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Univs in US favourite with mid- career bureaucrats.

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama, who is visiting India next month, has reason to cheer. His country has turned out to be the biggest training ground for mid- career and senior Indian bureaucrats who have completed at least nine years of service.

The foreign training schedule for 2011- 12 was released by the government recently. It shows that as many as eight American universities or institutes, offering a number of courses in different specialisations, are on the list.

These include big names like the Kennedy School at Harvard University, the Maxwell Institute at Syracuse University, Minnesota University, the Duke Center for International Development and the Washingtonbased Institute for Public- Private Partnerships ( IP3).

The US Office of Personnel Management, which offers two short- duration modules at the Eastern Management Development Center and Western Management Development Center, is also on the list.

Former cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra recalled that earlier the bulk of courses were offered by European institutes and universities, particularly those located in the UK. " However, the exact position varied on yearly availability of financial assistance to bureaucrats who underwent training," he said.

These short- medium and long- term courses are open to officers of the IAS, IPS and IFS, Group A central civil services on deputation to the Centre, state civil services and the Central Secretariat Service as part of the Domestic Funding of Foreign Training ( DFFT) scheme.

Even when India was an active member of the Non- Aligned Movement ( NAM), with proximity to the erstwhile Soviet Union, the maximum number of courses came from institutes in western Europe.

" The Soviet Union posed a massive language barrier for civil servants. Therefore, only Indian Foreign Service officers, particularly those dealing with Eastern Europe, went to that country for training," Chandra said.

As far as the UK is con- Univs in US favourite with mid- career bureaucrats cerned, Birmingham University, the Institute of Development Studies ( Sussex), the London School of Economics and the London- based RIPA International figure on the list.

The other European institutes expected to offer training courses to Indian civil servants next year include the International Institute of Social Studies ( Hague), the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, the Graduate Institute ( Geneva) and the Parisbased Ecole Nationale d'Administration.

Closer home, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore and the Manilabased Asian Institute of Management continue to be sought after by the civil servants.

The next year's list also includes the Asian Institute of Technology ( Thailand), Australian National University and Carnegie Melon University ( Australia).

The issue of a large number of bureaucrats attending training courses in foreign countries has been a controversial one.

But Chandra said it helps them become broadminded and look at issues differently. " Much depends on the course module.

However, since the procedures in the developed countries are different, it helps the civil servants in starting to question government policies. By and large, foreign training is beneficial," he said.

A senior official said while recommending names for the training programmes, preference would be given to woman officers and those who belong to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, besides those working in the northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir.

The bulk of the courses on offer is in disciplines such as public administration, management, public policy, governance and business- oriented programmes. But some innovative courses such as green MBA, international development policy, corruption and anti- corruption, leadership potential, risk prevention and crisis management and urban environment management are also up for grabs.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Oct 20, 2010
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