Bureaucracy : Origin; its merits and demerits; Role of Bureaucracy in Policy formulation and its Implementation. Nexus between Bureaucracy and Political Executive

In ancient and medieval India, there was monarchical form of government and the general administration was run by people having near or distant relationship with the King instead of dedicated bureaucracy . But gradually the administration assumed complexities and this required specialist knowledge.The British rulers established a new form of administration analogous to their own administrative system. The purpose of British administration in India was to establish law and order and to collect revenue.

Max Weber described bureaucracy as rational and the most efficient form of organisation. He described an ideal-type of bureaucracy as one characterized by:

1. Officials organised in fixed jurisdictional areas,
2. A hierarchical arrangement of offices (organised in a pyramid like structure with each lower office under the control of a higher one),
3. Written documents (files) that contain rules to be applied in every case,
4. Anonymity,
5. Impersonality in applying rules uniformly.
6. Political neutrality

The core of public administration is policy making, policies are vital for planning a course of action. They supply a necessary guideline which helps in planning, implementing and realizing desired objectives and in keeping the activities of the objectives within a prescribed framework of action. Policies, thus, give meaning and form the objectives. Policies may take various forms such as legislation, executive orders, or others official acts. A policy may be general or specific, broad or narrow, public or private, simple or complex, qualitative or quantitative, discretionary or detailed, explicit or implicit. From the view point of public policies, governmental activities can be classified in to two categories, such as:

1. Those based on definite or specific policies.

2. Those based on general, vague and inconsistent policies.

The main function of bureaucracy in any part of the world is to implement the policies of the sitting government with full commitment and devotion. The basic idea behind the formation of bureaucratic structures was to provide ‘permanent’ government in the sense that the bureaucrats kept running the system of the government for the larger benefit of people as they were and are civil servants. Political executive in the form of politicians could come and go but the bureaucrats stayed on to look after the working of the governments.Bureaucracy

The role of the Civil Service has been changing from being a mere agent of the political executive to that of collaboration with it. The involvement of bureaucracy in political arena is now widely prevalent. The decline of neutrality can be attributed to the demands and pressures of coalition politics. In coalition governments, ministers are busy in the power game and maneuvering for their survival, and have neither time nor inclination to guide, direct and control their department or bureaucracy.

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