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Role of Civil Services/ Bureaucracy in Governance

“For the forms of government, let fools contest.

              That which is best administered is best.”        Finer

 Introduction – A Government roughly falls into two general processes

  1. The process of politics, which consists of the activities of elected representatives of the people and
  2. The process of administration to assist politically elected ministers, which consists of the activities of permanent bureaucrats/civil servants.

Permanent bureaucrats/civil servants belong to a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.(Finer. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, p709, 1950). The main characteristics of bureaucracy/Civil Services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working. It is always associated with exercise of authority.

Theoretically, the administrative machinery is subordinate to the elective body i.e. the Council of Ministers. But in practice, it plays a different role. The responsibility of political chiefs becomes formal, as they are forced to listen to the advice of the civil servants, which can dig and present data in a matter as they consider fit. The service role in relation to the minister is that of influence and not of power. It is this administrative apparatus that runs the government.

Civil servants are professionally recruited and trained in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist such as police force to maintain law and order, a diplomatic service for external affairs, technical services for Public Works Department or Electricity Departments, Railways and Customs etc.

Governance, the most difficult task – In modern times, for good governance of a nation, it is the civil service/bureaucracy, which is responsible. Efficient and effective civil service is foundation stone to build a forward- looking nation. Of all acts of a government of a civilized society, perhaps, governance is one of the most difficult tasks, as it deals with issues – political, economic or social, that directly affect public life of living human beings, who are full of psychological and sociological complexes and prone to unpredictable behavior.

Concept of ‘Nation State?’ –The idea of a ‘nation state’ is not very old. For medieval scholars, the concept of a nation might have been unimaginable. A secular government ruled by the consent of the people rather than by holy mandate was perhaps unthinkable.  ‘Nation state’ in its present sense is more or less a nineteenth century concept. The notion of a ‘nation state’ is different from the idea of ‘city state’, ‘multi-national state’, ‘empire’, ‘confederation’ or other state forms. Idea of ‘nation state’ is associated with the rise of modern sovereign state, in which the government administers its specific territorial area for the unity and social, economic and cultural development of the people living in that area.

Exist in a type of society – Whether in the past or in present, the institution, whether in a nation state or city state or an empire, civil services have always been closely related, connected with the tasks of governance. Bureaucracy has now become a very potent and vital element of any government all over the world. It is an indispensable part of each and every political system, be it communism or socialism or capitalism. It can exist in a type of society, be it a dictatorial or a democratic society. The civil service is, therefore, an indispensable part of any government. Due to its exclusive and specialist nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in administration for improving the quality of life, the importance of civil services increases day-by-day.

Bureaucracy works from behind the scene – To run the administration of a country nicely, a band of capable officers—efficient, prompt, just and sympathetic—belonging to different disciplines of civil services are required. Though they always live behind the scene, but it is the bureaucrats/civil servants, who not only dig expert knowledge from the raw material, but give it a shape with a sense of commitment. Politicians come for a short period and go. It is the bureaucrats, appointed on a long-term basis, who provide continuity in the governance of the nation.

Governance the most complex task – Governance/administration of a country is perhaps the most complex one, of all the acts/tasks a government performs, as it has to deal with living human beings prone to unpredictable behavior. As, it deals with different kinds of issues – political, economic or social, which directly affect day to day life of common men – the people.

Emergence of Welfare and Development activities – Earlier in the nineteenth Century the main tasks of an administration were universally the maintenance of law and order and revenue collection. In the post Second World war period, in general and especially in the new nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, Welfare and Developmental tasks were added in the responsibilities of civil services. Since the emphasis in administration has shifted to the welfare plans, national reconstruction and development, every nation require and civil service for effective implementation of its developmental activities. It, in turn demands officials of integrity, equipped with administrative ability and practical sagacity.

Civil services in a ‘Welfare State’  – French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, Industrial Revolution and Contemporary developments had a great impact in widening the scope of State activities. Poverty and misery, which were earlier accepted as the lot of masses, are no longer regarded as inevitable. The ultimate aim of governance is to help common men live a peaceful, safe and secure life. Today, this simple and powerful truth is too often forgotten.

Demand of Public for better deal – Increased consciousness of public compelled them to demand, with persisting insistence, better standard of living, better housing, better education and better medical facilities. The masses now wish themselves to be benefited as much as possible, from the resources of their nation. The desire of public to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common people could have better deal, gave rise to the concept of `Welfare State’ and Developmental Administration, the former being the objective and the later the machinery to achieve these objectives.

Aims of a Welfare State – In a welfare state the government assumes and aims at improving the quality of life of its masses and the responsibility of its citizens from `womb to tomb’. It tries to bring about `social, political and economic justice’. The main aim of initiating and nurturing this concept is to bring about betterment to the lots of weaker section of society by building up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy. Uplift of the marginalized sections of society, provision of basic necessities to all, irrespective of their caste or creed, voluntary abdication of riches and power, that these riches bring and establishment of a productive, vigorous and creative political and social life are some of the aims of a Welfare government.

In short its objective is a massive attack on five major evils of society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. The welfare concept of state has no utility in itself unless it is translated into action. The instrument deployed for achieving welfare goals – national reconstruction and development – is that of the development of administration through the institution of civil service, which puts all its energies at bringing about socio-economic and political development of the nation as a whole. An efficient administration can successfully comprehend what is attainable, what is practical and what can help the agencies in the community to formulate plans and policies, by which the community can seek to assure welfare of all its members.

Maintenance of law and order all over the country is still very important. Then only, desired objectives for the sustainable development of the nation could be achieved. Those engaged in the task of governance could yield maximum results with minimum labor and resources within time and cost parameters and provide convenience to public at large.

In the post war period in general, development consciousness and development efforts, emerged in the new nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, required a civil service of integrity, equipped with administrative ability and practical sagacity for development.

Requirements for efficient governanceFollowing are the requirements for the civil servants engaged in welfare and development administration –

  • Mental framework – it should never be conservative. It should have a scientific outlook and should be progressive, innovative, reformist and even revolutionary in mental attitudes and approaches.
  • Knowledge – it should have knowledge of science, technology and social sciences.
  • Skills – it requires conceptual skills (ability for innovative problem – analysis), planning skills, technical skills, managerial skills and human skills.
  • Vision – A development bureaucrat requires the vision of a statesman and not that of either narrow-minded politicians or a rule-minded bureaucrat.
  • Structures – it requires less hierarchical and more team-like structures such as Commissions, Boards, and Corporations etc.
  • Behavior – The behavioral pattern should consist of (a) action and achievement orientation (b) responsiveness (c) responsibility (d) all round smooth relations inside with juniors and seniors and outside with clientele and the public (e) commitment to development ideologies and goals.

Besides, there should be –

  • A working partnership between the civil servants and the people.
  •  A sense of service, a spirit of dedication, a feeling of involvement and a will to sacrifice for the public welfare.
  •  A pragmatic application of the basic democratic principles. Higher civil servants should provide the required leadership to the lower levels of administration.
  •  Constant field inspection by senior officials.
  • to provide the government with the ability to be in constant contact with the people;
  • to make the people conscious that the government is alive to their problem;
  • Smooth relationship between generalist administrators and experts/specialists; and
  • Training from time to time to understand the success already achieved in the field of development administration and the efforts to be initiated in future.








July 6, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , , | Leave a comment

Rationale of Policy of Reservation/ affirmative action

“”Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe.” Benjamin Disraeli.

“Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.” Blaise Pascal

“Seven social sins : –

– Wealth without work,
– Pleasure without conscience,
– Knowledge without character,
– Commerce without morality,
– Science without humanity, and
– Politics without principles,
– Worship without sacrifice.” Gandhi

“Success formula – C3 (Commitment, Confidence, Compassion) + I2 (Integrity, Ingenuity” Apache

“No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for” Swami Vivekanand

“Who does not fight each day for freedom, does not deserve to be free.” Readers Digest

Reservation Policy, before independence known as “Communal Award”, has always been a very complicated and controversial issue in India right from its inception in the early twentieth century. People have very strong views in favour or against it. While, some hailed it as a historic step to break the shackles of caste, to bring the downtrodden into the corridors of power, to empower them and thus set right all social and economic imbalances. Opponents of Reservation think that for sustainable development of the submerged society and making them capable to join the mainstream of society, it is not so much protective/paternalistic policies of the government, which are required, but it needs a sincere effort by the government to provide for a sound system of education and training for all. Social changes can not be brought by favoring Reservations for weaker sections of society. It can be brought by changing the mindset of poor people and making them aware, capable and strong enough to be self-reliant. Protective policies like Reservations not only affect adversely the systems, the functioning and efficiency of the institutions responsible for good governance, but also shatters the self-confidence of backward section of society – to stand on their own feet without the crutches of Reservation.


It is a humanitarian obligation to think about weak and plan for their uplift. But for removing social and economic imbalances, the path od reverse discrimination should not be adopted. The Government has to pay equal attention to the elite sections of society, as well. While uplifting the submerged section of society, the Government should not block their progress/advancement. Besides, one finds many contradictory statements/diverse principles in the Constitution of India. Question arises how to do it?

Contradictory statements in the Constitution

Contradictory statements mentioned in the constitution leaves much to the discretion and fair-mindedness of the authorities. The Constitution framers have dreamt to keep a fine balance between various diverse principles and thus lead the nation to prosperity. However, the ideologies that guided the Constitution framers, at the time of Independence, have more or less run out of steam today.

One of such example is the principle of equal opportunities (Art 16) in direct conflict with the principles of redress (Articles 335) directing the authorities to make Reservations for SCT in consistent with the maintenance of efficiency. It is up-to the honesty and vision of authorities not to over look the national interest for their political expediency and not to misuse these clauses on efficiency and social-justice. Reservation policy should not be converted into quota system.

Diverting public mind from real issues to abstract ones

With the passage of time, they proved to be ineffective to solve the real issues of over-population, poverty, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society. There is a small, well-organized and influential group of people speaking in the name of majority. In its self-interest, it has spread many myths and illusions to divert public mind from real issues to abstract ones. It has disfigured certain aspects of reality, flared up emotional issues, tried to unite the people by diagnosing “A common enemy” to be defeated and put the blame on the unverifiable past. In the absence of independent records of events, around which its arguments are woven, its own analysis becomes the only record. The emotional issues earn for it the faith of the people and help it to further instigate the feelings of the people. Through Reservation Policy, it has exploited for its personal benefits the principles of equality, secularism, social justice and unity – the four pillars of Indian Constitution.

“Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”

It is said, “After every ten years, when Reservations were to be reviewed on the floor of Parliament, every time, reservations has been extended for next 10 years. Many politicians of the day show scant regard to the spirit of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the objective of uplifting the downtrodden and absorbing them into the mainstream has become secondary for them. The means i.e. Reservation Policy, through which the vote-banks can be created, has become the primary and most important mission for them.

Throughout, politicians have been propagating that Reservation has been sanctioned by the Constitution and it is their duty to abide it. Series of amendments of the Constitution, in extending the time-frame Reservation for another ten years, appears to be nothing but “Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”. In fact, the whole exercise of extending it is non-researched and is based on hollow grounds.

Therefore, some people demand for total abolition of Reservation, some for keeping Reservation exclusively for needy persons on the basis of economic criterion. They suggest fair and open mechanism to eliminate gradually the affluent sections from the lists of backwards.

“Rob the Peter and give it to Paul”

Any attempt to reverse the position of forward castes or letting them down could not succeed much, because they have the vision, knowledge and awareness to find out alternative routes to progress. It should boost up their initiative, courage, intelligence and talent, so that the nation could compete confidently with developed nations of the world.

Critics of Reservation say that Reservation Policy has no place in a true democracy. It is nothing, but to “Rob Peter and give to Paul”. In his book “Theory of Justice”, John Rawls discusses in detail equality, liberty, rights and role of the State. According to him, liberal democracy strives for an equality of opportunity and equality of results. Rawls says :-

– Nature itself takes care of the distribution of natural assets and abilities, intelligence, strength and the like, which is going to determine the class, income or the status of an individual in society,

 – Every-one should have the maximum liberty, compatible with the same liberty for others,

 – People prefer equality over inequality. Inequality can only be tolerated, when it helps everyone, including the worst off. Inequality in any form is against common good, efficiency or good performance. Inequality could be made fair and just, if everyone had an equal start in life. The key to “Equal start” is education for all and an open primary school system.

Positive motivation and vision – People of forward class have the proper qualifications, competitiveness and positive motivation, which the backward class people lack. During British period, sensing the demands of the time, the upper and middle castes opted for English education and occupied Government jobs, which were the seats of power. At that time, lower castes were on the way to attain freedom and educational awareness, but remained outside the power structure. Now again the situation has changed. With the start of the third great revolution – the Information Technology revolution – and the collapse of super power USSR, there is a wave in favor of knowledge-based systems and free economy. Again the cream of the society has changed its focus from Government jobs to economic enterprises. The upper castes are adapting themselves to the culture of free economy, while the lower castes are clamoring for the secure salaried jobs, whether in Government or in the private sector.

False promises

In order to lure the masses and capture power, many politicians make false promises. How to get out of the clutches, false promises, manipulations and twisted ideologies of the politicians is a major task ahead the people. Once the uneven distribution of different sections of society is perceived as a problem of distributive justice by the State authorities, institutional well-being takes a back seat. Fair-minded persons accept to provide enough opportunities to submerged sections of society to rise. But they do not consider fixing-up quotas in public institutions as desirable.

Doles/Freebies Cripples people

Policy of Reservation does not appear to be a practical proposition but only an ideological slogan. The beneficial or protective nature of political authority lulls the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards authorities for everything. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base. It veers the nation towards paternalistic-totalitarianism and cripples the public consciousness.

Importance to caste-considerations over economic backwardness

Poverty is a universal and secular phenomenon. It prevails everywhere in all the categories of Indian population. Reservation Policy may benefit the affluent members of the beneficiary castes whereas millions of other deprived and low income people remain bereft of the benefits of Reservation. The later are also deprived of the access to education and other facilities. The founding fathers dreamt to provide equal opportunities and equal protection to all under the law. The State was directed to provide within 10 years free and compulsory education to all children below 14 years and to promote with special care educational and economic interests of weaker sections. However, the focus of politician remains on Reservation, which is based on discrimination. It violates the egalitarian principle – the very base of Democracy. It is alleged that the Indian society is iniquitous, because it puts too many restrictions on lower castes. However, restrictions on an activity of a person do not mean necessarily depriving or denigrating him. It could be to protect people from mental conflict, to discipline them or to maintain order and harmony in the society. When a person is not mature enough, these restrictions control his impulses and guard him against wrong actions. A matured person attains self-discipline, which restricts his actions. Above all, in Indian society, the higher caste and purer a caste is, more are the restrictions on its activities in the form of self-discipline.

Negative influence on national psyche
There is more stress on Reservation rather than improving the capability of youth through sound education and training and on creating jobs. Leaving Reservation to the discretion of Power- hungry politicians makes it a ploy in their hands, to be used for political expediency, Present-day politicians do not care for principles, or are concerned about downtrodden. Distributive justice means to them fixing up quotas for different sections of society.

Attempt to establish firmly separate identity
Reservations have misled/divided the society into uncompromising water-tight compartments today. Anti-Brahmin Movement of Periyar in 1926, Mandalization of society of 1991, or militancy of Dalit Movement – their transformation from untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class or now Dalits are all examples, where sectional interests have led them increasingly distancing themselves from the mainstream and establishing firmly their separate identity.

A ploy to build electoral base

At present, Reservation policy has become a high level strategic ploy to build an electoral base. The most common abuses of Reservation Policy, according to the critics of Reservation, both at the backward class people find it difficult to get an entry Central and State levels are : –

 Started as a temporary measure, it has become a permanent feature of Indian polity by amending the Constitution every 10th year.
 SCT list is lengthened by the Center and state governments numerous times,
 Some States are allowed by the Center to exceed 50% limit,
 Reservation is extended to advanced castes as well,
 Creamy layer rule is disregarded,
 Quite often, government scraps cut off marks for SCT in entrance examination,
 Manipulations in recruitment process by political authorities to recruit their own persons,
 Backwardness no longer remains a social stigma, and
 Many people produce fake certificates.

Resentment against Reservations in higher posts in bureaucracy

So long as, “Only a few places” were kept aside for severely disadvantaged people, people accepted it. But 50% or more Reservation created agitation among a section of people. In 1970’s and 1980’s, with the emergence of many sectional political parties in the states and their growing emphasis on Reservations generated resentment against Reservation Policy. In 1990’s, after Mandal, it took a major turn by forming a shape of national movement, effecting many parts of the country. Though the authorities were able to suppress the agitation, however, it has left deep scars in public mind.

Game of numbers

Reservation has degenerated democracy into a number game and palliatives. It has undermined the universally accepted democratic principles of organizing, regulating and distributing power with an aim to achieve growth targets effectively, legitimately and with dignity. It has pushed the real issues, principles and ideologies into the background.

The outcome of that it is not based on sound principles. The policy has led the nation to build unbridgeable political identities in most insensitive manner, which are based on negative exhortations and condemns all traditional values and structures. Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation. The new culture of consumerism adds fuel to fire.

Reservation on wrong Ethos

Critics say that Reservation Policy is based on negative ethos, defective database, and wrong perception of social structure, wrong methodology and wrong principles. Access to public office through quota is sought more with an aim to get authority and control over public funds than a desire to serve the national interests. VP Singh had, on 15th August, 1990, clearly said, “In my views, the question of poverty is not financial in nature…The issue does not relate to the treasury but to the throne and whosoever occupies the throne, will also control the treasury.” According to them, the following arguments given in support of Reservations are most illogical and inaccurate. Questions arise: –
 Is it a poverty-elevation program?
 Are present generation youth accountable and punishable for sins of our ancestors?
 Should there be dilution of minimum professional standards?
 Does it perpetuate casteism? and
 Can it remove the difference between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’?

Ideologies around which Reservation Policy revolves
Reservation Policy revolves around the following principles:-

 Principle of Equality
Social justice,
 Exercise of power, and
 Efficiency and merit.

Principle of equality

Reservation Policy believes “All are equal in the eyes of law, but some are more equal” The Constitution itself gives equal opportunity to all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed or gender, descent, place of birth or any of them. The constitution clearly lays down through Article 16, that there shall be equal opportunity for all its citizens, relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. This aspect has been already discussed, in detail, in Chapter V. So long as the applicant, along with others under consideration had been given his chance, it cannot be claimed that equal opportunity had not been given to him. While the authority has been given the freedom to make selection from numerous candidates offering their services, the selection must not be arbitrary. It has to be based upon some reasonable principles required for efficient performance of duties and obligations of a particular service or post.

Article 16(4), on the basis of which the Reservations are given, is an exception, which is to be read along with Article 335. The selection procedures for implementing Reservation Policy could be of four types: –

1. Selection should be among equally qualified persons,
2. Selection among comparable candidates,
3. Selection among unequal candidates and
4. Selection among qualified and unqualified candidates.

The selection procedure, as is practiced in India, does not believe in former two procedures, which fit more with Art 16(4) along with Art. 335 and adopts the later two, which are against the dictates of the Constitution (Art. 335) and the principles of equality Art. 16). The backward candidates, who compete on equal footing, are included not in reserved quota, but in general category. The full quota is filled on relaxed standards.

Consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness does not give the benefit of Reservation to all the poor people on equal terms. Therefore, it undermines the principles of equality.

Ideology of social justice

The main argument in favoring Reservation is “Social justice”, the need to emancipate the under-privileged from centuries-old discrimination and bring them back to the mainstream. By the World War-II, socialism was the wave that swept the entire world. It was supposed to destroy all inequalities of race, sex, power, position or wealth and to distribute equitably social, material and political resources of the nation. In 1947, many leaders of free India, under the leadership of Pundit Nehru, thought that they would be able to achieve a just and equitable socio-economic order and to remove poverty before long by pursuing policies based on social justice.

“Parrot cry of socialism” – However, at that time, able statesman like Sardar Patel, considered socialist propositions purely theoretical and academic, far away from reality. Sardar Patel ridiculed the “Parrot cry of socialism”. He lashed out against those, who believed that there could be no justice, unless its economy was based on social economy. Or that freedom was meaningless without economic equality and social justice. He said, “Unlike many, who indulge in ‘Parrot cry of socialism’, I have no property of my own. Before you talk of socialism, you must ask yourself, how much wealth you have created by your labour. If you have created nothing, the parrot would have flown, and the cage would be empty. By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us, is to learn how to produce more wealth and thereafter, think what to do with it. What the country needs is not “Parrot cry of socialism” but unity and strength. Patel asked the people to realize why England took a very long time to become socialist and why America made no mention of it even now.

Gandhiji’s views – Gandhiji also said, “Socialism will not come by occupying positions of power and by delivering speeches from the platform.” Gandhiji appreciated socialist leaders desire to bring about equality of living standard in society. But advised them first to come together, think what was in the best interest of the country and set people on to constructive work. Giving practical advice to do selfless service to the people and to ensure the straightest and quickest way to achieve a socialist order, Gandhiji said, “ If you wish to establish socialism, there is only one way, in which it can be done. Go and live among the poor in villages, live as they live, be one with village people, work for eight hours daily, use only village made goods and articles even in your personal lives, remove illiteracy among village people”.

Entire population cannot be accommodated in power echelons – Equality combined with social justice does not mean that everybody should share political power equally. 900 million people cannot be accommodated in power echelons of the government. It means a harmonious partnership between the public and the Government officials. Every-one should do one’s duties sincerely and contribute for social cause according to one’s capacity. Good governance means managing effectively the common affairs of individual citizens and institutions, be it public or private, Without any bias, continuously conflicting interests and diverse needs of different sections of society should be looked-after.

Constitution on social justice – When the Constitution was framed in 1950, the words, “Socialism” or “Socialist democracy” were not included in it. It mentioned only “To secure to all its citizen economic justice and equality of status and opportunity”. The influence of the socialistic principles is visible in the Constitutional directives to the Government to: –

 Provide adequate means of livelihood to all its citizens,
 Distribute material resources for common good,
 Avoid concentration of wealth and means of production in the hands of a few, Right to work,
 Equal pay for equal work, to both men and women,
 Living wages for all workers, protection of workers especially children,
 Humane conditions of work, and
 Provide for right to education and public assistance.

Word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, added in 1975 – It was after the death of Sardar Patel that Congress Government bent heavily towards socialist policies. It declared its goal in the form of “Socialistic pattern of society” and subsequently “Democratic socialism” under Nehru’s leadership. The word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, was added in 1975, through 42nd Amendment Act by Indira Gandhi’s government, giving it almost the highest place in the name of equality and “Remove Poverty”. However, it was followed in such a way, that it had done more damage than good.

Exercise of power

The problem of socialism is of performance, not of faith, and the price paid by the nation for this faith has been efficiency and its future prosperity. The change centralized the planning, controls and ownership leading to abuse of power and “Grab more power” attitude. It closed its economy to the world, nationalized industries and services, initiated rigid controls on the private sector and created monopolies in the public sector. In the name of socialism, it created a domineering State controlling the smallest detail of the economic and social life of the people. People were made pigmies and enslaved by politicians, planners and bureaucrats. It did not wipe out poverty, nor created effective distributive system nor equality, but it had led almost to the loss of economic liberty. The political system increased corruption, inefficiency and red-tape. It created a closed, centralized and unproductive system, which suppressed growth. In the name of Welfare State, the Government acquired extraordinary powers to exercise arbitrary control over massive resources. The excessive control made people gradually loose their motivation for hard work. An unfettered market system led to grave economic inequalities, which got transformed into political inequalities.

India practiced so far only phony, fake and tainted social justice – What India has practiced, so far, is a phony, fake and tainted social justice. It has created the politics of appeasement and vote banks, destroyed the work culture, and encouraged separatism everywhere in the society. It has jammed the wheels of morality and conscience. It has developed tentacles of corruption, scams, scandals and callousness in almost every sphere. J Krishnamurthy said, “Working for social welfare is to fill water into a pail that has holes. The more water is poured in it, the more it pours out and the pail remains empty.” The great lesson of the 20th Century, which has been learnt the hard way, is that the government of a nation should not become so beneficent that it undermines people’s will to help themselves and tends to develop inaction and parasitism.

Principle of Efficiency

Pr. Betielle comments, “None knows, where the struggle for social justice ends and the scramble for power begins. But one thing is definite, that in between the casualty becomes merit and efficiency”. The principle of efficiency comes into direct collision with the methods adopted to bring the downtrodden into the power corridors. A policy aimed at welfare, which forgets efficiency and growth, neither achieves welfare, nor efficiency nor growth. Similarly any policy aiming only on efficiency and growth, to the neglect of welfare, causes so much unrest, that nation will achieve neither efficiency nor growth, nor indeed welfare.

Article 335 of the Constitution – With the growing expectations of various emerging groups, too much consciousness about one’s rights, spread of education and awareness among general masses, the challenges before government have become very complex in nature. While the administrative work requires the services of bright meritorious, hardworking and sincere people, Reservation favours laxity in appointments/recruitment of officials. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials could lead to inefficient or mal-administration and substandard services to general public. The private sector survives and prospers, only because it does not allow substandard working. It picks up the best talent available in the country, from educational institutions itself, by conducting campus interviews. While dealing with Reservation Policy, the framers of the Constitution were concerned about the efficiency of administration. That is why, there is Article 335. The way the Reservation Policy is being implemented affects adversely the efficiency of the institution.

Variables on which efficiency depends – Efficiency of any organization depends on:-

 Stress on Quality,
 Merit, and
 Work-culture

• Stress on Quality – Quality is never an accident nor is there any short-cut to it. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. It represents the wise choice between many alternatives. Quality or efficiency is more needed in government sector than any other in order to achieve desired targets within time and cost parameters and provide good service to public at large. There could be no prosperity for the nation as a whole, unless and until efficiency is ensured in all its activities, be it innovation in administration, economic or social reforms, establishment of institution or implementation of developmental programs. The nation has to develop an uncompromising attitude on efficiency and quality management. In a product, it is easier to monitor and ensure quality at all stages, than to judge the efficiency of administration.

 How to judge quality – Administrative process operates on heterogeneous human variables. It is operated on by a group of personnel with time-varying abilities through a time-varying and updated tasks/responsibility. Creativity, originality, vision and innovative ability, the desirable attributes of efficient administration, are difficult to assess for the lack of quantitative methodologies or qualitative procedures. The efficiency, quality and attainments in administration are quite often judged through evaluation of performance of officials rather than through the achievements of targets.
 Team-work for efficient working, a must – Efficiency definitely requires teamwork. The team, at every level, should be up to the mark. For efficient and effective administration, the performance of the service as a whole should not only be of high quality, but also be reliable, friendly and cost effective. Reservation Policy has sown the seeds of separatism in the cadre of administrative officers too. It blocks mutual help, mutual trust and mutual respect in administrative work.
 Regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained – For providing an efficient administration, the government requires a regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained. The development of the nation depends not only on the optimal utilization of physical, natural and financial resources, but human and intellectual resources as well. Amongst, man, material and money, the maximum importance should be given to men, because man is the instrument, which gives highest possible returns and makes the proper utilization of other resources a reality. Therefore, the basic requirement for efficiency is ‘the man’ with merit.
 Reservation Policy compromise with efficiency – Reservation Policy has made compromise with efficiency in administration and developmental process. Such a step, along with many other reasons, has been taking the nation to perpetual Backwardness. Ju stice Gajendra Gadkar had cautioned long ago, “It must not be forgotten that efficiency in administration is of paramount importance, that it would be unwise and un-permissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency in administration…”. C Rajagopalachari has warned the nation, “Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.”
 Ill-effects of this compromise – Ojective of improving the status of Backwards could not be done by lowering the standards of governance, especially when the nation is passing through a very difficult time. The net-effect of this compromise is, that economy is in shambles, coffers empty, inflation and price-rise touching new heights, law and order position disturbed and divisive forces getting stronger every day. Confucius has rightly said “When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
 Work Culture – It is alleged that besides other factors, Reservation policy adds in deterioration of work culture in the government sector. It ultimately effects the efficiency of administration adversely. The work culture of an office depends on the caliber of its employees, freedom of purposeful working, active involvement of the employees in decision making, cooperation of colleagues, an open, impartial, transparent evaluation of performance, encouragement to good performance and reward for efficiency etc. It is said that Reservation policy has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Those, who get positions as a matter of right without much efforts, develop a habit of not working hard and do not value the dignity of labour. The government, which believes in social justice and creating jobs for the people, never bothers to create systems to make them work too. Many Government employees are appointed just to withdraw salary every month. The glorification of white collared jobs and contempt for some kind of work has eroded the dignity of labour immensely. How to put people to work is a riddle, nobody can solve. Calling certain menial jobs inferior or unclean and unsavory and asking people to withdraw from it, is something not rational. If the women, who clean the night soil of the children and ill persons in the family and keep the house tidy and worth living for human beings, also start thinking the same way, what would happen to mankind? The economic and other social needs of modern society are multitudinous. These are divided in to many tasks. Each task is assigned to individuals or group of individuals according to their capacity – learning, aptitude and attitude.

• The Principle of Merit

 Super symbolic electronic revolution – At present, the world has been passing through a great revolution – a super symbolic electronic revolution. In it, the changes are too swift for a human being to adjust accordingly. It demands an extra intelligent network. Swift changes, rapid advancement of knowledge, growing awareness of people and new technologies in computers and communications have changed the complexion of work culture beyond recognition in less than a decade. Being so, the modern administration needs more than anything – a high capacity to understand the current waves and changes and ability to adjust harmoniously with changed circumstances. How can one expect that candidates selected on relaxed standards would be able to face the enormous changes?
 The principle of “Meritocracy” gives people access to power at low cost and with honor. It also saves them from manipulations or misuse of money or muscle power. Few years back, it has ensured the entry of middle class people, who neither have capital nor landed property, entered into civil services through competitive examination. A merit based entrance examination into civil services gave them opportunity/incentive to work hard, gain knowledge and get access to power.
 Merit neglected in the name of social-justice – For last four-five decades, the “Merit” in Indian education and administrative system has been neglected in the name of equity and social justice. Weak commitment of authorities to merit, efficiency, productivity, and innovation has slowed down the progress of the nation. Therefore, any program or reform must strengthen the foundation of meritocracy through sound system of education and training, ensuring equal opportunity and honour to all. Earlier the opportunities for joining modern callings were based on principle of merit and appreciation for knowledge. After developing their faculties, people with talent and enterprise competed on equal footings with white men and made a place for themselves in powerful institutions of governance. For example, even British rulers opinion about Indian administrator VP Menon was quite high. Lord Mountbettan, the last British Governor General in India, is on record to have called VP Menon as a man of unusual caliber. In him, he found a great and good character merged with a first class brain, possessing power of logical deduction and the ability to gauge the future with a rare degree of accuracy. VP is remembered even now as one of the principal architect of Independent India. He was the master hand that integrated the princely states into the Indian Union. Robert Fulghum also comments about him, “Menon was a rarity – a self-made man. No degree from Cambridge or Oxford graced his wall… He talked his way into a job as a clerk in the Indian administration and his rise was meteoric – largely because of his integrity and brilliant skills in working with both Indian and British officials in a productive way.”
 Trend of mediocrity – It is said that an efficient administration requires right type of men at right places. Toffler suggests that “Power” is interplay of three main variables – force, money and knowledge. “Force” was dominant factor in the agricultural societies, “Wealth” in the industrial societies, now as a nation moves into “Information technology” era, the stress will be on knowledge. Without knowledge, it will become very difficult to achieve something worthwhile now. Being so, any nation, which dreams to emerge, as a world power cannot afford to ignore “Knowledge” and “Merit”.
 Preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent, on the ground of Reservation, is not only unjust, against the principle of equality, but also against national interests. Reservation in employment contemplates putting those men in responsible positions, who are not adequately qualified for the job, and in the process, power passes on from “Meritocracy” to “Mediocrity”, which means sub-standard service to general public.
 Make weaker sections capable to handle the weapon of power properly – Instead of making administrative machinery sick, by giving additional weapons in weak hands, it is desirable that the hands should be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through education, awareness and training. Then and then only, without any outside support, the weak will become strong to pick up the weapon properly in their hands and use it judiciously and protect themselves and their near and dear ones from oppression and exploitation. It will make them confident citizens to live with honour and dignity along with others.
 Talents in India – Today India has the second largest pool of scientific and technical manpower. There is no dearth of talents in other areas too. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market.
 Brain drain – At present, Reservation has shaken the confidence of meritorious students in the government and its work culture. Fifty percent Reservation in government jobs snatches half of the opportunities for deserving candidates. The bright and intelligent people compete for 50% of jobs in government – the left over after the reservation. A medical student share his feelings as, “I applied for civil medical job and was second best medical graduate… Naturally I felt cheated by my own country (when he could not get the job) and as a disillusioned doctor left the country of my birth (in 1970) … A country, where merit has no value … can never prosper. One can not do away with injustice by creating more injustice.”
 They prefer private sector or go abroad in search of greener pastures. At present, many of them are making valuable contribution to US space program and Silicon Valley’s electronic breakthroughs. Abroad, they find a creative outlet for their talents/skills.

Brain drain – Every year a large number of highly trained Indians go abroad and are settled there. It is a matter of national concern. The reasons of brain drain, are as following: –
 Wider and better job opportunities abroad,
 Good initial opportunities of career,
 Exposure of knowledge,
 Good working conditions,
 Comfortable standard of living, and,
 Stifling and unresponsive working conditions at home.
Principle of unity – Reservations undermines the principle of unity. The origin of Reservation Policy lies in “Divide and rule”. It has always divided the workforce by creating new political identities. Earlier British rulers got the benefit of this disunity through “Communal Awards” and now Reservation has become life-saving prescription for recent politicians to garner votes and create vote banks. Reservation generates a feeling of separatism among people. The access to power is sought by raking up emotional issues. Loyalty of a particular group (or groups) is earned by inciting people of one section against other sections of the society. All this entails fractured mandate, negligence of principles, ideologies and national interest, weak Governments, perpetual fights, increase in bitterness, suspicion against each-others and polarization on caste and communal lines, Repeated fractured mandate after l990 confirms that instead of uniting people, divisive politics has taken firm roots in India due to Reservation Policy.

Spread of Casteism –

Developments like spread of casteism in politics, collective caste identities or rivalry between various groups do not have a very long history. Caste tensions had a self-limiting character earlier, because caste in terms of social structure was a very local institution. Varna model gave an abstract idea of social hierarchy. Therefore, the conflict based on caste ties or caste identification had a self-limiting quality. This rivalry was the result of British design, pursued to divide Indians. Initially, the British tried to convert Indians into Christianity. Their conversion activities were focused on upper castes. They thought that once the upper castes opt for Christianity, other castes would follow. But it did not work, because of the strong character of caste Hindus and faith in their religion. 1860 onwards, British missionaries made the lower castes their target for conversion, who, they found, could easily be swept in large numbers. In order to influence them, British highlighted the evils of caste system and portrayed the upper caste as their exploiters. The result was anti-Brahmin movement of early twentieth century. The gap between upper castes and lower strata of society further increased due to land revenue system, which gave birth to economic disparities. On one hand, were the upper castes, having direct or indirect control over land and its produce, on the other, the masses including craftsmen, who worked for them. However, after the independence, the government tried to reduce the disparities through various legislation. Recently, caste has become the main malady of Indian politics. The renewed emphasis on Reservation with the implementation of Mandal formula in 1990 once again whipped the caste tension. The forward castes are fearing reverse discrimination and are withdrawing gradually themselves from public scene. The anti-upper caste wave forgets that the nation also needs the depth of forward castes. They are the agents of national development and national unity. While most of the Backward groups are localized, the upper castes are spread all over India, linking all parts of the nation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

 Polorized the Indian society along caste lines – To a great extent, Reservation Policy , its eligibility criteria being based on caste, is responsible for polarizing the people along caste-line. There is a sharp socio-political divide. Reservations have carved out a new caste alignment by politically dividing people into forward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes and minority. The authorities, while implementing or extending Reservations are ignoring, the sweeping changes that have occurred in the caste system and its equations throughout the country, after independence. With the sincere efforts of reformers, process of modernization, education, introduction of railways, communication, etc., before the Independence and liberty and Constitutional fundamental rights after the Independence have contributed in lessening the rigidities of caste system and gradually wearing out the caste prejudices in social arena to a great extent. The political power has shifted in favour of Backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and U.P. OBC castes has emerged as a dominant force with Zamindari abolition, land reforms and green revolution of l960s. They control about 5l% of the land in the North as against about 39% retained by large landlords. They constitute about 40% of the legislative strength. In modern society, where social status is judged by economic and political power, they are the strongest castes having replaced the upper castes as landowners. Scheduled castes are also making concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and secure their upward mobility. The uplift of OBCs, SCs and STs and migration of many lower castes people to urban areas brought changes in the earlier social symmetry.
 Venom against upper castes – The critics of Reservation allege spread of venom against caste-Hindus and forward-castes. The leaders of casteist political parties forget that whatever good they find in the Constitution i.e. removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice or special consideration for the downtrodden – in the social reforms or in the liberal policies of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the forward castes itself. Whatever the Government has done, so far, has been accepted and acclaimed by them, sometimes readily and sometimes with resistance. At present, the forward castes contribute their share through taxes, active participation in formulating developmental polices of the country and working through NGOs for the amelioration of downtrodden. All sections of the society will always remember contributions made by Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Tilak, Gokhale, Justice Ranade, Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Dayanand, Vivekanand, Ambedkar and many others with respect. Only the politicians pursuing sectional interests should stop spreading venom against upper castes and making increasing use of caste in politics.
 Backward castes glued to castes identity more firmly -The advocates of Reservations bitterly criticize caste system and desire to establish a casteless society. They want to annihilate caste system, but have failed to find a viable alternative to it. The lower castes are glued to castes more firmly than upper caste. In a particular case, a BC officer complained that in the office, an upper caste peon refused to bring a cup of tea for him or clean his cup. One day, when this officer went to his colleague’s room, the later called a peon belonging to a caste lower than the BC officer, to bring two cups of tea. The BC officer hesitated in drinking the tea and made some excuse. Two things came out clearly – the upper caste officer had no hesitation in drinking tea brought by a low caste peon, whereas the the BC officer had reservations. It shows that Backward castes are not free from caste prejudices and treat persons belonging to castes lower than their own, with contempt.

Past Experience – Politicians with vested interest think that Reservation policy could be milked at will to gain political mileage and push the real issues in the background conveniently. Failure of Justice Party in 1926 elections or the fate of Janata Party in 1991 elections shows, that they cannot fool the people for long. Experience of a century old Reservations in the South and half a century old at national level shows that still: –

 More than half the Indian population lives below poverty line, though official figures are about 40%,
 About half of the population is illiterate. Official rate of literacy is only 52% after 50 years of independence. The number of educated people is much less,
 More than 60% of Indian children are mal-nourished and about 7% of all infants die shortly after birth,
 Less than 30% of populace has access to sanitation and clean drinking water,
 Maximum number of poor, and people living below poverty line are in the south excluding Kerala,
 Reservation policy has not benefited those, for whom it was introduced. The masses are still there, where they were before the introduction of Reservation – deprived and fighting for their survival, and
 Modernization process has made the poor people destitute, living now without the support system, which the traditional societies provided earlier.

These are a few examples of non-governance.

Who gets benefited? – One of the major contentions against the Reservation policy is on account of the identification of its beneficiaries. The Reservation policy is supposed to benefit the submerged and deprived people. Instead it helps the elite of some castes declared backward. Caste-based Reservation benefits only a few individuals not necessarily the needy ones and not the entire group. It has been observed that the same families, which had come up after the reformatory process of late 19th century or with the introduction of the protectionist polices, have been cornering the Reservation benefits again and again. The individuals benefited by Reservation are usually cut off from their social bases. In the name of social justice and equitable distribution of power and dignity, vested interests have been created and the masses, reeling under poverty, is being cheated.

In 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, conducted a detailed study in the districts of Betul, Chindwara, Seoni, Balaghat etc., in Madhya Pradesh. It shows that the biggest land owners are Kurmis and Pawars. There are very few Rajput, Brahmin, Kayastha or Baniya land owners in those districts. In the Tawa Command Area of Hoshangabad district, the biggest land owners are Jats and Vishnois. As it is, the Kurmis, Pawars and Vishnois have been identified as Backwards. In Narsimpur district, Lodhis, who appear in the OBC list, are the biggest land owners. If an honest district by district survey is conducted all over India, it may be found that in terms of economic and social status, many of the people belonging to groups listed as backward class are much better-off than many of the upper-caste people, in different regions. Many well established communities have been included in Backward caste list. Mr. Vishva Bandhu garduated with MBA degree from Eastern Michigan University and works as a Deputy Commissioner, Income Tax. He says, one day, “I was pleasently surprised to hear… that as per listings of the Mandal Commission, I was Backward… My being treated as a Backward is nothing, but a slur on my name and that I do’nt wish to be listed as Backward.” Like him, there are many people belonging to different castes, for whom their inclusion in Backward class list came as a shock.
There is a large number of people, for whom, 100% job reservation makes no difference. In a study conducted in 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, shows that in the tribal area of Jabalpore, Mandla, Raigarh, Sarguja and Siddhi districts of Madhya Pradesh, the literacy rate is only 5.6%, the female literacy rate 1.03%, the average land holding is less than two hectres per khatedar, in the case of 75% of agriculturists. 20% tribals are totally land-less… They have no access to help, communication, education or other ciivc facilities. 85% of the population has an income below the poverty line. However, only 8% of the rural poor had any access to the anti-poverty program of the Government. These statistics assume vital importance, when one analyses, what the policy of Reservation has done for these people? It leads to think, whom is the Government and the politicians trying to fool? It is for the lower castes themselves understand that Reservation does not serve their permanent interest. In real life, neither it is possible, to create a totally equalitarian society, as is demanded by the supporters of Reservation, nor power and authority could be distributed equally at will. It could only be acquired through one’s own efforts. Therefore, people should discourage those leaders, who give false hopes to people.

Winding up

Process of de-reservation should start – Earlier some sections of society were lagged behind the forward castes in education and employment, not because they were deprived of the opportunities, but because they did not see any immediate use for it. Now they have realized the worth of education and bureaucratic powers, they should be allowed to come up on their own. Dr. Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in JNU says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the Central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual dis-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SC and ST members from the reserved quota.” There existed a case to end the quota business in l960 itself. Not only that the restriction has been allowed to continue till today, but to multiply irrationally. The dependence of caste for the purpose of Reservation has also increased, because the politicians are unable to look beyond electoral compulsions.

Division of labor – Division of labour according to the attitude and aptitude of individuals – be it menial or intellectual – is natural, and just.. Only freedom of opportunity to explore the pastures of one’s choice should be there for everyone, which has already been given by the Constitution itself, in 1950. Each type of work has its own value and contributes to total growth of society. No work is superior or inferior. Only the hard work, devotion to duty and sincere efforts are required for progress. At present, many people engaged in professions like tailors, carpenters, dyers and dry-cleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even paanwalas are doing much better than educated unemployed, who have left their traditional occupation, in the lure of Government jobs in urban areas or in desire to earn quick and easy money. The key to the success in any area appears to be the very same hardwork, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skills. An excellent plumber is more admirable for the society than an incompetent administrator or scientist.

Development needs coordinated working of all sections of society – A society grows and develops like an organic body, in which each organ is equally important and valuable, but is assigned a different function to perform. The coordinated working of all the parts together keeps the body fit and alive. True, the weaker parts of the body need special care, but not at the expense of healthy organs of the body. Similarly, a society functions smoothly and moves constantly towards development, if all its constituents work in harmony with a feeling of mutual help and trust. Both weak and strong sections of the society are taken care-of by the State authorities properly. No work is superior or inferior in comparison to any work. There should be a balanced distribution of work between them. Each type of work is valuable and contributes to the total growth of the society. Undue weight or prestige given to any particular work does not improve the quality of every day life of its people, as has happened in Japan. Too much attention of the Government on economic and technical work has made its people miserable even in midst of affluence and abundance. The Japanese have created an economic miracle. The per capita income in Japan is one of the highest in the world. It is a world leader in technology, its electronic and automobile industries being the wonder of the world. But Japanese are frustrated as they are missing something vital in life i.e. quality of life. Japan is prospering, Japanese are not. Therefore, due attention should be given to all kinds of work. Each and every section of the society and its work should be acknowledged, as indispensable and proper care should be given to all, for the balanced growth of society as a whole. The society as a whole needs the services of all the sections of the society. There are many advantages of division of labour, like it : –

 Increases productivity. A lone worker has many limitations,
 Increases dexterity and skill. Practice makes an individual perfect. After repetitive performance of the same task, a worker becomes an expert,
 Inventions are facilitated. While working, new ideas often occur leading to inventions,
 Introduction of machinery is facilitated. When a man is doing the same job over and over again, he tries to think of some mechanical device to relieve himself,
 Saves time. A worker has to do only one process or part of process. Therefore, less time is needed by him to learn a specialized process,
 Employment is diversified. It increases the number and variety of jobs,
 Large scale production in quantity as well as in quality becomes possible, which is economical too, and
 Under division of labour, workers are so distributed among various jobs that each worker is put in the right place.

At the end it can be said that some people dream of success and spend their energy in finding out easier way out, while others wake up and work hard at it.

Emerging economic super powers concentrated on development of human resources – The new economic super powers, Japan and Germany and nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore etc., have risen to their present status of economic affluence within a relative short period, mainly because these nations concentrated primarily on the development of their human resources and insulated their economic processes from political pressures. They encouraged a relatively higher egalitarian distribution of incomes and lowered levels of socio-economic inequalities. Human Resource Development with high levels of education and skills led them to overcome problems of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger, unemployment, inflation and population growth. India lags behind, in spite of having talented and industrious people and good natural resources (fertile land, water, sunshine and various minerals) in abundance, lags behind, only because of under-utilization of its most valued resource- human capital. People are the nation’s most basic resource in terms of productivity, creativity, innovation, economic achievements, social success and technological developments. Only their energies have to be channelized towards national goals.

May 24, 2014 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , | 1 Comment

Development administration in a ‘Welfare State’

“Lokah samastah sukhino bhavabhavantu.”
“Satyam param dhimahi”
(Meaning -“May peace and happiness prevail everywhere” and Truth, divinity and knowledge shine the world.”

Effective and efficient development in a welfare state demands not merely saying or doing right things at the right time but avoiding and doing wrong things at any time. India as a nation not only got free from British rule, but has regained the power to do welfare planning the way it wants to.
It goes to the credit of India that in the past, India gave the first University to the world and the earliest school of medicine. It gave four religions to the world. There are hundreds of mosques, churches, temples and gurudwaras. It has always been a giver. It gave asylum to more than 3,00,000 refugees who fled religious and political persecution.

For effective governance, the government should provide training to its civil servants in –

  • Overall capacity building.
  • human resource development,
  • Sensitising them about key development issues,
  • Familiarization with Union budget and demands of various ministries.
  • Devolution process.
  • Familiarization with processes related to infrastructure Development,
  • understanding of project design, development and implementation and
  • understanding key features of procurement policy, industrial policy.


Latasinha's Weblog


In modern times, of all acts of civilized society, perhaps, governance is one of the most difficult tasks, as it deals with issues – political, economic or social, that directly affect public life of living human beings, who are full of psychological and sociological complexes and prone to unpredictable behavior. Good governance is the foundation stone to build a forward- looking society.

Earlier in the nineteenth Century the main tasks of an administration were universally the maintenance of law and order and revenue collection. But in the post war period in general, development consciousness and development efforts, emerged in the new nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, which required a civil service of integrity, equipped with administrative ability and practical sagacity for development. The emphasis in administration has shifted to the welfare plans, national reconstruction and development.

Civil services in a ‘Welfare State’ 

French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution…

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February 11, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , | 1 Comment

Bureaucracy in India in 21st century

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.     Finer

” …… But with power comes responsibility”  Obama

The institution of Bureaucracy/civil services in India is the oldest and most wonderful institution the British Government had bequeathed to India. It was popularly known as ‘the Steel Frame’ of British administrative structure, Fortunately India, along with Pakistan, has inherited from the past, a unique administrative system, which knows, what these strategic posts are and who are the persons to hold them. British rule evolved the civil service as an efficient, professional and to a great degree incorruptible organization.
For the performance of its manifold activities, government employs thousand of workers into its administrative set-up (civil services/bureaucracy) from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. Government makes all feasible administrative, organizational and working arrangements for its employees.
Effort to find Best talents
In order to employ best talents in the services, every year UPSC conducts a common civil services examination (CSE) for to select personnel for many services under government of India like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), as well as for other non-IAS services like IFS, IPS and other central services for different departments like Revenue, Railways, Audit and accounts etc. It is one of the toughest entrance examinations. There are three stages of this examination ‘Preliminary’, ‘main’ and ‘personality test’ (interview). UPSC conducts annually separate examinations for some technical/professional services.
Apart from selecting officers for Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service, there are some Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ Central services, officers of which are selected through Combined All India Civil Services examination like Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Customs and Central Excise Service, Indian Defense Accounts Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, non-technical), Indian Postal Service, Indian Civil Accounts Service, Indian Railway Traffic Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Posts of Assistant Security Officer in Railway Protection Force (RPF), Indian Defense Estates Service and Indian Information Service.
Group ‘B’ Services includes Railway Board Secretariat Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Customs Appraisers’ Service, Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service and Police Service, Pondicherry Civil Service.
IAS propped up as the Elite service
Earlier ICS, was propped up as an elite service. Its officers in their early twenties would arrive fresh from their ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. They were responsible for maintaining law and order and revenue collection. Now IAS officers have wide-ranging authority in districts as collectors and at centre as policy-makers. They –
Have easy accesses to levers of power.
Are symbol of power – dealing directly with Ministers at centre and provinces.
Have smoothest career-progressions. And
Occupy almost all senior-most posts at centre and States.
One wonders why the steel-frame of yesteryears has failed to do its job effectively and judiciously, despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to perform their duties freely and frankly. Inefficient and ineffective performance of Bureaucracy/civil services by and large has affected the lives of millions of people. Now sarcastically, people call bureaucracy as ‘babudom’ and bureaucrats as ‘Glorified clerks/Babus.
Why does not bureaucracy take a stand against the unjust dictates of political leaders or corrupt senior officers, who stops them from doing their jobs judiciously? Why and how civil services in India got derailed is a point to ponder. What were the reasons behind ineffective and inefficient performance needs to be analyzed.
Efficiency of ICS officers during British rule
‘Steel-frame of governance’ – It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule, and, in a fascinating episode, when Subhas Chandra Bose, the leader of the rebel Indian National Army, flew to Berlin during the Second World War to solicit help from Hitler, the Fuehrer dismissed him, taking the view that Indians needed to be civilized by another hundred years of British rule.
How was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? Even Indian nationalists were more likely than not to agree with such an assessment. One reason for this perception was that the ICS was manifestly neither venal nor corrupt in the way in which, for example, some officials and officers of the old East India Company had been. There are, however, other forms of corruption, including assumptions of racial superiority and the conviction that the ICS always knew best.
Gilmour comes to the sensible conclusion that the men of the ICS displayed a mixture of motives, skills and temperaments. A number of individuals were ?coming to the institution through stiff competition, not the other way round?. Often a District officer in his early twenties would arrive fresh from his ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. The wide-ranging responsibilities of the District Officers of the ICS were responsible for almost everything. The structure of the service started from the District Officers to the Magistrates, Residents, Political Agents, Deputy Collectors, Lieutenant Governors, and so on. (From Rup Narain Das, titled ‘Marx and 1857’, published in TOI, P.22, 16.5.07, excerpts quoted from an article of Gilmour on Marx, June July 15, 1857 in New York Daily Tribune as a leading article)
ICS (Indian Civil Service) called ‘steel-frame of administration’
Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic ‘Steel-frame’ speech, said it very clearly on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, ?I do not care, what you build on it, if you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse. There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj, the British Civil Service in India.’
What made it so strong and efficient?
What made ICS was strong enough to rear and sustain British rule in India for such a long time was because –
‘Family background’ – Most of them belonged to British professional middle classes.
‘Educational background’ – They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge.
‘Sense of responsibility’ – The ICS, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work. They had deep sense of responsibility. However, these qualities served mainly the British rulers and not so much the Indian masses. They had full freedom and opportunity to do something worthwhile.
‘Work atmosphere’ – So far as it did not jeopardized the Imperial interests, ICS officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance, ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled (Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2). Mr. Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, “I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager. Here are simple people, who need leadership. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.
‘Bright career prospects’ – Extremely generous salaries and quick promotions.
‘Slim and trim service’ – just over a thousand at any given time ? made for a strong sense of service loyalty.
‘ Esprit-de-corps’ – Philip Maser said that there was esprit de-corps’ amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, ‘It is the Esprit de’- corps’, which served to enforce a strong moral code. It did not need to be articulated. Every body knew it.
‘Honesty’ – Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence pointed out to only a minute handful of officers being corrupt. It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable (Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993).
Balance of Power
Illbert Bill controversy indicates that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.
When the demand for the participation of Indian nationals at higher levels of administration increased, the dominance of Brahmins in administration, though mainly at lower level, had cautioned the rulers. They regarded Brahmins as the main force behind the entire national movement, agitations and terrorist activities. Therefore, British rulers tried their best to balance the power in such a way, that no section of Indian society could become strong enough to pose a threat to its rule in India. They managed it by adopting the following measures –
‘Propped-up other sections of society against Upper’-castes – The British thought it necessary to keep a balance of power by propping up other sections of the society in order to stop the preponderance of Brahmins and forward castes in modern callings.
Divided Indian population – Through censuses, the rulers divided the Indian population into different groups, i.e. upper castes, backward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities.
Start of quota system – To counter Brahmin’s dominance in administration, the British designed Reservation Policy. They fixed up quotas in government jobs for different sections on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc.
‘Separate representation and preferences to non-Brahmins’ -Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and1932 the rulers provided separate representation to different communities in Legislative Councils and Assemblies. The rulers bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and jobs for different upcoming groups.
ICS remained untouched from preferential treatment till end – Though the British Government gave preferential treatment to upcoming groups in government jobs, British rulers kept the ICS untouched from the quota system till the last. They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for any body, as on it depended, efficient governance of the country.
It was told the upcoming groups in clear terms, ‘With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their countrymen for duties of administration and public’ (Times of India Archives, May3, 1918).
‘Breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India
With the intensification of national movement and introduction of Diarchy, the downfall in the quality of work began to fade. Pannikar says, ?The Lee Commission (1923) was the first evidence of the breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India, for after that there was no claim, that the British Civil Service in India, competent though they continued to be to the end, was anything more than a group of officers doing their work for purely material considerations. The idealism of the past had vanished? (Pannikar KM, The Development of Administration in India, Bulletin of Public Administration, Patna, Patna University?s Institution of Public Administration, vols. 2 and 3, p14.)
The Rawland Committee remarked, ?The present position, in our judgment, is thoroughly unsatisfactory both from the point of view of the district officer himself, as well as, from the point of view of the efficiency of the governmental machine and welfare of the people in the district?. He is expected to see that nothing goes wrong in his district, but he has little power outside. The Magistrates and Collectors failed to see that things go right. He is supposed to compose differences between other officers, but he has no power to impose his will upon the recalcitrant. He can cajole and persuade, he can not compel? In our view, the situation, if left to itself, can only deteriorate further, because activities of the Government in the mofussil will increase and practically every department is thinking in terms of Provincialized Service and makes little attempt to disguise its determination to go ahead with its own plans, without reference to any other part of the Government? (Report of the Bengal Administrative Enquiry Committee, 1944-45, p18).
Transfer of power
In 1935, with the intensification of the nationalist movement, supported by Indian National Congress Party and growing demand for greater Indian participation in Government and its administration at higher levels, the Colonial rulers delegated some authority to the provinces. They were aware of the consequences of delegation of authority to the provinces. Therefore, they transferred to the Provincial Governments only the authority to manage the services engaged in service-functions and kept ?control functions? i.e. maintaining law and order and revenue collection in their own hands. Ultimately in 1947, India got its freedom as an independent country.
After independence
Civil services after the Independence
With the attainment of Independence and adoption of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goals, the demands on administration had 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. Bureaucracy was now expected to play a significant role in administrative and developmental work of the Government.
Fall in the standard of governance
Instead of it, there has been a gradual decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. Once known as the ?Steel frame? of the ?Whole structure?, has started shaking under its own pressure. Undesirable political pressure on it increased continuously. With the result that bureaucracy in India has now appears to be unable to meet the challenges of the day and has become an ineffective and powerless institution. Offices in the government have become dens of corruption, mismanagement and mal-administration.
Dreams of constitution-framers
The forefathers of the Constitution realized the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance to the country and providing the safety of the nation. Mr. MV Kamath said, ?With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service can not make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies? (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).
Mr. Subharajan said during Constituent Assemble debates, ?Without an efficient civil service, it would be impossible for the Government to carry on and continuity to be kept. The importance of the Governmental administration has been in the fact that there is continuity and unless this continuity, there is chaos? (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p952).
Vallabh Bhai Patel in his letter to the Prime Minister wrote, ?I need hardly emphasize, that an efficient, disciplined and contended (civil) service, assured of its prospects as a result of diligent and honest work, is a ?Sine-quanan? of sound administration, under a democratic regime, even more than under an authoritarian rule. The (civil) service must be above party and we should ensure that political consideration, either in its recruitment or its discipline and control, are reduced to the minimum, if not eliminated altogether? (Patel Vallabh Bhai in a letter to Mr. Nehru).
After Nehru?s midnight hour speech between 14th and 15th August 1947, Dr. Radhakrishnan warned the nation, ‘Our opportunities are great, but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil days. We should develop competence and ability, which would help us to utilize the opportunities, which are now open to us. A free India will be judged by the way, in which it will serve the interests of the common man in the matter of food, clothing, shelter and social services.’
Civil services in Independent India
Independent India required that the civil administration at every level must be equipped with officers having the capacity to meet various challenges of the modern India. The success of government’s welfare and developmental plans would depend largely upon the efficiency of its administrative cadres.
Government employs thousands of workers into a governmental organisation from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. Its administrative system is vertically and horizontally divided in order to meet the differing requirements and emerging developmental tasks.
Jobs in the Government have always remained an attraction for the youth. Entry into IAS and central services are the most sought-after jobs for students as it provides the highest entry point in bureaucracy. Its recruits have to pass through a well-planned entry competitive examination and rigorous professional training.
After joining the services, the civil servants are engaged at different levels of administration and play an important role in policy-making and decision-making processes and their implementation work.
IAS (Indian Administrative Service) the successor of ICS after Independence
After independence, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was created as the successor of ICS, which was till now a reputed, efficient and powerful service. IAS is now an elite service meant predominantly to be engaged in control functions of Indian provinces. IAS officers, like their predecessor ICS, deliberate directly at the highest level of policy formulation and decision making. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement. Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country.
Right from its inception, IAS has attracted the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. Also for an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of IAS, as it was with the ICS in pre-independence days. Like ICS, the Government offers to IAS best career prospects, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle. Along with it, there are many other services at central, provincial and local levels in the bureaucratic set-up of the nation.
Functions of the civil services
The civil administration, whether in Centre or in State, can be divided into two groups:
? Working in the Secretariats ? Policy making body;
? Working in field organisations ? for implementation of policies and plans.
Working at Secretariat level -Working in the Secretariat exposes the officers to policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. The work in Secretariat requires bright officers having experience and knowledge in relevant areas. The IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy most of the senior posts in Central Secretariat. In the State Secretariats also, it is the IAS Officials, who are posted on the top posts in almost every department.
Following are important functions at the level of Secretariat: –
?Obtaining decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
?Overall planning and finance,
?Legislative business,
?Personnel management policies,
?Legal advice,
?Coordination and cross clearance among the administrative departments, in the Secretariat,
?Communication with central institutions like the Planning Commission etc., and
?Overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work being done by the field organizations.

March 7, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , , , | 1 Comment

Requirements for efficient governance

Following are the requirements needed for the civil servants engaged in development administration –

  • Mental framework – it should never be conservative. It should have a scientific outlook and should be progressive, innovative, reformist and even revolutionary in mental attitudes and approaches.
  • Knowledge – it should have knowledge of science, technology and social sciences.
  • Skills – it requires conceptual skills (ability for innovative problem – analysis), planning skills, technical skills, managerial skills and human skills.
  • Vision – A development bureaucrat requires the vision of a statesman and not that of either narrow-minded politicians or a rule-minded bureaucrat.
  • Structures – it requires less hierarchical and more team-like structures such as Commissions, Boards, Corporations etc.
  • Behavior – The behavioral pattern should consist of (a) action and achievement orientation (b) responsiveness (c) responsibility (d) all round smooth relations inside with juniors and seniors and outside with clientele and the public (e) commitment to development ideologies and goals.        

Besides, there should be –

  • A working partnership between the civil servants, elected representatives in the government and the people.
  •  A sense of service, a spirit of dedication, a feeling of involvement and a will to sacrifice for the public welfare.
  •  A pragmatic application of the basic democratic principles. Higher civil servants should provide the required leadership to the lower levels of administration.
  •  Constant field inspection by senior officials.      
    • to provide the government with the ability to be in constant contact with the people; and
    • to make the people conscious that the government is alive to their problem;
  • Smooth relation between generalist administrators and experts specialists.
  • Training from time to time to understand the success already achieved in the field of development administration and the efforts to be initiated in future.

June 7, 2010 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | 51 Comments

Attitude of British government for Reservations



British government in India, which introduced and experimented the Reservation policy in lands of India, remained very particular till the end of its rule not  disturb its elite service, the Indian Civil Service. It depended heavily on ICS for the efficient and effective governance of the country.

British rulers gave assurance to the backward castes, but firmly stuck to one point i.e. – it won’t weaken its steel-frame – its administrative service at any cost. It told very clearly the upcoming groups about getting entry into ICS “With its utmost desire to do the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their countrymen for duties of administration and public.”

Therefore the rulers advised the backwards to equip themselves with education, which alone would enable them to take due share in the administration of the nation. The British kept the Reservation confined to the provincial level till they ruled. 

However, they knitted a very strong web for the Indian leaders, into which the Indian leaders were trapped completely after the Independence. It was only after the Independence that Reservation Policy was acknowledged as necessary for uplifting downtrodden and was introduced at national and provincial levels separately. With the passage of time, this  feeling became stronger and stronger.


October 15, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | | 1 Comment

Why training necessary for civil servants?


Of all acts of civilized society of modern times, governance is one of the most difficult tasks as it deals with issues – political, economic or social, that directly affect public life of living human beings, which are full of psychological and sociological complexes and prone to unpredictable behavior. In order to make the persons engaged in governance i.e. civil servants well-versed with the changes in the strategy, structure and management techniques, and gear them to meet the challenges of modern times and make the services more effective, efficient and goal-oriented, training becomes necessary. It is training that imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work-habits. Education of the recruits before entering into civil services is mostly degree-oriented rather than job-oriented. Training is supposed to fill-up gaps between learning and practical requirements. What is the difference between education and training? What are the types of training? What are the requirements, techniques and methods to impart training? This project tries to find out the answer to all these questions with context to higher civil services in government of India.

In order to make officials engaged in governance i.e. civil servants well-versed with the changes in the strategy, structure and management techniques, and gear them to meet the challenges of modern times and make the services more effective, efficient and goal-oriented, training becomes necessary. It is training that imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work-habits. Education of the recruits before entering into civil services is mostly degree-oriented rather than job-oriented. Training fills up the gaps between learning and practical requirements.

Independent India recognised the role and importance of Education and Training for inculcating the qualities of leadership, supervision, efficiency in communication, decision making etc. in its higher officials and also for changing their attitudes. Such a recognition is evident from the successive Five Year plan documents, reports of Administrative Reforms Commission and other Committees – all stressing the need for planned and systematic programmes of training for officials at various levels.

Although considerable attention has been paid so far to improve the system of Education and Training of officers, yet much more is required to be done. It has not been able to bring about the desired results for removing the short-comings of the present system and for making public services more efficient and effective.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Education and training of civil services | | 3 Comments


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