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This is the text of a lecture delivered by Prof. M.P. Singh at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad as the inaugural activity of the Centre for Policy and Governance at the TISS, Hyderabad on 26th October, 2012.



            Independent India inherited three basic constituents of modern state in 1947 – a rudimentary framework of a minimally representative structure of government, a predominantly bureaucratic state apparatus, and a hugely popular party of mass appeal born in the movement for political freedom, namely, the Indian National Congress. These three inheritances have significantly contributed to democratic origin and democratic consolidation and deepening in India, a rare achievement in the Afro-Asian world defying the long-held theories of pre-conditions for the success of democracy linking it with higher levels of economic and educational development. India has been deficient in both of these preconditions, yet it has managed to be a reasonably successful democracy.

            Administrative reforms have been a major concern of the government of India, if one goes by the sheer number of the reports of the central committees or commissions on administrative reforms set up since 1945-46, when the Richard Tottenham Report on the Reorganization of the Central Government was prepared and submitted. The list of such reports extends considerably if one includes commissions with mandates larger than administrative reforms per se, e.g. commissions on centre-state relations and on review of the working of the constitution which do not exclude administrative reforms from their scope.1 This chapter describes and critically reviews these reforms and the   Indian discourse about them, and puts  this within the broader context of the various phases of the evolutionary development of the Indian political system in the last sixty-four years since the Independence in 1947. This chapter has five parts.  First, this chapter discusses 

*Formerly Professor of Political Science in University of Delhi,  and presently honorary Senior    Fellow, Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.



the foundational challenge in adapting the bureaucratic apparatus of the colonial state to the new parliamentary federal republic established under the 1950 constitution of India. In the three successive parts thereafter the administrative reformist debates of the Nehru and Indira Gandhi eras and those of the Rajiv Gandhi years are analysed.  Subsequently,

a critical appraisal is provided of theadministrative reforms deliberations since the early 1990s, when India witnessed parameter-altering changes, almost paradigmatic shifts, to greater federalization, business liberalism and globalization, and adjustments in foreign and defence policies on account of the post- Cold War multipolar world. Finally, I sum up our review of administrative reforms in India in a concluding section.


            The historical foundations of the bureaucratic arms of the modern state are expectedly quite old. Agrarian bureaucracy was an important component of governance in Indian history. Going by the prevailing historiography of government and state in India, the ancient Mauryan state is supposed to be a centralized bureaucratic monarchy; the medieval Mughal state, a feudal monarchy; and the modern British colonial state, a colonial bureaucratic monarchy that pioneered in introducing a merit-based centralized bureaucratic apparatus. The highest echelons of administrators in these three subcontinental states were called the mahamatya / mahamatta system in the Mauryan state, the mansabdari system in the Mughal state, and initially the covenanted civil servants and finally since 1892 the Indian Civil Service (ICS) under the British Raj.2 In all these state systems, bureaucratic structures were supplemented by non-bureaucratic elements like feudal and segmentary social structures assigned administrative functions. This was especially so in the hinterland or peripheral areas and at the local levels. Such non-bureaucratic modes of domination in the backwoods or backwaters have led to animated debates among historians about the nature and extent of bureaucratic, feudal, or segmentary character of states in Indian history.3 Suffice it to say here that one of the important legacies of the British Raj to independent India was an institutionalized but overdeveloped bureaucratic establishment.

            The civilian bureaucracy in British India during the phase of the East India Company (that doubled as a trading company gradually assuming functions of a government since the Battle of Plassey (1757) was a patronage and venal bureaucracy. Under the India Act of 1793 and the Charter Act of 1793 passed by the British Parliament for India its officers were nominated by the members of the Court of Directors of the Company signing a declaration that the favour was done without receiving any payment. According to Bernard Cohns' estimate, between 1840 and 1860, "fifty to sixty extended families contributed the vast majority of civil servants who governed India."4 In course of the expansion of the empire, the Fort William College in Calcutta was established in 1800 where the officers of the Company in all the three Presidencies of Bengal, Bombay, and Madras were to be trained for three years for serving in India. But in 1802 this college was turned into only a language school, and the East India College was established first at Hertford in 1805 and subsequently shifted to Haileybury in 1809. Two-year training and a test at the end was mandatory for appointment to the service of the Company. Under the Charter Act of 1833, a limited competitive examination was introduced among the candidates nominated by the Court of Directors.

            Following the 1857 Indian Rebellion and the takeover of the government of India from the Company to the British Crown-in-Parliament in 1858, a Civil Service Commission in the United Kingdom began the recruitment of covenanted servants through an annual competitive test held in England. Only subordinate uncovenanted civil service positions were open to the Indians. In 1853 Indians were allowed to compete for covenanted civil service but a great barrier practically kept them out as the examinations were held only in England. Under the pressure of the newly English-educated Indian middle class, a statutory Civil Service was introduced in 1870 in which Indians could be nominated to a few positions hitherto reserved only for Europeans. Since 1813 the process of Indianization of services had already started.

            In 1892, in a major civil service reform the covenanted civil service was renamed the Indian Civil Service (ICS), the uncovenanted civil service was made the Provincial Civil Service, and the statutory Civil service was abolished. The practical difficulty for Indians entering into the ICS remained as the open examination was still to be held in London. In 1922 only about 15 percent of Indians were members of the ICS. However, after the provision of recruitment examination to the ICS to be held in India as well under the Government of India Act, 1919 (the first such test was held in Allahabad in 1922), the Indian officers in the ICS exceeded Europeans by 1941.5

            After the First World War under the Government of India Act, 1919, significant civil service reforms, including Indianization of services, ensued as the principle of limited responsible government came to be introduced at the provincial level, though not at the centre. Under this scheme of diarchy (a mixed bureaucratic plus representative government), a few subjects were transferred to the elected Indian ministers, while retaining more important and sensitive subjects under the direct bureaucratic control of the Governor. All India services like the ICS and the Indian Police (IP) continued to control the top echelons of the provincial administration as well. In addition to the ICS and the IP, there were the Indian Forest Service, Indian Agricultural Service, Indian Service of Engineers, Indian Veterinary Service, Indian Forest Engineering Service, and Indian Medical Service (Civil). Besides, there were the central services under the Governor General of India and the Provincial Services under the Governors of the provinces. The initial appointment and terms and conditions of service of the All India Services were settled by the Secretary of State for India, a member of the British cabinet.6

            The Government of India Act, 1935, which intended to federalize the system with provincial autonomy and to extend diarchy to the central government, provided for the appointment to the All India Services by the Governor General and to the Provincial Civil Services by the respective Governors. The power to regulate conditions of service of the officers of these services were also similarly divided between the Governor General and Governor. Appropriate legislations could also be made by the central and provincial Legislatures but within the framework elaborately outlined in the Report of the joint select committee of the British Parliament of 1934.7

            Independent India faced the challenge of making up its mind as to what it was going to do with the legacy of the British administrative inheritance. The nationalist leadership was expectedly ambivalent towards it. The nationalist movement had seen the political freedom fighters ranged against the colonial executive and administration. The antipathy was mutual and deep. The Constituent Assembly Debates reflects this tension well.8 However, Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel strongly argued for the retention, adaptation, and expansion of the services bequeathed by the retreating British colonial state in India in the new Indian nation-state born in crisis and partition:

            "I wish to place on record in this House that if, during the last two or three years, most of the members of the services had not behaved patriotically and with loyalty, the union would have collapsed. Ask Dr. John Mathai, he is working for the last fortnight with them on the economic question. You may ask his opinion. You will find what he says about the services. You ask the Premiers of the provinces. Is there any Premier in any province who is prepared to work without the services? He will immediately resign. He cannot manage. We had a small nucleus of a broken service. With that bit of service we have carried on a very difficult task. And if a responsible man speaks in this tone about these services, he has to decide whether he has a substitute to propose and let him take the responsibility?” 9

            The final text of the constitution that emerged from the Constituent Assembly authorized the appropriate legislatures to make laws, subject to the constitution, to regulate the recruitment and conditions of service of the central and state civil services. It created two All-India Services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), and gave the Rajya Sabha, the federal second chamber, the power to authorize by at least a 2/3rds majority the creation of any new All-India Service by the Parliament. All-India Services are unique in being constitutionally entrenched "federal" services recruited by the Union Public Service Commission, trained in central academies, and then assigned to state cadres. They serve on the highest echelons of state administration as well as in the union administration on periodic deputation with the consent of the state government concerned. They work under the disciplinary jurisdiction of whichever order of government they may be posted at the time. However, the ultimate disciplinary measure of their dismissal is subject to the approval of the President of the Union of India. The all India Services are, of course, besides the central and state civil services under the union and state governments, respectively and exclusively.



Reformsin the 1950s–early 1960s  


       The principal challenge of administrative reforms faced by independent India was to reorient the bureaucratic apparatus to the tasks of adapting it to a parliamentary-federal constitution and undertaking the responsibilities of promoting electoral democracy and economic development with justice and equity. The strategy of economic development was premised on an import-substituting, nationally self-reliant industrialization through centralized but democratic planning in the context of a mixed economy in which the public sector or the state would play the leading role. The details of the setting up of legislative committees and public service commissioners at the union and state levels as also new constitutional and legislative frameworks of relations among the union, state, and local governments need not detain us here. Our survey of the earliest phase of administrative reforms would also be rather rapid in the interest of greater focus on the subsequent phases and those immediately preceding the present. Notable contributions to the thought on administrative reforms were made by the commissioned Reports by a committee appointed by the Planning Commission and chaired by A.D. Gorwala, a retired  ICS officer, and Paul H. Appleby, an American expert of public administration. Gorwala submitted two reports: Report on Public Administration (1951) and Report on the Efficient Conduct of State Enterprise (1951). So did Appleby: Public Administration in India – Report of a Survey (1953) and Re-Examination of India's Administrative System with Special Reference to Administration of Government's Industrial and Commercial Enterprises (1956). The Gorwala committee reports formalized the ideas and institutions about Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s policy of planned economic development in the context of a “mixed” economy with a dominant state sector allowing some space to private enterprise as well. The Appleby reports dealt with general public administration.  The main recommendations of these reports were the establishment of a semi-governmental Indian Institute of Public Administration in New Delhi, the setting up of Organization & Method (O & M) divisions at various levels of governments, and the streamlining of recruitment and training of administrators and their relationship with the Parliament/ State Legislatures Planning Commission, and the Comptroller & Auditor General of India. 10   These reforms were immediately implemented. In March 1964, the Government of India also set up its own internal think tank in the Department of Administrative Reforms in the Home Ministry. Independent India adopted a parliamentary-federal form of governments superimposed over the administrative structure largely inherited and adapted from the British colonial state in India. As a war service entrant into the Indian Administrative Service recruited in March 1947 aptly draws attention to “contradictions” inherent in this situation: “The Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935 did not provide for sovereign legislatures and the ICS men sat on the Treasury benches and defended and justified the plans and schemes that they had drafted and implemented, in reply to the arguments of the elected members. Provincial governors, who were mostly members of the ICS, had powers of certification in legislative matters.11

The Planning Commission was set up in March 1950 by the Government of India with the Prime Minister as its chair. The National Development Council consisting of the Prime Minister as the Chair and comprising the executive heads of all state and union territory governments in August 1952 "to strengthen and mobilize the effort and resources of the nation in support of the five -year plans, to promote common economic policies in all vital spheres and to ensure the balanced and rapid development of all parts of the country."12 The Bureau of Public Enterprises was established in the Ministry of Finance, which became the Department of Public Enterprises in 1985.

            This early phase of political and economic development in independent India is also notable for establishing the basic framework and tradition of free and fair elections conducted by a constitutionally entrenched autonomous Election Commission of India 13, a progressive set of labour laws, reservations for scheduled castes and tribes and other backward classes, poverty alleviation programmes and a welfare state in promise envisaged in the Directive Principles of State Policy of the constitution, and statutory institutions of local selfgovernments in rural and urban areas. These features mark out India as a democratic-developmental state as distinguished from the developmental states sans the concomitant democratic component in East Asia 14.

ReformistDiscourse in the Mid-1960s-80s

            The end of the Nehru era in 1964 occasioned most comprehensive reviews of Indian government and administration set up by the constitution of India (1950) and the Government of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1946-1964). The two documents that dominated the reformist discourse during this phase are the reports of Administrative Reforms Commission-I and the Commission on Centre-State Relations- I . What accounts for the appointment of these two commissions in the mid-1960s and the early 1980? Administrative decay evident by the early post-Nehru period (Nehru died in harness in May 1964) prompted the first major review of the administrative apparatus by the ARC-I.  The tension areas in centre-state relations exacerbated by the unabated political centralization throughout the 1970s under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi caused the first comprehensive review of the federal relations between the union and the state governments by a constitutional commission chaired by a Supreme Court judge.

            Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri appointed the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC-1) in January 1966 with Morarji Desai as its chair and five members, all except a senior civil servant sitting members of parliament. Desai left the commission in March 1967 on joining the Government of Prime Minister India Gandhi, (Shastri's successor) as the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. A member of the commission, K. Hanumanthaiya, was appointed the new chairman. The 20-volume ARC-I Report, with a very wide terms of reference, appears to be as elaborate in its approach as the constitution of India itself filling in the details of the process of government and administration left uncodified by the largest constitution of the world.15 Here I will focus on the structure and process of governments at the centre, state, and district levels, leaving aside sectoral and specialized branches, with the exception of the machinery for planning. Tables 1 and 2 give an idea of the major administrative levels by territorial divisions of the country and the politico-administrative levels in the local governments, respectively.

Table 1

Various Administrative Units in Indian Union and States



Union Government and Administration with various Ministries/ Departments/Executive Agencies with the Central Secretariat at the top headed by a Cabinet Secretariat and Secretaries/Additional Secretaries for each Ministry and major Departments in a Ministry


State Government and Administration with a Secretariat comprising Secretaries for various Ministries, etc.


Divisional Commission headed by a Commissioner


District administration headed by a District officer


Block Development Administration headed by a Block Development Officer




Table 2

Local Politico-Administrative Units in India


Panchayati Raj Institutions

Urban Local Bodies

Zila Parishad


Manda/Taluqa/Tehsil Panchayat


Gram (village) Panchayat

Municipal Corporations for larger urban areas/Municipal Council for smaller urban areas/Nagar Panchayats in areas in transition form a rural to an urban area


      The ARC-I recommended a sixteen-member cabinet, including the Prime Minister, and a council of ministers no larger than forty to forty-five. The three-tier council of ministers should comprise cabinet ministers, ministers of state, and deputy ministers, dispensing with parliamentary secretaries. Five ministries without internal departments, sixteen with departmental divisions, and eleven cabinet committees were recommended. In the interest of harmonious initiation of policies, cabinet coordination, and monitoring of implementation of policies, the Prime Minister was advised not to be in direct charge of any ministry, excepting the department of personnel. A cabinet minister doubling as the Deputy Prime Minister should be in charge of ministry of planning (without any department), and departments of atomic energy, administrative reforms, parliamentary affairs, and cabinet affairs. A monthly review by the Prime Minister of the work in individual or groups of ministers would improve implementation and efficiency. Rational considerations in choice of ministerial colleagues by the Prime Minister is exhorted. A two-week annual holiday for ministers for reading, reflection, and relaxation is suggested. Some of these ideas, e.g. categories of ministers and PM’s strong drive in initiation, coordination and review of policies, are reminiscent of the British Westminster cabinet system in party government. Besides the approach of the makers of the Indian constitution as to details, here one is also reminded of the ancient Indian manual on statecraft Kautilya's Arthashastra.

            In the interest of collective responsibility of the cabinet, the commission emphasized the practice of discussing and settling all important issues by the cabinet, and avoidance of announcement of any new policy or departure from the existing policy by an individual minister without the approval of the cabinet. Individual ministerial accountability should be limited only to the failure or wrong formulation of policy regarding a major problem in one's ministry, lack of personal attention to the work, mismanagement or mal-administration, and acts of impropriety. A minister cannot be held accountable for an act of a civil servant which is in express violation of a ministerial directive, or is prohibited by implication by policies approved, or is malafide.

            As to the minister-secretary (civil servant) relationship, the commission laid down the following principles / practice: (a) all major decisions should be in writing with reasons stated, (b) an atmosphere of free, frank, and fearless discussion, (c) discouragement of unhealthy liason between a minister and a secretary by the Prime Minister, (d) avoidance of ministerial intervention in day-to-day administration, (e) civil servant's appreciation of minister's difficulties and discrimination between minor adjustment and major undermining of basic policies and principles, and (f) the development of a relationship of the secretary's loyalty to the minister and the latter's trust in the former.

            To enhance parliamentary control over administration, the commission recommended department-based standing committees in place of ad hoc committees, supplementing omnibus standing committees like Public Accounts Committee and Estimates Committee. Where a department is under the oversight of a standing committee, an informal consultative committee of MPs convened by the minister may be dispensed with. This recommendation was belatedly implemented in 1993.

            The existing secretariat system of work in ministries is considered useful and essential for (a) assisting the minister in policy making, (b) framing legislations and rules and regulation, (c) sectoral planning and programme formulation, (d) budgeting, securing administrative and financial approval, and controlling expenditure, (e) supervision and control over implementation of policies and programmes by executive departments and semi-autonomous field agencies, (f) coordination of policies with other ministries of the union government and with the state governments, (g) personnel and organizational reforms in the ministry and its executive agencies, and (h) assistance to the minister in performing parliamentary responsibilities. Nevertheless, the commission felt the union secretariat had become overstaffed and unwieldy with blurred responsibilities and non-essential work. It had also encroached upon jurisdictions constitutionally assigned to state governments under the constitution.

            The commission suggested that the union ministries should legitimately concern themselves only with the following functions concerning the subjects falling within the jurisdiction of the states: (a) offering initiative and leadership to the states and serving as clearing house of information about good programmes and practices at any level and anywhere in the country, (b) formulation of national plan in close collaboration with states, (c) initiating research and development beyond the resources of states (d) undertaking foundational training  programmes, (e) programme evaluation initiatives from the national perspective, (f) providing forums for intergovernmental meetings, (g) the function of coordination that can only be handled at the centre, and (h) relations with foreign governments and international organizations. In domestic administration the Commission favoured the continuation of the distinction down the line. Most of these norms remained largely ignored during the increased political and administrative centralization in the 1970s to the 1980s under Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

            The commission recommended that each ministry should have three staff offices, i.e. for planning and policy, for finance, and for personnel. The commission found the decision-making in a ministry slow and cumbersome involving six levels: the dealing assistant, section officer, under-secretary, deputy secretary, joint secretary/secretary, and minister. In the opinion of the commission, this clerc-oriented system needed to be reformed into an officer-oriented one, involving only two levels of consideration and decision below the level of the minister.

            The commission also recommended the establishment of a central personnel agency at the top directly under the Prime Minister in the union secretariat. This recommendation was promptly implemented by the union government in 1970.16

            In what follows this section discusses the recommendations of the ARC- I relating to the administrative structures at the state and district levels. Commission's review at the level of the state government yielded a series of recommendations relating to the Governor, council of ministers, secretariat, executive departments, Board of Revenue, Divisional Commissioners, District Collectors, and Panchayati Raj. It also concerned itself with reforms in the machinery for planning at the state level. Moreover, the commission also dealt with the centre-state relations in the context of the formation of state governments by parties other than the Indian National Congress in about half of the states of India after the fourth general elections in 1967.

            In the post-1967 political scenario, the Governor was increasingly called upon to exercise his "discretionary powers" expressly given by the constitution but left undefined. In the context of increasing partisan conflicts at the state level and growing centre-state tensions, the commission recommended the Governor to steer clear of such controversies and exercise the discretionary powers strictly in a non-partisan spirit and in accordance with the expectations of the constitution and statutes passed by the state Legislature. Moreover in deference to the principle of separation of powers among the legislature, executive, and judiciary; and the concomitant principle of division of powers between the centre and the states, the governor should not interfere with the legitimate powers of the legislature and leave the intergovernmental disputes to be settled by the Inter-State Council (provided for in article 263 of the constitution but not actually set up until 1990).

            The Commission's recommendations regarding the state secretariat and executive agencies were more or less similar to those made at the union level. In the opinion of the commission, the Board of revenue at the state level could be abolished. Its appellant functions could be transferred to a revenue tribunal comprising a judicial officer of the status of a judge of the High Court and a senior revenue officer. Its administrative and advisory functions could be performed by the secretariat itself. The commission also considered a Divisional Commissioner intermediate between the state government and district administration unnecessary for general administration. Divisional Commissioner should only be a coordinating agency where the rural and urban planning in the context of industrial development has to be on a regional rather than district level.

            The commissioner recommended that the District collector should be made responsible for the efficient performance of only the regulatory functions, e.g. law and order, collection of land revenue and other taxes, land records, civil supply and ancillary functions. This could be done by separating the administrative from his judicial functions and developmental functions and transferring these to other functionaries. The developmental functions should be transferred to the Zila Parishads, the apex of the Panchayati Raj institutions, and the District Development Officer.

            Commission’s review of the machinery of planning led to the recommendation that the Planning Commission should remain an autonomous expert advisory body rather than take on executive functions. To this end, the Prime Minister should cease to be the chair of this body and ministers should not be appointed as its members, although they should be closely associated with its work. The commission disapproved of the tendency of the planning panel to become parallel to ministries or a “super cabinet” of sorts. The seven-member Planning Commission of experts should autonomously formulate the plans, subjects to the final approval and review of the union cabinet and the National Development Council comprising the key union ministers and the Chief Ministers of states. The commission also recommended the formation of state planning boards for formulating and evaluating five-year plans in the states. The work related to planning at the district level may be handled by the district development administration and the Zila Parishad.

            For the redressal of citizens’ grievances, the commission recommended the adaptation of the institution of ombudsman in Scandinavian countries and of parliamentary commissioner in New Zealand. On these lines a two-tier machinery of the Lokpal and Lokayukta was suggested to supplement the process of parliamentary control, free from partisanship and outside the administrative hierarchy. Complaints against ministers and secretaries at the centre as well as in states could be made to the Lokpal. Lokayuktas, one for the centre and one for each state, should deal with the complaints against the rest of the bureaucracy. Having the same status as the Chief Justice of India, the Lokpal should be appointed by the President of India on the advice of the Prime Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha. Comparable in status and position of a Chief Justice of a High Court, Lokayuktas' powers, functions and procedures may be prescribed mutatis mutandes like those laid down for the Lokpal.

            The comprehensive review of Indian administration by ARC-I had come in the context of the administrative and political trends of the first two decades after the commencement of the constitution in 1950. The administrative trends were marked by the groupings for better values and procedures and administrative decay and corruption that had set in. Politically the one-party dominant system under the aegis of the Indian National Congress showed the first major breach in the general election of 1967 in which the ruling party lost in nine out of the then 18  states, where a spell of unstable coalition governments of an extremely heterogeneous sets of parties followed causing a crisis of governance. Political fragmentation, coupled with declining administrative capability at state and district levels from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, caused serious strains in centre-state relations.

The first central commission on Centre-State Relations was appointed in 1983 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the background of the excessive political centralization during the 1970s that caused an upsurge in regionalism and urge for federal autonomy in the country. The two-member commission comprised Justice R.S. Sarkaria of the Supreme Court of India as the chair and as seasoned administrator as a member. It submitted its report in 1988. Here our discussion would be limited to the issue of administrative reforms. The Sarkaria commission dealt with the issues of administrative reforms in the context of union-state relations and the All India Services. Corresponding to the supremacy of federal laws under specified conditions and the responsibility of the state administration in this context in the constitutions of the USA, Australia, and Germany, the constitution of India too prescribes the principle of cooperative administrative federalism. To this end, article 256 provides that the executive power of every state shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by the Parliament of India, and the executive power of the union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a state as may appear to be necessary for this purpose. Article 257 specifies certain purposes germane to the above blanket provision, e.g. construction and maintenance of means of communication, national highways and waterways declared to be of "national or military importance, protection of the railways within a state, on union’s cost, etc. And, article 365 allows application of sanctions by the union in the event of non-compliance by a state. These provisions may be explained or understood in the light of the fact that administration and enforcement of many of the laws under the union list and most laws under the concurrent list are secured through the state administration. On examination, the commission came to the conclusion that these are "wholesome provisions, designed to secure coordination between the union and the states", and recommended that sanctions under article 365 should be applied with "utmost caution" and after exploring "all possibilities" for "settling points of conflicts by all other available means."17 The commission did not agree with the suggestion that the union directives under article 256 and 257 should be issued after consulting the Inter-State Council, "because it will dilute the accountability of the Union Government for its actions to Parliament."18 It was also noted that the foregoing provisions were never used or abused, and that recourse to judicial review of the actions of the Union government was always available to the state.19

            In its review of the All India Services, the Sarkaria Commission found that although most of the state governments were agreed that the Services have fulfilled the expectations of the framers of the Indian constitution and the parliamentarians enacting the conforming law in their relation, some state governments were highly dissatisfied with the existing arrangements. The dissatisfaction mainly arose from the departures from the ideal of joint disciplinary control of the two orders of governments over the services. It virtually amounted to the unitary control to the exclusion of state governments. The commission found greater fault in this regard at the state level, where an officer belonging to these services "who is uncompromising in the matter of maintaining the probity and impartiality of administration not unoften finds himself on a path of collision with his political superiors."20 He is made to suffer punishment posting, frequent transfers, and even suspension on flimsy grounds. There are instances of state governments, more often than the union government, seeking to manipulate and coerce the officers into doing their bids anyhow.21

            As a remedy, the commission recommended (a) an Advisory Council for Personnel Administration of the All India Services comprising the union cabinet secretary (chair), union secretaries in charge of individual All India Services, and Chief Secretaries of states; and (b) disposal of an appeal against suspension of an All India Service officer by the union government "invariably" in consultation with the union Public Service Commission whose advice should normally be accepted to weed out partisan considerations on the part of the union governmenent.22         


            The decade of the 1980s had witnessed the gradual shift of political power from the Indian National Congress to the non-Congress parties at the state level. The 1989 Lok Sabha elections carried forward this process at the national level where the end of the Congress majority heralded the advent of the multiparty system with federal coalition governments. Coupled with this increased federalization in the sense of regionalization, the Indian political economy also underwent a paradigm shift to business liberalism and globalization since 1991. The discourse on administrative reforms during this phase reflects responses to these two imperatives of greater federalization and globalization. I propose to discuss in this context the two following documents: the Report of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (Chair Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah) and Reports of the Administrative Reforms Commission – II (Chair M. Veerappa Moiley). Venkatachaliah Commission was appointed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000 to review and recommend "changes, if any, that are required in the provisions of the constitution without interfering with its basic structure or features."23 The commission submitted its report in 2002.

            The major administrative reforms recommended by this commission may be summarised as follows: (a) The imperative of devolution, decentralization, and democratization demand making the district as the unit of development administration and planning; (b) state guarantee of private and public title to land after carrying out extensive land surveys and computerizing the land records; (c) downsizing the bureaucratic apparatus of the state and introduction of new management system; (d) autonomous personnel boards for assisting the high level political authorities on questions of personnel policy including placement, promotion, transfers and fast-track advancement on the basis of forward-looking career management policies and techniques; (e) placement of the specialists under the generalists at the top; (f) enactment of the freedom of information legislation by the Parliament; (g) the appointment of a National Science and Technology Commission under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister for policy making, planning, promoting, and funding of higher scientific and technological research and earmarking of 2 percent the GNP exclusively for scientific and technological research and development; (h) restoration of ethical and moral dimension as one of the most crucial issues of governance; (i) enactment of a public Interest Disclosure Act or a whistleblower act to protect the informants against retribution; (j) enactment of a comprehensive law ensuring a public servant's liability for damages caused to the state by mala fide actions; (k) law for confiscation of illegally acquired assets of holders of public offices; (l) constitutional amendment requiring the appointments of the Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in states; and (m) enactment of a law by Parliament to establish the Inter-State Trade and Commerce Commission under article 307 read with entry 42 of the union list of the constitution to facilitate free trade and emergence of a common market in the country.24

            The six-member Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC-II) was appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 to "suggest measures to achieve a proactive, responsive, accountable, sustainable and efficient administration for the country at all levels of the government."25 It submitted its reports ( 15 vols.) in 2009.26 After exploring international experiences of reorganizing governments, the commission highlighted the following global lessons: (a) the political leadership at the apex level with consensus across party lines pushed the reform agenda with commitment; (b) focusing on the core functions of government, right-sizing the administration and outsourcing the functions was emphasized; (c) competition in delivery of public services--- dismantling of monopolies; (d) agencification of government departments to carry out specific executive functions within a mandate and a framework of policy and resources; (e) decentralization, delegation, and devolution; (f) public-private partnership; (g) bureaucratic deregulation; (h) strengthening of accountability mechanisms; (i) electronic or e-governance for efficiency and citizen-empowerment; (j) Performance Management System (PMS) for refurbishing of personnel administration; (k) citizen's charters, effective grievance redressal mechanisms, Right to Information, etc., (l) promotion of diffusion of good governance practices; (m) policy evaluation and regulatory impact assessment; (n) benchmarking for continuous improvement; (o) governance indices indicating what is happening to different social groups in terms of quality of life, especially to the disadvantaged and vulnerable.27 The commission has made specific recommendations relating to all these dimensions of administrative reforms in the various volumes of its report. Here I will mainly focus on those relating to the structure and functions of the Union, State, and District administration.

            The commission urged the reduction in the number of oversize ministries and large and overstaffed secretariats at both the union and state levels 28, largely a product of the expansion of the role and functions of governments in the years of 'socialist' and populist state and patronage and coalition politics. The 91st constitutional amendment (2003) has already prescribed the norm of the size of the council of ministers at 15 percent of the membership of the popularly elected Houses.29 However; the commission takes a more nuanced and differentiated approach. It expects that the number ministers in the Government of India could be reduced from about 55 to about 20-25 (Lok Saba, N = 545). As for the state governments, the prescribed numbers are 10 percent in larger states (Vidhan Sabha, N = 2004), 12 percent in medium states (Vidhan Sabha, N = between 80 and 200), and 15 percent in smaller states (Vidhan Saba, N = below 80).30

            Regarding the administrative structures of the union and state governments, the commission advised each ministry to review whether its activities / functions are critical to the mission of the government and to be carried out by a government department or an agency. The government ministry or department should only concentrate on planning and policy, budgeting and legislative work, coordination, monitoring of implementation, appointment of key personnel, and evaluation. The rest of the activities should be carried out by agencies of the department, autonomous or semi-autonomous and professionally managed under a mandate. These agencies could be structured as board, commission, company or a nongovernmental organization or society, etc. To strike a right balance between autonomy and accountability, suitable performance agreements, memorandum of understanding (MOU), contracts, etc., could be signed between the government department and the concerned agency.31

            In order to streamline personnel administration, the commission recommended that the union and state governments enact comprehensive Civil Services Law and set up a civil services authority at each level. This authority, with suitable autonomy and neutrality, should deal with matters concerning appointment / posting and tenure of senior officers of all ranks and in all ministries and departments. Till such time such an authority is set up at the state level, a collegium of a ministers nominated by the Chief Minister, the leader of the opposition in the State Assembly, and the incumbent Chief Secretary should recommended a panel of candidates of be appointed.32

            In the context of the proliferation of statutory independent regulatory agencies in India since the initation of the process of economic liberalization from the early 1990s, the ARC – II implied that such agencies created under the union list subjects lack both the requisite autonomy and power. This defeats the purpose of having them in the first place. For they ought to  "differ from the conventional (bureaucratic) regulating system as they are separated from the executive wing of the government and enjoy a certain degree of autonomy." The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission of India, established by a parliamentary Act under entry 38 of the concurrent list in the seventh schedule of the constitution with semi-judicial powers and chaired by a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India and whose members can be removed for specified reasons only after an inquiry conducted by the apex court on reference received from the union government, is a model of an independent regulatory authority which should be replicated in other policy areas or sectors of the economy where the agencies are less  autonomous at the present. Their accountability should be ensured through the respective departmentally related parliamentary standing committees, which should restrict their oversight to their major decisions rather than day-to-day functioning. Periodic evaluation of their work by a panel of outside experts is also advisable to supplement the parliamentary scrutiny.33

            As for the need to ensure the existing coordination mechanisms among various ministries at the centre and between the centre and the states, the commission felt that the existing instrumentalities of Group of Ministers (GOMs) and committee of secretaries (COSs) functioned effectively and helped in early resolution of issues. The unresolved issues concerning states which require interministerial coordination in the government of India should be placed before the COSs and then the union cabinet.34 The commission emphasized the importance of the Inter-State Council in creating union-state consensus on issues of administrative and political reforms throughout the various volumes of its report.

            The commission thought that it was no longer necessary to have an intermediate level of administration in the commissioner between the state capital and the district, both in view the emergence of the district as the key unit of field administration and compression of time and space with the advancement in physical and electronic connectivity.35

            The ARC-II reiterated the recommendation of the ARC-I that the district officers should be encouraged to specialize in their respective developmental / technical fields, and the administrative head of the district, the district Magistrate or Collector, should concentrate on the core functions such as land and revenue administration, maintenance of law and order, disaster management, public distribution and civil supplies, excise, elections, transport, census, protocol, general administration, treasury management, and coordination with various departments / agencies. The district administration also needs reorientation to new political and administrative concerns like technological and functional modernization and responsiveness to Right to Information Act, civil society groups, media, and public grievances.36

            The commission also recommended that the activities and functions transferred by state government to Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies need not remain with district administration. Line departments like those of water resources, public works, or health engaged in state-wide projects should maintain their separate offices at district and sub-district levels. They should provide technical support and guidance to District Councils in planning and monitoring implementation.37

            Moreover, the ARC-II recommended an entirely new concept of "District Government" operationalized through an integrated governing structure in the District Council, with representation from both urban and rural areas. The District Officer (Magistrate / Collector) should have a dual role in it. On the one hand, the should be fully accountable to the District Council on all local matters, and on the other, he would also be fully accountable to the state government on all regulatory / other matters not delegated to the District Government.38

            Finally, as anti-corruption measures, the commission recommends the streamlining of the existing Vigilance Commissions at the union and state levels and the Lokayuktas (Ombudmen) in the states. It reiterates the enactment of a parliamentary statute instituting the central Lokpal (Ombudman) first recommended by ARC-I but not implemented yet.39

It is interesting and useful to take a composite and comparative look at the major   recommendations of the ARC-I and ARC-II and also ascertain the extent to which these have been implemented    by the two orders of the governments in India. This exercise is done in Table 3. It is evident that, despite the fact that ARC-I reported when the socialistic and welfarist  policy paradigm of the post-Independence Indian state was still in place though in a state of decline, and the ARC-II reported after the paradigm shift to business liberalism and globalism, there is remarkable amount of overlap between the recommendations made by the two panels! In my opinion it may be more due to India’s preference for gradualism in the policy shift than to the continued spell of statism. As regards the implantation of the recommendations, India’s record of administrative reforms is shown to be glacial and unimpressive. This is attributable to the vested interest of the political and bureaucratic classes, the weakness of the class of bourgeoisie, fragmented electoral mandates and divided governments due to discordant bicameralism and the variegated chessboards of federal coalition governments and governments in 28 states of the Indian union.                                                                

Table 3

Lists of Major Recommendations of ARC-I and ARC-II


I.    Union and State Executive                    

     Optimum size of the Union Cabinet including the Prime Minister (PM), to be 16 and that of the three-tier Council of Ministers 40 to 46. PM not to be in specific charge of any ministry to keep him free for managerial tasks of policy initiation, coordination, and supervision (as the British practice is supposed to be) (Not implemented yet)

Minister-Secretary relationship to be built on trust in the civil servant and loyalty to the minister in pursuit of administrative performance through free and frank exchange of views and major decisions taken in writing (Prima facie not practised, more often than not)

     To ensure cabinet collegiality and collective responsibility of the cabinet, all important issues to be discussed and settled by the cabinet. A minister not to announce a new policy or departure from an existing policy without cabinet’s approval (Blatantly violated in federal coalition governments and state governments of all kinds)

     A minister cannot be held accountable for an act of a civil servant, which is in excess of a directive or order or by implication prohibited by policies already approved by the minister or cabinet.

     A standing parliamentary committee to oversee every ministry or a major department within it (Implemented since 1993 by reforming the parliamentary committee system)

     A state Governor to consult the Chief Minister (CM) but to be not necessarily bound by the advice. In performing functions given by state statutes (e. g. as Chancellor of states universities), the Governor to function in his individual discretion rather than being bound by ministerial advice (Mostly dogged by controversies and conflicts)

     Size of council of ministers in larger states to be about 20, in middle-size states about 14 to 18, and in smaller states about 8 to 12 (The 91st constitutional amendment, 2003, limited the size of the Union and State council of ministers to 15 percent of the membership of the popularly elected legislative chamber)

 II. Secretariat: Union & State

     Both the central and state secretariats have become overstaffed and the bounded with blurred responsibilities. Suitable reforms needed (No formal layoffs, but casualisation of new appointments sans security and facilities of service conditions earlier routinely offered)

     The central secretariat has become burdened with work which falls within the jurisdiction of states under the constitution. Devolution consistent with the constitutional division of powers and needs of economic development recommended

     The following three staff offices should be created in each ministry: (a) a planning unit, (b) a personnel unit, and (c) a finance unit. A central personnel agency to be placed directly under the PM with overall personnel concerns involving all categories of civil services and administrative tasks (Implemented)

     The road to the top administrative ranks should be open to all categories of civil services – All India Services, Central Services and State Services, such that the present practice of monopolizing such positions by the generalist All India Services to the blockage of specialized central services must be done away with (The special institutional interest group of the IAS lobby has so far maneuvered to forestall this reform) 

     Routinized six-level movement of files from the bottom-level clerk  to the Secretary at the top to be reduced to only two levels of officials

     Secretariat should shed functions of executive nature which it has been performing at present

III. State Administration

     Replacement of the Board of Revenue by the Secretariat itself for its administrative and advisory functions and transfer of its appellate functions to a revenue tribunal consisting of a judicial officer of the status of a judge and a senior revenue officer from the administrative side (Not implemented)

     Abolition of the position of a Divisional Commissioner intermediate between the District Collector (DC) / Magistrate (DM) and the secretariat

     The omnibus or multifunctional DM to be left exclusively with regulatory functions, law and order, collection of land revenue and other taxes. DM’s judicial functions to be transferred to a judicial magistrate and developmental functions to a development officer


IV. Panchayat Raj

     Developmental functions should be transferred to the elective Zila (District) Panchayat body, usually called Zila Parishad (District Council). The District Development officer to be placed under the elected President of the Zila Parishad

V.  Machinery for Planning

     The Planning Commission to limit itself to plan formulation, determination of resources required, and evaluation of plan performance. It should shed its executive functions. The PM should cease to be the chair of the Planning Commission, though must remain closely associated with its activities along with the Finance Minister. Chaired by the PM, the Planning Commission has grown into a "super cabinet", and steadily added to its functions and personnel and encroached on areas of executive authority of the central and the state governments (Not implemented, so far as the chairmanship of the PM and association of other key ministers as members are concerned)

Recommended the constitution of state Planning Boards with their own secretariats

VI. Centre-State Relations

     Recommended the establishment of the Inter-State Council under article 263 of the Constitution (Implemented in 1991 but the ISC with its secretariat exists largely on the margins by continued recourse to more informal and ad hoc intergovernmental forums like Chief Ministers`/Ministers`/Secretaries` conferences)

          All India Services should provide a larger measure of intake by promotion from the ranks of state civil services. Moreover, class II personnel from state services could also be brought to the centre as under-secretaries in functionally specialized areas of administration (Largely unimplemented)

VII.     Redress of Citizens' Grievances & Cases of Corruption

     Responsible government and administrative accountability to be supplemented by instituting Lokpalat the centre and Lokayuktasin states (ombudsmen) (In the last forty years bills introduced several times in the Parliament but never carried to the logical conclusion of legislation)



I.                   Reforming the structure and Administration of the Union Government


The Union government should primarily deal with core areas : (i) Defence, International Relations, National Security, Justice and Rule of Law, (ii) Human Development through access to good quality education and healthcare to every citizen, (iii) Infrastructure and sustainable natural resource development, (iv) social security and social justice, (v) Macro-economic management and national economic planning, (vi) National policies in respect of other sectors


The principle of subsidiarity should be followed to decentralize functions to state and local governments

Separation of policy-making functions from executive functions

   (The ARC-I Report is too recent to talk about action on the part of the governments in India on it, going by the slow pace and poor record of implementation on constitutional commission reports.)


Note: We are omitting the recommendations pertaining to administration of the Union Territories and the Northeastern States due to constraints of space here.

Source: For ARC-I, Shriram Maheswari, The Administrative Reforms Commission (Agra: Lakshmi Narain Aggarwal, 1972); for ARC-II, Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Organizational Structure of Government of India, Thirteenth Report, and State and District Administration, Fifteenth Report, both published by the Government of India in April 2009.



            Summing up, the board thrusts of administrative reforms in India have aimed at three basic goals: improving the efficiency of administration internally and in relation to service delivery to the citizens; maintaining the thin line of demarcation between political neutrality of administration and party politics; and curbing corruption. A systematic empirical studies or even a series of such micro studies in a large number are still awaited. The available information, however, suggests that the Indian administration is seriously deficient on all the three counts. One gross indicator of this state of affairs is the recurrence of public protests and anti-corruption movements locally, regionally, or nationally,40  including the India Against Corruption (IAC) campaign led by Anna Hazare since the heady Arab Spring of 2011, considered by some as the most important democratic moment since the Post-World War-II collapse of communist authoritarianism in the wake of the end of the Cold War around 1989. Indeed, the most telling evidence comes from a high-level union government administrative committee chaired by Home Secretary N.N. Vohra itself. It its report submitted to the government of India in 1993,the committee drew pointed attention to a nexus between politicians, criminals, police and bureaucrats in various parts of the country.41

            More  recently, legal action triggered by the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to the Parliament and the Supreme Court order against ministers and civil servants in the government of India in relation to the 2-G telecom spectrum allocation to corporate private companies, among other cases of corruption, has revealed glaring cases of collusive corrupt deals. The Nira Radia Tapes involving a lobbyist, government of India functionaries, and corporate companies have brought to public notice instances of ministerial portfolio allocations being made on considerations of collusive quid pro quos. Wholesale transfers of civil and police officers on political, caste and other community considerations after coming to power of a new government in several states have become routine affairs.

            The major problem that administrative reforms in India face is the abysmal record of lack of implementation of the series of reports of the various commissions reviewed above.  Even a few reforms like the creation of agencies and regulatory authorities within the bureaucratic apparatus and the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments concerning the Panchayati Raj and Nagar Raj at local levels are seriously deficient in autonomy, power, and finances. The vigilance commissions at the centre and in the state and the Lokayuktas in the states are again be devilled by the same deficiencies. The Lokpal at the centre is not yet instituted in the trail of legislative bills, and belatedly in 2012 a constitutional amendment bill, allowed to lapse or defeated in the last over forty years. The Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement making this issue as its central platform has clearly revealed the entire political class, or at least an overwhelming majority of the parliamentarians, on one side of the political divide, and the active citizenry on behalf of the civil society, on the other. The movement, much like the anti-corruption /anti-authoritarian movement of the 1970s led by the socialist-turned Gandhian, Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), has developed outside the framework of the formal party system. Unlike the JP movement which used conventional means of political mobilization, the Anna Hazare movement has mainly thrived on the private electronic and social media, supplemented by mass congregation in the metro-cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Led by the middle classes, both these political events qualify as popular mass movements. A few administrative reforms like Right to Information Act (2005), "social audit" of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005) schemes were implemented under the pressure of social movements and / or National Advisory Council (NAC) of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government chaired by Sonia Gandhi. Under the pressure of the Ana Hazare Movement, the  UPA Government was forced to form a joint Lokpal Bill drafting committee comprising five union ministers and five IAC civil society activists and co-chaired by Pranab Mukherjee from the government and Shanti Bhushan from the civil society. Consensus eluding the committee, the Manmohan Singh Government referred its own bill to the joint parliamentary committee, followed by the Janlokpal (People`s) Bill of the IAC under pressure. The version of the constitutional amendment bill cleared by the standing committee failed to muster 2/3rds majority severally required in both Houses of the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) for a constitutional amendment. In the Lok Saba,  it passed the requisite simple majority for a legislation (not a constitutional amendment). In the Rajya sabha it faced an overwhelming and uproarious opposition before the session was adjourned sine die. At this writing (May 2012), the bill hangs fire, the most probable outcome being its certain rejection in the present Parliament, unless a miracle happens under the pressure of the mass movement in a new Parliament due to be elected  in 2014 or elected earlier in a snap, mid-term election.



1.         S.R. Maheshwari, Indian Administration, New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2001, sixth edn., pp. 492-93 enumerates 26 such reports, while Hoshiar Singh and Pankaj Singh, Indian Administration, New Delhi: Pearson, 2011, pp. 387-88, lists as many as 31 such documents, beginning with the Report on Reorganization of Central Government (Chair Richard Tottenham), 1946, and the last being the Reports of the  Second Administrative Reforms Commission (Chair Veerappa Moily), 2005. The former advocated a division between the secretariat and executive directorate and agencies which is still maintained.See R.B Jain, “New Directions of Administrative Reforms in India” in Vinod Mehta,ed., Reforming Administration in India, New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications for ICSSR, 2000,p.205.The latter is discussed in detail below.


2.             See Romila Thapar, Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997, new rev. ed.; Douglas E. Slreusand, The Formation of the Mughal Empire, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989; and Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India, New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Pvt. Ltd., 2009.


3.             See Hermann Kulke, ed., The State in India 1000-1700, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995; and Upinder Singh, ed., Rethinking Early Medieval India: A Reader, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011.


4.             Quoted in Sekhar Bandopadhyay, From Plassey to Partition, op.cit. 2009,  p. 110.


5.             Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Ibid. p. 113.


6.             B. Shiva Rao et. al., eds., The Framing of India's Constitution: A Study, Select Documents, Vol. V, New Delhi: Indian Institute of Public Administration, 1968, pp. 708-9.


7.             Ibid., pp. 709-10.


8.             Sample the observations made by P.S. Deshmukh, M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, etc. Constituent Assembly Debates, Official Report, Vol. X-XII, Book No. 5, New Delhi: Lok Sabha Secretariat, 2003, 4th reprint, pp. 40-44.


9.             Ibid., p. 50. Patel was the chairman of the provincial Constitution Committee of the Constituent Assembly, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India at the time.


10.          R.B Jain, Public Administration in India: 21st Century Challenges for Good Governance, New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publications, 2004, p.21.

11.      B K Misra, Indian Administrative Service: The Case for Reform, New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2009, pp.12& 13.


12.      Quoted in Rekha Saxena, Situating Federalism: Mechanisms of Intergovernmental Relations in Canada and India, New Delhi: Manohar, 2006, p. 252.


13.     The experience of holding limited franchise elections in British India under the Government of India Acts 1909, 1919, 1935, in religiously and politically surcharged atmosphere had convinced the makers of the Indian Constitution to devise an autonomous and powerful Election Commission entrenched in the Constitution itself rather than under an Act of Parliament as in the British Commonwealth parliamentary federations in Canada and Australia.


14.      The “developmental state” was conceptualized to encapsulate the experience of the East Asian miracle economies in the last quarter of the twentieth century in the context of late industrialization when the development giving it priority over democratic politics back in: Towards a Model of the Studies, vol. 31, no.3, February 1995, pp.400-427. “Democratic developmental state”, on the other hand, seeks in late industrializing economies a more balanced development of democracy as well as capitalism in the context of state-led development initiates. See Mark Robinson and Gordon White, eds., The Democratic Developmental State: The Political and Institutional Design, New York; Oxford University Press, 1998.


15.     Like in Texas, everything on an all-India level is big! The constitution of India comprises 395 articles,XXII parts, and 12 schedules! During its deliberations spread over almost a decade from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, the ARC-I produced a tone of 20-volume report dealing with 1. redressal of citizen’s grievances, 2. Machinery of planning ( interim report), 3. Public sector undertakings, 4. finance, accounts, and udits,5. Machinery for planning ( final report), 6 economic administration,7.the machinery of government of India and its procedures of work, 8. Life Insurance Corporation, 9. Central direct taxes administration, 10. Administration of Union Territories and North East Frontier Agency, 11. personnel administration, 12delegation of financial administration powers,13 centre state relations, 14.state administration, 15 small scale industries sector, 16 Railways, 17 treasuries, 18 Reserve Bank of India, 19 post and telegraph department, and 20 scientific departments. It gives the readers the scale of operations of the governments in India in the era of the interventionist state and big government!


16.          My discussion of the recommendations of the ARC – I here and below in this chapter draws mainly from S.R. Maheshwari, Administrative Reforms in India, New Delhi: Macmillan India Ltd., 2002, chapter 9.


17.          India, Republic, Commission on Centre-State Relations, Report, Part I, Nasik: Government of India Press, 1988, p. 110.


18.          Ibid., p. 107.


19.          Ibid., pp. 106-107.


20.        Ibid., p. 226.


21.        B.K Misra, Indian Administrative Service, op.cit. pp. 68-74.


22.          Ibid., pp. 229-230.                      


23.          India, Republic, Report of the National Commission to Review the Working of the    Constitution, finalreport.htm, accessed on 14.4.2002, chap. 1, p. 3.


24.          Ibid., chap. 6.                 


25.          India, Republic, Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Thirteenth Report, Organizational Structure of Government of India, April 2009, p. 1.


26       Another marathon exercise in administrative reforms that produced the following 15 volumes on 1. Right to information, 2. Human capital: entitlements and governance, 3. crisis management, 4. Ethics in governance, 5. Public order, 6. Local governance, 7. capacity building and conflict resolution , 8. combating terrorism, 9. social capital, 10. Personnel administration, 11. E-governance, 12. Citizen-centric administration, 13. Organizational structure of government of India, 14. financial management systems and 15. state and district administration.


27.          Ibid., pp. 39-45. For a more comprehensive review of the literature on the Global discourse on administrative reforms from the policy perspective of neoliberalism, see Amita Singh, ed., Administrative Reforms : Towards Sustainable Practices, New Delhi : Sage Publications, 2005, "Introduction" (to chapters that follow on micro-studies in power, transport and social sectors reforms ).


28.     Ibid.


29           Ibid., p. 95.


30           India, Republic, Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Fifteenth Report, State and District Administration, New Delhi: Government of India, April 2009, p. 25.


31.          India, Republic, Second ARC, Thirteenth Report, pp. 118-119; and Fifteenth Report, pp. 32-33.


32.          India, Republic, Second ARC, Tenth Report Refurbishing of Personnel Administration – Scaling New Heights, New Delhi: Government of India, pp. 2; and Second ARC, Fifteenth Report, pp. 39-42.


33.          India, Republic, Second ARC, Thirteenth Report, Chapter 6, the quote at p. 144.


34..         India, Republic, Second ARC, Thirteenth Report, p. 140.


35.          Ibid., p. 45.


36.          Ibid., pp. 80-86.


37.          Ibid., p. 92.


38           Ibid., p. 90.


39           India, Republic, Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Fourth Report, Ethics in Governance, New Delhi: Government of India, p and Second ARC, Fifteenth Report, p. 46.


40           Bipan Chandra, In the Name of Democrat: JP Movement and the Emergency, New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2003; and Rob Jenkins, "In Varying States of Decay: Anti-Corruption Politics in Maharashtra and Rajasthan" in rob Jenkins, ed., Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India's States, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004, chapter 7, pp. 219-252.


41.          India, Republic, Vohra Committee Report, New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, 1993.