Dr. Mahreen Matto

Program Manager, Sanitation Capacity Building Platform (SCBP), NIUA


In India, over the past two decades, capacity building among state and non-state practitioners has gained traction and significance. Capacity building has become essential to the quest for sustainable development and the spectrum has been broadened to include all facets of development. In view of this, the National Training Policy, 2012 states that all civil servants will be provided with training to equip them with the competencies for their current or future jobs. Such trainings are imparted at the moment of their enlistment and at regular intervals during their careers.


However, there exists a large gap between the number of accredited training institutes and the number of officials to be trained within India’s vast bureaucratic system. Nevertheless, with the move to online learning modes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a viable alternative has been found in order to meet the training needs of government officials. E-Learning modes provide unparalleled opportunities by making vast resources of learning material accessible and give enormous choices and flexibility in learning.

In this endeavour, in September 2020 the union government unveiled ‘Mission Karmayogi’ - the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) - a capacity-building scheme for civil servants aiming to transform the competency of the bureaucracy through institutional and process reforms. Mission Karmayogi envisages to make Indian civil servants more creative, constructive, innovative, proactive, professional, progressive, energetic, technology-enabled for the future. The objectives of the mission are based on the migration from rule-based to role-based capacity building, catering to the needs and competence of the civil servants. The objectives are as follows:

  •  Enhance capacity building, talent management and HR management of civil servants
  • Train civil servants with right Attitude, Skills and Knowledge (ASK)
  •  Improve public service delivery and governance

Apart from capacity building, a competency framework will incorporate service matters such as confirmation after probation period, deployment, work assignment etc. To cover around 4.6 million government employees ranging from assistant section officer to secretary across all departments, a sum of Rs 510 crore is stated to be spent over a period of 5 years from 2020-25.

Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies ( FRAC ing) is an important component of the mission which aims to create a framework that puts government officials at the center of the capacity building process and aligns each individual's growth goals with that of the organisation’s. It needs to capture new competency needs as and when they arise, linking it to activities, roles and positions. Thus, in this regard the mission is envisaged as a solution space with 5 hubs connecting the learner and content curator on dynamic and real time basis:

  • Network: connect to the pool of experts and peers
  •  Discussion: opportunity to benefits from insights of previous discussions and tigger new conversation
  • Career: enable individuals to understand the extent to which different positions in the government match their current and future competency
  • Learning: facilitating competency building through various capacity building platforms
  • Competency: recognize individual officials to recognize competency gap and improve it

How will Mission Karmayogi work?
The programme will be delivered through a digital platform called Integrated Government Online Training (iGOT), which is on the Ministry of HRD’s DIKSHA platform. The content is drawn from global best practices rooted in Indian national ethos. Additionally, it delivers curated, role-specific content, to each learner’s need. iGOT was especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic for all front-line workers to equip them with the training and updates during the pandemic. The platform is easy to use, making it accessible to everyone through desktop and smart phones. It is also well equipped for heavy traffic and can cater to unlimited requests, allowing users to learn anywhere anytime.

Steering bodies
NPCSCB will be steered by Prime Minister’s Human Resource Council, including state Chief Ministers, Union Cabinet ministers and experts; and the Cabinet Secretary Coordination Unit. Furthermore, Capacity Building Commission, including experts, global professionals in related fields and the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), will be part of the steering committee. SPV will create and operationalise the content, market place and manage key business services of iGOT. Each department will pay a subscription fee of Rs 430 per employee to SPV for the service.

Content Creator
The content will come from various sources such as Academia, Institutes, NGOs etc. In this regard, National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), the national think tank on urban planning and development is working closely with Government of India on scaling the capacity development. Since 2020, the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform (SCBP) at NIUA has been focusing on creating digital content for various courses on Non-Sewered Sanitation with the aim to integrate the content into national level capacity building platforms such as National Urban Leaning Platform (NULP) and iGOT. SCBP has tested out different formats of development and delivery of digital learning content catering to different sets of stakeholders. Ranging from self-learning to teaching training, short duration to long duration, to gamification applications – thus reaching out to all local and state government stakeholders across India. With the development of iGOT, the training modules developed under SCBP will find the perfect host linked to the FRAC.

Evaluation of Officers
iGOT helps in connecting FRACing (improving skills where competency are identified for roles) to content (that helps in improving skills and competence) which is being curated and uploaded on the platform. That is why it is important to have high quality and engaging content to improve competencies that have been identified for different roles. Officials will be directed to attend courses as per the 360 degree evaluation. It resembles a capacity gap assessment followed by suggestions on targeted training courses which address the knowledge/competency gap. Thus, learning impact assessment is one of the key component of the mission which previous capacity building programmes such as Comprehensive Capacity Building Programme or Integrated Capacity Building Programme lacked. Officers will be evaluated on the courses they take to further enhance their skill during the careers. An online database will be maintained with information on what courses they have completed, how they performed, what field of expertise they have, etc. In the event of a potential vacancy or if an appointing authority is considering an officer, they will look at the officer's training history.

Challenges and Learning
The challenge is not in coming up with new ideas, but in getting away from old ones. We need to retrospect and analyse on how this mission will fill in the gaps of previous capacity building
missions and be better than them on those fronts. For smooth functioning and sustainability of the mission, one needs to look and emphasise on the following:

  • Scale to cater one of the biggest advantage of the mission is the scale to which it willreach. While the frameworks and the processes may look good, there are a lot of implementation challenges one being scale. Unless the platform is open to each and every official inside the government system, it can’t be used. And doing that will not only require massive amounts of time and fund, but also commitment to do so.
  • Engaging and High Quality Content so that it compensates to the traditional peer-to- peer learnings and facilitates impact on the competency level enhancement of the
  • Learners’ Flexibility to learn and recognize the value of domain knowledge and moving away from a generalist to a specialist approach
  • Ensuring attendance and active participation of the learners in the courses

It is too early to make any judgement, although the reform process is not going to be easy but this is a welcome move in the direction. As part of a larger framework of learning transformation and facilitating life-long learning, the mission allows to create an environment where capacity-building activities targets the officials’ competency. Moreover, with iGOT, the mission aims to be a one stop resource repository for learning anytime, anywhere, ensuring that officials are ready to fulfil their constitutional responsibilities of good governance and leadership.


Bio of the authors:

Mahreen Matto (PhD) works as Programme Manager at NIUA, India undertaking high-quality action research by working through research design, analytical issues and effective writing on Non-Sewered Sanitation (NSS). She is also involved in the capacity building initiatives which comprises designing of capacity building strategy, developing training modules and learning materials for scale up of NSS solutions at National and South Asian level.

She has over 12 years of experience in mainstreaming urban water and sanitation management across human settlements of India, South Asian and African Countries. Some of her previous work includes research, capacity building, advocacy and project implementation on decentralized wastewater management, citywide inclusive sanitation, water and sanitation safety planning and preparation of city sanitation plans.