Union Public Service Commission: Among the Early Regulators

Published date01 December 2018
Date01 December 2018
Subject MatterNotes
Indian Journal of Public
64(4) 732–738
© 2018 IIPA
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0019556118785434
Union Public Service
Commission: Among
the Early Regulators
Tuktuk Ghosh1
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is one among the invaluable
legacy institutions of India’s colonial past. It finds a place of pride in the
Constitution in Chapter II of Part XIV in Articles 315–323 and qualifies eminently
as an early premier regulator in our governance structure. The civil services which
constitute the steel frame of our democratic edifice were envisioned as being
regulated by the constitutional authority and the powers granted to it in this regard.
This note attempts to understand its historical context and how it has performed in
the post-Independence period, bringing its growth up to present times and the
challenges it is confronted with in a fast-changing administrative environment.
Being distinctly different from the multiple regulators set up by the Government
of India in the post-liberalisation phase, starting 1991, encompassing various
socio-economic sectors and their mixed success, the niche contribution of the
UPSC is invaluable to assess.
Present-day governance discourse is dominated by the imperative of impeccable
regulation. Almost all sectors appear to have a crying need for better oversight
and supervision to ensure that the objectives enshrined in our Constitution are
delivered to the citizens of the country in the most efficacious, efficient and
transparent manner, with a full measure of accountability. Recently, a huge fraud
perpetrated at the state-run Punjab National Bank, running into several thousands
of crores, involving ultra-high net-worth individuals, with a global business
presence, has prompted the Union Cabinet to approve the Fugitive Economic
Offenders Bill along with the setting up of the National Financial Reporting
Authority, a new agency provided for in the Companies Act. This Authority will
have significant review and disciplinary functions, presently within the purview
of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, conceivably patterned on that
of the UPSC, though the details are yet to be worked out. As the Finance Minister,
Arun Jaitley, put it very eloquently, in this backdrop, at the Economic Times
Global Summit in New Delhi, ‘Regulators ultimately decide the rules of the game.
1 Independent Governance Analyst and Commentator.
Corresponding author:
Tuktuk Ghosh, D 69, 2nd Floor, Saket, New Delhi 110017, India.
E-mail: tghoshk@gmail.com

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