New Delhi: The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie is being revamped to accommodate probationers from all the 20-plus civil services in the country from 2020 onwards.
Senior officials from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said new hostels and an auditorium are being built at the 60-year-old academy in order to hold a common foundation course from next year.
At present, the academy has six hostels.
In 2019, for the first time in several decades, the academy conducted a common foundation course titled ‘Aarambh’ for civil service trainees.
However, some of the probationers were sent to Dr Marri Channa Reddy Human Resource Development (MCRHRD) Institute in Hyderabad as logistical arrangements for the combined training of all officers at the academy could not be made at such short notice.
The decision on a unified foundation course was taken by the government just a few months before.
“This course, Aarambh, is nation-centric and future-centric… It will usher in a paradigm shift in administration, whereby people stop working in silos,” PM Modi said a few weeks ago, addressing over 420 civil service probationers in Kevadia, Gujarat. “Instead, people work together and in a comprehensive manner.”
While trainees of the 2019 batch were trained in Mussoorie and Hyderabad, they had all assembled at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia for a three-day event called “Aarambh” to honour Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary, 31 October.
A status symbol
When the academy in Mussoorie was just set up, all probationers underwent a common foundation course. However, as recruitment across services swelled up, the academy could not accommodate trainees from all the services, a DoPT official said.
Over the years, what started as a logistical arrangement became a status symbol of sorts as LBSNAA came to be perceived as an exclusive preserve of the IAS.
The Modi government has restarted the common foundation course with the aim of encouraging inter-service bonhomie and doing away with the hierarchy between different civil services.
“It is very important to have networks and friendships across services since that only helps in better governance and administration…” the official quoted above said. “Over the years, that got diluted due to logistical reasons.”
In order to emphasise the importance of the common foundation course, the government decided in July that 10 per cent weightage in service selection will be given to the performance of selected candidates in the mandatory combined foundation course.