Law · Politics · Public Policy

Bio-analytical comment on Administrative Reforms in India

Administrative Reforms is the topic where a huge amount of research will also prove to be improper to bring forth its actual origination, objectives, purpose, problems which it comes across etc. To start with, as the topic is Administrative Reforms, let us discuss what does Administrative function mean and which areas it covers. The term “administrative function” is defined as follows:

 “Administrative function” means & constitutes the administration of:

(i) laws of the State;

(ii) laws of a political subdivision of the State; or

(iii) Rules, regulations, or bylaws of a public body.

However the term “Administrative function” does not include within it:

(i) A judicial function;

(ii) A legislative function;

(iii) A quasi-judicial function; or

(iv) A quasi-legislative function.

The word reforms means to make something better, to improve its quality, to remove some faults or moreover changing the character of its behaviour, structure to work objectively. Basically administrative function is greater than the executive function. Executive function can be defined; however, the administrative function is difficult to define. Administration of Social, Political, Cultural and Legal frameworks make this function of great importance. It doesn’t include bureaucratic only but the entire person involved to administer Socio-economic, Political justice.

Stages in Administrative reform are often identified as follows:

i) Theoretical

ii) Practical situation emerging for reform

iii) Preparation stage for implementation of reform

Apart from the reforms in the domain of national organisations, emphasis should also be made to revive the condition of international organisations to serve their purposes because these are the organisations that push the member countries to reform their respective administrative functions through various means like development funds, Millennium Goals, Good Governance, Sanctions etc.

To figure out administrative reforms taking place in India, the whole arena is to be divided between two phases; one Pre-Independence era and another is Post-Independence era.

Historical over view of Administrative reforms in India

In the history of Indian Administrative Reforms, 1858 was set up as milestone. In this year, all the administrative powers of the company were transferred to the British Crown. In that capacity, a commission was set up by the British Crown to look after the administrative functions and to suggest the steps to revive the administration of company. Sir Ricketts was given that responsibility to submit the reports on East India Company. In the same year report was submitted and various steps were suggested. He examined the then prevalent administrative system of India. Ricketts report, called “Report on Civil Establishments and Salaries” was submitted in 1866.

Reforms in 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.


Administrative reforms are, as a whole, recognised as intrinsic constraints, dilemmas, limitations, trade-offs and paradoxes. The actual reforms can be figured out as a ‘whole of government’ initiatives intended to increase the coordinative capacity of government to address the `wicked problems’ cutting across existing policy areas and government levels in a multi-level governance system. Administrative reforms are, of course, an unending quest into the need for innovative thinking.

About the Author

Prashant KumarPrashant is a 4th Year law student pursuing B.A. LLB from DSNLU, Visakhapatnam. He has a keen interest in Constitutional, Administrative and Banking law matters. He has done a myriad of research in the matters concerning almost all civil laws and wants to go for litigation after his graduation. He is currently pursuing his internship with Alexis Centre for Public Policy and International Relations.