Govt set to trim babu flab

A new-look bureaucracy ? lean, mean and youthful ? is on the anvil.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 03:00 IST

A new-look bureaucracy — lean, mean and youthful — is on the anvil.

The Central government has decided to go-ahead with civil service reforms that will ensure — as President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam announced on Thursday — that the "best and the brightest" are rewarded, the deadwood weeded out. Not quite like the army, where officers who lag behind are eased out, but on a voluntary basis.

The idea is to see to it that not only the best reach the top, but they also stay there for longer. This objective will be achieved by reducing the number of people who get to climb the bureaucratic hierarchy, first at the level of a joint secretary, then additional secretary and finally, secretary to the government of India.

Faster promotions for the brightest would also mean longer tenures at the top. Quite unlike what happens at present, when by the time an official is eligible to become secretary to the government of India, he has less than two years to retiremet. By the time the new promotion scheme is put in place, officials said, bureaucrats could aspire to make the grade sometime in their early fifties. A new system of performance appraisal being put in place is expected to help identify the best officers. One small difference that is expected to have a crucial impact on the evaluation is getting senior officers to rate officers on a 1-10 scale rather than the existing scale that uses adjectives like satisfactory, good or excellent.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 03:00 IST