Sukumar Mukhopadhyay: How to impart excellence in training of officers in Custom, Ex dept

Excellence is not just theoretical but practical. Excellence requires building of a good moral and ethical standard. We have to inculcate a sense of justice and fair play to the probationers in the Academy and also in all ways in the Department during normal working time . They have to be made to realise that they must improve the administration when they go to the field. Today, the problem in administration is not the lack of intelligence or knowledge but lack of integrity.

They should be made to inculcate the principle that if they are enforcing a law, that law has to be enforced without pressure from senior offices or politicians.  It is not always a confrontation with politician but with other bureaucrats also.  If a senior gives an order which is against the law and the spirit of the law, it should not be obeyed.  If it is a verbal order, it need not be obeyed. If it is a written order, then it must be obeyed. Supposing the Secretary (or a very senior officer in the department) tells an officer that he should file prosecution against a person in a case where there is no case on merit, he should not do it unless the senior gives it in writing. 

Another example, suppose the senior tells a junior to select a person (whom he likes) in an  interview he should not obey.  He should choose the best person. The true meaning of obedience must be taught.

The probationers should be taught that there can be a compromise with the order of the superior so long as the fundamental principles or values are not compromised.

They should be taught that the summum bonum of administration is “Project the good – Punish the bad” “Paritranaya Sadhunag Vinashaya Cha Duskritang”

Another principle they should be taught is that they should not become just departmental persons but true citizens.  The idea is that they should not promote only the interest of the department but the interest of the country as a whole.

Equip the probationers to exploit fully the facilities offered by modern aids to management.

Probationers should be taught the details of all the project of public delivery (National and Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) now in existence and they should be given instructions as to how to make them successful.  For example, they should taught that if certain subsidy has to be delivered to the affected people, it should be done without making too much of a public show or fanfare (such as calling all the wives of senior officers to be present when the subsidy is being handed over).

The probationers in the academy must be made to realise that excellence of this academy is oriented only towards the goal of improving this country. The goal is very high.  So they have to attain high moral standard and standard of efficiency in order to achieve excellence in the country.

The importance of achieving efficiency  in work should not be underestimated. If an officer is extremely efficient in his work he knows exactly what is legally correct or not. Only such an officer can successfully differ from the wrong order of his superior.

The training should highlight relevance of the Government to the common man.  In this connection, the probationers should be made aware of the concepts of  'sevottam' and 'Citizens's Charter' and trained in their formulation and implementation in an institutionalised manner.

The final lesson that we recommended to probationers for achieving excellence is that they must realise that there is no shortcut to achieving excellence.  They must be prepared to make sacrifice if excellence has to be achieved.