[Exclusive] Centre drops controversial proposal for introducing foundation course for civil servants before service/cadre allocation

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he controversial proposal mooted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to “examine if service allocation/cadre allocation to probationers selected on the basis of the civil services examination be made after Foundation Course. Examine the feasibility of giving due weightage to the performance in the Foundation Course and making service allocation as well as cadre allocation to All India Service Officers, based on the combined score obtained in the Civil Services Examination and the Foundation Course”, has been dropped by the Government of India for the time being.

In a response to an RTI application filed by one Paras Nath Singh on May 30, 2018, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) cum Under Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) after being directed by the First Appellate Authority (FAA), informed Singh on September 19, 2018, that no such proposal was under consideration by the Union Government at present. The CPIO has, however, avoided providing any further information in the matter.

Reply dated September 19


Earlier, the CPIO on July 5, 2018 had stated in reply to the RTI applicant that the matter pertaining to the information sought was under examination.

Reply dated July 5


On May 17, 2018, Joint Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had written a letter to the cadre controlling ministries/departments seeking their views on the said proposal of the PMO. Though the RTI applicant Singh asked for the copies of the views received at DoPT in response to the said letter, CPIO has chosen not to provide the information without citing any exemption clauses under the RTI Act, 2005.

RTI application


However, what is crystal clear is that the proposal to introduce foundation course for civil servants is no longer under consideration by the Union government.

This proposal in essence was aimed at creating an extra layer of assessment for civil servants apart from the rank they receive in the UPSC Civil Services Examination. Thus, a candidate who secures higher rank in UPSC-conducted civil services examination may not get the service and cadre allocation of choice as a matter of right, if he does not perform well in the foundation course proposed by the PMO.

The Congress President Rahul Gandhi had tweeted out against this proposal of the PMO and said “Rise up students, your future is at risk! RSS wants what’s rightfully yours. The letter below reveals the PM’s plan to appoint officers of RSS’s choice into the Central Services, by manipulating the merit list using subjective criteria, instead of exam rankings. #ByeByeUPSC



Congress leader Anand Sharma said this was in violation of the Constitutional provisions governing the cadre selection of All India Services. “Civil services feel threatened. There will be a UPSC merit list and our merit list,” he said, adding such allocation will compromise the neutrality of services and poses a grave danger.

Former member of UPSC and a retired IAS Vijay Singh said that the proposal mooted by the PMO would open favoritism and bound to become subjective. He favored the existing merit-based system. Former Secretary to the Government of India, and a retired IAS officer E A S Sarma said this is yet another move on the part of the present government to damage merit-based systems and replace the same with those that pave the way for politicisation of the institutions.