The Indian civil services have often faced disenchantment from the public they serve. Reforming this key, administrative arm of the government has sparked a great deal of discussion.

Questions have often been raised of the civil services and if they are up to the task of effectively implementing public policy for a modern, developing nation. Or are they bogged down by the structure inherited from the British rule in India?

A special, four-episode series by the Centre for Policy Research aims to unpack and analyse some of these pivotal questions and better understand the way forward.

In the first part, Yamini Aiyar, president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research, discusses the founding structure of the civil services as well as their evolution with former civil servant KP Krishnan, an honorary research professor at the centre.

Follow the work of the Centre for Policy Research on Twitter or visit You can listen to all the episodes of CPR’s India Speak podcasts here.