Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine
When India achieved independence, it inherited a colonial legacy in
administration, which was suited to the needs of revenue collection and
maintenance of law and order. During the. years following independence, the
Indian government was mostly pre-occupied with the problems of administrative
integration of the princely states and the rehabilitation of the refugees and
With India becoming republic the objectives for the development of the
country was spelt out. The focus shifted to the social and economic development
of the country. Attention was directed to people-oriented administration.
Administration had to be responsive to the development needs of the people.
Thus, there was a need to reform the administration to suit the needs of
The Government of India undertook various measures for bringing in reforms in
administration. It constituted various committees and commissions and organised
conferences to suggest reforms in administration. We will be discussing them in
the ensuing sections.
We will first discuss the meaning, needs, and types of administrative
reforms, which will be followed by the reform steps and measures undertaken in
the country since independence.
MEANING OF ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS
'Administrative reforms can, in short, be defined as artificial inducement of
administrative transformation against resistance. This definition highlights
three distinct elements, namely:
- Administrative reform is artificially stimulated;
- It is a transformatory process; and
- There is existence of resistance to change process.
Obviously, reforms do not take place by themselves. They are pre-meditated,
well studied and planned programmes with definite objectives in view. Reform is
an induced and manipulated change, for it involves persuasion, collaboration and
generation of conviction for betterment.
Reform is more than a series of incremental changes or marginal adjustments,
though it may result from the cumulation of small changes, which periodically
creates requirement for comprehensive and systematic efforts.
Administrative reform paves the way for new order. It refers to the formal,
mechanistic and meditated process of structured change.
NEED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS
The distinguishing characteristic of modernised social system is its ability
to deal with continuous systematic transformation. Society has to change in
order to free itself from the shackles of traditionalism, cope with the changes
in environment, adopt fresh innovative culture, adopt new knowledge and
technology and crave for a new order through elimination of the old structures
Administrative reform is but a part of the universality of this change, for
administration is nothing but a sub-culture, a social sub-system reflecting the
values of the wider society. Administration must also correspondingly change to
be in step with the outer modernisation process. Or else, disequilibrium would
set in, resulting. in imbalances, dysfunctionalities, maladjustments and goal
According to Fred W. Riggs administrative reform is a "problem of dynamic
balancing ". Since public administration functions within a political context,
its basic character, content and style of functioning is greatly influenced by
the political environment, its institutional dynamics and process, in not merely
setting national goals, priorities, or deciding between competing values, and
allocating resources but also in devising the most effective instrument for
translating these policies into successful programme realities. Added to this,
the advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and the state's
pervasive role in managing national assets and resources, controlling the entire
economy through regulation and development, ensuring a just and equitable
economic order, correcting age old social imbalances through newer forms of
institution-making, and ushering in an egalitarian social system, has thrown up
new tasks for administration. This requires fundamental and foundational
improvement in the administrative capabilities. The latter, in turn, requires
proper planning, educational re-arrangement, skill-generation,
attitude-formation and a host of other structural-functional reorganisation.
With the nineties came the market reforms, and there was an emphasis on
structural adjustment. Good governance is the stress of the governments of the
day, with focus on accountability, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and
decentralisation. With focus on good governance today, there has been a greater
change in the conventional role of the State, the government and the
bureaucracy. Today, there is shift from responsiveness to partnership and
collaboration. The importance is given to people's participation in governance
and the involvement of the multiple actors. With citizen's participation and
collaboration taking centre stage, the government have to act as partners with
the citizens. Administration cannot fulfil the newer roles with the traditional
organisation and methods. - It has to be people friendly and work on public
trust. Hence, the bureaucracy has to change to adapt to the new role. This need
for change in turn necessitate reforms.
TYPES OF ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS
Administrative reforms, according to Gerald E. Caiden, can be of four types.
- Reforms imposed through politica changes.
- Reforms introduced to remedy organisational rigidity.
- Reforms through the legal system, and
- Reforms through changes in attitude.
Reforms imposed through political changes
Administration is shaped and influenced by political forces. The change in
political scene also affects administration. Structure and working of
administration is affected by political changes.
Reforms introduced to remedy organisational rigidity
Bureaucratic structures have to change to be flexible. The rigidity in the
structure of administration has to be removed. The changes can take place in the
form of restructuring, reinvention, realignment, rethinking and reengineering.
Reforms through the legal system
Laws pertaining to administrative reform can lead to significant changes in
administration. Legislation is normally preceded by consultations and
deliberations in several forums such as committees, commissions, press etc.
Reforms through changes in attitude
Human beings are an important part of any organisation. Change in their
attitude will help in bringing reforms. No legal, structural and political
change can lead to desired reform unless and until these are appreciated and
accepted by the people working in the organisation.
At the Central level, various ministries and departments have been slow in
implementing the reforms. The citizen's charters lack quality, as many of the
ministries and departments have renamed their information brochures as charters.
The citizens as well as the employees also seem to be unaware of the charters.
The computerization and networking is yet to be fully implemented by the Centre
and the States;
The review of laws has not been taken up at the required pace. The Lokpal
Bill is lingering in the Parliament. The Department of AR&PG found that many of
the Information and Facilitation Counters set up by the ministries and
departments are non-functional. The code of ethics is yet to come up. The
voluntary retirement scheme has also not been properly taken up. At the State
level, much is left to be achieved. The Right to Information Act has been place
in several States, but it has not been properly implemented.
Nothing has been going beyond the 73rd and 74•h constitutional amendments.
The States have not implemented the constitutional amendments in letter and
spirit. As a result, decentralisation has suffered a setback. The States have
not adequately streamlined the function of the panchayats. In some States more
powers has bee.n vested with the district and intermediate levels whereas in
some States more powers have been given to the gram panchayats and the
intermediate levels and not to the district level. The States have not provided
these bodies with adequate staffand finances in relation to the subjects
allocated to them. Again, the district planning committees have not been set up
by a number of states. The gra~ sabha are not fully empowered as their powers
and procedures have not been properly laid down. The urban local bodies have
lost their importance due to the multiplicity of corresponding institutions that
have come up to carry out varied functions pertaining to housing, urban
regulation, water and sewerage, and power distribution. Also, there is dearth of
resources, which creates problems for rendering better services.
MINISTRY OF PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES AND PENSIONS
A Department of Administrative Reforms was set up within the Ministry of Home
Affairs in March 1964 to suggest reforms and conduct studies on all aspects of
administration relating to the organisation, methods and personnel.
The 0 & M Division, which was earlier functioning under the cabinet
secretariat, was transferred to it.
Based on the recommendations of the ARC, a Department of Personnel was set up
in the cabinet secretariat on l st August 1970. All matters pertaining to the
civil services were transferred to this Department from the Ministry of Home
Affairs. Further, on 7th February I 973, the work relating to the Department of
Administrative Reforms was also transferred to it and the Department was
redesignated as Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms. Jn Anril
1977, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms was shifted from
the cabinet secretariat to the Ministry of Home Affairs and this arrangement
continued till the end of 1984. Department of Personnel and Administrative
Reforms. was also set up at the State level.
The Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms was elevated to a full
fledged Ministry• of Personnel and Training, Administrative Reforms, Public
Grievances and Pensions in March 1985. On December 10, 1985 this Ministry
underwent further change in its nomenclature and was re-designated as the
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions with three departments
namely, Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), Department of
Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and Department of Pension and
Pensioners' Welfare.. A major highlight of this arrangement was that, firstly
the Ministry was placed under the overall charge of the Prime Minister assisted
by a Minister of State. Secondly, the subject of public grievances was added to
Department of Administrative Reforms. This allocation was effected under the
rationale that it would provide a closer and integrated view of the inadequacies
of the administrative system that gives rise to grievances, on the one hand, and
how the administrative machinery could be made adaptive to the changing
requirements, on the other. Thirdly, a separate Department was created to handle
the subject of Pension and Pensioner's Welfare.
We will be basically concentrating on the functions of the Department of
Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.
Functions of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public
With the creation -of the Department under the Ministry in 1985, the
following tasks were assigned to it:
- Matters pertaining to the conduct, coordination and evaluation of
- Matters pertaining to organisation an methods.
- All policy matters and issues relating to the redressal of public
grievances in general and grievances pertaining to the Central government
agencies in particular.
Administrative reforms are vital for the sustenance of the government
machinery. The focus on good governance today has necessitated reforms in
government as well as in administration. The Government of India undertook
reform measures since independence. Various commissions and committees were set
up to suggest reforms in the administrative system, organisation, methods and
procedures. One of the important commissions to suggest reform was the ARC,
which made recommendations covering the entire gamut of administration at the
Centre and States.
Major reforms in the recent years pertain to the implementation of the Action
Plan on Effective and Responsive Government. There are three vital components of
the Plan that aims at making administration responsive and citizen friendly,
transparent with the right to information, and improvement of the performance
and integrity of the civil services. The Centre and States have implemented the
Plan to a certain extent. More steps in this regard are on the anvil.
The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances is the nodal
agency of the GO! for administrative reforms as well as for redressal of public
SOURCE ; INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY LEARNING MATERIAL
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