TODAY -

An ideal civil servant

K Thansang *



First of all, let me attempt to define who the civil servants are- All employees of Government are called Government servants. There are two kinds of Govt. servants-those in the defence services and those in the Civil services. A civil service is a person employed to deal with the affairs of Govt. either Central or State Govt. and is popularly known as 'public servant' because he draws his salary and parks etc from the revenue paid by the general public.

Though a civil servant is generally understood to be an officer of the higher services, it is taken here to comprise of the general employees as a whole. In the context of the very nature of the job, an ideal civil servant is the one who devotes himself, heart and soul, to the service of the public in accordance with the laws of the land, and works for the furtherance of the policies and programmes laid down by the Govt. as by law established.

An ideal civil servant is expected to observe and abide by the Central civil servant (conduct) rules which are applicable to the large bulk of Govt employees working in the civil departments of Govt and similar rules made for various other categories of Govt employees. In a nutshell, Rule 3 lays down that, "a Govt servant shall, at all times, maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty".

These few words sum up the essence of all that is expected of an ideal civil servant (Govt employee). If a civil servant maintain, at all times, absolute integrity and devotion to duty, he will be observing automatically the other conduct rules such as not indulging in corrupt practices, not participating in election-politics and the like.

It will thus be seen that the conduct rules expect an ideal Govt servant to stay away from all such acts which are morally incorrect, or which interfere with the performance of his official duties efficiently. Not only he maintains absolute integrity and devotion to duty, but also should appear to be doing so, meaning that there should not be any trace of doubt of his integrity or devotion to duty externally.

An ideal civil servant is the one who carries out the three functions:-

i) Implement the declared policies of the Govt without favour or partiality.
ii) To tender sincere and honest advice while assisting political masters in the formulation of policies.
iii) Carry on the routine administration without any change in policy when there is a gap in the transfer of power of when a change occurs in the Ministry following a general election etc.

Civil servants are there to serve the people for and by whom they are appointed. By their very name, they are 'servants' of the public, not their master. The need, aspirations, problems and welfare of the people have to be addressed and attended to. The real bosses are the public.

They have to be treated well. A public servant should be courteous, polite, accessible, friendly while dealing with the public. He is expected to be hospitable to the visitors except on exceptional grounds. He should be a helper and sometimes act like a guide.

He should constantly remind himself that his assigned task is to serve the people who pay his salary out of taxes paid by them.

A Govt servant cannot be deemed 'efficient' if he shirks his responsibilities and assignments. He cannot be deemed 'ideal' either if he always absents himself from his workplace. He is expected to be in his station/set attending to duties. It is worth quoting the saying that 'availability is the route to efficiency'. Availability paves the way to being efficient.

Govt used to transfer and post its employees usually on completion of a prescribed tenure or to fill up casual vacancies or as a stop gap arrangement in the public interest.

An employee is not supposed to complain against his posting and assignment so long as it is ordered in the public interest or genuine purposes; nor is he supposed to lobby for plum posting because of the fact that a Govt servant, before entering to service, has pledged to serve anywhere either interior or exterior or such a Govt officer/employee who usually remains in a certain station of his choice for an exceedingly long period does not qualify to be an ideal one.

A carpenter knows his job well. A house-builder knows the details of his construction. A farmer knows well about farming. If so, an employee is expected to be well-conversant with his job and assignment. He has to update his knowledge and skill by acquiring additional information and skill and by attending refresher courses/trainings/seminars. He should be thoroughly conversant with the matters (with their status) dealt in the files.

A good officer is time-conscious, does things on time. As far as possible, he attends and leaves office on time. He does not indulge in pending/delaying thing and usually dispose of things timely. Piles of files lying on an officer's table is an eyesore for him.

An ideal servant does not work for either personal gain or selfish profits. He is contented with salary and does not eye for side-extra-income. His joy is in the fact that he, as an agent of God, renders service to the Govt and to the people by whom he is paid. By serving the public, he serves God, he believes. He adjusts his living standard within known source of his income meaning that he lives within his means.

He is polite, courteous not only to the people but to his fellow-employees as well. That's why he maintains a cordial relationship with them. He has no discrimination and partiality against anybody and treats them all alike. He does not hesitate to offer honest advice to his boss when necessary. It is his pleasure to please his boss by good and hard works not by greasing the palms. He does not look down upon his subordinates but treats them with dignity.

A senior officer acknowledges the capabilities, aptitudes and potentialities of the staff working under him and allocates assignments accordingly while trying to develop those abilities. He inspires, encourages, rewards them whenever appropriate. He assesses their performances and annual rolls unbiased and objectively free of personal whim and proximity.

On the other hand, he is well aware of their problems and constraints as well. Such an officer well deserves to be an ideal one. In spite of his best efforts to serve the Govt and the public to the best of his capacity, he may find himself thwarted in this direction if there is undue interference by flatterers, sycophants, elements of political nature at almost every level of day-to-day administration.

After all, an ideal civil servant is found steadfast and committed to administrative impartiality, hard work, and duty, respect for rule of law and regulation, pro-dominance of merit, truthfulness and courage.


* K Thansang wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 19 2022 .



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