Efficiency of the Civil Services

There has been a succession of Committees that were asked to recommend measures for increasing the efficiency of the civil services. The Secretariat Reorganization Committee (1947), under the chairmanship of Sir Girija Shankar Bajpai examined the functions of the existing departments of Government of India with reference to relative priority and necessity of their activities and made recommendations about how these activities were to be undertaken by the Union Government with the available personnel. In 1949, the Gopalaswami Ayyangar Committee while recommending restructuring of the Central Secretariat, suggested that a Department should be identified with a Secretary’s charge and a Ministry should be identified with a Minister’s charge. It also recommended the abolition of the separate grade of Additional Secretary. For better coordination of policy and planning, the Committee suggested grouping of the Departments dealing with economic and social services into four bureaus. It also recommended the creation of an Organization and Methods machinery. A.D. Gorwala, in his two reports to the Planning Commission in 1951, recommended that there should be greater understanding between Ministers and civil servants. More concretely, Gorwala asked for an Organization and Methods (O&M) machinery and Whitley Councils. The Appleby Report (1953) also contained recommendations relating to the establishment of O&M machinery and an Institute of Public Administration. These two recommendations were implemented by Government. The various Reports of the first ARC underscored the significance of an efficient administrative system. Some of the recommendations to enhance efficiency included, suitable awards such as rolling cup/shield to be given as incentives for timely completion of specific projects, cash rewards for valuable suggestions given for simplification of work that led to economies in expenditure and increased efficiency, establishing work norms and examining staff strength on the basis of studies by Staff Inspection Units. The Fifth Central Pay Commission (2000) stressed upon the need to optimise the size of the government machinery. The Expenditure Reforms Commission (2001) emphasised on a drastic downsizing of the government staff strength for securing modern and professional governance and also reducing the increasing salary bill of the Government of India. The Committee on Civil Services Reforms (Hota Committee, 2004) emphasised the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform Government by making it more accessible, effective and accountable. It stressed on the need to recognise that e-governance is about discarding old procedures and transforming the process of decision making and that technology is merely a tool and a catalyst for such transformations.