As per news reports, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is seeking a change in the way candidates are allocated services like IAS or IPS. The government is analyzing the possibility not only to change the way services like IAS or IPS are allocated, but also the way cadres are assigned. Many retired, serving, and aspiring civil servants are not happy with the new IAS/IPS allocation proposal.
PMO wants to count Foundation Course Marks in addition to UPSC Civil Services Exam Marks!
If the new proposal is accepted, scoring high marks in the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission will not be enough to get into IAS, IPS or IFS.
PMO has sought the feasibility of adding an additional component – the marks secured by the candidates in the compulsory three month ‘foundation course’ conducted by Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT).
What is the ‘Foundation Course’ all about?
Once a candidate clears UPSC CSE, he/she should undergo training by DoPT. The first part of the training is called the “Foundation Course” or FC. This is a 100-day training program.
F.C. is compulsory only for IAS, IFS, IFoS and IPS. It is optional for other services of Group A. Group B services are not made to attend it.
Long back when the number of selected candidates and services used to be less, all services used to attend Foundation Course (FC) at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). Now candidates selected by UPSC undergoes FC at different academies including LBSNAA.
The Foundation Course, a combination of activities carried out at the academy, consists of academic components such as public administration, law and political science, besides a number of extra-curricular activities such as trekking, village visits and interaction with fellow probationers.
At present, the Foundation Course counts for 400 marks, but, along with the other phases of the probation period, only goes towards establishing seniority within the batch.
DoPT writes to all cadre-controlling ministries
The Prime Minister’s Office wants that besides the marks scored in the UPSC Civil Services Exam, the probationers for IAS, IPS or IFS should be allocated service or cadre after reviewing their performance in the foundation course.
DoPT, under the ministry of personnel has written a letter to all cadre-controlling ministries seeking their opinion on the issue saying the PMO wants to change the rules from this year itself.
Items to be examined:
- If service allocation/cadre allocation to probationers selected on the basis of the civil services examination be made after Foundation Course.
- 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.
What’s is good about the new IAS/IPS Allocation Proposal? (if any)?
A lot of newly selected civil servants take the foundation course as just a formality because they know that they have been allocated cadre and services. When their marks and rank in UPSC and performance in foundation course will be at stake, they will take those three months seriously.
What is bad about the new IAS/IPS Allocation Proposal?
There are many problems with the new proposal. A few are listed below.
- If the Government tries to take the control and authority of selection and recruitment from the independent agency – UPSC – it can be interpreted as violation of the principles of Constitution (Article 311 – 315).
- If the service and the cadre allocation are determined on the combined score of the civil services examination and the score or performance of the foundation course, it will dilute the role of UPSC by increasing the interference of the executive.
- Service allocation after foundation course will have tremendous potential for misuse. There can be a lot of political pressure on the faculties, and academy directors to select bureaucracy loyal to the ruling government.
- If the PMO’s latest proposal is accepted, it will theoretically be possible for a candidate whose rank in the UPSC civil services examination can get him only into, say, the Indian Defence Accounts Service, to climb up to the coveted Indian Administrative Service on the basis of how well he does his foundation course.
- If a person who has studied hard for years to get top rankings in the UPSC exam somehow performs low in the 3-month foundation course, and if she is denied the cadre and service wanted or deserved, then it would be unfair for him/her.
- A single academy cannot accommodate all 1000 candidates at a time for the foundation course.
- The papers, the subjects, the faculty, and also the overall standards are different for different foundation courses. As result, there would be a lot of arbitrariness in something as crucial as service allocation for which candidates put in so much effort
- It is also unhealthy to make the probationers compete from day one of their foundation course; the camaraderie among them will be lost.
- The current government has already made so many crucial changes or proposals in the way top bureaucrats are selected. Reducing the importance of CSAT (aptitude) paper, proposal for lateral entry into civil services, introduction of zones above the cadres, proposal to reduce age limit as per baswan committee reports etc – being some of them.
Is the New IAS/IPS Allocation Proposal practical?
The move has already caused outrage among retired, serving and aspiring civil servants. Many believe that the new move will do no good but destroy the existing system.
However to implement the IAS/IPS allocation policy will not be easy.
First, there are many candidates who skip the Foundation Course every year, to attempt the UPSC Civil Services Exam again. If that is the case, how can the foundation marks be added to find the final ranks in an year is a big question.
Second, the rules of allocation based on UPSC CSE 2017 was already published. Induction to every service is as per laid down recruitment rules. The recruitment rules will have to be amended if this move is to be formalized. It might lead to many court case, if government alter the same for this year. Not only this, UPSC has published the notification for Civil Services Exam 2018, and candidates are not pre-informed about any change in the final allocation process.
Should Civil Service Aspirants worry about the new IAS/IPS Allocation Proposal?
Minister of State for personnel Jitendra Singh said: “There was a suggestion to this effect which has been followed up by eliciting the views of all stakeholders. At present, the issue is still in the consultation stage. There is nothing more to it.”
The government is only exploring the option and has hence invited views and suggestions of the cadre-controlling ministries, to see if the option is feasible.
Nothing much should be read into it as of now.