New Delhi. The UPSC Foundation Day Lecture Series on Governance got underway with speech by President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisinh Patil. The theme for the inaugural lecture was ‘Governance and Public Service’. In her address, the President said that public service needs to meet the challenges of the 21st century as there is a repositioning of the whole concept of good governance. Advocating a people-centric administration with local institutions playing a lead role, she emphasized cooperation and coordination among all levels of administration. The President said that public servants must have firm moorings to moral values and principles and exhorted them to introspect on how they can reflect these values in their functioning. She emphasized on building a caring administration.
The Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Shri Prithviraj Chavan, in his address said, civil service must reinvent itself to meet the public expectation in the changing times. It should strive to become more professional by acquiring newer skills and a mindset of accepting change. Shri Chavan said that the Government and UPSC are in a dialogue on reforms in several areas of public service and this should result in far-reaching reforms.
Chairman UPSC, Prof. D.P. Agrawal in his address said that UPSC is convinced of the need for important changes in the method of recruitment to the higher civil services. The Commission has recommended to the Government that a Civil Services Aptitude Test replace the exiting Civil Services (Preliminary) examination, he added. As per the proposal, there will be two objective type papers common to all candidates. The emphasis will be on testing the aptitude of the candidate for the demanding life in the civil service as well as on the ethical and moral dimensions of decisionmaking. He said that the proposed scheme will have the advantages of (a) testing candidate’s decision making skills and aptitude for civil services, and (b) Providing a level playing field and equity, since all candidates will have to attempt common papers. Shri Agrawal also felt that a reduction in the number of attempts allowed at the CSE to the candidates is called for.
The Chairman further said that there is a need to ensure that the performance of officers selected through CS Exam is tracked, particularly during the initial, formative years. The Commission may also be kept apprised of the feedback so that this can be factored into the selection process for future entrants. The Chairman said that the Commission receives over a million applications for all the 14 regular examinations and other recruitment it conducts every year. The Commission is also contemplating moving to examination through computers, once this step is approved by the Government, he added. Shri Agrawal also detailed the activities of the UPSC which have gone up substantially ever since the Commission was setup 83 years ago.
The senior most member of the UPSC, Prof. K.S. Chalam, delivered the welcome address. Secretary UPSC Shri Alok Rawat proposed a vote of thanks.