One out of three among top officers in India’s civil services has at some point considered quitting his/her job, the first government-commissioned Civil Services Survey has revealed.
Political interference, harassment, frustration at being unable to contribute and the big money in the private sector were among the reasons that almost drove them to leave.
Only a negligible number of officers, however, have actually resigned in recent years.
The survey sent out a questionnaire to 18,000 officers of the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service, the Indian Foreign Service and six other central services such as the Indian Revenue Service and the Indian Railway Personnel Service. Some 4800 of them responded.
But political interference was only one of the many problems bureaucrats faced, the survey revealed.
“It appears that performance appraisals, posts and transfers, opportunities for deputation, political interference and timely promotion rank very high among the concerns of civil servants,” Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar acknowledged in his foreword to the report.
For one, one out of three IAS and every second IPS officers believe that majority of their colleagues pull strings to get a good posting.
Also, one in four civil servants believe very few officers had their integrity intact.
“Perception of the IAS and IPS officers about the prevalence of unethical practices in their services in highest,” the report, that also recorded the perception among non-IAS officers that the IAS officers keep the best deals for themselves, said.
The survey commissioned by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) was a census of the perception of the men and women who lead India’s civil service.
More than 4,800 officers had participated in the survey conducted last year; the report was finalised last month and has been circulated to state governments and central departments such as the home ministry, which manages the IPS.
“The government intends to make this survey an annual practice. This survey would act as a baseline and tell us how the corrective steps taken are perceived,” a DARPG official said.
A senior government official said he wasn’t surprised at most of the findings. “In fact, I expected it to be worse… though it is bad enough,” the official said.