New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government could soon reduce the 60-plus civil services in the country in a bid to “rationalise” them, ThePrint has learnt.
According to the five-year vision document prepared by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the government will attempt to drastically reduce the number of services to ensure that the state machinery functions more harmoniously.
“Rationalising the services essentially means reducing the number down from the existing 60-plus civil services to about three-four,” an official from DoPT said on condition of anonymity. “The idea was proposed last year by NITI Aayog and the government will now seek to implement it.”
The civil services in India include over 60 specialised services classified into Group A and Group B. Some of the more prestigious Group A services include the IAS, IPS, IFS and the IRS, among others. At present, there are over 25 Group A services alone.
While the government has not yet decided on how to undertake this rationalisation project, a possible solution could be to classify the civil services into three groups, the official quoted above said.
“One way of doing it is dividing the services into Indian Administrative Service, which would include all non-technical services; the Indian Police Service that would include all security-related services and the Indian Technical Services, which would include all technical services,” the official said. “This is just one idea doing the rounds…the services could be rationalised in other ways too.”
ThePrint sent questions to DoPT regarding the proposal but has not received a response so far.
What the NITI Aayog had pitched
In its ‘Strategy for New India @75’ document released last year, the Niti Aayog had suggested reducing the civil services significantly, and conducting a single exam, with an All India ranking for the services.
“The existing 60-plus separate civil services at the central and state level needs to be reduced through rationalisation and harmonisation of services,” the NITI Aayog document said. “Recruits should be placed in a central talent pool, which would then allocate candidates by matching their competencies and the job description of the post. Concomitantly, the number of exams for civil services should ideally be brought down to one with all India ranking. States may also be encouraged to use this pool for recruitments.”
The DoPT official quoted above said the government has been considering the idea of a single examination. “The government too has been exploring the idea of ‘One Nation, One Exam’ for some time now,” the DoPT official said. “However, the modalities have not been worked out yet.”
Among the other reforms proposed in the ministry’s five-year plan is the setting up of a National Recruitment Authority, which would conduct a common test for Group B (non-gazetted) and Group C posts.
As reported by ThePrint, the NRA would conduct a one-stop exam for all the non-gazetted Group B and Group C posts, which currently have close to 1.5 lakh vacancies, as per government estimates.
Additionally, the ministry plans to expand the recruitment of lateral entry at the director and deputy secretary level, and conduct a common foundation course for all civil service recruits, according to its five-year vision plan.