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Essence Of Mission Karmayogi Is That Training Can Be Powerful Tool For Improving Public Service Delivery

We have covered more than 15 departments where we have done one or more interventions, touching about 5 per cent of 3 million civil servants

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In the latest episode of Policy Square, we dive into a conversation on Mission Karmayogi, with Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman of the Capacity Building Commission and  Hemang Jani, Secretary of the Capacity Building Commission. 

In April 2021, Prime Minister Modi launched Mission Karmayogi and the Capacity Building Commission for civil services capacity building as mid-career and continuous learning programme. Can you highlight the triggers which would have proved to be the backdrop for the launch of Mission Karmayogi? 

Adil Zainulbhai: The idea is for the government and the civil services to deliver what is required by the civil services for citizens and the country. Each civil servant must be equipped with the right training, capabilities, systems, and tools necessary to deliver. That’s what we are trying to achieve with Mission Karmayogi.  

Hemang Jani: To prepare the 21st century civil servants to deliver on public service and national goals, we need to create an enabling environment, and that is the essence of Mission Karmayogi, which is to create a path of action for every civil servant.  

According to you, what should be the core themes when we speak of capacity building at the macro level? 

AZ: First of all, India has 3.1 million civil servants. It is unlikely that a single approach would work for all. Let’s consider two extremes for better understanding. For the people on the street, the government is the police, railway ticket clerk etc. It is not secretary writing policy. So how do we teach that group of people the citizen-centricity and how to solve their problems. We have spent most of our time in railways and postal service to create a sewak, rather than regulators. So we teach them how to be citizen-centric in the 10-20 points of conflicts that occur in a day.  

If we consider the other extreme, then we get a balanced idea. When we work with certain departments, they often demand to train all their officers on how to write a good memo. Even this is fundamental to government work, so on those areas we have started the course basics on how to write a memo.   

The Prime Minister has spoken about the citizen-centric approach being the soul of Mission Karmayogi. India is a large and diverse polity, so how do you foresee this being operationalised – making it citizen centric? 

AZ:  A very interesting thing was told by the Honorable Prime Minister when we informed him that it is a very complicated task – the Hon’ble Prime Minister said that whenever we have tried to change everything, nothing changes. So why don’t we focus on one task that is training of our civil services, with a focus on making the central civil services more citizen friendly to streamline our intervention. 

HJ: Globally, training has become a secondary activity. But the essence of Mission Karmayogi is that training can be a powerful tool for improving the public service delivery, to develop civil servants into new individuals, to develop the organisation as an agency to improve the state’s capacity. So, where the citizen roles come in, when we do any training for any citizen facing staff, citizen feedback and expectation is at the centre.   

Coming to the question of generalist vs specialist and especially around the IAS it is often said that they are not specialists. What is your view on this and what did some of the surveys reflect?  

AZ: If you look at all the cadres, the IAS, IFS and 23 combined account for less than other government employees. The IAS is a very small group of people. So there are two fundamentals – one, we are not just training the IAS officer, and two it is not our mandate to comment on what they should and shouldn’t know.  

The question of generalist vs specialist does not matter. Our goal is to deliver on the ground and we have to be intensively practical.  

Does the CBC see a role for setting aspirations and become future ready for 2047? 

HJ: As I have already mentioned that any capacity building without any North Star does not give you enough results. Ultimately what are our North Stars -- they are $5-trillion economy, goals of Atmanirbhar Bharat, goals for 2047 Amrit kaal, goals of delivering citizen services, improving ease of living for all.  

What has been the response in terms of the intention of capacity building as well as the need to accommodate changes in the status quo that would result from such capacity building programme? 

HJ: The response has been overwhelming and better than what we imagined. People were waiting to be asked what they wanted to learn. We have covered more than 15 departments where we have done one or more interventions, touching about 5 per cent of 3 million civil servants. So far, we have got very encouraging results. 

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