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Reforming the civil services

V Eshwar Anand’s article, “Civil Services: The blunted edge” (Perspective, Jan 25) was timely and thought provoking. A Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree seems an essential requirement for middle and top level administrators today.

Consider the scenario in the corporate sector. The business managers are invariably MBAs irrespective of their basic qualifications in engineering, medicine, etc. Consequently, why shouldn’t our civil servants be MPAs?

In most countries, the MPA degree includes a substantial element of management education along with public policy and public administration, thereby bringing it closer to the MBA degree.

In the past 25 years, Indian public administration has been facing a big problem. Parents mindlessly force their wards to prepare for the IIT entrance and the Pre-Medical Test as early as when they are in Class IX. As a result, two sets of students emerge: those who couldn’t make it to the IIT/; and those who made it but interested to try for IAS. They don’t consider the wastage of the nation’s precious resources in making them IITians or doctors.

In this age of specialisation, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission should recommend the MPA as the basic qualification for civil services aspirants together with the 12 functional domains of civil services as mentioned in the article.

O.P. WADHWA,Head, Public Admn,Pt NRS Govt College, Rohtak


Today’s IAS officers are no match for their predecessors soon after Independence. The degeneration started after politicians started twisting the steel frame to suit their narrow partisan ends.

Consider the Deputy Commissioners’ style of work and conduct then and now. In the fifties, the DCs (of the ICS vintage) were very courteous and helpful. They used to help redress a citizen’s grievance within a few minutes. But today, files don’t move even after repeated reminders, let alone getting the DC’s darshan.

To begin with, the administrators should change their attitude towards the people. Only then, things will improve.


Consumer rights

No one has the right to betray customers. There are unlimited laws which protect the rights of the customers. However, despite such laws, customers are cheated. This is shocking.

I endorse Pushpa Girimaji’s opinion in her column (Spectrum, Jan 4) that customers can take collective action to protect their rights.

True, when people unite, it would be much easier for them to safeguard their interests and protect their rights.

Whenever the consumer rights are in danger, collective action is a must. For example, if some dairy resorts to milk adulteration or some other malpractice, then collective action like boycott by all the consumers must be used against the proprietor concerned or company.

RAMESHINDER SINGH SANDHU, Student, Lucerne, Switzerland

The fourth largest religious sect

The criticism of my book, A Story of the Sikhs (Spectrum, Feb 1) was unjust. It does not pretend to be history; it only expounds philosophical and religious views against the background of historical incidents.

I quote John A. Hutchinson, a world authority on religions, “...But it is also a fact that today’s Islam’s 500 million adherents are scattered over the world” (Paths of Faith, McGraw-Hill, p. 393).

It supports my statement that the Muslims are the fourth largest religious sect. Same is the view of the renowned historian Ishwari Prasad.

As regards the critic’s objection to my describing the Punjab as not being a part of India, I quote the great intellectual giant Nirad C. Chaudhuri, “...the land of five rivers, or of the seven rivers as it was called in ancient times, did not form part of India, nor does it do so now. Geographically, it belongs to the Middle Eastern Zone. Culturally, it must have passed to that region very early, even if it did not form an outlier of Western Asia from the very beginning of human life...” (Continent of Circe, Jaico, p. 43).

Religiously, culturally and linguistically, Punjab is different from the rest of India. I do not feel obliged to succumb to the views of those which are opposed by glaring realities.




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