New Delhi: The Modi government is organising a seven-day training programme for IAS, IPS, Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers, and those from other services, in order to make them more “people-friendly” and “ethical” while dealing with the public, ThePrint has learnt.
According to sources in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), while in-service training programmes are organised every year, the focus of this year’s module would be on ensuring that officers deal with the public effectively, and are not inaccessible.
The voluntary training programme, sources said, will be organised by the IC Centre of Governance in Panchgani in February next year. Officers with a minimum of four years in service all the way up to the rank of secretary will be eligible to participate, the sources added. The programme will be open to officers from both the central and state governments.
ThePrint reached the DoPT spokesperson for a comment through WhatsApp and telephone, but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
But an official familiar with the development said an internal survey conducted by the government, based on inputs from the vigilance department and non-government organisations, suggested that civil servants, who wield much power over the lives of the public, are known to not be cordial or cooperative with them.
There were also findings of red-tapism, the official added.
For example, officers on the field often do not meet people readily, and make them wait endlessly for appointments, the sources said. In some cases, they establish elaborate protocols for ordinary people to meet them, which leads the public to become disillusioned with the working of the government, they added.
It is to fix this problem that the government is offering this training to officers from all services and at all levels, the aforementioned official said. “It’s basically to train them in a code of conduct with regard to ethical, effective and cooperative communication with the public,” the official said.
“There has been a significant focus in this government on training of officers. This is an area where training is much needed because it is after all, a ‘public’ service. All expertise and policy-making skills come after this fundamental quality,” the DoPT official added.
Follows module to make officers ‘experts’
The Modi government has sought to bring in several reforms in the civil service.
Earlier this year, the central government launched the ‘Karmayogi Yojana’ or the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) in a bid to transform civil servants into “experts”.
The programme aims to challenge an oft-repeated criticism against civil servants, that they clear the appointment exam in their 20s, and then do little to build on their skills.
Another objective is to change the orientation of civil servants, who are often seen as “rule-obsessed”, from “rules” to “roles”.