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A few days ago, 19 crores in cash were seized from the residence of an IAS officer.

During the Pandemic, many IAS officers were caught on camera slapping citizens at will, many were found abusing the elderly twice their age because they ‘cracked’ an exam.

It is a travesty that the ‘steel’ frame that Sardar Patel proudly referred to has now transformed into a ‘Stale Frame’.

But why India’s Civil Services has lost its sheen?

1. Bad Incentive Structure:

You clear an ‘exam’ - that guarantees that you can never be fired from your job for your entire life.

No matter how terribly you work, or how many great initiatives you take - your promotion will be time-based (and not performance-based). That's India's civil services for you. There are ACRs - but we all know, how irrelevant they can be in many cases!

2. Inability to attract exceptional talent:

UPSC prep is a 2 years harrowing commitment. This is one reason why only a few talented people attempt this exam. The arduous exam cycle that eats up TWO YEARS of your life in an age where you can build your own infinite leverage to create impact (tech, media).

It is a gamble only those who have NOTHING to lose will take, and many talented potential civil servants go on to join McKinsey, BCG, and Private Equity, instead.

3. Exam Pattern:

When Sheryl Sandberg graduated from college, there was no internet. And today, she is the COO of one of the world's biggest Internet companies - Facebook

Our world has dramatically transformed in the last 20 years but the pattern and recruitment cycle of #IAS officers has barely changed.

It is extremely important that the right people occupy important positions for our country to grow.

If the risk associated with a lengthy exam cycle deters you from pursuing a career in civil services - write to me, we have designed an Impact fellowship for you.

India deserves free-thinking IAS officers who aren't stooges to political masters.

If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.


Author- Naman Shrivastava, Cofounder Global Governance Initiative, Ex- United Nations, Former Government of India Advisor

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