Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Former union minister Shashi Tharoor joins IAS "edge" debate; his comment makes him an instant hero among non-IAS officers

FORMER union minister and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s hard-hitting piece in DNA newspaper today, saying that the top posts in India cannot be the monopoly of the IAS, has made him an instant hero among officers belonging to non-IAS All India and Group "A" services. “Dr @ShashiTharoor, IRS Association conveys its gratitude to you for supporting a merit and competence based civil service for India,” the Indian Revenue Service Association has posted in Twitter. Indian Police Service Association too…
has tweeted Tharoor’s article where he argues that a country with the diversity and wide-ranging challenges that India offers cannot be the fiefdom of any small group, however elite. “The top posts in India cannot be the monopoly of the IAS. It is bad for the government and bad for the wider public interest,” he writes in the article published today.
Tharoor’s article has appeared just a few days after the submission of the 7th Pay Central Commission report where the chairman and one member wanted to do away with the IAS "edge" whereas another member and former petroleum secretary Vivek Rae strongly supported the status-quo. The chairman of the Commission even wanted a drastic change in the empanelment process wherein competent non-IAS officers will get a level-playing field to join as joint secretaries and above, the civil posts which command immense power and prestige.
“Should a lifelong advantage be given on the basis of marks in an entrance exam without any reference to continued performance and further acquisition of relevant skills?” questions Tharoor in the DNA article (Full Article) echoing the same argument put forward by the IPS, IRS officers etc. in all debates in the run-up to the submission of the Central Pay Commission report.
The government has to now take a call on whether to entirely accept the 7th Central Pay Commission report’s majority view or factor in a very elaborate dissent note put forward by Rae.
Meanwhile, Tharoor’s article has made many non-IAS officers and their associations over-joyed. One Indian Forest Service officer Akash K Verma posts: “@ShashiTharoor @dna The 7th CPC spoke for Good Governance, the IAS are now all out to deny and scuttle such equality of opportunity. Shame!”
One IRS officer Hargovind Singh who calls himself a dreamer, believer and doer tweets: “@ShashiTharoor @dna Thanks for support. Parity in all services will give d best of all civil servants in d higher positions n serve d nation”.


  1. India is the only country where the Verna system exists in the Civil Services .
    The artificial disparity has been allowed to perpetuate for reasons manufactured by successive CPCs.
    No wonder, the 7th CPC failed to address the concerns of " lesser" Services in the hierarchy.

    A K Saxena (A retd civil servant)

  2. This is probably the only bureaucracy across globe where more than your competence or expertise the tag behind your name matters for your selection for key policy formulation positions. Sad thing is that whole issue has been so politicized and made an inter service rivalry one rather than looking from a pure reform issue. With a honorable member of Pay Commission joining the issue as a member of a service than as the position he occupied the things have become even more murkier. With IAS hegemony over top posts which will ultimately decide the fate of the PC recommendations and with the issue being looked into from the narrow prism of service superiority one therefore there is hardly any hope of any realistic reforms despite PC recommendations.

  3. Many Group 'A' cadres are having much higher strength than justified requirement. There is a need to reduce the strength of such Gp A services, thereafter parity may be granted. Just see the job profile, charter of duties and responsibilities discharged by many such cadres e. g. IDSE, MES Surveyor cadre, MES Architecture cadre etc. Grant of pay and allowances equal to IAS for such lightly loaded cadres with hardly any decision making role most of the time will be an extra burden on Govt exchequer. Strongly recommend to authorise salary as per responsibility associated with each post rather than across the board jump.

  4. If we look at the governance structure in the developed world, it is the specialist/expert who occupy topmost positions.the generalists are placed well below in the overall hierarchy.However in India the britishers created an archaic system which is being continued by the present day IAS lobby with the help of corrupt politicians.They are afraid that with gradual modernization and developing of economy, the generalists may lose significance and that is why they have started behaving like mafia.The substandard self-seeking notes given by sri vivek rae are nothing but perverse logic, while the independent expert has given balanced and forward looking suggestions.As all others in the hierarchy belong to this organized gang, the only hope for a proper decision on this issue can be placed on our PM only.However every right thinking citizen has the lingering doubt-as to whether this mafia will permit our PM to get a reality check?

  5. As far as Central Secretariat Jobs are concerned,99% of the jobs are clerical jobs and even a Class X pass out can do the job with 6 months experience,and this is the main reason why our viewpoints are never taken seriously in international fora.Further, most of our elected representatives manning the ministries do not have even the ABC background necessary to head a ministry, and so most of them are nominal heads only and their main focus is implementation of schemes where the tax-payers' money is allocated.Therefore, the right remedy to end monopoly of ignorant elected representatives and generalists is radical reform of the present structure. The present recruitment system and training for Group A Services is a total waste of tax-payers' money, and this needs to be changed to be in tune with the dynamics of new world order where skills and expertise are the essence for a sustainable model. As for our country, we are still dependent on the outdated white elephants, and the present formal does not allow or promote specialization and the clear example is the Central Staffing System of deputation. We can't expect a forest officer working in Food Deptt. via deputation or a generalist working in Health Deptt to do any value addition.In fact, the idea of an All-India Service is very outdated as decentralization is the key to growth miracle.The most pathetic thing about the All-India Service is posting differentiation like hard posting or soft posting. In one useless training programme, a trainee commented what you will do if you are posted in Nagaland, and this the attitude of 99% of the Group A officers. In another instance, a Director threatened a newly joined officer that he would be posted in NE India if he did not withdraw his representation for transfer.Last and not the least, Govt. jobs and private jobs cannot be compared for they work for different objectives.

  6. Every service is selfish to the core. Every one wants themselves to be projected as the supreme. What the IAS is doing for Group-A services, the same thing Group-A services are doing to their colleagues. These officers classify themselves as Direct Recruits and don't want their fellow officers to be promoted to Group-A posts. Even if they are promoted to Group-A, they are posted in side lined posts. These so called Direct Recruits have no respect for their colleagues of the age of their parents and do not let them progress. For example, I can very well relate to promotee IRS officers as I know one of them very well. The DRs do not want their colleague ITOs to be promoted to Group-A as that will some how hurt the ego of DRs. But, the logc here is promotee officers(lucky ones) retire as Additional Commissioners and never rise to higher level. So, there is going to be no competition between DRs and promotee officers during consideration for promotion as officers get promotion upto level of Addl.Cit in a timely manner. So, it does not hamper the chances of these DRs. Even then, these DRs do not want others to progress. They consider themselves as Gods. Only God can save such a selfish country.

    1. Of course the promottee officers in income tax deptt should get their due,but the problem arises when they start behaving like a mafia.They regularly go on strike or non cooperation for months helping the tax evaders.In no other deptt of govt the officers are so indisciplined.The quality of their orders is pathetic.Thousands of officers produce lakhs of substandard asstt orders every year.It is high time the entire deptt should be downsized from top to bottom and only honest and efficient persons be retained and promoted.


  7. Thank you for this great post. Very interesting and nice.