Thoughts on economics and liberty

Tag: IAS

The role of Prajapati Trivedi in modernising India’s governance

I’m pleased that Prajapati Trivedi will continue to head the performance management system of India till August 2013. To understand his approach better, I looked through slides he prepared during his tenure in the World bank, and also read a newsletter on his website.

  • What Gets Measured Gets Done
  • If you Don’t Measure Results,You Can’t Tell Success from Failure
  • If You Can’t See Success, You Can’t Reward It
  • If You Can’t Reward Success, You are Probably Rewarding Failure
  • If You Can’t See Success, You Can’t Learn From It
  • If You Can’t Recognize Failure, You Can’t Correct It
  • If You Can Demonstrate Results, You Can Win Public Support

I'm in touch with him regarding the govrank concept. He has asked good questions. I hope to tap his brain on this potential lever to improve India's governance.

Govrank is a performance benchmarking system (like freedom or corruption rankings) which can then flow into performance management systems.

I believe it is crucial for government to establish strong measurement systems for performance.

In Victoria, performance agreements are signed between the Chief Minister and Secretaries. I haven't seen these agreements personally, but presumably these are sufficiently detailed. The Government thus "purchases" the specified "services" from the bureaucracy, and Secretaries are held to account for delivery.

India doesn't have such a relationship primarily because there are no contractual arrangements between bureaucrats and the government. That needs to change. (I have written about it extensively in BFN and briefly in Times of India).

Here's what Prajapati has been up to: ( extracts from an interview he gave):

What is the aim and purpose behind the functioning of the Performance Management Division in the Cabinet Secretariat?

Through the Performance Management Division (PMD), the Government has sought to evaluate the performance of various departments and ministries in a transparent and objective manner based on measurable and verifiable results and outcomes.

So, on what basis is the performance of different ministries and departments being evaluated?
The Results-Framework Document (RFD) is the main instrument for implementing ‘performance monitoring and evaluation system (PMES).’ It is essentially an understanding between the Minister and the concerned secretary of the department regarding the key objectives for the year, action required to achieve these objectives, inter-se priorities, success indicators to measure progress in implementing actions, and targets for the year.

How has the system worked?
We got the green light from the Prime Minister to implement RFDs in September 2009. First RFDs covered a period from 1st January – 31st March 2010, and were in the nature of a pilot.

Since then, we have made huge progress in implementing RFDs in both quantitative as well as qualitative terms.

This has not been an easy journey: we have had to train and educate officials in different departments on how to formulate RFD, strategy, with the focus being on the end stakeholder consultation. We have trained some 2500 officials in the past 24 months. I am impressed how seriously most Secretaries are taking this exercise.

What about motivation to deliver?
A score of 100% implies that the department has achieved all its targets. I agree that it is important to have performance-related incentives. You will be happy to know Government has recently decided to implement the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission and introduce Performance Related Incentives in Government departments. To be eligible to receive monetary incentives, the departmental performance will have to be above 70 % against their RFD targets and they will be paid out of cost savings made during the year.



Books by Prajapati Trivedi
Articles in Economic and Political Weekly
Performance Agreements in US Government  Vol – XXXVIII No. 46, November 15, 2003 
What is India s Privatisation Policy, Vol – XXVIII No. 22, May 29, 1993 
Lack of Understanding on Memorandum of Underdtandung, Vol – XXV No. 47, November 24, 1990 
 Public Enterprise Performance Information System-A Proposal, Vol – XXIII No. 48, November 26, 1988 
Public Enterprises in India-If Not for Profit Then for What, Vol – XXI No. 48, November 29, 1986 
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1982 IAS / Civil Services batch, with 30 years service, now Additional Secretaries

I was thinking about a particular batchmate yesterday and have investigated further. There are at least a few ways to do that. 

1) The direct way is google search.

2) Persmin Civil List (which is usually outdated) can help.

3) The third way is to directly check Indiagov, by department/cadre. 

4) Through A search on this has informed me that the 1982 batch has now started getting promoted to Additional Secretary positions. E.g. K. Skandan (who looks after J&K issues) is now AS. Well done to the 1982 batch! (Here are google search results).

Networking within the batch

I operate two networks for the 1982 batch: a website and a Facebook group. In addition, friend Dalip Singh runs a Yahoo group for the 1982 batch.

Dalip Singh, for those now aware, is author of best selling Emotional Intelligence at Work.

A 30 year celebration of this batch (we joined on 1 Sept 1982) is occurring soon. For security reasons I won't mention its location. If you are from the batch, join FB/Yahoo to get the info.

This batch is going great guns and continues to work hard for India's prosperity and governance. I too am doing this, but in a different way now.

I congratulate all my batchmates for keeping up the highest standards of service in the face of disruptions and onslaughts from all sides.

List of those empanneled

The list.

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IAS – the enemy of India

There is a word of caution I thought I'd share with those who are aspiring to join the IAS and other civil services in India – that they will effectively become ENEMIES of the Indian people. There is virtually no way to escape from that outcome.

A picture below that I shared on FB (It is a slight tweak of something I found on FB):

And now some comments I shared on FB:

We DO NOT need the IAS. It is a DISASTER. We need a merit-based contractual appointment system. The IAS is poison for India. With a modern administrative system India will do FAR better. And, of course, we need excellent politicians as well. (read

[Those who join the IAS are] the implicit SUPPORTERS of corruption and socialism.

[Those who want to join the IAS] must closely watch out for the 'system'. If you allow yourself to be co-opted and therefore serve the corrupt, you will become the enemy of the people.

Reminder: My Times of India article:

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End the monstrosity called the IAS if you want to save India from total ruin

The Indian Administrative Service might have made sense in 1947, in the face of the limitations of time to work out alternative, better forms of administration. But the IAS makes no sense now.

I think it stopped making sense perhaps from 1950. Three years  from independence was enough time for the Constituent Assembly to work out a better model of civil service for India, but clearly the Constituent Assembly did not put its mind to this question, and unthinkingly brought in unprecedented job security for this hopelessly outdated colonial service.

I've explained at considerable length in BFN why the IAS must go if it doesn't reform itself. But that was written in 2006-07. That position is outdated. Today I can see clearly that the IAS did not pay heed to the writing on the wall. There is no more time for molly-coddling this service (also given that the font of its learning, LBSNAA, is no longer clean).

This TOI article explains this clearly. Mammoth corruption – TENS OF CRORES OF RUPEES. The corruption in the IAS has now become so massive one can't even dream of it size. This is clearly the WORST CIVIL SERVICE in the world. And these CORRUPT IDIOTS want government to pay for the costs of their legal defense when facing prosecution, and that they should be examined by the CBI in their offices and not in the CBI's!


Says Jayaprakash Narayan: "Civil servants are protected by Article 311 of the Constitution to give them independence. IAS officers get huge discretionary powers. They can't say 'We will have the power but no accountability'. They cannot absolve themselves of wrongdoing by saying 'We were following orders'." 

I don't think JP has said what needs to be said. This no time to merely chide or scold these die-hard corrupt incompetent people.

It is time to sent them home (or to jail).

Particularly when FAR superior alternatives are readily available (as detailed in BFN).

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