Panel wants reduction in IAS officers' training period

The training programme for fresh IAS officers could see a radical change with a reduced training period, fewer lectures and change in syllabus if the government accepts a report prepared by a panel that is headed by a retired civil servant.

If the government accepts the report prepared by the committee headed by retired IAS officer Kiran Aggarwal, it would result in changes in the present structure of the two-year induction based training that has been operational since 1969. “There is a felt need to reduce classroom teaching and focus more on actual learning, facilitated by the use of information technology,” said a report from the “Committee to Review the Content and Duration of Induction Training of IAS Officers”.

One of the main recommendations of the panel is to reduce the training period from 103 weeks (two years) to 75 weeks (one-and-a-half years). The committee looked into the pros and cons of the move and recommended reduction saying that training requirements must be in consonance with the changing profile of entrants, easier access to learning resources, and a more dynamic external environment.

This recommendation came despite opposition from Padamvir Singh, a panel member and Director of Mussorie-based Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. The academy conducts the training for IAS officers.

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission and RVV Ayyar Committee on syllabus also disapproved of the recommendations.

At present, the induction training includes a foundation course (15 weeks), professional course-I (26 weeks), district training (54 weeks) and professional course-II (8 weeks).

While the Aggarwal committee wanted the foundation course to remain the same, it recommended a reduction in district training time to 33 weeks, Professional Course-I to 21 weeks and Professional Course-II to six weeks.

Given the general shortage of junior-level IAS officers in most states, it pointed out that any reduction in the training period may be welcomed and would allow for longer tenures of IAS officers as SDMs, which is the cutting-edge level in field administration.

The committee noted that in many states IAS officers were being posted as CEO Zila Parishads, Municipal Commissioners or even as District Magistrates within a year of completion of their induction training.

Seeking a change in syllabus, the 69-page report said the current pattern of training was established when selection took place mostly upon completion of university education.

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