Article 323A provides for the establishment of Administrative Tribunals to adjudicate disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or any State.

Practice Questions:

  1. Examine the role of reducing discretionary powers of government officials in curbing corruption. Additionally, propose measures that can be implemented to limit such powers.
  2. Analyze the government’s recent move to introduce lateral entry in the higher civil services for senior-level positions as a significant albeit small step towards the necessary reforms in the bureaucratic system.
  3. Comment on the limitations of the proposed Civil Services Board, which has been recognized as a crucial aspect of civil services reform.
  4. Examine the changes that have happened in the role of the state and the bureaucracy in the post-liberalization era in India, including reduced state involvement, privatization, deregulation, and a focus on service delivery and emerging areas of concern.
  5. Discuss the possible sources of conflict that may arise between the political executive and civil servants in India, and elaborate on the significance of maintaining a sound working relationship between the two for ensuring effective governance.
  6. Discuss the critical issues faced by the Indian bureaucracy, such as diminishing human capital and political interference, that may lead to further institutional deterioration if not addressed. Additionally, propose ways to tackle these challenges.
  7. Discuss the role of civil services in a democratic setup like India and critically evaluate the need for reforms to ensure their relevance and effectiveness in the current context.
  8. Examine the problems caused by the short tenures of civil servants in India and critically evaluate the effectiveness of the proposal to establish a civil services board as a solution to this issue.



February 2024