Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit: Administrative Reforms since Independence: Reforms in financial management and human resource development

Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit (Paper - II)

Administrative Reforms since Independence: Reforms in financial management and human resource development


The Administration Reform Commission (1966-70)

The Commission wanted to promote specialization among civil servants and to make even the “heaven-born” IAS to speclalise, thus curtailing its all-purpose character. Selection to the top posts was to be based on the result of a midcareer competitive examination open to all officers. It recommended a scheme of reform which envisaged entry into the middle and senior management levels in the central secretariat from all the services. Where the regularly constituted services were already in existence to attend to specific functions, the middle and senior level positions in the corresponding areas in the secretariat were normally to be occupied by the members of the concerned functional services. And, in non-functional areas the middle level personnel were to be drawn, through the device of a mid-career competitive examination, from all the sources on the basis of equal opportunity for all. The selected persons were required to gain specialized knowledge of and experience in one of the following eight areas of specialization at headquarters, the allocation in a particular specialty depending on their qualifications and previous background:

1. Economic Administration
2. Industrial Administration
3. Agricultural and Rural Development
4. Social and Educational Administration
5. Personnel Administration
6. Financial Administration
7. Defence Administration and Internal Security
8. Planning.

This recommendation about specialization was not accepted by the Government. The ARC wanted the generalist India Administrative Service to specialize, but the Government turned down its plea. A unified grading structure was recommended; posts entailing similar qualifications, difficulties, and responsibilities were to be grouped in the same grade. This also was not accepted.

The knowledge and expertise relevant in the various specializations are as follows:

(1) Economic Administration: Currency, banking and financial institutions, international trade, foreign aid and foreign exchange for company affairs, problem relating to incomes, wages and prices.

(2) Industrial Administration: Economic growth, industrial licensing, import of technical know- how and also problems relating to incomes, wages and prices in common with specialism

(3) Agricultural and Rural Development: Rural cooperatives, community development, irrigation, rural electrification, agricultural science; agricultural economics, rural sociology.

(4) Social and Educational Administration: Education, social welfare and family planning, urban development. Labour welfare and industrial relations, factory and labour inspection, information and public relations.

(5) Personnel Administration: Management analysis involving work-study, grading and evaluation posts, organization and methods, selection techniques, training and career management, staff supervision and control, motivation, morale and staff welfare.

(6) Financial Administration: Cost-benefit analysis, budgeting and expenditure control, performance budgeting, programme evaluation review technique (PERT), etc.

(7) Defence Administration and Internal Security: Intelligence, concepts of strategy and tactics, logistics, weapons systems, systems analysis, defence industry, defence research and development etc.

(8) Planning: Assessment/projection of demand and resources, models of economic growth, input output ratios, inter-sectoral balances, cost-benefit analysis of projects and schemes, programming methods, techniques of progress reporting and feedback, and of evaluation of results, operations research, system management.

The Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State Relations

In 1983, the Government of India appointed the Justice R.S. Sarkaria Commission on Centre- State elations, which was yet another institutionalised attempt at administrative reform in India. The Sarkaria Commission was a response to a long-standing demand for more stable federalstate relations India. The Commission was a staunch supporter of the all-India services and recommended the establishment of new ones. All-India services in fields such as agriculture, engineering, medicine, and education were to be created. In the Commission’s language, ‘any move to disband the all-India services or to permit a state government to opt out of the scheme must be regarded as retrograde and harmful to the larger interest of the country.’

The Economic Administration Reforms Commission

The Economic Administration Reforms Commission (EARC) was set up in the early eighties to suggest changes in the economic administration of the country. Its chairman was L.K. Jha, a member of the Indian Civil Service who had specialised in the economic affairs of the country. The Economic Administration Reforms Commission submitted, in all, thirty-seven reports covering a very wide range of subjects such as tax administration, industrial approval, rent control, economy in public expenditure, relationship between Government and public enterprises etc. Though these reports covered a wide variety of topics they were all concerned with what is broadly known as economic administration and were characterised by some common concerns. Most significantly, the license-permit-control regime had been losing its credibility even in the dawn of the eighties and the seeds of liberalisation were sown around this time. Perhaps the most notable contribution of the Economic Administration Reforms Commission, reporting in 1983, lay in its visionary recommendation to shift the governmental emphasis from regulation to development, thus consciously moving from direct physical controls to direct mechanisms. It articulated its concern for ‘some structural reforms in the machinery of government with a view to streamlining the process of decision-making in economic administration’.

Two reports of the EARC covering accountability and economy in public expenditure are particularly notable, these being missing concerns of earlier administrative reform in India.

The Chief Ministers’ Conference, 1997

In 1997, the chief ministers met in Delhi and emphasized the need for enforcing accountability in the country’s administration and to this end favoured the proclamation of a citizens’ charter. They supported transparency in administration and wanted the citizens to enjoy the right to information. They condemned administrative corruption and supported ethics in the public services.


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