Administrative Reforms in India including various important Commissions and committees.

Why is Administrative Reforms needed?

  • Technological change
  • Advances in industrialisation
  • Growth in the number and complexity of governmental activities
  • Changes in social, political and economic spheres of life
  • All above have created extraordinary strains on the traditional machinery of the government
  • Obsolescence of institutions, roles, procedures and processes in the government

What are ways through which Administrative Reforms are done?

  • There are three forms
  • Traditional Approach: let the problem arise and then place a competent person to solve it. Aka Management process
  • Committee Process: appoint ad hoc committee. Like the Hoover Commission in US and Administrative Reforms Ccommission in India
  • Setting up O&M units

What are the types of reforms?

  • Macro or micro (affecting the entire administration or a part of it)
  • Procedural reform
  • Behavioural reform

Functions of O&M office

  • To assist line officials to improve management
  • Help reduce costs, save manpower, simplify procedures, save materials, speed operations, improve organisation
  • Chief functions are
    • Comprehensive reviews of departments
    • Planning new activities
    • Research in O&M techniques
    • Training O&M officials and employees
    • Co-ordinating the work of different O&M units in government
    • Undertaking ad hoc assignments to investigate and help solve particular problems
    • Analysing organisation methods and procedures
    • Developing management policies, handbook and other guidelines
  • How?
    • Research and Development
    • Training
    • Investigation
    • Co-ordination of management improvement programme
    • Information
    • Publication

Nature of O&M

  • O&M unit alone should not be responsible for effecting improvements in administration. It cannot be a substitute for management improvement. Efficiency specialists have an important place in government, but not efficiency engineer will ever solve the principal problems of government
  • O&M is primarily a service function
  • The role of O&M units is essentially advisory. It has therefore a line and staff function. Decisions should not be forced upon the department
  • O&M should be recognized as a work improvement study and not a fault-finding mission. O&M man should not assume a superior position of a fault-finder or a critic
  • It should not be presented as something too mysterious and technical

Advantages of O&M

  • It provides a machinery for a constant attempt to improve the public administration
  • It helps keep both the structure of government offices and the procedure adopted by them up-to-date in tune with the changing circumstances. Reduce time lag.
  • Help to accumulate a wealth of experience which can be drawn upon whenever required
  • A separate O&M department is needed because
    • Time: Senior officials of an agency of government often have little time to examine the problems of organisation and methods
    • Independence: Line officials lack the necessary perspective to look at problems of organisation and of office procedure
    • Experience: The fact that the O&M work is undertaken by a body of officials, who specialize in this work, is the essence of this system.

O&M Techniques

  • Management or Organisation Survey
  • Inspections
  • Work Measurement
  • Work Simplification
  • Automation
  • Forms Control
  • Filing System




  • The use of IT in governance is aimed at having SMAdministrative ReformsT – Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent – government.



Arora and Goyal

Administrative Reforms

  • Involves enhancement in the capacity of an administrative system to achieve its assigned goals.

Why Administrative Reforms

  • Only an administrative system that revitalises itself constantly can respond to the changing socio-economic environment

Some important committees on Administrative Reforms

  • US: Haldane, Brownlow, First Hoover, Second Hoover, Fulton
  • India: Administrative ReformsC 1 (1966-70), Administrative ReformsC 2 (2007-)
    • 1947: Secretariat Reorganisation Committee (GS Bajapai)
    • 1948: Economy Committee (Kasturbhai Lalbhai)
    • 1949: N Gopalswamy Ayyangar Committee (recommended O&M)
    • 1951: Planning Commission Report
    • 1953: Appleby Report (Public Administration in India: Report of a Survey). Based on his report
      • Indian Institute of Public Administration was set up
      • O&M Division was set up in the Cabinet Secretariat
    • 1954: Ashok Chanda (recommended more AI services)
    • 1956: Second Appleby Report ( Re-examination of India’s Administrative System with Special Reference to Administration of Government Industrial and Commercial Enterprises)
    • 1957: Balwant Rai Mehta Coommittee Report (introduction of the Panchayati Raj system)
    • 1964: Santhanam Committee Report
      • Strengthen vigilance organisations
      • Adoption of a code of conduct for civil servants
    • 1966: Administrative ReformsC 1 (Morarji Desai/K Hanumanthaiya) < Presented 20 reports between 1966-1970> Major recommendations
      • Appointment of Lokpal and Lok Ayuktas
      • Creation of full fledged department of personnel
      • Performance budgeting
      • Unified grading pay structure
      • Introduction of specialists into senior and middle management positions
    • 1973: 3rd Pay Commission
    • 1975: Kothari Committee on Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods
      • System of single examination for All-India Services was introduced
    • 1978: Committee on Panchayati Raj Institutions (Ashok Mehta)
      • Recommended setting up of Mandal Panchayats
    • 1977-80: National Police Commission
    • 1988: Sarkaria Commission
      • Creation of inter-state councils
    • 1989: Satish Chandra Committee on the Recruitment Policy and Selection Methods for All-India and Central Services




Criticisms of ARC 1

·         Virtual absence of any strategy of selecting key or nodal points by the commission

·         Inadequate attention to improving field agencies

·         Ignored the behavioural aspects of administration

·         Not futuristic in orientation

·         Unplanned winding up







Administrative Reforms in India

  • Ancient Times: Mauryas and Guptas. Dharmashastra, Arthashastra and Thirukkural
  • Medieval Times: Mughals
  • British
    • Creation of Civil Services (Cornwallis)
    • Creation of Supreme Court and reforms in judiciary
    • Creation of central secretariat
    • Departmentalisation and consolidation of district administration under the Collector
    • Urban local govt
    • Rule of Law
    • Institutionalisation of impersonal government
    • Police system
    • Establishment of Public Service Commission
    • Personnel Administration
  • Committees during British
    • Committee on ICS (1854)
    • Public Service Commission (1886-87)
    • Royal Commission on Decentralisation (1907-09)
    • Royal Commission on Public Service in India (1912-15)
    • Tottenham Committee (1945)
    • First Pay Commission (1946)
  • After Independence
    • More than 600 committees (Centre + State)
    • Kerala Administrative ReformsC (1958), Andhra Pradesh Reforms Enquiry Committee (1960), Rajasthan Administrative ReformsC (1963), WB Administrative ReformsC (1963)
    • Experts like Paul Appleby and Nicholas Kaldor have also written about Administrative Reforms in India

Major Concerns in Administration

  • Efficiency and Economy
  • Specialisation
    • Role of the specialist has been increasing slowly
  • Effective Coordination
  • Administration and development of public personnel
  • Integrity in public service
  • Responsiveness and Public Accountability
  • Decentralisation and Democratisation
  • Updating administrative technology


  • Political resistance. Measures involving devolution of power face a lot of resistance
  • At times, the govt that passed the reforms is different from the one implementing it. This may lead to improper implementation
  • Vested interests
  • Public apathy or antipathy
  • Administrative inexperience
  • Imposition from above
  • Ambiguity about implications
  • Inflexibility
  • Adhocism
  • Individualisation in place of institutionalisation


Success of Administrative Reforms will depend on

  • Need of the system and its beneficiaries
  • Public support and a feeling of sharing of reform-goals
  • Timeliness
  • Effective source of initiation
  • Political will
  • Administrative entrepreneurship
  • Participation of key actors in the strategies for implementation
  • Pragmatism and flexibility
  • Effective reward and punishment system
  • Continuing evaluation and appraisal
  • Institutionalisation of reforms
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