Importance of Public Administration


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.


Importance of Public Administration as Specialized Subject of Study

The study of administration assumed significance, according to Woodrow Wilson, as a consequence to the increasing complexities of society, growing functions of state and growth of governments on democratic lines. This exhaustive list of functions made to think as to ‘how’ and in what ‘directions’ these functions should be effectively performed. To this Wilson suggested that there was a need to reform the government in the administrative field. As per Wilson, the object of administrative study is to discover what government can properly and successfully does and how it can do these things with utmost efficiency and the least possible cost either of money or of energy.

The importance of public administration as a specialized subject can be attributed to the following reasons:

1. One of the important reasons is the practical concern that the government today has to work towards the public interest. The first and foremost objective of public administration is to efficiently deliver public services. In this context, Wilsonian definition of the subject as efficiency promoting and pragmatic field was the first explicitly articulated statement on the importance of a separate discipline of public administration.
During the first half of the preceding century, a numbers of countries have appointed committees to look into the problems of administration and recommended suitable administrative machinery to respond to diverse public needs. The Haldane Committee Report (1919) in Britain; the President’s Committee on Administrative Management (1937) in the United States;

2. Administration is looked at, in the social science perspective, as a cooperative and social activity. Hence the concern of academic inquiry would be to understand the impact of government policies and operations on society. What kind of society do the policies envisage?;
To what extent administrative action is non-discriminatory?

How is public administration functioning and what are the immediate and long term effects of governmental action on the social structure, the economy and polity?
From the social science perspective, public administration, as a discipline, has to draw on a variety of sister disciplines such as History, Sociology, Economics, Geography, Philosophy, Psychology, etc., with the objective to explain and not just to prescribe.

3. Public administration has a special status in the developing countries. Many of these countries, after independence from the colonial rule have stressed upon speedy socio – economic development. Obviously, these countries have to rely on government for speedy development. The latter requires a public administration to be organized and effectively operated for increasing productivity quickly. Likewise, social welfare activities have to be effectively executed. These aspects have given birth to the new sub-discipline of development administration. The emergence of development administration is indicative of a felt need for a body of knowledge about how to study the third world administration and at the same time to bring about speedy socio-economic development with
government’s intervention. Development administration has therefore, emerged as a sub-discipline to serve the cause of development.

4. Public administration, as witnessed holds a place of significance in the lives of people. It touches them at every step. For most of their needs, the citizens depend upon public administration. In view of the important role of public administration in the lives of people, the citizens of a country cannot ignore.
Therefore, its teaching should become a part of the curriculum of educational institutions. People must get to know about the structure of government, the activities it undertakes and the manner in which these are actually performed. The study of public administration will contribute to the realization of the values of citizenship.

Importance of Public Administration as an Activity

The contemporary age, which has witnessed the emergence of ‘Administrative State’, public administration has become an essential part of society and a dominant factor. The functions it is called upon to perform, have expanded in scope and nature, and what is more, are continually increasing. Many of them are more positive in nature because they care for the essential requirements of human life, be it health, education, recreation, sanitation, social security or others. It is, therefore, a creative factor, with its motto being ‘human welfare’.

These functions are over and above its regulatory functions. The view points of eminent scholars, as referred to below, amply reflect the significance of public administration.

Woodrow Wilson: “Administration is the most obvious part of government; it is government in action, it is the executive, the operative and the most visible side of the government.

Brooke Adams: 
“Administration is an important human faculty because its chief function is to facilitate social change and to cushion the stock of social revolution”.

W.B. Donham:
‘If our civilization fails, it will be mainly because o breakdown of administration’.

Paul H. Appleby: 
‘Administration is the basis of government. No government can exist without administration. Without administration government would be a discussion club, if indeed, it could exist at all’.




Sunday, 28th Jul 2019, 02:44:53 PM

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