UPSC and its future

By Ajit Chak: Now that the UPSC results are out the nation will get another batch of officers to run the country and keep it afloat in times of crisis and steer it ahead with the same valour and determination that their predecessors did and have done for the last almost 70 years and some years before that in the form of the Indian Civil Service or the ICS which was later replaced by the Indian Administrative Service or the IAS. There have been many debates on whether an IAS or civil service is actually required in the nation to keep things going and how many countries actually survive without a civil service. However in the Indian context to keep the rule of law based on rules and norms and regulations a nationwide civil service becomes a necessity.  Of late however the quality of the service in some states has deteriorated and the rank and file have seen UPSC toppers even end up facing serious charges and prison terms.

Some have been to jail and some are in jail due to the immense scope for misuse of power in these services. Some questions arise from this factor. For one it is obvious that no selection procedure not even one as rigorous as the UPSC selection process can ensure that an officer will be corruption free, will carry out his career untainted and without a blemish and will retire gracefully from the service.  There was a time in 1947 when the district magistrate was the highest earning member in the district and had the most lavish lifestyle. There was no one there to bribe him but this was in pre-industrial India and much before the era of economic liberalisation ushered in by Narasimha Rao.

Today an IAS officer, like the Nawabs and Rajas of yore has to survive within limited means. When they succumb to temptation to improve their condition illegally the system breaks down and the nation suffers losses to the tune of several thousand crores. These scams and their political patrons keep surfacing every day. So how can one ensure the innocence, the dreams and the aspirations of these young men and women who are today entering the civil service? This is important as they are a national resource who can take the nation forward. If their fate is put into the hands of the wrong Netajis then they can take the states they work in downhill. There are several such examples because we have failed to make an example of the netas who destroy the system.


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