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VOL. XXIV NO. 14, November 1-15, 2014
The early days of the I.A.S.

During World War II the British Government suspended from 1941 to 1944 the holding of the examination in London for recruitment to the Indian Civil Service (I.C.S.). The exam was held in Delhi and a few officers were recruited. The Government of India also announced that further recruitment to the ICS would be kept in abeyance and that:

The author P. Sabanayagam and those with him in the first Madras batch

N. Bhagwandas

M.G. Rajaram

K.P.K. Menon

E.P. Royappa

A. Krishnaswami

S. Viswanathan

C.S. Krishnamurthy

N. Janardhan Kamath

K.C. Madappa

G.H. Jansen

A. Chandrasekar

T.N. Lakshminarayanan

K.S. Sivasubrahmanyan

I. All vacancies would be filled after the war ended by recruiting officers from the Indian Defence Services who had the requisite educational and medical qualifications prescribed for recruitment to the ICS;

II. Every day of service in Defence would be to the credit of the officer recruited: and

III. Seniority would be determined based on the date when the officer joined the Defence Service.

Consequent to this, GOI in 1946 announced the programme to recruit Defence officers to the ICS. Defence officers, who had the qualifications prescribed and who had luckily survived the war, applied and went through a process of examination and selection which took several months. Groups of about 50 each were called and put through a 3-day examination – medical, psychological, intelligence tests, etc. Around 400 or so were selected and they were asked to appear before a committee of the Federal Public Service Commission (now called the UPSC) chaired by the Chairman. I was asked to appear before the Committee at the FPSC’s office in the Kennedy House annexe in Simla in June 1946. No D.A. was allowed and a candidate could leave by 4.30 p.m. on the day of the interview. Ultimately, towards the end of 1946, the GOI announced the names of about 130 officers who had been selected.

The Interim Government of India was formed in mid-1946 headed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister and Sardar Patel as Home Minister. Sardar Patel said the ICS was neither Indian, nor Civil nor service oriented! So he named the service as the All India Administrative Service. He also said the country could not afford the high pay scales of the ICS. and that the scale would be Rs. 300-500 (cost of living allowance as applicable, annual increments of Rs. 50) for the first five years and that the pay scales for the subsequent years would be announced later. He further said that the date of entry into the Administrative Service would not be the date of entry into the Defence Service as announced by the British earlier, but the 24th birth date. Subsequently, the Home Department of GOI issued two orders in April 1947 regarding officers appointed to the AIAS on seniority, pay scale and allotment of selected officers to various States. The seniority of war service candidates was antedated by one year by the Ministry of Home Affairs in January 1949.

These changes in the ‘ICS declaration’ that the British had earlier made came as a shock to those selected. Most of the Defence Service officers selected would lose 50 per cent or more of the salary they were drawing. I was getting Rs 750 p.m. as a Captain but would in the AIAS get only Rs 350! As a result, a large number of the selected Defence Officers declined the offer of appointment. Only 54 Defence Officers joined! I had also been selected for a permanent commission in the Army (I had been a Captain in the 10th Field Regiment, Royal Indian Artillery) and, therefore, was inclined to refuse the AIAS offer, but was compelled by my father to accept it, which I did. As years passed, I realised Father was right.

The officers who had accepted the offer were asked in March 1947 to report to the IAS School in Metcalfe House in the old GOI Secretariat, Old Delhi. Some Defence Officers, about ten of them, were also selected for the Foreign Service. They too joined the School. The GOI revised the name of the Service from AIAS to IAS. M.J. Desai ics was the Principal, and J.S. Lal ics Vice-Principal of the School. We also had a judge as Law Professor and also an Economics Professor. We had accommodation in the Staff Quarters close by. Classes were to go on for about nine months. The Home Department also decided to send the officers under training on a short vacation programme to the States in June 1947 to get acquainted with the functioning of the civil services in the States.

Following the turmoil of Partition, the GOI decided to close the IAS School temporarily and depute the trainees to several places to work with ICS officers.

There was a camp in the campus of Humayun Tomb, New Delhi, where a few thousand Muslim refugees would stay on their way to Pakistan by rail from Nizamuddin Station. A few colleagues and I were posted there to look after their temporary shelter, food, water, etc. We were backed by Army and Police help. The news about the harassment of Hindu refugees roused the feelings of the Indians, and the Police were no exception. Hence there were instances of the Indian Army/Police personnel snatching things carried by the Muslim refugees as they walked to the Station.

One of my colleagues, Misra, seeing such crimes being committed by Indian Police/Army men objected; hot words and a scuffle followed and one of the Police/Army men shot him dead! When Misra did not return to the camp, we searched and found his body. Some days earlier, Dogra, another colleague, who was returning to the IAS School in Old Delhi in a car after duty in New Delhi, was shot at, but he survived.

These extra curricular activities came to an end after a few months and in November 1947 we were posted to our respective States. I received orders to go to Coimbatore District.

Since only about 50 per cent of those selected opted for the IAS, the GOI could not post a sufficient number of officers to the States. There were, according to an IAS Association letter issued in August 1948, 120 vacancies. Therefore, based on the Gorawala Committee recommendation, special recruitment was made and Emergency Officers selected, one of them being Dr. P.C. Alexander. Provincial Service Officers also were promoted and appointed as IAS officers. The first regular IAS examination and selection by the UPSC took place in 1949 and these continued ever since.

The Probationers’ examinations

The Curriculum of the Indian Administrative Service Probationers’ Training School was:

1. Detailed study of (a) The Indian Penal Code, (b) The Criminal Procedure Code, (c) The Indian Evidence Act

2. A general knowledge of the principles of Civil Law, particularly Hindu and Mohammedan Laws, certain Sections of the Civil Procedure Code (and other Acts and legal principles).

3. Language options.

4. Indian History mainly in its cultural, political, administrative and constitutional aspects... (and trends of the principal periods on the mind, character and the conditions of the people).

5. General principles of Economics with special stress on current economic developments in India particularly in the sphere of State Planning, controlled production and distribution.

6. Public Administration: a comparative view of Civil Services in various democratic countries, and the ideals to be placed before the new Civil Service for India.

7. Riding: a course in motor mechanics and map reading.

The Probationers, at the end of the period of probation, had to pass an examination conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission. The subjects were as follows:–

1. Indian Law

2. Indian History

3. Economics, with particular reference to Indian economic problems

4. Public Administra

5. Riding; provided that the final examination in Riding may be held at such time during the probationary period as the Federal Public Service Commission may appoint.

6. Hindustani

7. One of such languages specified (for) the Province to which the probationer is assigned with which, in the opinion of the Principal of the Training Centre, the probationer is not sufficiently familiar; or

If the probationer is, in the opinion of the Principal, already sufficiently familiar with all such languages, such other subject as the Principal may prescribe, as being a useful subject of study for the probationer.

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In this issue

The sad state of our roads
Madras Landmarks - 50 years ago
Welcome sensitising of temple restorers
The early days of the I.A.S.
Madras beginnings of Hindi Prachar
Trying to save Jerdon's Courser
Advertising goes outdoors
Answering the need of the hour?
Studying during those 'Quit India' days

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Readers Write
Quizzin' With Ram'nan
Dates for Your Diary


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