In a major move, the government has amended service rules to ensure that IAS, IPS and IFoS officers maintain "high ethics" and "political neutrality" while discharging their duty.
Officers needs to be responsive to the public, particularly to the weaker section, ensure courtesy and good behaviour with the public and take decisions solely in public interest and use, the new rules said. The All India Services (Conduct) Amendment Rules, 2014, notified by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), makes it mandatory for officers to declare any private interests relating to his public duties and take steps to resolve conflicts in a way that protects the public interest. The officers should not place himself under any financial or other obligations to any individual or organisation which may influence him in the performance of his official duties, the rules said.
Every member of the service shall not misuse his position as civil servant and not take decisions in order to derive financial or material benefits for himself, his family or his friends, it said. The rules cast a compulsory obligation on officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) to maintain confidentiality in the performance of his official duties. The officers shall also guard those information, disclosure of which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of state, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, friendly relation with foreign countries or lead to incitement of an offense or illegal or unlawful gains to any person.
"Every member of the Service shall maintain high ethical standards, integrity and honesty, political neutrality; promoting of the principles of merit, fairness and impartiality in the discharge of duties and accountability and transparency," the rules said.
The officers have also been given freedom to take decision and make suggestions. "Make choices, take decisions and make recommendations on merit alone." They should act with fairness and impartiality and not discriminate against anyone, particularly the poor and the under-privileged sections of society, and refrain from doing anything which is or may be contrary to any law, rules, regulations and established practices.
The officers should use public resources efficiently, effectively and economically and act with fairness and impartiality and not discriminate against anyone, particularly the poor and the under-privileged sections of society.
They should maintain discipline in the discharge of his duties and be liable to implement the lawful orders duly communicated to him and, perform and discharge his duties with the highest degree of professionalism and dedication to the best of his abilities.
The All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968 had limited mention of the role of IAS, IPS and IFoS officers. "The rules have been amended to give officers more freedom to work, make them efficient and more responsive to the public," a senior DoPT officer said. The present authorised strength of IAS, IPS and IFoS officers are 6,270, 4,728 and 3,131 respectively.