A few days back I came across a very beautiful post in Blogbharati on choice of civil services as a profession, articulating the reasons which make the services a continuing source of attraction for so many young men and women. Not long back there was another interesting article in a leading magazine on a similar subject which on the contrary indicated that a number of former civil servants were moving over to jobs in private sector since they found such jobs much more attractive and satisfying . The former civil servants now stylishly photographed in their Corporate environment were at pains to explain as to how they were now able to give output which was several times higher than what they could deliver in their previous assignments, which they found to be suffocating ( and managed to survive in the suffocation for several decades !). The two conflicting pictures need to be looked into carefully in order to ascertain as to which of the two is closer to reality.
One important information which one could make out from the article on exodus of civil servants was that the number of such senior officers was in the range of not more than two dozen in a year. Out of the massive strength of civil servants in various government jobs the departure of a handful of senior functionaries in a year hardly merits the type of sensational and glossy coverage which the media bestowed on these ex bureaucrats. Was it an impromptu attention of some serious journalist to this issue (which has little relevance or interest for majority of the readers) of social behaviour or something akin to behaviour of IPL cheer girls (who are paid for show of excitement irrespective of the stature or parentage of the players involved) will remain an issue to be pondered with.
Another important issue which calls for attention is whether the process for selection of these senior civil servants to private sector jobs was transparent and open to all others with similar experience and seniority. No doubt these civil servants while holding senior posts must have ensured that all recruitments to public services under respective departments were made through fair and transparent process .Can they say with certainity that their own exodus from civil services was preceeded by a similar exercise, or the selection process merely zeroed down on an officer who was earlier accquaintance of a corporate entity or business house.
Also, the information that substantial number of such bureaucrats were absorbed in infrastructure related companies , for which the ability to closely network with reltaed agencies including govt departments is a key job requirement , makes the situation a bit complex. Further if the challenges and opportunities to perform in Govt service are so limited and poor then what could make these officers who spent a lifetime in such inconsequential jobs , so valuable in the estimation of their new employers ? Is it their professional competence or their proximity to bureaucratic circles which constitute their ESP in the eyes of private sector employers ?
Perhaps these are uncomfortable questions which the ex bureaucrats would find unjustified on the ground that it is their personal life and career and others do not have a right to suspect their abilities or the compelling needs which prompted their new employer to call them to their service. Questions of this nature may also be considered as reflective of frustration on part of those who could not make to the Al dorado.
As civilized civil servants others may accept this argument in honour of departed senior colleagues. But one request that can be made to them is to not to belittle the civil services or present a gory picture of the scenario in order to justify their departure.
They know it well that the scenario is not as bleak , if we take into consideration the fact that we are still a nascent democracy and various social forces are still to come to a state of stable equilibrium in our management set up . The challenges before the administrators are complex, involving human beings and behavioral patterns with various conflicts within them. The country is struggling with modern administrative concepts like e governance and it will be some time before fruits of modern technology will be suitably harnessed to make the life better for common man.
We are ahead of many other countries but still have a long way to go. Till then we need pooled efforts of young and old in the civil, police and allied services to contribute in what ever humble way they can within this complex and sometimes oppressive structure. For every deserter there are thousands who know this truth and feel proud of their jobs. They may be allowed to continue without distraction and interference because the country needs their services.