Kiran Aggarwal Committee Report (2014) "IAS Professional Course (Phase I)"

IAS Professional Course (Phase I)

(i) Duration: The IAS Professional Course (Phase I) or Phase I, as it is commonly known, commences immediately upon the conclusion of the FC in mid-December. The course is of 26 weeks (6 months) duration and normally ends in mid-June of the following year. It comprises the following:

  1. Classroom instruction – 15 weeks
  2. End-of-course examination – 1 week
  3. Winter Study Tour (WST) – 8 weeks
  4. BPST Attachment – 1 week
  5. Block leave after WST – 1 week

The objectives of the Course9 have been stated as follows:

a. To acquire a pan-Indian perspective of emerging socio-economic and politico-legal trends; an understanding of the emerging role of the IAS and its shared administrative responsibilities with other services;
b. To acquire knowledge and skills needed to discharge administrative responsibilities in the first decade of career in the following areas:

  1. Law and legal instruments
  2. Administrative rules, procedures and programme guidelines
  3. Modern management tools
  4. Economic analysis

c. To demonstrate proficiency in the regional language of the allotted state to better appreciate its administrative and cultural ethos;
d. To acquire an understanding on the cultural and socio-economic background of the allotted state;
e. To demonstrate effective written/ oral communication skills, both in inter-personal and organizational context;
f. To exhibit right values and attitudes;
g. To maintain physical fitness; and
h. To adhere to the spirit of “Sheelam Param Bhushanam”.

(ii) Curricular Inputs: The Phase I entails a total of around 300-plus hours of teaching spread across the various faculties that are taught and also sessions on ICT and Language. The course is thematically divided into weekly modules that form the focus of most teaching in that particular week. The list of modules covered (as in Phase I of 2013 batch) is as follows:

  1. Week 1 – IAS in perspective
  2. Week 2 – Land Administration
  3. Week 3 – Elections, Decentralization and Rural Development
  4. Week 4 – Agriculture, Irrigation & PDS, Health & Education
  5. Week 5 – Infrastructure & PPPs
  6. Week 6 – Urban Development
  7. Week 7 – Engineering Skills, Project Management
  8. Week 8 – Environment & Climate Change, Disaster Management
  9. Week 9 – Public Finance, Audit & Procurement
  10. Week 10 – Disadvantaged groups & Minorities
  11. Week 11 – Office Management
  12. Week 12 – Leadership & HRM
  13. Week 13 – District Administration
  14. Week 14 – Law and Order
  15. Examinations
  16. Week 15 – Innovations Conference

In addition to the weekly modules, teaching inputs on Law, Political Concepts and Constitution, Economics, and Organizational Behaviour are imparted through the length of the course. Similarly, 25 sessions each on language, i.e. state language of the allotted cadre, and ICT are spread through the entire duration of the course.

(iii) Co-curricular Inputs: In comparison to the FC, the Phase I is slightly modest in its focus on co-curricular inputs. However, to supplement the curricular instruction, the following activities are normally organized in Phase I:

  1. Weekend Trek
  2. Zonal Days – 5
  3. Extra-Curricular Module
  4. Activities of Clubs and Societies

As in the FC, Trainees undergo mandatory Physical Training for one hour on all working days in the Course. They are also expected to acquire basic proficiency in horse riding.

(iv) Winter Study Tour: The IAS Officer Trainees have been historically taken for a Winter Study Tour (popularly known as Bharat Darshan) in Phase I. This is an eight-week tour where Trainees broken into 10 groups (of 15-18 each) traverse the country covering various attachments along a pre-designated route. In the last week, the groups converge in Delhi for common attachments. The various attachments in a typical group itinerary (over an 8-week period) are as follows:

  1. Army attachment – 10-12 days
  2. IAF attachment – 3 days
  3. Navy attachment – 3 days
  4. Public Sector attachment – 3-5 days
  5. Private Sector attachment – 3 days
  6. Attachment in naxal-affected/ insurgency district – 3-5 days
  7. Attachment with district administration – 3 days
  8. Attachment with NGO – 3 days
  9. Attachment with Forest/ Island administration – 4-5 days
  10. NSG attachment – 2 days
  11. Miscellaneous attachments & local sightseeing

The Academy aims to expose the Trainees to both the diversity of India as well as to some of the governance challenges and also provide exposure to administrative best practices. The attachments with the three Armed Forces (and more recently also with NSG) have traditionally formed an important component of the WST.

(v) Pedagogical Issues: The Trainees are divided into quarter groups for classroom instruction, with some sessions being delivered in half-groups as well as plenary especially in the case of guest speakers. Case Studies are sometimes even attempted in 1/8 group size to allow for better class participation. The predominant teaching method comprises lectures which are supported by seminars, case studies, films, management games and role play exercises. The Academy is planning to introduce the “flipped classroom” method (wherein a recorded lecture is seen online and is followed by intensive seminar work on given cases) in its Economics teaching in the current Phase I course.

(vi) Evaluation: As in the FC, evaluation consists broadly of two main heads, i.e. examinations and the Director’s Assessment. The assessment under examinations comprises of end-of-course examinations, mid-term examinations and concurrent evaluation on the various faculties taught. The Director’s Assessment includes assessment on Language and ICT as well as other co-curricular activities, including writing a 5000-word Term Paper on an issue pertaining to the allotted State cadre.