The Telangana government may move towards declaring training as an identified priority area for focus by launching a unique State Training Initiative (STI). This would systematically build training capabilities and demonstrate training as a tool for performance enhancement at individual, group and organisational levels. Training should also be made a key responsibility area for Collectors by designating them as Training Commissioners of their respective districts as well as that of Heads of Departments. Each district and department should also have a training coordinator to implement the training.
The broad structure and framework for capacity-building as well as implementation of training should envisage, among others, that each employee should have an opportunity to attend at least one training programme in a year exposing herself/himself to government welfare and development schemes. Systematic identification of training needs at task, job, group and organisational level has to be carried out.
Management of Training
To begin with, a three-day workshop on Orientation to Management of Training (MOT) may be organised for All India Service Officers who head departments at the Secretariat and district level. This would be basically to provide opportunities for discussion on the proposed STI, for understanding their role and to seek their commitment to the training function. Every training coordinator must be exposed to MOT.
The training methodology should focus not only on building the knowledge-skill base of the employees, but, more importantly, develop the right attitude in them to make them capable of serving the public, who constitute government’s clients, more efficiently and effectively. The entire training activity may be guided and reviewed by a State Training Council to be chaired, if necessary, by the Chief Minister himself, and include experts from the fields of training and training management.
Types of Categorisation
Assessment of training requirements should be initiated based on the employee’s perception of her/his own training requirements to which the perception of the HoD/Government (in other words organisation requirement) could be added. HoDs must be made responsible for the preparation and implementation of Annual Training Action Plans for their respective departments, including projecting their budget requirements.
The Dr MCR HRD Institute may be the coordinating body. Other State training institutes and ASCI may be involved. Four types of categorisation of public functionaries depending on their job responsibilities need to be made, namely, Policy level, Administrative level, Implementation level and Support level functionaries.
Policy level may consist of ministers, legislators, senior All India Service Officers of the rank of secretaries and above, who must be trained in Organisational Behaviour packages. Administrative level may comprise HoDs and other All India Service Officers below the rank of secretaries. Executive level may consist of field-level staff holding crucial and key positions up to the mandal-level. Support level may include remaining employees like clerks, office superintendents and other subordinate staff. It may also be made mandatory to identify 5,000 to 10,000 key and strategically placed State government and public functionaries throughout the State for specific coverage of their training needs by developing special packages.
In this context, it may be appropriate to utilise the services of Dr MCR HRD Institute of Telangana, the apex training institute of the State government. The MCR HRD Institute, which recently completed 40 years, is an Institute of Excellence for public management. The premier administrative training institute of Telangana has a well-qualified and dedicated team, which includes senior All India Service Officers, State officials and also eminent faculty.
Following discussions with all Secretaries to State government and HoDs as well as heads of other State Training Institutions, Training Coordinators were nominated in all departments and districts and were made responsible for exclusively handling the work relating to the training initiative in the department concerned, organisation and office. They continue to be there and their services may be utilised.
Assessment of the training needs of the department, determination of the volume of the training requirement, preparation of department or district training plan, projection of budget to meet the training needs of the staff and coordinating all training-related activities with the apex body formed part of Training Coordinator’s responsibilities.
Against this background, in 1996, the Government of India released the National Training Policy document (later updated in 2012) with an indication to all States that action be initiated for the formulation of State Training Policies on the lines of the national policy. Towards this, as a first step, the HRD Institute during 1997 organised a series of three-day workshops for assessing the training needs of various categories of government employees.
The erstwhile government of Andhra Pradesh issued orders nominating Collectors as the Training Commissioners of their respective districts to oversee the entire training activity and to keep a watch on the progress made in each department. It was also made obligatory that they send their progress reports to the Commissioner of the Dr MCR HRD Institute. The institute as a nodal agency also set up revised goals and objectives making it mandatory for cent percent coverage of training for all government employees.
Against this rich background of the Dr MCR HRD Institute, it may be meaningful to make use of its services once again to impart systematic training for all public functionaries.
(The author is former Additional Director, Dr MCR HRD Institute)