(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Administrative Reforms since Independence: Problems of Implementation (Paper -2)

(Online Course) Public Administration for IAS Mains Exams

Topic: Administrative Reforms since Independence: Problems of Implementation

A policy by itself cannot solve problems: it has to be implemented and n implementation strategy requires to be meticulously planned which demands efficiency to implement a reform and what is more, institutionalize it. Mere acceptance of a report is not enough. As functionaries are accustomed to the older order of things there is always a risk of their reverting to past practices unless strong efforts are made to institutionalize the reforms. Civil servants, looking after implementation must definitely be a cut above the rest, as they would be called upon to display vision, drive and imagination in the handling of administrative reform. Administrative reform must not be taken as a routine job: the ringing in of a new order requires extra effort and drive.

A strong minister must be put in charge of the reform agency: this is part of the larger requirement of an assured political stability in the country. A systemic reform necessarily confronts numerous problems strewn all over its path including its follow-up stages. All this demands high-quality leadership. Nor must one expect miraculous change in public administration immediately after the administrative reform has been implemented fully. Reform is a slow, complex exercise and quick results cannot be expected. Monitoring, reporting and evaluating de them hard mechanisms too require to be developed.

Implementation has been the proverbial Achilles’ heel of models administrative reform in India. Recommendations of administrative reform are too plentiful, easily remindful of the leaves in Vallambrosa. The distressing fact is that India’s implementation record has been dism poor. Implementation must be consciously taken into account and well planned while engaged in tasks of formulation of administrative reform recommendations. Implementability of any particle recommendation must be seriously weighed by administrative reformers. Also administrative growth confronts definite limits which’ a reformer may ignore at his own peril. It has never been contended that administrative reform in India has no future. What is asserted here is that a bold non-stop incremental must preferably inform administrative reform: the administration can be strengthened only gradually requires continuous top level leadership and monitoring particularly at the follow up stage. What generally happens is that the more pedestrian a recommendation the greater is the chance of its acceptance, and implementation. But the critically crucial recommendations in a report may be one or two: when such recommendations do not gain implementation, little impact is likely to be made on the system, One such recommendation for example, made by the much-quoted Administrative Reforms Commission (1966-70) was in its report on personnel administration relating to ‘road to the top: By Side-tracking this recommendation the much-needed structural reform of Indian administration was overlooked and a rare opportunity was missed.

In short, administrative reform is a slow meandering process, requiring enormous patience and tact. In his book Administrative Reform Comes of Age, Gerald Caiden concludes, ‘Administrative reform difficult and fraught with problems. It rarely succeeds as expected and usually fails through faulty implementation’. No proposal for reform is likely to be effective if there is no significant change in mindset of the bureaucracy. An attitudinal and behavioural revolution must animate India’s bureaucracy frozen as it is in the antiquated mould of colonial culture. The new slogan should be service wit smile, not after a mile! India’s foremost need, today, is to repair and reconstruct the country’s public administration even though the country shows a proneness to set up a committee on administrative reform at the slightest provocation. A serious approach to administrative reform must follow a system path. Public administration of the land has become too unwieldy picking up a lot of non-essential work, resulting in blatant oversizing.

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