India’s IAS: a steel frame or a steel cage?

Sardar Patel famously called the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) the “steel frame” of India’s government machinery. He, and many others, viewed the IAS as the solid foundation upon which the rest of the bureaucracy rested, a bastion of the nation’s best and brightest providing unfailing support to others in government. To this day, even with vastly increased opportunities in the private sector, the IAS continues to attract India’s best and brightest. As Harvard’s Lant Pritchett notes, would-be IAS officers must undergo an application process that makes getting in to Harvard look like a walk in the park. Yet, despite the exceptional talent within the IAS, the institution no longer serves the greater interest of the country. Instead, there are reasons to believe that it might be hampering the country’s development.

Excerpt from our article on livemint


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