Civil services are at the centre of all government activities – they are agents of policymaking and the executive hand that delivers on the ground. The skillsets and capacity of the civil servants play a vital role in service delivery, program implementation and performing core governance functions. Recognizing this crucial responsibility, the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) aims to create a professional, well-trained and future-looking civil service, that is imbued with a shared understanding of India’s developmental aspirations, national programs and priorities.
The focus of NPCSCB is on promoting ease of living and ease of doing business, by considerably enhancing the citizen-government interface. This involves creation of both functional and behavioural competencies among the civil servants.
In the words of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, the period from 2014-19 was to meet the pre-requisites for development and the next five years are for meeting the aspirations. Mission Karmayogi is a part of an on-going reform process in public Human Resource Management and governance that began in 2015.
As a part of a series of citizen centric initiatives, self-attestation of documents was allowed for applying for government jobs and affidavits or third-party attestations were done away with. Interviews were discontinued for recruitment to Group C posts to streamline and fast-track the recruitment process, as well as reduce discretion.
The process of selection and appointment for senior level posts was made more robust and stringent by introducing multi-source feedback, i.e. a 360-degree evaluation instead of relying only on grading in the annual performance reports. This was accompanied with dismantling and eliminating any scope for lobbying for such senior posts. The process of empanelment was accelerated and expanded by giving representation to all services, and lateral entry was introduced at select senior positions to create the widest talent pool to tap into. Simultaneously, the identification and compulsory retirement of non-performing officials was initiated by using the provisions of FR rule 56(j).
To provide exposure of working in the Government of India to young IAS officers at early stage(s) in their career, Assistant Secretary Programme was introduced. The programme has been running since 2015 and has enabled fresh entrants to engage with the highest echelons of government and provided a connection platform to nearly 860 sub-divisions representing almost half of the administrative geography of India.
In August 2020, the recruitment ecosystem for Group B and C posts in the government was transformed with the decision to set up the National Recruitment Agency and creating a common entrance test for first level screening to various government posts. This will go a long way in promoting ease of living for the candidates in terms of savings in effort, expenses and time and provide access to rural candidates at local exam centres.
Government’s endeavour to enhance governance through Civil Service capacity building was given a boost with the path breaking exercise “Aarambh” at the Statue of Unity, Kevadia, on the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas 2019. This was referred to in the Hon’ble President’s Address to the Joint Houses of Parliament on 31st January 2020. Transformational change in civil service capacity is being addressed through an organic link of Means-Motive-Opportunity framework at three levels – the first, of transforming work culture i.e. Motive, second of strengthening government institutions and processes i.e. Opportunity and third, of enabling the use of modern technology to promote transparency and build civil service capacity i.e. Means.
NPCSCB – Pillars & Philosophy
NITI Aayog, in its report on India@75, has highlighted the need for reforms in training. The experience gained during the COVID 19 pandemic also brought forth the need for the civil service to be agile, capable of partnering with diverse stakeholders and to be up to date with new competencies. The NPCSCB is carefully crafted to lay the foundation for capacity building for future generations of the civil servants so that they learn from the best practices across the world, while remaining connected to their roots.
The key philosophy of NPCSCB is to create an ecosystem of competency driven training and Human Resource (HR) management by transitioning from a ‘rules-based’ system to the ‘roles-based’ system.
The National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building has six key pillars i.e.
1. Policy Framework 2. Institutional Framework 3. Competency Framework 4. Digital Learning Framework iGOT-Karmayogi (Integrated Government Online Training Karmayogi Platform) 5. The electronic Human Resource Management System (eHRMS) and 6. The Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.
The NPCSCB will cover all civil servants (including contractual employees) across different ministries, departments, organisations and agencies of the Union Government. The willing state governments will also be enabled to align their capacity building plans on similar lines.