Public Administration Blog 2 2013 Batch

Two great systems of public administration had developed in the West : the Anglo-American, and the French. The first, as Leonard White has pointed out, has been based on a deep seated preference for self-government in local communities, wide citizen participation, dispersion of authority, well-established responsibility of the administrative system to the legislative body, and the responsibility of officials to the ordinary civil courts at the instance of the privatecitizen”.

By contrast, the French system which was formulated by Napoleon, has been  “based on the concentration of executive power, on the dominance of national over local authorities, on the professionalization of the public service and its psychological separation from the  body of citizens, and on the responsibility of officials to a separate set of administrative courts.” Despite such sharp contrasts, the two systems have come much closer over the years with democratic and industrial changes in the West in recent times. With the growing importance of government in the wake of expanding public functions, public administration  became highly complex and more and more specialized. The need for better management of public  affairs through scientific studies and analyses of government working and for training of public employees was voiced by practitioners and academics alike. It is in the United States of America that the need was more keenly felt, although the Germans started administrative analysis much earlier in practical terms.

An essay by Woodrow Wilson published in 1887 is considered to be the symbolic beginning of a fairly autonomous inquiry.  To quote Wilson’s memorable comment:

“There should be a science of administration which shall seek to straighten the paths of government  to make its business less un-business like, to strengthen organization and to crown its duties with dutifulness.” Mohit Bhattacharya (Book supplied to you : Page 1)

After carefully studying the passage above comment on the following:

1.Every country has its own problems. Do you think that we could borrow from both the British and French Systems and reform our administration?

2. What lessons can we learn from the Chinese?

3. Is there anything that we can learn from our own heritage, like from the ‘self governing republics at the base’ the Panchayats?

4. What sort of development would you like? There are two points of view:

A. Small is Beautiful

B. Yes, if we can afford it.

Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered is a collection of essays by British economist E. F. Schumacher. The phrase “Small Is Beautiful” came from a phrase by his teacher Leopold Kohr

Inaugurating the Gigantic Bhakra Nangal Project Nehru called it a Modern temple.

5. What does the expression ‘less un-businesslike mean’? It is not scientific to give subsidies since we need a prudential fiscal system. But then can we allow the great masses to go to sleep hungry?



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