Latasinha’s Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Bureaucracy in India

“For the forms of government, let fools contest.

That which is best administered is best.”

And also

But what is best must free man still decide,

Lest leaders gull them and officials ride.”

 

Introduction

The civil services in India can, without doubt, be regarded as the most remarkable of all the institutions, which Britain bequeathed to India. The term `civil service’, which is now applied to the general body of persons employed as non-combatant work connected with the administration of states, was first used in the late eighteenth century to designate those employees of East India Company, who were engaged in Mercantile work. As the character of the company changed – its trading operations were first supplemented by territorial dominion and eventually replaced by the responsibilities of government – its employees were transformed from traders into Civil Servants/administrators.

Structure of Bureaucracy – The organizational structure of  administrative set-up plays a very important role in the efficient performance of tasks As an employer, Government’s primary duty is to make all feasible administrative, organizational and working arrangements for its employees. Prof. Applebly says, as far as civil services are concerned, its “structure determines, where responsibility lies; how and to what extent responsible and controllable delegation takes place; what emphasis should be given to various objectives.   It poses and conceals issues of policy. It provides or relatively fails to provide a structure of progressive responsibilities for decision making and thus at each level screens out some decisions and relieves those in higher positions, so that they may give attention to decisions really important to their functions”.

Classification of Civil Services – For the performance of its manifold activities, Government employs thousands of personnel into a governmental organization from almost all vocations, occupations and professions into its Civil Services every year. All government services work as an integrated whole. It is divided vertically and horizontally in order to meet the differing requirements and emerging developmental tasks. e. All its personnel work together in harmony and cooperation with each other. The whole administrative system is vertically and horizontally divided in order to achieve the national goals, execute different plans and policies of the government and meet the different  emerging requirements of its society and do other administrative/developmental tasks.

Basis of position-classification in bureaucracy – A proper job evaluation leads to position-classification and forms the basis of personnel management. Position classification is a systematic division of different posts in several classes in accordance with the functions to be performed, responsibilities to be shouldered and other conditions. It is “the systematic sorting and ranking of position in a hierarchical sequence according to comparative difficulty and responsibility”. Positions, supervision and authority to be exercised downward, other responsibilities, simple or complicated type of work, qualifications required for the post etc., are the factors, which operate in the determination of classification.

Pre-Independence Position classification in India:- In India, a bureaucratic hierarchical structure came into existence as soon as the `Rule of Company Bahadur’ was terminated and replaced by the `Rule of Crown’. During that period, the Secretary of State for India was at the top the Viceroy and Governor General of India just below him; Provincial Governors/Lt. Governors/Chief Commissioners below Viceroy; and Collector/Magistrates or Deputy Commissioners and other civil servants etc. occupying the lowest rung of the four tier structure of the centralized white bureaucracy.

Civil Services during the rule of British Crown

From traders to Administrators – The term “Civil Services” was used to designate those employees of East India Company, who were engaged in mercantile work. As the character of the company changed, its trading operations were first supplemented by territorial dominion and eventually replaced by the responsibilities of government. Its civil servants were transformed from traders into administrators. Roughly from 1606 to 1740, the civil servants were managing primarily trading operations, and incidentally administrative work which grew more and more in size as the East India Company acquired territorial possessions notably after the battle of Plassey. Precisely from 1741 to 1834, the civil servants were entrusted with purely administrative activities. By 1858, when the transfer of power from East India Company to the British Crown became a reality, the foundation of the Indian Civil Services was formally implemented.

Civil services under the Crown – By 1858, when the transfer of power from East India Company to the British Crown became a reality, the foundation of the Indian Civil Services was formally implemented. And about this period of British Rules, the Simon Commission (Report of the India Statutory Commission 1930, Vol. I.P. 263) said, “of no country can it be said more truly than of India that `Government is administration”.  Pylee had said  “The whole system from top to bottom was well knit, highly centralized and behaved like an unbreakable steel frame with all the characters of a full-fledged autocracy.” (Pylee, M.V. Constitutional History of India 1600-1950 P. 28)

During British period, the bureaucracy consisted of two parts:

  • Government in London headed by the Secretary of State for India and curiously called the `Home Government’ of India.
  • Government in New Delhi (in Calcutta before 1911), headed by Viceroy and Governor General of India, called the Government of India.

The two parts were closely related despite of the factor of long distance between England and India.

The Secretary of State for India – The Secretary of State used to be a Member of British Cabinet (the creation of the Act of 1858). He was at the top of the administrative machinery and controlled the political destiny of India from England. His powers were immense. All the Members of higher civil services were appointed by him and his control over them was pervasive.

The Act of 1919 and that of 1935 made little, though formal, changes in regard to his powers. Though his powers relating to the superintendence, direction and control of the Indian Administration   were   retained, his interference   in the   administration   of   the transferred subjects assigned to the popular ministers was to be reduced to the minimum. As a result, the day to day interference of the Secretary of State in the provincial administration was relaxed to some extent.

The position of Viceroy and the Governor General in India – the Viceroy and the Governor General was the Crown’s representative. His office was set up by the Regulating Act of 1773, while the Act of 1858 decorated its title as Viceroy and the Governor General of India. He had assumed much authority in his own hands on account of being the `man on the spot.’ He was the supreme bureaucrat, so far as the Government of India was concerned. All provincial and local administration was under his absolute control.

Due to the policy of maintaining a uniform administrative system all over the country, his control was very extensive in the administrative sphere.   Though the public services were recruited by the Secretary of State, it was the duty of the Government of India to lay down policies of reform and progress of the administrative system in the form of Resolutions. The net result was that provinces only acted as the Agents of the Centre in implementing these resolutions. By the end of 1918, British India had its 15 units variously designated as given here:

Presidencies        Lieutenant Governorship                  Chief Commissionership

  1. Bengal             1. Bihar & Orissa                                1. Ajmer Mewara
  2. Chennai                2. Burma                                          2. Andamans
  3. Mumbai                 3. Punjab                                        3Assam                                                 .                             4.UttarPradesh                                Baluchistan                                                                                                                              CentralProvinces                                                                                                                                       Coorg
    1.                                                                              Delhi                                                                                                                               North-West Frontier Province

(Governors were       (Appointed by the Crown        (Appointed by the Crown on the

appointed by the           on the recommenda-           recommendation of the Governor

Crown)                      tion of the Governor General)   General)

(Johri J.C. Indian Government & politics P. 157)

Immense Control of Bureaucracy – During the whole period of British rule, the main task of the civil services was to maintain law and order intact at any cost. What was common to the administration of all these units or provinces was that they were under the charge of bureaucrats acting under the supreme control of the Governor General. The Governor or the Lt. Governor, as the case may be, of a province remained the pivot of the bureaucratic administration at the provincial level despite the introduction of a sort of `provincial autonomy’ under the Montfort Reforms. There were some subordinate services for minor and ministerial jobs.

Classification of Civil Services  – Responsibilities, simple or complicated type of work, qualifications required for the post sphere of work, nature or quality of supervision by superior etc. were the factors, which operated in the determination of classification. All the civil services in British India were grouped as covenanted (higher) and uncovenanted (lower) services on the basis of the nature of work, pay-scales and appointing authority.  Positions, supervision and authority were to be exercised downward.

  • Administrative set-up at the Central Level –  In 1887, Aitchinson Commission recommended the reorganization of the services on a new pattern. It divided the services into three group – Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate. All the important and superior positions were included in Imperial Services on the basis of field of work (All India status), nature of work and quality of supervision by superior. The recruiting and controlling authority of these services was the `Secretary of State’. Mostly British citizens were recruited for these services. With the passing of the Indian Act 1919, the Imperial Services were split into two classes – All India Services and Central Services.
  • Administration in Provinces – There were Provincial Services as well. The appointing and controlling authority for these services was the respective provincial government, which framed rules for those services with the approval of the government of India. The Governor or the Lt. Governor, as the case may be, of a province remained the pivot of the bureaucratic administration at the provincial level despite the introduction of a sort of `provincial autonomy’ under the Montfort Reforms. Provinces have their own Provincial Services. The appointing and controlling authority for these services was the respective provincial government, which framed rules for those services with the approval of the government of India. There were then, subordinate services for minor and ministerial jobs.
  • District Administration during British rule – The civil servants of different ranks, i.e. Commissioners/Deputy Commissioners/District Collectors and Magistrates etc., were entrusted with the responsibility of running the administration of their division, district or some such local area according to the dictates of the upper echelons of British Bureaucracy. The civil service was characterized as hierarchy of officers neither chosen nor accountable to the Indian people. The bureaucracy at the level of local administration meant `Raj’ to the masses of the country, as the rule of an officer “was based on fear and awe and mass obedience was extracted by repression and suppression of popular demands”.   The higher civil servants were appointed and for that reason, accountable to those above them.

Civil Service Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930 – From 1930 onwards, the classification of services came to be governed by Civil Service Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930. According to it, various services were divided into four categories : Class I, Class II, Subordinate and Interior.

The Government of India Act of 1935 –  The Government of India Act of 1935 provided for a constitutional relationship between the Centre and Indian States on a federal basis. The provincial part of the government of India Act of 1935 had been put into operation and elections in the provincial legislatures had been held in 1937.

Failure of the Diarchy in the provinces – Despite of the relaxation of Central control over the provincial administration according to the Act of 1919 and that of 1935, the fact remained that governor continued to act as the concrete embodiment of the bureaucratic administration under the absolute superintendence, direction and control of the Governor General.

The position and role of the Governor remained one of the important factor that caused the failure of the Diarchy in the provinces. By virtue of his belonging to the cadre of bureaucracy, the fact of strong bureaucratic control continued even under the so-called partially representative government.

A special feature of the Government. of India Act of 1935 was that whereas in the case of the provinces accession to the federation was to be automatic. In the case of the States it was to be voluntary. (The story of the integration of the Indian States, VP Menon, p. 34) Joint Select Committee’s report commented, “The main difficulties are two: that the Indian states are wholly different in status and character from the Provinces of British India, and that they are not prepared to federate on the same terms as it is proposed to apply to the Provinces. On the first point of Indian states, unlike the British Indian Provinces, possess sovereignty in various degrees and they are broadly speaking, under a system of personal government…. On the second point the Rulers have made it clear that while they are willing to consider Federation now with the Provinces of British India on certain terms, they could not, as sovereign States, agree to the exercise by a Federal Government in relation to them of a range of powers identical in all respects with those which that Government will exercise in relation to the Provinces on whom autonomy has yet to be conferred.”

Consequences of the failure of the Diarchy in the provinces – Post 1919 period witnessed the intensification of the national movements, the emergence of Gandhi and Congress and the acceptance of the methods of violence by some parties as a means to achieve independence. Ultimately, India got its Independence on 15 August 1947.

Civil Services in India after Independence

In 1947 came the Independence. With the attainment of Independence and adoption of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goals, the demands on administration undergone a qualitative change. The basic task of administration changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change.

Political set-up in Independent India – India is a large country with perplexing diversity in geography, language, race and culture. The political system adopted by India, after its Independence, is that of a federal parliamentary democracy. The federal structure consists of Union and State Administration. As it is, there are three pillars of the government both at the centre and provinces – Parliament/Legislature in which Legislative powers are vested, executive to implement laws and there is also an independent judiciary, which acts as a watchdog of the Constitution and is the supreme law of the land.

The Constitution of India is based upon the principles of `Justice, Social, Economic and Political’, (Preamble to the Constitution of India 1950).

The successful operation of these welfare plans needs an efficient civil service with clear vision of its responsibilities. Maintenance of law and order in the country and speedy socio-economic development requires effective and efficient administrative efforts directed towards the assigned goals. The successful operation of its welfare plans needs an efficient civil service.

Executive powers of the government – The Union Government at the Centre consists of a President in whom all the executive power of the Union is vested. He exercises his authority either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution [Article 53 (1)]. The Vice-President is only a ceremonial dignitary. Then there is a council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head “to aid and advice the President in the exercise of his functions”. 

The President is the nominal head of the executive. The Prime Minister and his colleagues are real political heads of different government departments. Their executive power, in practice, is exercised by permanent civil service (civil services mean all the streams of functional, technical and specialist cadres as well as managerial and generalist cadres. In a federal set-up like ours, it also includes the officials at regional or state level) which works under ministers and serves as a link – so essential to maintain continuity of policy and consistency of administration between successive ministers.

No alternative, but to leave the things to time – After Independence, Pt. Nehru, the first PM of Independent India and many other important leaders, such as GB Pant etc., did not like the idea that for building up a new India, the very machinery/administrative set-up, that was till now hampering and countering the freedom movement, should be used. They wanted to reconstitute the administrative service on a new basis to fit in with the new system of a welfare state and Development Administration. However, they could not do so, as during the last days of British Rule many explosive problems arose.

Explosive problems, which arose at the time of Independence – The Second World War, then its aftermath and internally communal tensions were on a breaking point. Existence of lawlessness everywhere made the situation bad. The armed forces had mutinied in several places. There had been Railway and Postal strikes. Goods were in short supply. There was a danger of another famine in near future. These factors in combination with departure of British and Muslim officers from the civil Services, partition of the country, Pakistans incursion into Kashmir and annexation of widely distributed conglomeration of provinces and Princely states in the Union of India made the situation worse at the dawn of Independence. Events, inevitably unplanned, were moving so fast, that there was no question of even attempting to supervise their course. The country had no alternative, but to leave the things to time, opportunity and initiative of officers and organizations. It is for these reasons mainly that the pre-independence administrative set up moved in the Post Independence era without any major change.

Civil services during Post-Independence era

The Prime Minister and his colleagues are real political heads of different government departments. Their executive power, in practice, is exercised by permanent civil service (civil services mean all the streams of functional, technical and specialist cadres as well as managerial and generalist cadres. In a federal set-up like ours, it also includes the officials at regional or state level) which works under ministers and serves as a link – so essential to maintain continuity of policy and consistency of administration between successive ministers.

Gazetted and Non-gazetted Civil Services – During British period, there was another classification of the Civil Services into Gazetted and Non-gazetted. All positions, the names of whose occupants were published in the Government Gazette in connection with their postings, transfers, promotions and privileges in respect of disciplinary action, right to appeal and retirement etc. were called `Gazetted’ posts. Among all the Government Services, group `A’ and `B’, which are engaged at different levels of administration and play an important role in policy-making and decision-making processes and their implementation work  enjoyed the gazetted status. In contrast other positions, the names of whose occupant did not appear in government gazette were categorized as non-gazetted. This practice continued even after independence. As on March, 1970, there were about 52,000 gazetted officers under the Central Government and 76,000 in the provincial governments. This distinction continued to exist till 1974. After that it was done away with, in order to reduce the workload in government presses, economy in the cost of paper and printing and more efficient management of service in the audit offices.

Classification of civil services according to the nature of work: After Independence, classification of the services in India is governed by the Civil Services Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930, as amended from time to time.  The civil services are now classified into  class I,  II, III  and IV. After independence Varadachariar Commission had substituted the  terms `subordinate’ and `inferior’ by class  III and  class IV .  Since July,  1974,  the classification  of civil  servants under class I, II, III & IV  has been changed into groups  `A’,`B’,`C’`D’.

The present day classification of the services in India is governed by the Civil Services Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930, as amended from time to time.

Now the different services are designated as All India Services, Central Services and State Services. These are classified into class I, II, III and IV.  Varadachariar Commission substituted the terms `subordinate’ and `inferior’ by class III and class IV services after independence. There is a monetary basis of this classification also. According to Third Pay Commission1, officers appointed to a service whose minimum starting pay was Rs.700/- and above were in class I service, Rs.650/- in Class II Service and the persons drawing Rs.650/- and below are in class III and class IV. Since July, 1974, the classification of civil servants under class I,II,III & IV has been changed into groups `A’,`B’,`C’`D’.

Government Departments/offices responsible for building up the structure of Civil Services – The different government offices, which are associated with the process of classification, are:

  • Ministry of Home Affairs;
  • Department of Personnel;
  • Finance Ministry; and
  • U.P.S.C.

After proper job evaluation, position classification/division of different posts in several classes and creation of new civil services has been done in a systematic way  in accordance with the functions to be performed, responsibilities to be shouldered and other conditions and necessities. The systematic sorting and ranking of position in a hierarchical sequence has been done according to comparative difficulty and responsibility.

Structure of Civil Services in Independent India – At present, there are three categories of civil services –

  1. All India Services,
  2. Central services,
    1. Professional and
    2. Technical
  3. Provincial civil services
  • All India Services – All India Services are governed by Article 312 of the Indian Constitution. Constitution framers provided that, “without depriving the states of their right to form their own civil services, there shall be All India Services recruited on an All India basis with common qualifications, with uniform scale of pay and members of which alone could be appointed to those strategic posts throughout the Union”. At present, there are three All India Services: Indian Administrative Service; Indian Police Service; and Indian Forest Service.
  • (Professional) Central Civil Services under Government of India 
    • (a) There are many central civil services for performing various service functions  for which Central Government is responsible. Such functions are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution (such as Railways, Posts and Telegraphs, Excise and Customs, Income tax Service, Indian Excise and Customs Service or Accounts Service etc.). The prior to appointment into these services. No professional degree, diploma, certificate or experience is required.
    • (b) However, for appointment in technical central services (like Indian Tele-communication Service, Central Water Engineering Service; Central Power Engineering Service; Central Health Service etc.) knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, or diploma is necessary. These services deal especially with developmental programs or work for building up infrastructural structures.
  • Provincial Civil Services – Different provinces or states in India have their separate political set-up similar to that of Centre. In the states, Governor, instead of President, is the nominal head. They have their own legislature, council of Ministers with a Chief Minister and its own civil services. The subjects for the Centre as well as state administration have been divided clearly by the Constitution itself in the Seventh Schedule.

The district civil administration still occupies a key position. It is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of civil administration can be concentrated and where it comes into direct contact with people. Its importance arise from the fact that it is at this level that bulk of people come into close contact with the government policies, programs and their implementation. It is here that people judge the quality and efficiency of the governmental administration. It has regulatory as well as developmental tasks. The collector continues to play a pivotal role in the district administration. Besides the collection of Revenue and the maintenance of law and order, he is responsible for coordinating the activities of various departments at district level. He enjoys immense power and prestige. Each district has several district officers, who head their respective units at district level. There are some technical departments also. Which are entrusted with functions, which require knowledge and experience in a defined field.

Winding up  – Continuous modernization, higher productivity, rapid advance in socio-economic and technological sphere and desire to improve the quality of life of common-men demand that personnel joining the government services should be effective, efficient and goal-oriented. The success of government’s welfare and developmental plans depend upon the efficient and effective performance of all the civil services, as a whole. Therefore, all the civil services at every level should be equipped with officers having the capacity to meet various challenges of the modern India.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

June 17, 2017 - Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services |

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: