Civil Service is regarded as the backbone of any state. People who govern the civil
services are called civil servants. They are the representatives of the state and their immense
responsibility is to maintain social order, perform public services impartially and create
harmony in between the public servants and the populace. It is in this connection that the
public expects them to represent them by solving their grievances. The problem arises when
these civil servants instead of serving the public serve their political masters or those with
whom the power lies. Also, the political bosses want them to serve their agenda
wholeheartedly what may come.
Undoubtedly, the political class has become so powerful that it does not leave any stone
unturned in controlling the civil servants who by dint of fear of transfer and posting have
become subservient to their political supervisory. The professional commitment of the civil
servants have been changed and transformed into personal allegiance to one political master to
the other because they know that over the period of time they have become so powerful that
they can penalize them or can send them to somewhere where no one actually wants to get
In the pre-partition tenure when the British was ruling the subcontinent, the quality of
that times of a civil servant who was known as an ICS officer was matchless. In the post-
partition period, the civil services have been aligned to the requirements of the political
executives. Hence, in the democratic governance, the civil servants have no choice but to be
subservient to the politicos or else they will be sidelined. The point to ponder here is to know
what went wrong with the structure of the service that was once remarkably infested with
quality and excellence.
Civil servants are recruited through the sheer competitive exams. The reason to select
officers via the toughest examination is to induct the finest human resource into the services. It
them who then have to take the reins of the state in future. The selection criteria is purely
based on the tutelage of merit; however, the subsequent story is infested with strong political
nexus and having unbridled access to an impeachable lobby in the service. This notion has
politicized the retention, promotion and reward system for civil servants. Thus the overall
bureaucratic structure becomes vulnerable to political vivisection.
Political executives are weary of their political constituencies and the grievances of the
voters. They need some strong officers with the quality of both head and heart that can help
them retain the confidence of their voters. The posts like Commissioners, DIGs, DCs and SSPs
and Administrative Secretaries come under the tutelage of high sensitivity for political
governments. The civil servants while making choice for their placements do cost-benefit
analysis meticulously. They know that they can be given rewards in the guise of important
assignments and lucrative positions and on the other hand can be imposed penal cost by
removing them from their sought after position.

If the civil servants are given chances to work in an environment which is free from fear,
and endowed with career progression opportunities based on institutional mechanism, they
will perform better than their counterparts in other states. They will earn much public-respect
and trust. But, the progress and prosperity in career management must not by pass the
supervisory of political executives over them. Civil servants must be held accountable for their
actions and be bestowed with both the rewards and punishment so that the dignity and
integrity of the service can be upheld.
The de-politicization of the civil service demands that the transfers, postings, and
promotion of the civil servants must not be made on ad hoc and arbitrarily basis. Rather, a
broad mechanism which is already provided by the constitution must be engineered and made
effective in providing the civil servants legal protection when it comes to undue political
Putting it into a nutshell, engagements between the civil servants and their political
executives must be reincarnated. The public services provided by the civil servants play a vital
role in harnessing the public attention. The public wants their grievances resolved and the
services of the civil servants at their disposal. But, the unbridled prevailing clash between the
political executives and the civil servants is instigation institutional confrontation out of which it
is only the public that is suffering to a great extent. It is, for this reason that many bright minds
do not want to join the service. Indeed, the civil service provides the finest and upright career in
the government, but due to the egregious working mechanism they do not want to make civil
services as their career. Cultivating harmony amongst between the two echelons of the
state—political executives and the civil servants—is sine qua non for the induction of the
brightest minds into the service only then it can be de-politicized and can become an example
of impeachable efficiency and effectiveness.

Saqib Jamal Khan
Lecturer, Professional Trainer & Management Consultant


Ranjeet Kumar

Management Consultant & Success Coach

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