Monday, July 18, 2011

Bhaskar Ghose’s book poses a fundamental question: Should IAS run 21st century India?

ARE IAS officers efficient enough to govern twenty-first-century India? Bhaskar Ghose, a former IAS and ex-DG Doordarshan, has posed this fundamental question in his latest book, “The Service of the State, The IAS Reconsidered”. The argument is: Should generalists, meaning IAS, head organizations as complex and diverse as industrial units, museums and rural development boards? But if IAS is to be replaced, who will replace them?
But Ghose has not disappointed his fellow IAS officers. At the end of the day, he has made a case for IAS saying that it is still the best option which substantially fulfils its functions. But Ghose agrees that its once sterling reputation has been tarnished by allegations of corruption, political subservience and declining standards of efficiency. But he goes on to argue that there are still a sufficient number of dedicated public servants who India can bank on.
Do you agree with this argument? Air your voice on the subject and post your comments below.
Also Read

Action and Appointments
a) Anil Navaney, a 1978 batch IPS officer, is taking over as the new Chhattisgarh director general of police replacing Vishwa Ranjan, a 1973-batch IPS. Ranjan who was removed from the post was later appointed as director general (DG), Home Guards, a much low profile post.
b) The tenure of coal ministry’s joint secretary RK Mahajan, a 1987 batch Bihar cadre IAS, has been extended for the period up to September 23, 2011.
c) Ms Sigy Thomas Vaidhyan, 2002 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS, has been appointed as deputy secretary in the department of expenditure. 


  1. I haven't read the book yet. However, my initial response is that IAS perhaps still can fulfill the needs of delivery of central/state government WELFARE schemes but IAS should certainly be moved out of development oriented Ministries and professionals and experts must be brought in to man those ministries, for policy making and for execution. I mean what clue does the IAS has on complex and technical / commercial / functional matters in Finance, Law, Corporate Affairs, IT, Science and Technology, Communications, Environment, Health, Mining, Highways and Surface Transport, Civil Aviation, Defense, Industry and Commerce, Shipping, Ports, Public Sector Corporations, Tribunals, etc. I mean it is no brainer that we need specialists and professionals to lead and run these technical and economic oriented Ministries. And the sooner we do it the better for growth, development and economy. I mean an IAS running Finance or Law or Telecom or Health or Company Affairs, SEBI or for that matter SAIL or Air India or LIC, etc. in our fast track growing and globalised economy is RIDICULOUS.

  2. I am currently reading this well-written book. Surely, a case for IAS's continued importance is there. I wish to say that IAS is more & more becoming Specialist. By this I mean that increasing number of Specialized persons are joining the service. Administration as such is itself a specialized branch if not taken in a strict sense.

    A strict specialist(say an Economist) cannot administer as does a Generalist. A specialist will look at things from a "particular, specific viewpoint." Thus its futile to have Specialists administer the Development process of such a diverse, multi-coloured Socio-Economic entity like India.

    We need more & more Generalists. Indeed, IAS retains some of the best minds in India. The question isn't whether we need them or not. Its whether we can effectively utilize their potential or not. Regards.