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The Responsibility of the Civil Service Officials in the Progress of Administration

In a democracy , the civil services play an extremely important role in the administration, policy formulation and implementation and in taking the country forward towards progress and development.

The Best Minister is one who cane think quickly and systematically over the varied problems put before him. His first quality is common sense and the second one is his capacity to judge the people. � Harold Joseph Laski

The permanent Executive who form the civil servants are the backbone of the administration in a country. It is with this branch of executive that the common man mostly comes into contact with and it is through this branch that the national government establishes its contacts with the rank and file of citizens. In British administration, the role of civil servants are contrasted with ministers. A minister is a political official, a civil servant is not. On the other hand, the position of the civil servant is quite different.

To keep the civil servants politically neutral, various statutes have been enacted from time to time. Today, the position is that no civil official can make a political speech, write a partisan note , or edit, publish a party newspaper, canvass for a candidate or serve on a party committee. The civil officials are, of course, entitled to vote but their political rights begin and end with the casting of their votes. The highest ranking civil servant is the cabinet secretary.

A minister is chosen for his post by the Prime Minister not because he knows much of the subject concerning his department but because he is an important party man or an active debater in parliament, or an effective trade union organizer, or is a good platform speaker, or for some other such reason. On the other hand, the civil servants are experts in their subjects or are in process of becoming experts due to vast experience and longer stay in the department as an official. The tenure of the minister is short, while that of the civil servant is long. Thus, long continuity in office makes them experts in the administration of affairs .

The System Of Governance By The Civil Servants;

The tenure of the minister is short, while that of the civil servant is long. The Political staff is small, the permanent staff is large. The number of ministers who make the political staff of the British administrative departments is about a hundred , twenty being cabinet ministers. All the employees of the British civil Service have been classified into five categories in accordance with their status and dignity of office.
  1. The Administrative Class
  2. The Executive Class
  3. The Clerical Class
  4. The Writing Assistant Class
  5. The Typists and Shorthand Typists class

In addition to these five classes in the main hierarchy of civil service, there are a number of technical and scientific personnel including doctors, architects, engineers and scientific research staff. They are selected not through any written examination but through the method of competitive interviews.

Role Of Civil Servants In The Actual Administration Of England:

The civil servant is an expert professional, non-political and Permanent person who has spent several years in the department and gained rich experience of its working. During the last few years, the civil service has assumed great prominence in the British administration. The minister is a tool in the hands of the permanent officials. The role of civil servants in the actual administration of England can be explained by enumerating the various functions which they perform.
  1. Administrative role:

    The civil servants play an important role in the administrative sphere of the Government. According to Laski, an important function of the administrative classis to collect all the material so that a correct decision may be taken.The civil servant, being an expert and fully conversant with the details and their implications accordingly, tends to shape the day � to �day working of the department. According to Ramsay Muir,  The power of Bureaucracy is enormously strong. Under the cloak of ministerial responsibilities it has thriven and grown.
  2. Legislative Role:

    The Bills introduced in the Parliament are first framed and given shape by the civil servants. It is perhaps in the field of legislation that the role of the civil servants is Supreme. Thus, new policy is very often the actual product, and still more often the result of corrections and suggestions of the permanent civil servants.

    The great role of the civil servants in the legislative sphere can be further proved by the fact that most of the rules and regulations concerning the departments are issued by them under the signature of the minister. The powers of delegated legislation are exercised in the name of the minister, they are actually exercised by the civil servants.
  3. Judicial Role:

    The Executive goes a step further by establishing administrative tribunals to decide the disputes arising under administrative rules and orders. These courts are often manned by experienced administrators. The powers of administrative legislative and administrative Justice have made the civil servants powerful, arbitrary and free from restraint because both the parliament and Courts of law are ousted from the exercise of their respective authority of legislation and dispensing Justice.
  4. Financial Role:

    It is the civil servant who prepares the Annual Financial Statement of the British Government. The taxes to be levied and the expenditure to be incurred are suggested and drafted by the secretaries of the department of the Exchequer. The Civil Servants formulate answers to the questions put to the ministers in the Parliament and supply them the information and material necessary to decide a particular case.

    Thus, the Civil Servants exercise a vast influence upon the minds of the ministers and actually help them in tackling the various problems concerning the Government. They are the reservoir of knowledge and experience and enable the Government to maintain efficiency of administration.

    The civil servants of the upper rank give shape and substance to the vague aspirations and the misty ideas of the ministers. Thus, the vital importance of the Civil servants in a democratic set-up cannot be under estimated.

Ram Say Muir has laid the charge of bureaucratic at the doors of the British Government and maintained that in England, bureaucracy thrives under the cloak of ministerial responsibility. According to Laski,  Bureaucracy is the term usually applied to a system of Government, the control of which is so completely in the hands of the officials that their power jeopardizes the liberties of Ordinary citizens.

The position of the minister vis-�-vis his secretaries depends very much on his own personality. If all the minister of the cabinet are equally intelligent and strong willed it would be difficult for the cabinet to function efficiently. The civil service provides the element of efficiency in British administration while the political Executive provides the element of democracy and thus, the British administration is both democratic and efficient. Democracy is a misnomer and it is the bureaucracy that rules. Bureaucracy has its place and significant one but it cannot eclipse the civil power held by the ministers.

The Cabinet is not a collection of experts on any one subject. It is a Committee of men of good common sense and intelligence of business entity, of Practical capacity in touch with Public Opinion. The Practical capacity in touch with public Opinion. The Cabinet is the bridge linking up the People with the expert, joining Principle to Practice.- MacDonald

The vision of an expert is generally narrow and his attitude uncompromising . When an expert supervises the work of an expert, there is likely to be friction and disagreement because experts easily do not come to an agreement.

The best minister is one who can think quickly and systematically over the varied problems put before him. His first quality is common sense and the second one is his capacity to judge the people-Harold Joseph Laski

In the end, it may also be asserted that a politician who becomes a Minister, may not altogether be a layman. Before becoming a minister, he may have given proof of his ability and intelligence in the Parliament. He may have been well experienced in administrative matters as well. In fact, the qualities which make a man a successful politician also got o make him a successful administrator.

It is his reputation as capable administrator which enhances his prestige in the eyes of the Public as well as the party High command and secures his place in the Parliament after the next election. To Summarize, Civil Services in India Constitute a major support in governing rules and implementing policies. It has vital role in the Indian governance system. From the British rule in India, Civil Services had been modified and the role of civil services has changed over the time.

  1. Low, Sydney ,Governance of England, pp. 201-202
  2. Finer, The theory and Practice of Modern Government, pp .767
  3. Jennings ,Cabinet Government , pp .116
  4. Muir, Ramsay, How Britain is Governed pp.43-51
  5. Burns ,C.D; Whitehall pp .69
  6. Laski ,H.J. Parliamentary Government in England, pp.285,293
  7. Ogg , English Government and Politics pp. 215,217
  8. Muir, Ramsay pp. 44
  9. MacDonald ,Socialism and Government pp. 34-35
  10. Lowell A.L; The Government of England, Vol I pp.173

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