Book review: S.V. Ranganath and D. Jeevan Kumar (Eds.), Excellence in Administration: Prospects and Perspectives

Date01 September 2020
AuthorPrabhat Kumar Datta
Published date01 September 2020
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 423
that s/he doesn’t get caught in the political cross-fire? If a change has to come,
the inspiration has to come from within. It has to come from a belief within. That
would perhaps be a step towards bringing about any change in others.
This book is an attempt to contextualise a framework that will help civi l se rvan ts
make a learned decision in the face of the aforementioned questions. It is an aid to
help them find their moral compass. A civil servant in India, with a conscience and
a motivation to do something for the country, faces ethical dilemmas in various
stages of his/her career.
After each of the chapters, questions have been raised on whether what was
done was right or wrong and why the reforms that were felt necessary could not
be carried out.
A civil servant is expected to work according to rules and regulations as well
as hierarchical conventions. But, the author encourages civil service colleagues
to fight against decisions that they feel are not in the interest of the people.
Ultimately, however, if the government takes a decision it must be followed.
The book also demonstrates that despite several obstacles, schemes like the
Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, a unique health scheme covering large sections
of the population, could be formulated. This earned world fame and was recog-
nised and endorsed by the United Nations too. The welfare of the poor was always
the prime objective of the author, and it helped and, wherever necessary, cudgels
were taken up with the seniors as well as his political masters.
There is a clear message to the young IAS officers that they must not bow to
the pressure of politicians and those trying to benefit financially at the expense of
national interest. They should always voice their views without any fear or favour.
The author while summing up, cautions civil servants that they will be con-
fronted with dilemmas throughout their careers. The onus lies on the civil servant
to resolve these issues by taking inspiration from those who have travelled on the
right path. Dignity and self-respect can and must be maintained at all costs.
Surendra Nath Tripathi
IAS (retd), Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration
S.V. Ranganath and D. Jeevan Kumar (Eds.), Excellence in
Administration: Prospects and Perspectives. Bangalore: Indian Institute
of Public Administration, Karnataka Regional Branch, 2019, 214 pp.,
DOI: 10.1177/0019556120943387
The book under review is a felicitation volume brought out at the time of celebra-
tion of the 91st birthday of Shri S. Ramanathan, IAS (retd.) who served the
Government of Mysore/Karnataka and the Government of India, with distinction,
for about 40 years. During his illustrious career, he held many prestigious posts
such as Secretary, Department of Development and Cooperation; Community

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