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Government planning centre for good governance: Cabinet secretary


New Delhi : The government is thinking of setting up a centre for good governance to get focused feedback for improving delivery of its programmes, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth has said, adding civil servants need to respond to changes brought about by growth of technology especially internet.

Speaking on “Civil Service Reforms” at a lecture here Saturday, Seth said training facilities were not adequate for large pool of government employees and competency-based human resource practices require capacity building.

“(The government is) thinking of setting up a centre for good governance to carry on research on governance in a focused way …and advise government to improve delivery aspect,” he said.

Seth said there was need to look at suggestions for increasing domain knowledge of a particular area among civil servants and reducing volatility of their tenures.

“There is need to constantly perk up morale of civil services,” he said.

He said issues were getting more complex than they were 30 years ago and there was need for wider consultations.

Dwelling on the perception that civil servants were wary of taking decisions due to fear of being investigated for complaints, he said “honest mistakes” should not be held against an official.

Referring to demands on civil servants, he said they now play role of a “consensus-builder” and need to have ability to process real-time data.

Seth said government departments were embracing social media as “a large body of people” look at these sites and react to the information.

He said civil servants also need to feel comfortable in interacting with media.

“With the growth of internet techniques of protest also going to change. We also need to change,” he said.

He said some government departments had begun to put their discussion papers on the net in a sign of change in their processes.

Seth also noted that legislations such as Lokpal bill and electronic services bill will affect the way the civil service functions.

Former cabinet secretary Prabhat Kumar said Indian bureaucracy was lampooned by media and certain other sections but there were hundreds of civil servants who had initiated creative ideas.

“There are good points… there are also bad points… what irks me is total obliteration of brilliant work,” he said.

He said that the administrative structure of the country had been famously referred to as “steel frame.”

Planning Commission member and another former cabinet secretary B. K. Chaturvedi, who chaired the event, said mutual respect between politician and civil servant has gone down, partly due to a feeling of mistrust.

The event was organised by the IC Centre of Governance, Asian Institute of Transport Development and the India International Centre.