Kiran Aggarwal Committee Report (2014) "Training of IAS"

Training of IAS

Arguments in favour of retention of existing training/ probation period: Broadly, the following arguments have been advanced in favour of retaining the present two-year training/ probation period:

  1. The fact that a system has existed for over half-a-century (or arguably even more) and has quite successfully stood the test of time, has been the principal argument put forward in support of retaining the current system of a two year training period. It was argued that it may not be wise to tinker with a system unless there are very cogent reasons for doing so.

  2. This is further buttressed by the fact that majority of the respondents that the Committee interacted with also were generally satisfied with the two-year duration of the training period and did not present any strong case for reducing it.

  3. It has also been argued that the training needs of the present generation of Officer Trainees have become more complex and hence any reduction in the training period may be ill-advised and may even present less understood “costs” for the nation.

  4. The Director of the Academy (who is a member of the Committee) also supported retention of the existing two-year training cycle in view of the strong feedback10 received on the existing duration by IAS officers.

  5. The Ayyar Committee and Second Administrative Reforms Commission have also advocated retaining the duration of training at two years.

  6. The Academy has recently obtained approval from AICTE to award a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Policy and Management to all IAS Officer Trainees to formally recognize their two-year Induction training. Any reduction in the duration to less than two years may not allow the Academy (in line with AICTE regulations) to award such a PG Diploma.

  7. It has also been pointed out that given the annual intake of candidates into the IAS, any reduction in training/ probation period would create a statistical “bulge” (representing a larger group than normal) only in the first year (or cycle) and not result in any net increase in the annual supply of trained civil servants subsequently.

  8. Lastly, that most civil services in the country currently have a training period of around two years has also been touted as a possible argument against reducing the training period of IAS officers where job requirements are arguably more complex.


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Arguments in favour of reduction of training/ probation period: Notwithstanding the strong case for retaining the status quo, there are equally compelling arguments made out for reducing the duration of training. The ones that merit consideration are as follows:

  1. The fact that a system has worked well should not preclude the need for objective review as to whether the time allocated for each training course is delivering the best value for money, and whether there is no possibility to economize on the same in any manner.

  2. With the rising median age of entry of IAS Officer Trainees (at around 28 years), many Trainees enter the civil service with significant work experience, of both government and private sector, making out a case for reduction in the overall training period.

  3. There is some overlap between the inputs taught currently during Induction Training and the revised UPSC General Studies syllabus.

  4. The increased median age of entry further reduces the total potential years of service that an officer may have in her/ his career, also making out a case for reducing the training/ probation period from the present two years.

  5. The advent of information technology has enabled the access and delivery of information and knowledge in a faster and more effective way. This needs to be factored into the pedagogical aspect of training at the Academy (and also in district training) and should necessarily result in some savings in terms of time.

  6. It has been the general refrain of many respondents12 that the one-year district training needs to be reviewed, especially in view of an inordinately large time allocated for attachments at the district level. It was felt that maximum learning came via exercising responsibility through independent charges.

  7. It was also observed that the content and duration of the Winter Study Tour needs to be reviewed and some of the not-so-relevant attachments dropped. Consequently, the duration should also be reduced to that effect.

  8. It has also been suggested by many officers from the younger batches of the IAS that most of the time of the Phase II course is largely comprised of individual presentations by Officer Trainees and deserves to be reduced.

  9. An important argument advanced in support of the contention is the introduction of a structured Mid-Career Training Programme (with three phases at key inflection points in an officer’s career) wherein the IAS officer would be required to attend the first round (known as Phase III and of 8 weeks duration) upon completion of 7 years of service. In addition, IAS officers now have access to short-term refresher courses after 4 years of service and are eligible for both short-term and long-term programmes abroad upon completion of 7 years of service. Certain specific training needs in the early years of service can be suitably addressed through these refresher courses.

  10. Lastly, from the State Governments’ perspective, given the general shortage of junior-level IAS officers in most states, any reduction in the training/ probation period may be welcome and would allow for longer (or more complete) tenures of IAS officers as SDMs, which are at the cutting-edge level in field administration. The Committee has noted that in many states IAS officers are being posted as CEO Zila Parishads, Municipal Commissioners or even as District Magistrates within a year of completion of their Induction Training.

In sum, gains in resource productivity coupled with both “below the line” and “above the line” benefits make out a strong case for reduction in the training period.