General Studies Paper 2 (Indian Governance): Civil Servants

Civil Services

IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)


Syllabus: General Studies Paper 2 (Indian Governance)


‘Civil Servants play key role in nation building’. Analyse the statement in the Indian context.



In the process of governance, which involves several sets of activities to deliver effective services to people, civil service plays a pivotal role in providing shape to policies that reflect people’s needs and put their suggestive, analytical and informative roles to implement the policies. It is recognized that civil service plays a crucial role in all societies whether developed or developing. Civil services in a developing society like India play a very important role.



In parliamentary system, it is the political executive (responsible to the legislature) who determines policies and programmes of government. The implementation and administration of these policies and programmes is the responsibility of the civil servants who, by virtue of their training and professional experience, are well versed in the actual functioning of government.


Civil servants play key role in nation building

A civil servant is a man of integration and dedication to duty. He is the instrument who turns all the programmes and policies of government into reality. It is he who ensures that the benefits of various governments’ programmes reach the poor and the targeted section of society.

  • Role in socio- economic development
    • The governments of developing countries have the huge responsibility to bring about all round development of their societies. Several programmes have been launched to this end by the respective governments.
    • To develop agriculture, civil servants properly manage community resources such as land, water resources, forests, wetlands and wasteland development.
    • To facilitate industrial development, infrastructural facilities such as roads, electricity, communications, market centres etc have to be provided. In these countries, the civil service manages government owned business, industrial enterprises and public utility services. 
  • Functions in relation to developmental activities
    • Setting right developmental goals and priorities for agriculture, industry, education, health, communications etc.
    • Formulation and implementation of strategies and programmes for the development and modernisation of the nation.
    • Mobilisation of natural, human and financial resources and their proper utilization for accomplishing developmental objectives.
    • development of human resources to secure the necessary managerial skills and technical competence to carry out the developmental tasks
    • Creation of new administrative organisations and improving the capacity of the existing ones for the developmental purposes.
    • Securing the support of the people for developmental activities by involving them in the process of development by creating appropriate attitude towards the socio-economic changes that are taking place in society.
    • Promotion of clean and green environment and protection of human rights.
  • Developing a sense of nationhood
    • Several divisive forces such as communal and ethnic conflicts, caste feuds and regional rivalries often threaten the national unity.
    • In order to develop a sense of nationhood among the people the civil servants work towards to resolve the sub-national and sub-cultural differences among the people. 
  • Delegated Legislation
    • Delegated legislation is also known as executive legislation or subordinate legislation. This is a quasi-legislative function performed by the civil service.
    • Due to lack of time, pressure of work and increased complexities of legislation the legislative makes laws in skeleton form and delegate’s power to the executive to fill in the details.
    • Thus, civil servants make the sub-laws, rules and regulations, but within the limits of the parent law enacted by the legislature.
  • Administrative Adjudication
    • This is a quasi-judicial function performed by the civil service.
    • The civil servants settle disputes between the citizens and the state.
    • For this purpose, the Administrative Tribunals with judges are established.
    • The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Industrial Tribunals, Rent Tribunals and Railway Rates Tribunals are some of the examples of such tribunals in India. These tribunals function outside the ordinary court system.


Challenges faced by civil servants

Though Civil servants play a major role in nation building, they also face many challenges which hinder their working procedure.

  • Rigid organization structures and cumbersome procedures
  • Elitist, authoritarian, conservative outlook.
  • Men in bureaucracy fulfil segmental roles over which they have no control. Consequently, they have little or no opportunity to exercise individual judgment.
  • The requirement that a bureaucrat should follow the principles of consistency and regularity automatically limits his capacity to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • The general rules which may take for overall efficiency produce inefficiency and injustice in individual cases.
  • Civil services difficulty to cope with uncertainty and change is a key limit on its efficiency


Reforms needed in civil services

  • The development work needs some flexibility from a strict observance of rigid rules and regulations. Rigid rule bound bureaucracies should be changed into flexible and action oriented.
  • Reforms are required in the field of recruitment of civil servants so that right people could be recruited who can ensure smooth functioning of democracy.
  • Training of civil servants should be able to bring about behavioural and attitudinal changes.
  • Administrative procedures, rules and regulations need to be simplified so that red tapism could be minimized; Decentralization of authority and collegiate decision making; de-emphasis of hierarchy in the administrative structure.
  • Adoption of modern management techniques such as management by objectives; elimination of corruption so as to secure clean, honest, impartial and efficient administration creation of new work culture and encouraging creativity.



A civil servant is a multi-tasker. He implements the declared policies of the government without fear or favour. He assists the politicians in drawing out the policies and programmes for the progress of society. But it is a matter of great concern that process of administration is declining every day. The materialist attitude of society has caused great erosion in the professional ethics of the civil servant. He has an indifferent attitude towards the progress of the nation. It highlights the growing corruption among the civil servant. We all are familiar with fodder scam, uniform scam, and flood scam, to name a few. They all cast a negative aspersion on his role. Impartiality, commitment, sincerity, devotion, etc. are the dignity of the past. A civil servant should maintain its sanctity. He should work selflessly for the nation. He has a prominent role in the progress of our society.


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