Public Administration is a sub-division of the broader concept of administration. Administration means ‘to serve’, or ‘to manage affairs’. In this sense, administration means management of the affairs of an organization. And Public administration means management of Governmental affairs and activities. Thus, Public administration is primarily concerned with the implementation of Governmental policies.
History of Indian administration traces its root to the Ancient India. Since the earliest times, the monarchical system was used in public administration in the execution of governmental functions. There are two basic features of the Indian administrative system which continued right down the ages- the importance of the villages as a primary unit and co-ordination between the two opposite trends of centralisation and decentralisation.
The powers of administering the states were centralised in the hands of the king during the ancient period in India. During the Vedic period the king was assisted in his work by many officers. He was surrounded by a circle of his friends and principal officers. There is a reference regarding this in the two epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. A similar reference is also to be found in Manu Smriti and Sukra Niti. In Kautilya’s Arthashastra is obtained a detailed account about the offices of the state for the first time in the history of India.
The year 1773 was a landmark in the growth of Indian Administration. Before 1773 there was no central authority in the country. The 1773 Act restricted the powers of the presidencies from making war or treaties without the sanction of the Governor-General in Council. This confirmed the British Parliament’s control over East India Company’s affairs. The Pitt’s India Act of 1784 placed Indian Affairs under the direct control of the British Government, by establishing a Board of Control representing the British Cabinet, over the court of Directors.
The Indian administrative structure is largely, a legacy of the British rule. The various structural and functional aspects of Indian Administration like secretariat system , all-India services , recruitment, training, office procedures, local administration, district administration, budgeting, auditing, centralising tendency, police administration, revenue administration, and so on, have their roots in the British rule. The British rule in India can be divided into two phases- the Company Rule till the year 1858 and the Crown Rule from 1858-1947. The year 1858 itself was a year of great event in that the administration of the Government of India passed into the hands of the British Government from the East India Company.
The important stages during the period 1858-1950 were as under: Government of India Act 1858, Indian Councils Act 1861, Indian Councils Act 1892, Indian Councils Act also known as Morley-Minto Reforms 1909, Government of India Act also known as Montague-Chelmsford Reforms 1919, Government of India Act 1935, Indian Independence Act 1947, and the Adoption of Indian Constitution 1949.
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