Red tape is dead, long live red tape! This seems to be the crux of the Administrative Reforms Council’s (ARC)’s recommendation on forming a new class of civil servants, the Senior Executive Service (sounds more like an airline class). The idea behind this brainwave is to get the ‘best and the brightest’ officers from a wider pool, which includes the civil services as well as the private sector. These civil servants would be at the apex of the executive pyramid, just below the ministers. They will get better opportunities and special conditions of employment and will be made accountable for rigorous standards of performance and behaviour. And, of course, a higher level of remuneration. The only downside: less job security.
Cut out the jargon and this is what we think is going to happen: a babudom within an already over-bloated babudom. There will be a mad scramble to get into the charmed circle and knowing how performance-oriented our ministers are, there will definitely be ‘recommendations’ for personal favourites.
The ARC did study the process in many countries to come up with this. The intention must be good, but before we form a special class within the already twice-born IAS cadre, let’s get our existing lot to work more and meet some already set standards.