The NITI Aayog, in its comprehensive report on the national strategy for 2022-23, has proposed a slew of measures to bring in reforms in recruitment, training and performance evaluation for the prestigious civil service. In its report 'Strategy for New India @75', the Niti Aayog has proposed to reduce the upper age limit for the civil services to "27 years for the general category in a phased manner by 2022-23". As of now, the average age of recruits for civil services is about 25-and-a-half years, while the age limit for General Category is 30 years. The current recommendation of the Aayog stems from the fact that about 33 per cent of India's population is under 35 years of age.
The government think tank has also said "service conditions for employees of autonomous bodies need to be regulated and harmonised." The Niti Aayog believes that to ensure more effective and efficient delivery of public services, there is a need to also reduce the number of civil services. "The existing 60 plus separate civil services at the central and state level needs to be reduced through rationalisation and harmonisation of services."
The think tank has called for putting in place a central talent pool for recruits, which would then allocate candidates by matching competencies and the job description of the post. In addition to this, the think tank also wants the number of exams for civil services to be brought down to one with all-India ranking. "States may also be encouraged to use this pool for recruitments," it added.
The Niti Aayog has said the government should also scale up the IT needs for "planning, forecasting staffing requirements and recruitments". Other measures proposed by the think tank include encouraging lateral entry, nurturing specialisation, assigning of mentors, strengthening of municipal corporation cadres, and outsourcing service delivery.
For training of the civil service candidates, the think tank has proposed the government to alter the current system to meet job-outcome oriented goals and introduce mid-carrier training. "With economic gravity shifting towards cities, training should be reoriented to focus relatively more on managing urban areas," the report said.
The Union Public Service Commission, which is India's premier central recruiting agency, conducts the civil services exam. The agency is responsible conducts exams for all India services and group A and group B of central services.
Edited by Manoj Sharma