Kiran Aggarwal Committee Report (2014) "Content & Duration of Induction Training of IAS Officers - II"



c. District Training: The Committee observes that while District Training forms a critical component of Induction Training, there is great variation across states in both its design and quality. In this regard, we would like to make the following recommendations with regard to District Training:

  1. There is a strong and felt need to standardize the design of District Training across various state cadres. The Ministry should incorporate the same in the IAS Training related Regulations to preclude any deviation by the states.

  2. The curricular instruction at the State ATI should be integrated into the learning continuum, i.e. it should build upon the learning outcomes in the professional training at the Academy. This is presently more by default than through conscious design.

  3. Training at the State ATI should entail a short debriefing (of 2-3 days) at the end of District Training before the Trainees return to the Academy for Phase II.

  4. A special workshop must be convened by DoPT and Academy with Heads of ATIs to develop a common training programme for achieving the desired outcomes.

  5. A structured mechanism needs to be evolved at the State level to select good Collectors with whom IAS Officer Trainees may be attached for District Training. This could be done by a Committee comprising of the Chief Secretary, Head of ATI and Secretary Personnel/ GAD.

  6. A system of mentorship must also be introduced wherein one or two senior officers (of middle-level seniority) may be designated as mentors for every Trainee joining the state. Such a system exists in Rajasthan and Punjab and should be emulated by all state cadres.

  7. The Committee underscores the need to provide structured independent charges (of BDPO, Tehsildar and Executive Officer of Municipality) to enable more effective learning during District Training.

  8. The evaluation structure of District Training must be reviewed and greater weightage (upto 50%) accorded to the assessment by the District Collector and State ATI. Currently it forms less than 10% which does not incentivize both Collectors and State ATIs to exercise close oversight on the activities of the Trainee/s under their respective charges. It is, therefore, suggested that all assignments done in the district should be jointly evaluated by the District Collector and the Academy. Arguably, the Collector may even be better placed than the Academy to assess the diligence and initiative displayed by the Trainee as well as to appreciate the quality of the output.

  9. A video-conference should be held by the State Counselor (at the Academy) with all Trainees (in a cadre) and the State ATI every two months during District Training for feedback and assessment of the Trainees’ progress.

d. IAS Professional Course (Phase II): The Committee observes that the present design and delivery of Phase II is not achieving the desired outcomes and would like to recommend the following:

  1. The design of the Phase II needs to be modified keeping in view the intended outcomes. The design should seek to cover through structured discussions and seminars on thematic areas taken up for coverage during Phase I. This would also help in better achieving the outcomes, albeit in reduced time of six weeks.

  2. The present system of multiple presentations by Officer Trainees should be curtailed as this has significant opportunity costs, especially in terms of time for other inputs. For assessment purposes, Officer Trainees may be asked to send a soft copy of their presentation to the Faculty Coordinator for assessment. The best or representative reports and presentations may be then taken into plenary or half-groups for discussion.

  3. The effective SDO, CEO, Municipal Commissioner and DM Seminars should be continued. These could be improved and redesigned in a more effective manner through a focus-group discussion involving the faculty and some former Trainees.

  4. The Academy should build-up a base of cadre-specific knowledge on all critical aspects of public administration which can be effectively used by Trainees in the following years.

  5. The Foreign Study Tour has been in vogue since 2010 and many other services have also provided for such visits. The Committee observes that the first four-five years of service would be better devoted by IAS officers to knowing their sub-division, district, state and country. Hence a 2-week Foreign Study Tour in the 4-5th year of service (at the end of SDM-ship) may be considered where Trainees could be taken as a batch (or in 2-3 groups of 50-60 each) for a structured tour abroad. This would enable a young IAS officer to better appreciate how things are done differently in other countries and be in a position to replicate some of their best practices in the Indian context. The Committee proposes for the Government’s consideration that a larger view needs to be taken on the rationale of sending Officer Trainees of various services abroad. Till a final view is taken on the subject, the Committee recommends reducing the duration of the Foreign Study Tour for IAS Officer Trainees to one week and covering one country instead of the present two week tour to two countries.

(iv) Delivery of training inputs: The Committee would like to accord the greatest primacy to updating the present pedagogical methods in use at the Academy. All efforts must be made to reorient the focus to the imperatives of “adult learning” and devising suitable strategies to effectively engage the Trainees, both within and outside the classroom. More specifically, the Committee recommends the following:

  1. The overwhelming reliance on lecture method must be reduced and the use of case method, seminars, role plays, films, simulation exercises and group project work must be significantly increased as part of “blended learning”.

  2. The Academy should seek to harness the benefits of ICT and incorporate the pedagogy of “flipped classroom” wherein lectures are webcast (or available for online viewing) and class time is utilized for seminars to provide for closer and more intensive discussion to foster greater learning.

  3. Some aspects of the curricula, that are amenable to online viewing, may be considered for conversion to ICT-enabled online platforms. This can be used to support face-to-face classroom instruction. To illustrate, language instruction may be strongly aided by use of such techniques.

  4. The course content and reading materials as a complete learning resource should be provided ex-ante to allow Trainees to allocate their time in a course more effectively. In the case of the FC, this may be done online at least 30 days prior to the formal commencement of the programme.

  5. The Trainees must be made active partners in every training course by assessing their training gaps and individually tailoring the course in a bespoke manner.

  6. Entry-level testing in key disciplines should be done immediately upon commencement of the FC to address the individual training gaps in every Officer Trainee. Additional orientation classes may be organized outside of class hours (for slow track Trainees) in the initial weeks of the course. Some of the more proficient Officer Trainees may be involved in peer coaching for which additional credit may be given in the Director’s Assessment.

  7. Specific time should be allocated for self-study/ group work in a structured manner to foster better internalization of training inputs.

  8. Evaluation of Trainees must also be modified in accordance with the changed pedagogical approach with not more than 50% weightage for end-of-course examinations. The faculty must be trained in use of modern e-techniques to gauge and effectively assess classroom participation in a more objective manner.

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(v) Other recommendations: In addition to the specific recommendations made on the above mentioned aspects of Induction Training, the Committee would like to propose the following changes for the consideration of Government:

 Age of entry: As the age of entry has a close linkage with training outcomes in general, the Committee observes that a healthy balance must be struck between
affording additional opportunity in terms of age and chances to candidates with disadvantaged or rural backgrounds, with the need to make entrants more amenable to institutional training. The Committee suggests that any future decisions regarding revision of maximum age of entry should be carefully considered and must factor the consequent implications on training.

Common Foundation Course: The Committee takes note of the unique nature of the Foundation Course and would recommend taking all necessary steps towards the conduct of a common Foundation Course for the three All-India Services and Central Services (Group A). It has been pointed out by the Academy that it may be possible to accommodate around 450 Officer Trainees in the FC after the construction of new hostels and classrooms in the next two years. The Committee is cognizant of the limitations of infrastructure at Mussoorie in accommodating the entire group of 600-plus Trainees. It, therefore, proposes that, firstly, the three All-India Services must train together given their close interaction, both at the state level and in the central government. The balance slots may be filled by Trainees drawn from other Central services. Secondly, a more strategic view needs to be taken by the Ministry and LBSNAA towards strengthening certain partner training institutions for joint delivery of the FC over the next decade, under the overall charge of LBSNAA.

Gap Analysis: The Committee also proposes for the consideration of the Government that a Gap Analysis should be ideally carried out 30 days prior to the commencement of the Foundation Course. This could be done through an online questionnaire and would aid the respective training academies in better conducting the FC and ensuring greater customization of training inputs.

Curtain Raiser in Delhi: The Committee observes that while it may not be logistically possible to accommodate around 650 Officer Trainees at LBSNAA Mussoorie, the need to have a structured peer group interaction is most desirable. This could be organized by way of a 2-day Curtain Raiser at Delhi where the successful candidates (belonging to civil services that undergo the FC) could interact with each other and also be addressed by senior dignitaries and functionaries of the central government. This may ideally be organized just prior to the commencement of the FC to make it logistically convenient for candidates to report immediately thereafter at their designated training academies for the FC.

Allocation of cadres: One of the key components of Induction Training is the acquisition of proficiency in the state language of the allotted cadre. The reduction of duration of the training period, especially in the Professional Course (Phase I) and District Training, may pose significant challenges for proper language instruction for the Academy as well as the Officer Trainees. This can, however, be precluded by allocation of cadres before the commencement of the Foundation Course16. Allocating cadres before the commencement of the FC would allow for utilizing the additional 15 weeks of the FC for instruction in the respective state language. Besides, it would impart a greater sense of purpose and direction to the entire instruction in both the FC and Phase I. The Committee strongly recommends the Ministry to re-engineer its cadre allocation system and notify the cadres prior to the commencement of the FC.

Faculty at LBSNAA and State ATIs: In this regard, we propose the following:

  1. The Committee recommends that given the increased demands of conducting Induction, In-service and Mid-Career Training at the Academy, the current faculty strength must be reviewed by the Ministry. Concerted efforts must be made to create a healthy blend of serving practitioners (drawn predominantly from the IAS within the All-India and Central Services) and academic faculty.

  2. The incentive structure provided by the 6th Pay Commission to faculty serving in central training institutions (in terms of additional 30% basic pay and rent-free housing) may not be adequate to attract the best and the brightest civil servants to serve as directing staff in the Academy, and hence deserves to be revisited.

  3. Similarly, special efforts must be made to attract top quality academic faculty from higher education institutions of national repute. This may even be on short-term contracts (of two to three years) or as visiting professors (with clearly laid down contractual obligations). If necessary, the present dispensation regarding remuneration may be reconsidered by the Ministry.

  4. There is a need to position additional subordinate officers (drawn from CSS, State civil services, etc) to discharge routine administrative functions of the Academy. This would allow the directing staff to focus on the more critical aspects of training and to strive for continuous improvement in both the content and delivery of instruction at the Academy.

  5. DoPT should also impress on State ATIs and State Governments to likewise take conscious steps to improve their directing staff and academic faculty and also proactively assist in their capacity building.

The four-month long exercise undertaken by the Committee, with deliberations across various quarters, leads us to draw three salient conclusions. First, that the system of Induction training developed over time by LBSNAA Mussoorie is generally robust and undergoes incremental improvement with every course, thanks to a system of internal feedback and review. Second, that notwithstanding the former, there is a case for periodic external review involving multiple stakeholders. The last, and probably the more significant, conclusion is that there is a strong need for introducing specific changes in the system of training by making a departure from the “business-as-usual” approach.

Broadly, the Committee has presented five-pronged recommendations. Firstly, it has argued for revisiting the philosophy that anchors Induction training and making it more competency-based. Secondly, it has made out a case for reducing the duration from the present two years to around one-and-a-half years. Thirdly, it has suggested some incremental changes in the syllabus prescribed by the Ayyar Committee, keeping in view the new UPSC General Studies syllabus and also to better address the felt needs of the Trainees. The fourth set of recommendations pertain to pedagogical methods being currently employed in the Academy and bringing them up-to-date with those followed in leading higher education institutions to foster greater “adult” and “participant-centred” learning. This can be facilitated by harnessing the benefits of information technology. Lastly, certain systemic changes have also been proposed for the consideration of the Ministry that may facilitate better conduct of training at the Academy.

The Induction Training of IAS officers must be viewed as an extremely important national endeavour and little effort should be spared by both the Academy and DoPT towards ensuring its effective conduct and delivery. The delivery of quality training at the Academy will undoubtedly also have a cascading effect on the training of other higher civil services that have normally viewed LBSNAA as the exemplar in the field of training civil servants in the country. Importantly, this would go a long way in realizing the vision of Sardar Patel, the founding father of the All-India Services, for developing a professional and apolitical civil service that would keep the country intact.