Over the last two years, civil servants cutting across services have seen a change in their training techniques to align it with Mission Karmayogi, the government’s capacity building programme to reorient the bureaucracy at all levels to meet the requirements of today.
When the probationers, as the officer trainees are called, reach the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie, they are expected to have met a primary health centre, primary schools and interacted with the staff as well as health workers and students, in addition to meeting some other focus groups such as an unemployed youth and a low-ranking government employee. The observations are then discussed during the initial weeks of training as the intent is to make them a “citizen civil servant” who understands the requirements, explained an official.
The trainees are also required to now write their mission statement in an essay and put in a DigiLocker which will be opened 25 years later, reminding them of the goals they had set for themselves and their achievements.
“We are repurposing the entire activity to make the civil services more responsive at the citizen level and respond more effectively in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) environment. It needs to up the game, change the strategy and learn to adopt,” LBSNAA director K Srinivas told TOI. The focus is on behavioural change.
So, there is greater emphasis on understanding the requirements of the hilly and north-eastern states as the urban issues—water supply, social inclusion and administration—are very different from other parts of the country. ‘Parvat Mala’, as it is referred to, is a core element with treks, which have always been integral to training in Mussoorie going beyond Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Sikkim.
Similarly, there is now attempt towards greater sensitisation on geo-political issues, especially the neighbourhood, for which the ministry of external affairs has been roped in. The details are shared before the probationers set off for their border training.
This year, they were also sent to 75 identified villages where they saw the implementation of key government programmes and came back with inputs, which were shared with joint secretaries from several ministries, and some of the findings are being used to improve the delivery of the schemes. “For the Modi government Bhagidari is a key philosophy and officers need to learn to work with stakeholders,” explained an official.
Apart from behavioural change, the module is also being reworked to address some of the skill gaps that the probationers may have. For instance, LBSNAA has co-curated a course in macro-economy with South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center, the International Monetary Fund’s collaborative venture with countries in the region.
An official said the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is also included in the course now with the training academy seeking to use a ‘DigiTAG arena’ to use it to deal with social protection, health and education.