KAS aims to inject much-needed professionalism in the state bureaucracy.

Kerala Administrative Service to come into force on Jan 1 give new life to bureaucracy
news Administration Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 17:32

After much heated discussion, the Kerala Administrative Service will finally come into force on January 1. The move is expected to boost employment as well as give a new life to the administrative system of the state.

Tuesday’s cabinet meeting had given its nod for special set up KAS. Through the state’s civil services, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government hopes to form a second line of top officers to implement its programmes and policies effectively. It also aims to inject fresh blood and professionalism into the state bureaucracy.   

“It would give a big opportunity for the youth to enter the government service, while the state will get fresh faces. Second thing is that cadres will get into more top positions in the service based on merit. At present, those who have secured high ranks in studies work in clerical posts. Also, employees who have proved their mettle will get an opportunity to get higher posts through KAS,” said former Chief Secretary SM Vijayanand.

He added, “Another thing is the present concept of working as departments will change. Instead the system will start functioning in the concept of a government which is utmost important. Field experience will make employees more competent. But the selection process should be thorough. Exams shouldn’t be like something that can be cleared with the help of tuitions or guide books. The exam and training should be focused to pick up the real talent.”

The state government has held discussions with employees’ organisations and the suggestions raised have been considered.

Recruitment to KAS will be held through three ways – in direct recruitment, those eligible will have to be between 21 and 32, with a basic degree required. Candidates through Stream 2 will be government employees not exceeding the age of 40, while those recruited through Stream 3 will be those in the first gazetted posts or above in government departments, with an age limit of 50 years.   

K Jayakumar, a former Chief Secretary said that the very concept of KAS is built on meritocracy. “This will bring in professionalism in the bureaucracy by selecting those who have been given professional training and that will be good for the state. We should get over our inhibition of admitting merit over seniority. Kerala has a legacy of highlighting seniority over meritocracy. But in the modern world we should give a fast track career for those based on merit.”

“It’s inbuilt in the system of rewarding merit through promotions. But over the years that has become routinized and the practice became such that everybody gets promoted if there is nothing particularly adverse against them. It was high time for KAS to come into effect,” he argued.

In January this year, a section of employees owing allegiance to the Secretariat Employees Association led by the Congress had gone on mass leave to protest against the decision to form KAS.