New Delhi: The first common foundation course for officers of IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS and other premier services began in Mussoorie and Hyderabad Monday.
While most of the 2018-batch officers have gone to Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie for the two-month course, some have gone to Dr. Marri Channa Reddy Human Resource Development (MCRHRD) in Hyderabad.
A source in the LBSNAA said logistical arrangements to have a combined training of all officers in the academy could not be made in such a short notice as the decision on a unified foundation course was taken by the government just a few months ago.
“That is why some probationers have gone to Hyderabad this time. But from the next year, everyone will only go to LBSNAA,” said the source.
In October, all the probationers, however, would be moved to LBSNAA where their village-visit and trekking would take place. “The whole course will be concluded with a three-day workshop at the Statue of Unity (in Gujarat),” the source added.
On 31 October, which is the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address all probationers at the Statue of Unity, the source said.
International dignitaries to be invited to workshop
Sources in the government said several dignitaries from across the world are being invited to attend and conduct the workshops, and also give lectures to the probationers.
Earlier, ThePrint had reported that the theme for the combined workshop, which will be an annual feature starting this year, would be ‘How to Make India a $5-trillion Economy’ — an ambition PM Modi wants to realise by 2024.
The themes of the combined workshops are expected to give a vision of Modi’s ambition for the country to the young officers, who will eventually assume critical roles in decision-making and administration.
The combined foundation course this year is a significant development, not only because it is the first but also because the government decided in July that 10 per cent weightage will now be given to the performance of selected candidates in the mandatory combined foundation course.
However, there are several officers from the 2018 batch who are not undertaking the foundation course, a government official said.
“The government rules allow exception from FC (foundation course) to candidates who are reappearing for the UPSC exam…And this year, there are about 200 candidates who are reappearing for the exam in the hope of a better service,” said the official who did not wish to be named.
Combined course not a new plan
The idea of a unified foundation course was first proposed by the PMO last year. It was suggested that candidates selected by the UPSC would be allotted services not on the basis of their rankings in the UPSC exam, but on the basis of a unified foundation course.
The proposal, however, had been put on the backburner after the Modi government faced enormous backlash for attempting to tweak the recruitment of civil servants, and introducing what was seen as a high degree of subjectivity in the process of service allocation.
Earlier this year, the DoPT made a fresh attempt to bring all candidates selected by UPSC under a unified foundation course soon after they were recruited by the commission.
This report has been updated to reflect that the LBSNAA is in Mussoorie. The error is regretted.