Important Committees and Commissions of Administrative Reforms since Independence
When India became independent in 1947, it faced problems of partition, refugees, migration, retirement of a great number of administrative personnel, problem of integration of the princely States, etc. The new government adopted the ideology of welfare of the people through socio-economic development, which led to a greater proliferation of tasks and functions. To take up the welfare programmes and challenges, the administrative machinery, which was inherited from the colonial regime and rendered weak by erosive circumstances and stressful situations accompanying Independence, had to be revamped and reinforced.
Administration, as the instrument for designing and implementing all the developmental programmes had to be restructured, reformed and renewed.
Secretariat Re-organisation Committee, 1947
The Government of India set up the Secretariat Reorganisation Committee in 1947, which was headed by Girija Shankar Bajpai. The Committee enquired into the matters of personnel shortages, better utilization of the available manpower and improvement of methods of work in the Central Secretariat.
Shri N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar Report, 1950
Shri N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar conducted a comprehensive review of the working of the machinery of the Central Government, which was presented in his report on 'Reorganisation of the Machinery of Central Government'.
A.D. Gorwala Committe, 1951
In July 195 1, a Committee. headed by Shri .A.D.Gorwala in its Report on Public Administration underlined the need for having a clean, eficient and impartial administration.
Paul. H. Appleby Reports, 1953 &I956
In continuation of these efforts, the Government of India invited an American I expert, Mr. Paul. H. Appleby to suggest reforms in Indian administration. Appleby submitted two reports. His first report namely 'Public Administration in India: Report of a Survey', 1953, dealt with administrative reorganisation and practices. His second report namely, 'Re-examination of India's Administrative System with special reference to Administration of Government's Industrial and Commercial Enterprises', 1956, dealt with matters pertaining to streamlining organisation, work procedures, recruitment, training in these enterprises.
Among the twelve recommendations made, the Government of India accepted two of his recommendations. First, related to the establishment of a professional training institute, namely the Indian Institute of Public Administration for promoting research in public administration. The second related to the setting up of a central office to provide leadership in respect to organisation, management and procedures. As a result, an Organisation and Methods (0 & M) Division was set up in March 1954, in the Cabinet Secretariat for improving the speed and quality of the government business and streamlining its procedures. 0 & M units and work-study units were set up in the Ministries / Departments. The focus was on improving the paper work management and methods. A Manual of Oflice Procedure was prepared for all Ministries and Departments.
Committee on Plan Projects, 1956
In 1956, the Planning Commission set up a 'Committee on Plan Projects' to evolve organisation norms, work methods and techniques, with a view to achieve economy and efficiency in the implementation of the plan projects. In 1964, a Management and Development Administration Division was also established as a part of this Committee to promote the use of modem tools of management. It also undertook studies on problems related to development administration at the district level.
Committee on Prevention of Corruption, 1962
The Committee was set up under the chairmanship of K Santhanam to study the causes of corruption, to review the existing set up for checking corruption and to suggest measures for improvement. The Committee stressed on the need for streamlining the procedures relating to prevention of corruption and recommended the setting up of Central Vigilance Commission(CVC).
Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), 1966
The Administrative Reforms Commission was set up in January 1966 under the chairmanship of K Hanumanthaiya. Its terms of reference was the widest as it covered the entire gamut of public administration at the Centre as well in the States.
The 'Commission submitted 20 reports containing more than 500 recommendations. These led to major and minor changes in administration as well as paved the way for further thinking, which led to more reforms. The major recommendations of the ARC are mentioned below:
1) It spelt out the tasks for the Department of Administrative Reforms. The Commission suggested that the Department should concentrate on: Undertaking studies on administrative reforms that are of a foundational nature; Creating 0 & M expertise in the ministries and departments and providing training to the staff in their 0 & M units in modem managerial techniques; and Providing guidance to the 0 & M units in implementing the improvements and reforms.
2) It recommended the reactivating of the 0 &M units in different ministries and departments.
3) It called for setting up of a special cell in the central reforms agency to give effect to the reports of ARC; and
4) It stated that the central reforms agency should be research based in matters dealing with the methods of work, staffing pattern and organisational structure.
Kothari Committee, 1976
The Committee on recruitment and selection methods under the chairmanship of Shri Kothari was set up in 1976 by the UPSC to examine and report on the system of recruhent to All India Services and Central Group A and B Services. The committee in its report recommended for single examination for the AIS and Central Group A non-technical services.
National Police Commission, 1977
The Commission was set up under the chairmanship of Shri Dharam Vira to examine the role and fbnctions of police with special reference to control of crime and maintenance of public order, the method of magisterial supervision, the system of investigation and prosecution and maintenance of crime records. The Commission made over five hundred recommendations extending to a wide area of interest relating to police administration.
Economic Reforms Commission, 1981
The Commission was set up with L K Jha as the chairman. The main fbnctions assigned to the Commission related to the study of the important areas of economic administration with a view to suggest reforms. The Commission submitted a number of reports to the Government of India, which advocated the rationalisation and modemisation of the economic administrative system to pave way for a new economic order.
Commission on Centre-State Relations, 1983
Mr. R S Sarkaria, was the chairman of this Commission. Its term of reference was to examine and review the working of the existing arrangements between the union and states with regard to powers, functions and responsibilities in a11 spheres and make recommendations as to the changes and measures needed.
National Commission to Review the Working of the Indian Constitution, 2000-03, under the Chairmanship of Chief Justice (Retd.) Venkatacheliah, was set up to examine the working of the Indian Constitution.
Conference of Chief Secretaries, 1996
A Conference of Chief secretaries of the state and union territories was organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (AR & PG) on 20th November 1996. The focus of the Conference was on having an accountable, open and citizen-friendly government and on improving the performance and integrity of the public services.
The follow-up actions of the Conference included:
1) Setting up of an inter-ministerial Working Group on Right to Information and Transparency headed by Shri H.D. Shourie;
2) Constituting an Expert Group headed by Shri N. Vittal to look into the computerization in personnel system and public services;
3) Formulation of citizen's charters by all ministries with public interface;
4) Steps to provide timely disposal of departmental enquiries and vigilance proceedings;
5) Developing grievance redressal mach'inery; and
6) Initiating civil service reforms especially including the transfers and promotions in Centre and States.
Chief Minister's Conference, 1997
In pursuance of the objectives of accountability, transparency, and responsiveness welt out bv the Conference of Chief Secretaries. a national debate was generated on the above-mentioned issues to elicit opinion of the wider public, which included officials, experts, voluntary agencies, media, academia and the citizens groups. This debate culminated in an Action Plan for effective and responsive government. The Action Plan was discussed and adopted in the Conference of Chief Ministers on 24th May 1997, to be implemented by both the Centre and the State governments.
The Action Plan has three components, namely:
1) Making Government Accountable and Citizen-friendly
2) Transparency and Right to Information
3) Improving the Performance and Integrity of the Public Services
Fifth Pay Commission, 1997
The Commission was established under the chairmanship of Mr. Ratnavel Pandian. The Commission, irr effect, became more than a conventional Pay Commission, and went into major issues of administrative reforms.
Second Administrative Reforms Commission
First Report: Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance
Second Report: Unlocking Human Capital
Third Report: Crisis Management: From Despair to Hope
Fourth Report: Ethics in Governance
Fifth Report: Public Order – Justice for All . . . Peace for All
Sixth Report: Local Governance – An Inspiring Journey into the Future
Seventh Report: Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution – Friction to Fusion
Eighth Report: Combatting Terrorism – Protecting by Righteousness
Ninth Report: Social Capital – A Shared Destiny
Tenth Report: Refurbishing of Personnel Administration – Scaling New Heights
Eleventh Report: Promoting e-Governance – The SMART Way Forward
Twelfth Report: Citizen Centric Administration – The Heart of Governance