“Does the civil service require any incentivisation?” This was the rhetorical question posed by Mr. T C A Srinivasa Raghavan in his talk on “The sixth pay commission: Incentivising the Civil Service”. He drew attention to the fact that in view of the tremendous discretionary powers available with the civil service, from the lowest to the highest rung, the baboo’s have enormous opportunities to amass fortunes by merely interpreting rules and procedures in their own convoluted manner and that enhancements in their emoluments have very little impact in raising their level of motivation. Quoting several anecdotes and personal instances, Mr Raghavan underlined how the nexus between politicians and civil servants had worked to the detriment of society. What is the solution? Mr. Raghavan was categorical that the situation could be retrieved only if all the discretionary powers were withdrawn from the civil servants. It was a hard – hitting and brutally frank talk.
There were several retired bureaucrats who were present and who participated in the interactive session. Quite understandably they felt that not everybody in the civil service could be tarred with the same brush, that to totally withdraw all discretionary powers would be akin to throwing away the baby with the bathwater and that the over-all scenario was not as dark as it was portrayed. Mr T C A Srinivasa Raghavan looked as pleased as the Cheshire cat as the debate raged on. The lively session was presided over by Dr. A Ravindra.