The implementation of recruitment in the armed forces for a short tenure is seen as being a highly efficient way of selecting of highly motivated young minds. Can the same be successful for civil services? Discuss in 250 words.

Introduction: Recently, the Defence ministry launched the Agniveer scheme which allows it to reject 75% of the candidates after four years of service in the Army. This is expected to induce competitive spirits in the candidates and make the armed forces younger. Similar competitive and younger minds are desirable in civil services.

Advantages of short tenure for Civil servants:

  • Greater Accountability: Lack of evaluation is one of the major reasons for poor performance and lack of accountability of the Civil servants as pointed out by the 2nd ARC report. Compulsory exit based on performance can help in this regard.
  • Young officers: Early exit would keep the civil services young and would help in the inculcation of new energy and ideas by tapping into the young demographic dividend of the country.
  • Supports lateral entry and exit: The 2nd ARC calls for both lateral entries as well as an exit for better accountability of the services.
  • Many services require young officers: for example, the police force ought to remain young to enable them to keep up with the criminals.
  • Better performance: It will push the officers out of their comfort zone and challenge them.
  • Improving the top-heavy organizations: There are huge vacancies at the lower levels for the civil officers, whereas the All-India Services (AIS) is top-heavy. Short tenure services can improve this situation.

Disadvantages of short tenure for Civil servants:

  • Favouritism and partiality: To remain in service the officers might resort to favouritism of the government and remain partial to the political leaders in power.
  • Transparency: The criteria for promotion in civil services currently are highly subjective and opaque. There is a concern that a similar attitude might be followed for the exit of the civil servants.
  • More infrastructure to train higher number of recruits: Given that already existing training facilities are often seen as inadequate, this shall remain a big challenge.
  • Fiscal pressure: Early retirement and investment in infrastructure for training etc. would create more fiscal pressure for the government, which already faces a high burden of salaries and pensions.
  • Issue of reservation:  there is a disproportionately lower number of SCs and STs at the top level of the government; Early exit might skew the proportion even more.

Conclusion: There is still a general sense of complacency that we get from the system, for which the short tenure entry can be refreshing for the system. The government has experimented with lateral entry for short tenure recently at a small scale. The experience from this experiment can be used to implement it.  


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