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Day 45 – Q 5. What role do civil servants play in strengthening democracy? Illustrate.

5. What role do civil servants play in strengthening democracy? Illustrate.  

लोकतंत्र को मजबूत करने में सिविल सेवकों की क्या भूमिका है? उदाहरण देकर स्पष्ट करें।


The makers of our Constitution designed the institutions of our democracy with great care and attention to detail. They were designed to endure and it was expected that these institutions will strengthen the democracy in India.

Various factors and governments tried to weaken and diminish these institutions. The one institution that has received the maximum battering is that of the civil services. Yet they remain central to the working of the Government.


In following ways civil servants strengthens the democracy

  • Rule of Law
  • Making Institutions Vibrant, Responsive and Accountable
  • Active Citizens’ Participation – Decentralization and Delegation
  • Transparency
  • Civil Service Reforms
  • Ethics in Governance
  • Process Reforms
  • Periodic & Independent Evaluation of the Quality of Governance
  • Innovations in governance and constitutionalism

Some examples:

  • Since Independence of India, framing all sorts of democratic policies such as free and fair elections, establishment of heavy industries etc. are the works of civil servants for strengthening of newly formed democracy in India.
  • K.C. Sivaramakrishnan, a civil servant, was the architect of 73rd and 74th amendment acts. Local governance institutions created by these acts led to strengthening of democracy to new level.
  • Ashok Khemka is another renowned example of civil servant holding democratic values dear to him.
  • The most recent “collector bro” of Kerala, Prasanth Nair, is known for his citizen centric approach.
  • Similarly, Prime minister gave “Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration” to those civil servants who adopt innovative ideas and try to take public policies to every citizen of India.

Concerns remains

  • Lack of professionalism and poor capacity building; especially in lower strata of services.
  • Inefficient incentive systems that do not appreciate upright and outstanding civil servants
  • Outmoded rules and procedures that restrict the civil servant from performing effectively
  • Lack of adequate transparency and accountability procedures – there is also no safety for whistle blowers
  • Arbitrary and whimsical transfers and promotions, insecurity in tenures impedes institutionalization.
  • Political interference and administrative acquiescence
  • Gradual erosion in values and ethics
  • Patrimonialism


At a time when politics almost everywhere is leaning dangerously towards a centralised, authoritarian, national security state with a strong leader committed to the ideology of cultural nationalism, role of permanent arm of governance that is ‘civil services’ becomes important in India.

By virtue of its allegiance to the Constitution civil servants can keep strengthening democracy in India.

Best Answer: P29

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