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The Civil Services, is the permanent executive branch in the Republic of India. The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country. Warren Hastings laid the foundation of civil service and Charles Cornwallis reformed, modernised and rationalised it. Hence, Charles Cornwallis is known as the 'Father of Civil Service in India' (earlier called as Imperial service of India).

The civil service is a subdivision of government which is usually grouped with the Executive, and without which governments cannot function. These are men and women who establish the permanent staff of the departments of governments. They are expert administrators.The civil service is the term used to designate servants of the state or the central government employed as civilians. It does not include ministers or cabinet members or the Judiciary

There is immense importance of the civil service system in the administrative system which acts as most vital tool for governance of India. In post-independent, India civil service was reorganised. There are three tiers of administration that include Union/Central Government, State Government, and Local Government. Gradually, with time, the role of civil services has transformed that depend on the schedule of the governance of that specific period.During British period, enforcement of law and order and collection of revenue was major duty of civil services officers. After Independence, civil services has imperative role in implementing national and state policies of welfare and planned development.

The importance of the civil service to the Indian administrative system develops from the following factors:

  1. Service presence throughout the country and its strong binding character.
  2. Non-partisan advice to political leadership in the midst of political instability and uncertainties.
  3. Effective policy-making and regulation.
  4. Effective coordination between institutions of governance.
  5. Leadership at different levels of administration.
  6. Service delivery at the cutting edge level.
  7. Provide "continuity and change" to the administration.

The roles of civil servants are not It has to play both the traditional roles which it had been playing since its inception as well as the contemporary roles which are the need of the hour. It has to play both the traditional roles which it had been playing since its inception as well as the contemporary roles which are the need of the hour.

A. Traditional Roles

1.As a Collector (collecting the revenue, Issues with land, and maintenance of law and order).

2. As a District Magistrate (Maintainance of law and order, and functions of Magistrate).

3. As a Coordinator for all the agencies in the district (Coordinating hub between state and district).

4. As a Crisis Administrator (His/Her strength, leadership and performance play a major and credible role in crisis administration).

5. As a Development Officer (Role of development planning in the region where is posted).

B. Contemporary Roles:

  1. National Integration (need to ensure that the unity in diversity by taking stringent measures in case of suppression of minorities, hate speeches, voices demanding separation, communal disturbances).
  2. A change agent for the society (They are agents of change, development, administration and good governance).
  3. A whistle blower (against malfunctions and malpractices in administrative system).

Major responsibilities of civil servants to government and society:

The civil servants are dictated by the rules and procedures. Few of them are listed below:

  1. The prime responsibility of civil services executives to society is to serve the government it has elected. It denotes that civil services must offer same standard of free, frank, impartial and responsive advice, and the same level of professionalism in administration and delivery of services, policies, programs irrespective of political party in power.
  2. Another accountability of civil services executive is to openly involve in all actions within the framework of ministerial actions to government and legislature.
  3. Policy formulation and Policy implementation.
  4. Specifically, civil servants are responsible for public interest in maintaining the law and ensuring that proper procedures are followed.
  5. Civil servants has close relations with society as they serve array of services. It entails that they must adopt ethical practices to deal with public.
  6. Civil servants need to serve the society by ensuring that entitlement and services provided to it under law and government policies are delivered effectively, impartially, courteously and professionally.
  7. Civil services officers also responsive to the need of people, treating its member with courtesy and with sensitivity to their rights and aspirations.

Despite rules, responsibilities and having teeth, especially Indian administrative service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), which is hamstrung by political interference and outdated personnel procedures, need urgent reforms. Reforms are recommended to be made in the following aspects:

  1. Structure of civil service.
  2. Accountability.
  3. Recruitment criteria (Age and Caste).
  4. Performance and promotion.
  5. Capacity building and modernity.


Contibution To Society By Civil Servents

T.N. Seshan

Seshan’s name is synonymous with elections in India. A 1955 batch IAS, he is largely responsible for cleaning up India’s electoral process as the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India from 1990 to 1996. He made the elections a transparent and efficient process by strictly enforcing the law and ending malpractices like bribery and voter intimidation. He also fought, largely successfully against using official machinery for campaigning, distributing liquor during the elections, appealing to voters’ caste or communal feelings, using places of worship for campaigns and using loudspeakers and high volume music without prior written permission. He was responsible for bringing a progressive and autonomous election commission. Seshan, as an IAS, used his power to change the existing system for the better.

Kiran Bedi

The first woman IPS officer of India is a well-known figure. She, during her various posts in Delhi, Goa and Mizoram showed a lot of guts in standing up to politicians and enforcing the law strictly, without bias or fear. She has done commendable work in dealing with the drug menace as well as in humane reformation of Delhi’s notorious Tihar Jail. Currently, she is the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. She had taken voluntary retirement in 2007 as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development. Bedi won the Ramon Magsaysay award in 1994 and the United Nations Medal in 2004.

Narendra Kumar

Nagendra Kumar was a 2009 batch IPS officer who paid the ultimate price for doing his duty sincerely. In March 2012, he was overrun by a stone-laden tractor trolley which belonged to the illegal mining mafia, in Morena, MP. He was the Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Banmur and was acting on a tip-off about illegal mining activity in that area. He was only 30. His death sparked a debate on the uninhibited illegal stone mining in India.

U. Sagayam

U. Sagayam is a senior IAS officer serving in Tamil Nadu, who has exposed a lot of corruption including illegal granite-mining in the Madurai area. His forthright ways have antagonised a number of politicians and influential people. As expected, he has been transferred over 20 times in 20 years. His office door bears a sign reading “Reject bribes, hold your head high”. He is known for ensuring a clean election in Madurai in 2011. In 2014, the court appointed him Special Officer-cum-Legal Commissioner for investigating all mining operations in Tamil Nadu.

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