a Survey of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officers
- Aditi Mehta, Former Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan
- Anil Swarup, Former Secretary, Government of India
- Sanjeev Chopra, Director, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA)
- Vini Mahajan, Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab
- Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive, CPR
About the Session
We are pleased to release a new report on a survey of over 500 serving and former IAS officers conducted between August and September 2020, 7-8 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey sought to engage members of the IAS in reflecting on the critical challenges, decisions, and trade-offs that confronted public administrators charged with managing the state response at different levels. In doing so, it revealed both widely shared and sharply contested views on a range of subjects, including the role of the civil servant, executive and bureaucratic functioning in a crisis, and perceptions of and relations between the state, the public, and other important actors and institutions.
The authors of the report will present key findings and locate the survey within the larger body of ongoing and future work at the State Capacity Initiative at CPR. Following the introduction, former and serving IAS officers will share their views on the key findings of the survey and discuss ways in which the new knowledge generated from this study can contribute to both our understanding of the bureaucracy's functioning, and the potential for reform.
About the State Capacity Initiative at CPR
The State Capacity Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research is an interdisciplinary research and practice programme focused on addressing the challenges of the 21st-century Indian state. The purpose of this initiative is to place the critical challenges of building state capacity at the heart of the field of policy research in India, where it has always belonged but remains surprisingly marginalised. We therefore start with first principles and ground ourselves in existing realities to deepen and expand the understanding of the challenges and possibilities of building state capacity in a democratic and federal India. Our programme of work focuses on the changing roles of the Indian state: institutional design, implementation and administrative capacity; the challenges of regulatory and fiscal capacity; and the complex and changing relations between society, politics and state capacity in India.