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Administrative Reforms for Good Governance


1. Introduction

The advent of British and consolidation of their administration throughout the dominion in India dismantled the feudal relationships structure from its administrative systems in a phased and concrete manner. Such a cleansing started in the year 1854 when the Macaulay Committee gave India its first modern civil service. It recommended that the patronage-based system of the East India Company should be replaced by a permanent civil service based on a merit-based system through competitive entry examinations. The Report made it clear that only the best and the brightest would do for the Indian Civil Service (ICS). After 1855, recruitment to the ICS came to be based totally on merit. From 1922 onwards the Indian Civil Service Examination began to be held in India from which time Indians were given a chance to compete.

After Independence the Indian political leaders chose to retain elements of the British structure of a unified administrative system such as an open-entry system based on academic achievements, elaborate training arrangements, permanency of tenure, important posts at Union, State and district levels reserved for the civil service, a regular graduated scale of pay with pension and other benefits and a system of promotions and transfers based predominantly on seniority.

The civil services in India can be grouped into three broad categories. Services whose members serve both the Union and the State Governments are termed as All India Services. Services whose members serve only the Union Government are termed Central Civil Services. Apart from these, the State Governments have their own group of services – State Civil Services. The posts in the Union and the State Governments are hierarchically arranged into four Groups – Group A to Group D. Since Independence, there have been about fifty Commissions and Committees at the Union Government level to look into what can be broadly characterized as administrative reforms.

The First Administrative Reforms Commission set up in January 1966 was asked to look into matters pertaining to the machinery of the Government of India and its procedures of work.The Commission submitted 20 Reports in all, as per the details given below, before winding up in mid-1970, especially on recruitment, recruitment agencies, training, promotion, service conditions, etc. The D.S. Kothari Committee Report on Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods, 1976, interalia recommended a major change in the examination system. It recommended a two-stage examination process – a preliminary examination followed by a main examination. This Committee also suggested changes in the training pattern for the civil services.  The Fifth Central Pay Commission (1996) stressed upon the need to optimize the size of the government machinery. The Expenditure Reforms Commission (2001) emphasized on a drastic downsizing of the government staff strength for securing modern and professional governance and also reducing the increasing salary bill of the Government of India. The Committee on Civil Services Reforms (Hota Committee, 2004) emphasized the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform Government by making it more accessible, effective and accountable. It stressed on the need to recognize that e-governance is about discarding old procedures and transforming the process of decision-making and that technology is merely a tool and a catalyst for such transformations. Significantly, the concept of public-private partnerships has been recognized as a guiding principle to that end.

The culmination of these reforms spawned e-governance both at the central and state levels. Local governments too have been empowered like never before with the application of the ICTs. There are now vertical and horizontal linkages right from the central level to state level and down to district level. Efforts are on to integrate the local governments into the national architecture. Knowledge Management has been recognized as a key factor to restructure the organizations as well as to deliver effective public services to the citizens. The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008) headed by Veerappa Moily has recommended that the subject of Public Administration/Governance be made mandatory for aspiring civil servants, besides setting up National Institutes of Public Administration and the Central Services Authority. The Government of India has come up with a draft Public Services Bill (2007) that aims to change the nature of the civil services as well as face the challenges to governance in the context of complex global challenges. This paper presents an overview of the changing nature of civil services in India in the post-Independence period with emphasis on the reforms and the challenges ahead.


2. Evolution of Indian Civil Services

The roots of civil administration can be traced back to the early Indian civilization, which is the Indus Valley Civilization. The inhabitants of Indus Valley were the Aryans, a nomadic race from Central Asia. They had an administrative apparatus to streamline irrigation, agriculture, dairy stock and other areas of civilian life.

One of the early treatises on administration was Kautilya’s Arthasastra.  It stipulates seven basic elements of the administrative apparatus. These elements are embodied in the doctrine of the Prakrits. They are: Swamin (the ruler), Amatya (the bureaucracy), Janapada (territory), Durga (the fortified capital), Kosa (the treasury), Danda (the army), and Mitra (the ally). According to Arthasastra, the higher bureaucracy consisted of the mantrins and the amatyas. While the mantrins were the highest advisors to the King, the amatyas were the civil servants. There were three kinds of amatyas: the highest, the intermediate and the lowest, based on the qualifications possessed by the civil servants. The key civil servant was the samahartr, who prepared the annual budget, kept accounts and fixed the revenue to be collected. The other key civil servant was the samnidhatr who kept records of the body of taxes realized and was in charge of the stores.

A new stage in the evolution of the administrative order came at the time of Delhi Sultanate. The Sultanate was initially a classical conquest state and it was necessary for the rulers to establish and consolidate their authority and control over the newly conquered territories. This was done by assigning land on a temporary basis to the followers, who became the civil servants, while, at the same time, by transferring the holders of these assignments as frequently as possible to establish control over them. Such a system – the system of simultaneously appropriating a sizeable part of the social surplus and distributing it to the members of the ruling elite – so successfully introduced by the Delhi Sultanate – was adopted by contemporary states outside the Sultanate such as in Orissa and Vijayanagara. This system was responsible for bringing about a new conception of civil service, which, through radically different from the Mauryan practice defined, in general, the structure and role of public bureaucracies in later years. The Mughal bureaucracy, for example, was based on the mansabdari system. Every mansabdar was invested with a mansab (a rank or a command), which determined his position in the Mughal bureaucracy. The mansabdari system was essentially a pool of civil servants available for civil or military deployment. The mansabdari system, as it finally evolved, became a combination of the higher civil service, the peerage and the army, all rolled into an omnibus civil service organization.

The civil service system in India during the British times was based essentially on the Mughal system, with certain refinements, though. But the big changes came with the implementation of Macaulay’s Report in 1854. After 1855, recruitment to the ICS came to be based totally on merit. The report of the Civil Service Commissioners pointed out that of those who entered the ICS between 1855 and 1878, more than two-thirds were university men, equipped with a liberal and finished education. The British Government took over the administration of India from the East India Company by the Government of India Act, 1858. Thereafter, the British Parliament enacted several laws for governance of India. Some of the important legislative instruments in the pre-independence period were the Indian Councils Act, 1909; Government of India Act, 1919; and Government of India Act, 1935. With India attaining Independence, the Constitution of India laid the foundation of the structure of Government of India. With the Government of India Act, 1858, the erstwhile territories of the East India Company vested in the British Crown who would appoint the Governor General of India as well as the Governors of the Presidencies. The powers of the Crown were to be exercised by the Secretary of State for India, assisted by the Council of India. The Indian Civil Service was created consequent to this enactment. There was no popular participation in the governance system. The Indian Councils Act of 1909, also known as the Morley-Minto Reforms, introduced the elections of Indians to the legislative councils. The Government of India Act, 1919, also known as the Montague Chelmsford Reforms, introduced a dual form of government (“diarchy”) for some provinces - the reserved list and the transferred list.

The Government of India Act, 1935 brought several changes in the system of governance in the country. It provided for the establishment of an All-Indian Federation and a new system of government wherein the provinces were given more autonomy. The Central Legislature was to comprise two Houses - the Upper House or the Council of States and the Lower House or the Central Legislative Assembly. The ‘Diarachy’ that was earlier established in the Provinces was abolished but was introduced in the Centre. The executive authority of the Centre was vested in the Governor General (on behalf of the Crown) who had absolute power over defence, external affairs (Reserved Subjects). On other matters the Governor General was to act on the advice of a ‘Council of Ministers’.

In the period after Independence, the Executive Power of the Union was vested in the President and is exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution (Article 53). Article 74 provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as the Head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of these functions, act in accordance with such advice. Article 75 provides that the President shall appoint the Prime Minister and the President on the advice of the Prime Minister shall appoint the other Ministers. Article 77 provides for the Conduct of Government Business.


3. Civil Services and Reforms in Post-Independence era

While designing a successor civil service, the Indian political leaders chose to retain elements of the British structure of a unified administrative system such as an open-entry system based on academic achievements, elaborate training arrangements, permanency of tenure, important posts at Union, State and district levels reserved for the civil service, a regular graduated scale of pay with pension and other benefits and a system of promotions and transfers based predominantly on seniority. The civil services in India can be grouped into three broad categories. Services whose members serve both the Union and the State Governments are termed as All India Services. Services whose members serve only the Union Government are termed Central Civil Services. Apart from these, the State Governments have their own group of services – State Civil Services. The posts in the Union and the State Governments are hierarchically arranged into four Groups – Group A to Group D.

Article 312 of the Constitution empowers Parliament to create the All India Services (AIS) on the fulfillment of certain conditions. The Indian Administrative and Police Services are deemed to be services created by Parliament under this Article. Section 3 of the AIS Act, 1951 and the rules and regulations made by the government prescribe the selection process for the IAS. Similar provisions exist for the IPS and the IFoS. The key objectives of government in creating the AIS are (a) preserving national unity and integrity and uniform standards of administration (b) neutrality and objectivity - non-political, secular and nonsectarian outlook (c) competence, efficiency and professionalism - at entry by attracting the best and brightest and throughout the career (d) integrity and e) idealism.

Since Independence, there have been about fifty Commissions and Committees at the Union Government level to look into what can be broadly characterized as administrative reforms. The First Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was set up in January 1966. It was asked to look into wide ranging aspects like procedures of work of central bureaucracy, the planning apparatus, Centre-State relations, financial, personnel and economic administration, state and district level administration, mechanisms for solving public grievances, etc. The First ARC submitted 20 reports in all with 537 major recommendations. The Central Government tabled the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the recommendations of the ARC in Parliament in November 1977. The recommendations mostly dealt with the need for specialization in government services, unified grading structure, and the process of recruitment, conduct, discipline and service conditions of civil servants. The ARC suggested eight broad areas of specialization: Economic Administration, Industrial Administration, Agriculture and Rural Development Administration, Social and Educational Administration, Personnel Administration, Financial Administration, Defence Administration and Internal Security, Planning. The ARC also recommended the setting up of a separate Department of Personnel to administer service policies.

Apart from the First Administrative Reforms Commission, as stated earlier, several other Commissions and Committees were set up over the years to examine various aspects of Civil Services Reforms. The system of recruitment to the civil services in India has evolved over the years. Several changes have been made in the recruitment process, especially after Independence to reflect the needs of the administration from time to time. A number of Committees and Commissions were set up to make recommendations on various aspects of recruitment. These recommendations are included in the Report on Public Administration by A.D. Gorwala, 1951; Report on the Public Services (Qualifications for Recruitment) Committee, 1956 – also known as Dr. A. Ramaswami Mudaliar Committee Report; Report on Indian and State Administrative Services and Problems of District Administration by V.T. Krishnamachari, 1962; ARC’s Report on Personnel Administration, 1969; Report of the Committee on Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods, 1976 – also known as the D.S. Kothari Committee Report; Report of the Committee to Review the Scheme of the Civil Services Examination, 1989 – also known as the Satish Chandra Committee Report; Report of the Civil Services Examination Review Committee, 2001, also known as Professor Yoginder K. Alagh Committee Report; Report of the Committee on Civil Service Reforms also known as the Hota Committee Report, 2004.

A.D.Gorwala’s Report (Report on Public Administration, 1951) recommended that recruitment to all grades of Government service should be conducted in a manner, which eliminates scope for patronage and suggested that this principle should also apply to temporary staff. Dr. A. Ramaswami Mudaliar Committee Report, 1956, on Public Services (Qualifications for Recruitment) recommended that a University degree should be the minimum qualification for recruitment into the higher services whereas for secretarial and ministerial services a University degree need not be insisted upon. This Committee also recommended that the age limit for the highest executive and administrative services should be kept between 21-23 years. The Krishnamachari Committee Report (Report on Indian and State Administrative Services and Problems of District Administration by V.T. Krishnamachari, 1962) analyzed the recruitments to Class I and Class II services in the State Governments and recommended that recruitments should be made annually. The Fifth Central Pay Commission suggested that employment on contract basis should be encouraged and Government employees should have the right to retain their lien for two years in case they wish to migrate to the private sector.

The Civil Services Examination Review Committee, 2001 (chaired by Professor Yoginder K. Alagh) recommended major changes in the structure of the examination system for recruitment to the civil services. It favoured testing the candidates in a common subject rather than on optional subjects. The Committee on Civil Service Reforms (Hota Committee Report, 2004) made recommendations, inter alia, on recruitment and recommended that the age for entrants to the higher civil services should be between 21-24 years with a five years’ age concession for members of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and three years’ for the Other Backward Classes. The Hota Committee also recommended that aptitude and leadership tests may be introduced for selection, and that probationers may be allowed one month’s time after commencement of training to exercise their option for Services.

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was set up in 2005 with Veerappa Moily as chairman. It presented 15 reports in all by April 2009 when the term of the commission came to an end.


The reports of the commission are as follows:

1. First Report: Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance

2. Second Report: Unlocking Human Capital: Entitlements and Governance – A Case Study

3. Third Report: Crisis Management: From Despair to Hope

4. Fourth Report: Ethics in Governance

5. Fifth Report: Public Order – Justice for All . . . Peace for All

6. Sixth Report: Local Governance – An Inspiring Journey into the Future

7. Seventh Report: Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution – Friction to Fusion

8. Eighth Report: Combating Terrorism – Protecting by Righteousness

9. Ninth Report: Social Capital – A Shared Destiny

10. Tenth Report: Refurbishing of Personnel Administration – Scaling New Heights

11. Eleventh Report: Promoting e-Governance – The SMART Way Forward

12. Twelfth Report: Citizen Centric Administration – The Heart of Governance

13. Thirteenth Report: Organizational Structure of Government of India

14. Fourteenth Report: Strengthening Financial Management Systems

15. Fifteenth Report: State and District Administration


Of these, the first, eighth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth reports have come up with crucial suggestions in the realm of civil service reforms. The tenth report on Refurbishing of Personnel Administration – Scaling New Heights recommended the setting up of National Institutes of Public Administration to run Bachelor’s Degree courses in public administration/governance/management. In the long run it is expected that these specialized centres of excellence (National Institutes of Public Administration) would evolve as major sources of civil services aspirants. Selected Central and other Universities should also be assisted to offer such graduate level programmes in public administration/ governance/public management which will produce graduates to further expand the pool of eligible applicants to the civil services. The courses offered in these universities should include core subjects such as the Constitution of India, Indian legal system, administrative law, Indian economy, Indian polity, Indian history and culture apart from optional subjects.


Graduates of the above mentioned special courses from the National Institutes of Public Administration and selected universities would be eligible for appearing in the Civil Services Examinations. Further, graduates in other disciplines would also be eligible to appear in the Civil Services Examination provided they complete a ‘Bridge Course’ in the core subjects mentioned above. Regarding capacity building, the Second ARC suggested that every government servant should undergo a mandatory training at the induction stage and also periodically during his/her career. Successful completion of these trainings should be a minimum necessary condition for confirmation in service and subsequent promotions. All civil servants should undergo mandatory training before each promotion and each officer/official should be evaluated after each training programme. Successful completion of the training programmes should be made mandatory for promotions. The objective of mid-career training should be to develop domain knowledge and competence required for the changing job profile of the officer. To this end, mid career learning opportunities relevant to specific domains or specializations should be made available for officers.


4. Reorganizing and Restructuring the Government

Efforts to reform the structure of Government of India can be traced back to the early Fifties. In 1952, a Special Reorganization Unit was constituted to economize on staff. Later on this unit was entrusted the task of using ‘work study’ techniques to scientifically evolve norms for work. In 1954, a Central Organization and Management (O&M) Division was set up in the Cabinet Secretariat. This was followed by creation of O&M units in several Ministries. The main purpose of establishing these divisions was to streamline procedures and improve efficiency. The Planning Commission also set up a committee to evolve organizational norms for execution of plan projects. In order to provide a more focused approach for reforms, the Government created the Department of Administrative Reforms within the Ministry of Home Affairs, in 1964.


During 1966, the First Administrative Reforms Commission undertook a comprehensive task of examining the machinery of Government of India and its procedures of work. The Fifth Central Pay Commission laid emphasis on downsizing of the government. The Expenditure Reforms Commission (ERC, 2000) examined the structure of various Ministries/Departments. The ERC was of the view that the entire gamut of the Union Government functioning on the civilian side had to be examined de novo and re-determined in the light of four key criteria- (i) Does this need to be done; (ii) Does this need to be done by government; (iii) Does this need to be done by the Union Government; (iv) If it is to be done by the Union Government, which ministry/ department/ organization is best suited for doing it. It expressed concern at the rapidly increasing financial burden caused by the increasing staff strength and was of the view that a drastic downsizing of the government staff strength becomes necessary not only for securing modern and professional governance as visualized by the Fifth Central Pay Commission, but also to ensure that the burgeoning salary bill does not pre-empt scarce resources, that could otherwise be applied to priority areas like infrastructure development, human resource development and poverty alleviation.

New Public Management (NPM) – has also been called market-based public administration, managerialism, reinventing government, and post-bureaucratic model. It evolved in Britain and the US, and later spread to most of the affluent liberal Western Countries and also to several developing countries like Ghana, Malaysia, Thailand, and Bangladesh. Its initial growth can be traced to the relatively minimalist, non-interventionist state ideology of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but the basic approach of NPM was later adopted by a number of countries that did not necessarily share this ideology. NPM sought to bring management professionalism to the public sector without necessarily discarding the active role and welfare goals of the State. NPM also offered the possibility of a more cost-effective and citizen-friendly State, and the possibility of substantially enhancing the governance capacity of the State for tackling the highly complex challenges of our times.

States opting for NPM have not necessarily incorporated all these elements of NPM. Most countries have been selective in incorporating those elements of NPM that they felt were best suited to their individual administrative milieu, economic and social condition, and governance culture. NPM has also been an evolving concept with States experimenting with approaches and mechanisms noted earlier. These include policy guidance to the government through stakeholders’ councils (the ‘deliberations councils’ of Japan) for the management of sectors, industries, issues etc., departmental boards as in Britain, policy analysis and evaluation cells as in Japan and other countries, the minister’s ability to reach beyond the senior bureaucrats to ‘buy’ policy advice, and corporatization of government functions, as in New Zealand, e-governance, as in Britain, Malaysia, China, and several Indian States, and a whole host of management tools and techniques like Total Quality Management (TQM), operations research, HRD, market research, etc.

The Second ARC, while commenting on the restructuring and reorganization of the government, suggested that the concept of a Ministry (central) has to be redefined. A Ministry would mean a group of departments whose functions and subjects are closely related and is assigned to a First or Coordinating Minister for the purpose of providing overall leadership and coordination. This concept of a Ministry and the Coordinating (or First) Minister may be explicitly laid down in the Allocation of Business Rules. Adequate delegation among the Ministers would have to be laid down in the Transaction of Business Rules. As a consequence of this, rationalization of Secretary level posts wherever required may also need to be carried out. A Ministry should have a broader view besides acquainting itself with the various laws that guide its functioning. The ARC also suggested that the government should lay emphasis on policy analysis, policy making, planning, budgeting, monitoring implementation of policies, coordination and evaluation. The ARC called for the creation of effective executive agencies. Each agency, whether a new body or an existing departmental undertaking/agency/ board/special purpose body etc. that is to function as an executive agency, must be autonomous or semi-autonomous and professionally managed under a mandate. Such executive agencies could be structured as a department, board, commission, company, society etc. Regarding re-organization of the Ministries, the ARC says that each Department should lay down a detailed scheme of delegation at all levels so that the decision making takes place at the most appropriate level. It should be laid down in the Manual of Office Procedure that every Ministry should prescribe a detailed scheme of delegation for its officers. This delegation should be arrived at on the basis of an analysis of the activities and functions of the Ministry/Department and the type of decisions that these entail which should be dovetailed with the decision-making units identified in that Department. As to the coordination mechanism, the reforms commission says there is need to ensure that the existing coordination mechanisms like the Group of Ministers and Committee of Secretaries function effectively and help in early resolution of issues. However, effective use of the GOMs with clear mandate and prescribed time limits would be helpful. The ARC also laid stress on creating an effective regulatory framework


5. e-Governance as a New Paradigm

The roots of e-governance in India lay in the establishment of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in 1977. The main thrust for e-Governance was provided by the launching of NICNET in 1987 – the national satellite-based computer network. This was followed by the launch of the District Information System of the National Informatics Centre (DISNIC) programme to computerize all district offices in the country for which free hardware and software was offered to the State Governments. NICNET was extended via the State capitals to all district headquarters by 1990. In the following years, computerization, teleconnectivity and internet connectivity led to a number of e-Governance initiatives, both at the Union and State levels. A National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development was constituted in May 1998. In 1999, the Union Ministry of Information Technology was created. In 2002, the National e-Governance Plan was rolled out with 2007 as a benchmark to achieve the policy goals.

e-Governance has been a theme debated in and out of governments the world over. The Indian experience has been mostly in terms of pilot projects as can be seen through their success in states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, New Delhi and a few North-Eastern states, particularly Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. However, the fact remains that majority of such successful projects have neither been scaled up nor replicated across the country on account of its cultural, lingual and ethnic diversity. The effectiveness of the respective state governments also comes into question. In this regard, the state of Andhra Pradesh has done some pioneering work, beginning with e-Seva. The e-literacy project Akshaya was a grand success in its pilot state in Malappuram district in Kerala. The digitalization of land records programme, Bhoomi, in Karnataka was a revolutionary turnaround in the way the land revenue department used to function. Now, all the farmers in that state have digital land records (record of tenancy and cultivation). Similarly, the North Eastern states have been successful in introducing the concept of community service centres that provide all government services to the citizens at the grassroots level. Public sectors like the banking, insurance, railways, income tax department, commercial taxes department, telecommunications, national highways, etc., have been successful in introducing e-governance platforms much ahead of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of 2002. The plan did lay down many deadlines and an effective framework, but by the end of 2007 only a few states could reach the goals. This is generally attributed to lack of adequate financial resources or grants from the Centre. Also, there were no innovative collaboration (PPP) models that could sustain the pilot projects and their replication on a large scale. Though there was initial resistance to technology in governance from the institutional stakeholders, the problem was solved in a phased manner. Much depends on the political will of the ruling dispensation in giving a thrust to the application of e-governance models in areas hitherto not considered viable.

The Second ARC, widely commenting on the state of e-governance in India, says that the success of an e-Governance initiative lies in how efficiently it has enhanced people’s participation in government functioning through wide ICT access, bringing government and the services it offers closer to its citizens, promoting accountability, transparency and responsiveness in government functioning and ensuring that government works better at lesser costs. These are the sine qua non for good governance and a vibrant democracy.

In the present context of ICT use, Knowledge Management (KM) has been recognized as a prerequisite for holistic e-governance. KM is an area that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving and sharing enterprise information assets. Knowledge Management is a process that, continuously and systematically, transfers knowledge from individuals and teams, who generate them, to the brain of the organization for the benefit of the entire organization. It is the systematic, explicit, and deliberate building, renewal, and application of knowledge to maximize an enterprise’s knowledge-related effectiveness and returns from its knowledge assets. For citizens, the benefits to be reaped from KM include better services, more choices, more personalization and greater accountability of how their moneyisspent. For the organization, KM provides the major benefit of improving the organization’s performance through increased efficiency and innovation. But for these benefits to occur, the back office processes must be in place. KM is founded on the notion that the organization’s most valuable resource is the knowledge of its people. Knowledge Management is essentially about facilitating the processes by which knowledge is created, shared and used in organizations. It is not about setting up a new department or getting in a new technology. It is about making changes to the way individuals in organizations function. In this regard, the Second ARC has recommended that the Union and State Governments should take proactive measures for establishing Knowledge Management systems as a pivotal step for administrative reforms in general and e-Governance in particular. It also suggested that Public-Private Partnership (PPP) should be the preferred mode to implement e-governance projects as most of them tend to involve technology providers and system operators at the ground level. The Union government is considering roping in technocrats to overhaul the e-governance structures. The Unique Identity Management Authority – meant to provide unique identity card to all Indian citizens – headed by technocrat Nandan Nilekani is a step in that direction.

6. Conclusion

Civil service reform is a continuous process in governments the world over. Though India inherited the British colonial legacy, it has been trying to reinvent itself in the realm of civil services. The public administrative systems as well as the public sector undertakings that are tasked with providing various services to the citizens have reformed themselves through the New Public Management movement and the processes of liberalization, privatization and globalization. In fact, this turnaround was so drastic with the deployment of latest information and communication technologies to deliver public services. Domain knowledge and specialization have been the hallmarks of the Indian bureaucracy since the last two decades. Knowledge Management has become a key component of electronic governance, which is efficiently aided by the private partners, mostly technology vendors. Business processes reengineering has been given a new thrust. The private sector, the voluntary sector and the civil society have become active partners with the Central and the state governments in areas of financial and development administration. The momentum is now towards realizing the goal of e-government. However, there are many a drawbacks and flaws that are threatening to impact the administrative systems adversely. Foremost, there are still remnants of feudalism in the systems that spawn a huge clientele on the basis of loyalty. Personnel at the grassroots level are steadfast in their resistance to use of technology in administrative processes. Effective regulative frameworks for public organizations have not been put in place as yet.


[1] Kapur Devesh and Pratap Mehta (ed.), Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design, OUP, New Delhi, 2005

[2] Krishnan, K.P. and T.V. Somanathan, 2005, “Civil Service: An Institutional perspective,” in Devesh Kapur and Pratap Mehta (ed.), 2005, Public Instiutions in India: Performance and Design, Oxford University Press, New Delhi

[3]  North, Douglas C., Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1990

[4]  First ARC Report on the Machinery of Government of India and Its Procedure of Work

[5]  Macaulay Committee Report on the Civil Service (Fulton Committee Report), Vol.1, HMSO, London (1975)

[6]  B B Mishra, The Bureaucracy in India, Oxford University Press, 1977

[7]  ARC Report on Personnel Administration, 1969

[8]  Ed Campos and Sanjay Pradhan, Building Institutions for a More Effective Public Sector, Background Paper for the World Development Report, 1997

[9]  Reports of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (13), 2006-09

[10]      India: e-Readiness Assessment Report, 2003

[11]      Pardhasaradhi Y (et al), e-Governance and Indian Society, Kanishka Publishers, New Delhi, 2009