winds of change-part III-Domestic strategy-ch 32

32. Training for Public Services

THERE CANNOT BE two views on the importance of training for the public services. All jobs in public administration, whether high or low, involve an element of skill, and if they are to be performed at optimum efficiency, such skills have to be methodically and systematically cultivated. The employers of public personnel, no less than others, have a right to expect adequate return on the wage bill in terms of efficiency and fulfilment of public purposes.

With the proliferation of Government activity at various levels, such skills are becoming more and more diverse and complicated. To cope up with this situation, in many developed countries, a corpus of knowledge is growing on training techniques, and considerable research input is being provided to keep it abreast of the needs that are being thrown up continually by the swift pace of technological advance. We in India can ill-afford to remain unacquainted with these processes. Even if they are not useful immediately, we should not commit the historical folly of keeping our windows closed to stimulations which, if not today, would certainly be beneficial in days to come.

Apart from imparting job skills, training of public personnel in the Indian setting has another very important aspect. This is the inculcation of right attitudes among the public employees in the context of our welfare State, which functions through a constitutional and democratic process. I emphasize this point because the bulk of the administrative ethos originated in our country in the colonial period and the yardsticks with which performance could be measured then, are, to a large extent, out of date in the present context. Public functionaries, as a tool of colonial administration, had very limited tasks to perform and if they were reasonably obedient, impartial and honest, they could meet the requirements of the situation. Today, public servants are instruments of welfare and change; they have to operate in a rapidly developing situation, and as they function in a democratic setting, they have to be responsive to public aspirations.