In its first attempt to overhaul the structure of training for the country’s premier civil service, a committee has asked the government to slash the duration down to 75 weeks. This would give young trainee officers more time to learn on the job as sub-divisional magistrates and field postings in the districts with independent charge.
The panel headed by retired IAS officer Kiran Aggarwal was constituted in 2012, making it the second effort during the last decade to tweak the existing structure and syllabus of training for the premier civil services. The two-year long induction training has been in operation since 1969.
Arguing for recasting the training structure, Aggarwal said socio-economic and political developments over the last few decades had fast outpaced the “incremental changes” introduced by the government from time to time.
Aggarwal has prescribed competency-based induction training which takes domain knowledge of the trainees into account, tweaks in the syllabus and fostering greater adult and participant-centred learning.
The panel has taken a dim view of the existing 54-week district training where the trainees are attached with different units, pointing that it had received a strong feedback about the “relatively sub-optimal effectiveness of attachments in the district.”
In contrast, it was felt that independent charges for on-the-job learning had a much higher utility for the young officers.
While it called for reducing this duration to 33 weeks, the panel also recommended for introducing a system of mentorship and giving the district collector’s assessment of the young trainees greater weightage. The foreign study tour for the young officers introduced by the UPA government in 2010 also did not find favour with the panel.
“The committee observes that the first four-five years of service would be better devoted by IAS officers to knowing their sub-division, district, state and country,” it said, arguing that the two-week study tour could be conducted after 4-5 years in service.
It is at this stage that the officers – who would be familiar with the ground situation in the country – would be better placed to appreciate how things are done differently elsewhere and replicate the best practices.