IAS Mantra Series : Public Administration


Administrative Development

Relationship between CPA and DA

  • The two are often equated with each other
  • DA has flourished within the larger corpus of CPA literature
  • The theory of prismatic society has influenced theorising in development administration
  • In many countries, ‘enclave’ development has been promoted through introduction of micro-institutions to push through development within the framework of under-developments

Bureaucracy and Development

Is bureaucracy a hindrance or vehicle for development?

How bureaucracy has changed over time? From being a vehicle of maintaining status-quo to being development oriented.

What is the current position on the idea of development and to achieve it what should be the role/size of bureaucracy?

Comparison with other  countries

What bureaucracy has (as per Weber) and what does development need?

Can bureaucracy be the right instrument for undertaking the development of any country?

  • Alleged that bureaucracy is status-quo oriented
  • Development needs change

Table 1

Bureaucracy has Advantages for development Disadvantages
Hierarchy – well laid out graded – strict subordinate superior relationship Well-defined division of workReduces friction between officials by clearly defining sphere of competenceEffective coordination through a well laid out machinery Policy decisions made at the top onlyNon-participative approach towards people and sub-ordinates.High-handedness of bureaucrats. ‘we know the best’ ideology



Recruitment based on merit Ensures best talents take up to the task of development Does not permit people like activists and others on grassroot who have actual experience in leading development programmes to take charge of those programmesNot oriented to the changing conditions at the grassroot
Career service system Ensures that persons have worked at the grassroots level before getting promoted and making policies Makes the bureaucrats complacent and indifferent as their job is not at stakeTakes away their initiative as there is no reward or punishment
Strict adherence to laws, rules, regulations and precedents / Rule orientation Removes arbitrariness. Decisions are unambiguous and continuity in decisions Selznick: Excessive rule orientation may lead to goal displacementFollow rules blindlyTakes away the initiative and discretion of the public servant


Red-tapism and delay in programme implementation


May lead to corruption through speed money

Anonymity and neutrality Removes the inhibition towards taking initiatives as anonymity persists Neutrality taken as a cover for bureaucratic apathyMerton: complete anonymity and value neutrality militate against the concept of public service 
Rationality and impersonality <complete rationality anyways is not possible Simon>Makes the public servant completely insensitive to the feelings of the citizens

But what does development need?

  • Very difficult to agree on a definition of development
  • Dependency theory to capabilities approach
  • But development has at least two components
    • People centred
    • Involves the questions of change and values
  • Development needs
    • Quick decision making
    • Initiative of the public servant
    • Innovation
    • Proper design
    • Goal orientation
    • Change orientation

Women and Development

  • How is the status of women related to development? / Bring forth clearly the relationship between development of women and achievement of MDGs.
  • What are the problem areas in relation to women and development?
  • Has administration been inclusive of women in development?
  • What strategies can be implemented to make women a participant in development
  • Discuss the role of SHGs in development
  • What are the problems of SHGs
  • What are the positives of SHGs? Limitations? What changes to implement?
  • Put some examples of effective participation of women in development from India and other countries
  • Status of women is closely bound to other development issues
    • UNDP head Helen Clark had described investment in women as key to striving for MDGs
  • Sexual and reproductive health services, girl’s education and women’s legal rights all require investment in women. à all these also related to MDGs
  • Health of women closely related to the health of the child. Hence development programmes at aim at improving health outcomes must begin at the level of women and involve them
  • Economic power of women
  • HDR adjusted for gender inequality

How is the status of women related to development?

What are the problem areas in relation to women and development?

  • Economic
    • Legal hurdles stand in the way of women accessing financial services. For example: Women (without land) are not recognized as farmers in India. So, they cannot get agricultural credit. This is despite the fact that women constitute a sizable portion of agricultural labourers.
    • Sometimes social customs inhibit women’s right of inheritance
    • Women carry a disproportionate burden of unpaid work

Discuss the role of SHGs in development

Some examples of effective participation of women in development from India and other countries

  • SHG movement in India
  • Kudumbshree in Kerala


  • The debate is not a new one. It has been in continuous existence ever since the publication of ‘The Wealth of Nations’ by Adam Smith
  • Smith and Ricardo made case for free markets, laissez-faire
  • Communists argued for total control of the market by the state
  • With the emergence of Keynesianism the role of state was enhanced
  • In the 1940s the debate was essentially between Keynes and Hayek
  • The question assumed even more significance with the liberation of a former colonies
    • They were faced with  the question of development and which path to take
  • After the end of the cold war, market became the pre-dominant paradigm.
  • Washington Consensus
  • Shift in the stance of public policy since 1980s
  • Thatcherism and Reaganism
  • Emergence of New Right
  • Public Choice theory
  • Emergence of the competition state
  • Roll back of the state resulted in deregulation, privatisation and introduction of market-oriented reforms in public services
  • This has led to a pro-market and anti-state philosophy
  • Milton Friedman contributed to this
  • That market and not the state has to be the central actor in the new political economy
  • Government is less efficient than markets over providing services to individuals
  • Slim the state and liberate the market forces
  • Import market concepts and incentives into the working of the government itself
  • Take measures to reduce the relative size and expanse of public expenditure and also to cut down the range of functions that the government performs

Why did the debate emerge?

What is the debate?

What is its objective?

Views and counterviews

Table 2

Pro-state Pro-market
Joan Robinson: Invisible hand of the state might work by strangulation Paul Streeten: The state does not optimize anything, neither public welfare nor self-interest.

Synthesis/State market cooperation

Sen and Dreze: Success of market is dependent on the nature of state action. The state action is context dependent
Bhaduri and Nayar: ‘creative cooperation’ between the two. State must create physical and social infrastructure. Functional, institutional and strategic interventionsshould be made. Functional: remedy market failureInstitutional:  setting rules of the gameStrategic: guide the market to attain long term objectives of development
The state must not abandon its efforts for development in the name of LPG
Socially Responsible Market Economy(SRME) proposed by Indian economists: reorienting role of state through joint sector, strengthen social service, infrastructure development. <how is it any different?>SRME emphasises on self-discipline, peer pressure and adherence to codes of conduct by all economic players

What changes did policy bring about?

  • World Bank and the Washington Consensus
  • Structural adjustment programmes

Role of the state in a market economy

  1. Provide a legal framework and maintain law and order, including the enforcement of contracts, property rights etc
  2. Come up with anti-monopolistic and anti-restrictive practices laws
  3. Can intervene in the process of price formation, production and finance to make markets function better
  4. Human resource development
  5. Physical infrastructure like irrigation, roads, electricity and communication

How? : The Change

Governed Market paradigm

  • State intervention in market through
    • Subsidies and distortion of relative prices (can help economic growth through some protection)
    • Control of credit markets (eg. recent economic crisis)
    • Promoting economic choices (eg. Promotion of sustainable energy)
    • Investment and production outcomes that would not have been possible through the ordinary working of the market.
    • Protection of citizen’s interests (eg. Regulation of GM food)
    • Maintaining a stable economy (eg. Again India and the economic crisis)
  • The success of East Asian economies of Japan, Taiwan, Korea, HK etc which have been dependent on markets, was to a large extent due to the Governed Market paradigm.
  • Become responsive to the needs of people
  • WDR 2000-01: “Attacking Poverty” says that Pub Ad should
    • Implement policies efficiently
    • Be responsive to the needs of the people
    • Redistribute resources for activities that benefit the needy
  • WDR 2002: “Building Institutions for Market”
    • Weak institutions…. hurt poor people and hinder development
  • WDR 2004: Making services work for poor people
    • Warns that broad improvements in human welfare will not occur unless poor people receive wider access to affordable, better quality services in health, education, water, sanitation, and electricity.
    • These services are essentially state provided. Hence the state has a crucial role in development and enhancing human welfare.

What ways should state institutions change?

Gist of it all

  • The debate is no longer valid
    • Neither a liberal state nor an interventionist state can ensure development
  • Pro-market reforms are essential for promoting economic growth
  • But this does not negate the role of the state
  • State is needed to transform this growth into development by thwarting the negative consequences of such reforms through suitable interventions. <eg. Social security schemes, education etc>
  • Revitalising public institutions is very important to counteract the negative consequences emanating from LPG
  • “A state which pays little attention to the economic suffering and marginalisation of a significant proportion of its population not only discredits itself but also the market process through which such marginalisation occurs. “ The state’s role hence is very vital for the success of the market processes.
  • At the same time, today PA has transformed to include three players in governance
    • State
    • Market
    • Civil Society
  • What is needed is not less government, but a better and different type of government

Impact of Liberalisation

What has happened in general due to liberalisation?

  • Public sphere is shrinking
  • Emergence of the corporate state
  • Emergence of regulatory state
  • Osborne and Gaebler – Reinventing Government
  • The biggest challenge for administration is to recast the role of the state
  • Need to evolve a new regulatory state with an expended agenda.

Impact on administration

  • The biggest challenge for administration is to recast the role of the state
  • Need to evolve a new regulatory state with an expended agenda.
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