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IAS Alone Don’t Run The Government; It’s A Synergy Of All Services

Dr Sanjeev Chopra, a 1985-batch IAS Officer of West Bengal cadre, retired couple of years ago as Director, LBSNAA, Mussoorie Despite having worked in WB and Uttarakhand in various capacities, he finds LBSNAA job closer to his heart In this free flowing interview, Dr Chopra speaks about the training modules of Civil Services, their needs,  if changes are needed and issues like ethics, morals and superiority of IAS over other services. Please read on...
Indian Masterminds Stories

Every UPSC CSE aspirant aspires to be selected for the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). After all, they are perceived as running the government. There is always an IAS heading for every other service. The Finance Secretary manages the Indian Revenue Services (IRS). The Union Home Secretary manages the IPS cadre. The Forest Secretary heads the Ministry, which consists mostly of IFS officers.

So, are IAS the Brahmins of Civil Services? The former director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Dr. Sanjeev Chopra, doesn’t think so. A secretary’s job is to ensure that the budget of that department is passed and to assist the minister in answering questions put up in Parliament. It’s the job of the directorate to implement decisions of the government. It doesn’t make the directorate in any way inferior to the secretariat, he told Indian Masterminds in a candid interview.

Please watch the full interview here…

A very senior and efficient officer, besides being an erudite reader and author, Dr. Chopra feels that this whole notion that only IAS runs the country is not correct. Everyone has to work together. It’s a misconception that only IAS does everything. Government is something where everyone works together.

“You can’t run a district if you don’t have a good rapport with the IPS. We won’t get our salaries unless GST collection (by IRS officers) grows and unless the projection of the country (at international forums by IFS officers) is good. People who represent India in the United Nations Security Council, our ambassadors in other countries, or persons collecting taxes for the government, or for that matter, Indian Forest Service officers preserving our protecting our wildlife and forests, everybody contributes to the making of this nation”, he said.

Dr Chopra, a 1985-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre worked with LBSNAA in two stints – first as Deputy Director for six years and then as Director for three years…till his retirement. He has seen officer trainees being turned into officers – of different services and different cadres. He believes his tenure as LBSNAA Director is closest to his heart. Therefore, he has traversed the entire path as Officer Trainee himself in 1985 to mentoring and training hundreds of officer trainees every year.

In this free-wheeling interview, he talks about the atmosphere in LBSNAA – whether it is tense, whether training is rigorous, whether it is all studies/work and no play at LBSNAA or the other way round – considering several events like India Day, Parents Day, Trekking, Horse-riding etc? 

He also answered to the questions like What is the purpose of the foundation course? How is it structured?  Also, what happens to the vacancy created due to the shifting of people like Aditya Srivastava AIR 1 in UPSC CSE 2023, who was already training for the IPS at National Police Academy, Hyderabad, to the IAS after improving their ranks?

And what happens to people who are improving their ranks consistently, over three years – do they have to undertake the four-month-long foundation course every year, year after year on their selection? 


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