Administrative Reforms in India: Need for Systems Approach to Problem Solving


  • Punit Arora


review of Indian administrative structure in 1950s, Appleby certified Indian Civil Service to be one of the best in the world. While there is still a lot to commend the civil service for, this article will focus exclusively on the deficiencies that have crept in the services over last few years. This should not be taken to mean that all is wrong with it. The article does, however, attempt to present the critique of the service from the perspective of an insider with a view to rid it of its malaise. Despite its notable achievements, over last five decades, disenchantment with public administration in India has dramatically increased. It is criticized for inefficiency, lack of professionalism, irresponsiveness, nepotism and corruption. After the assumption of power by UPA government, civil services have come under a real scanner. The government appointed an expert committee, under the chairmanship of the Hota committee, to review and suggest changes to the administrative structure. The committee submitted its report recently. It suggested changes in recruitment and performance appraisal system, opening of civil service position to outsiders and relaxing norms pertaining to removal from service to shake complacency of the civil servants. This article argues that these proposals are too restrictive in nature and scope. They are limited to changes in the upper echelon of bureaucracy. These don’t just exclude a large part of bureaucracy from the reform efforts, but also fail to address the factors external to the administration that hinge upon its performance. To be specific, the article presents evidence of the linkage between the deficiencies in the political, electoral and judicial system and the decline in performance of civil service. It reasons that it is meaningless to talk of administrative reforms without undertaking simultaneous reforms in political and electoral system. Finally, it suggests a more comprehensive reform agenda to improve the performance of civil service, and above all emphasizes the need for adopting the systems approach to problem-solving.


How to Cite

Arora, P. (2014). Administrative Reforms in India: Need for Systems Approach to Problem Solving. International Public Management Review, 7(2), 83–96. Retrieved from