Policy Engagements and Blogs

Reforming the IAS

September 28, 2018

28 September 2018
Reforming the IAS


The Indian bureaucracy marks over 160 years in 2018. On the occasion, former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer T R Raghunanandan reflected on some moves to reform the IAS in Accountability Initiative’s RaghuBytes series.

In the first part of ‘Walking The Tightrope: The Future Of The IAS’ he discusses the frequently debated issue of whether final selection of officers into their respective services should depend upon the performance of the officer trainees in the Common Foundation Course. The most recent back and forth on the issue came earlier this year with the government deferring the move to formalise assessments during the course.

Raghunanandan’s perspective is informed by his experience of the Foundation course. In part two of this blog, he considers if the idea of testing the officers during the Foundation course will have the effect of improving the quality of the civil services. He opines that the course is a big milestone not in terms of the training content imparted, but because it is the professional gateway to what is a lifetime of service in the government.

In the third part of the series he discusses the government’s latest decision to allow lateral entry at the level of Joint Secretary and lays out the interplay between politics and bureaucratic functioning.