Administrative Thinker's - Kautilya

The Arthashastra focuses on higher personnel and ignores lower personnel. The qualities needed in them and their relationship with the king is the key point. Other than recruitment the service conditions, pay, retirement for lower and higher personnel is neglected. Qualitative aspects of public administration are discussed minutely.

The state has two types of functions: Constituent like law and order, defence, security and ministrant viz. welfare services. Other principles of public service are welfare orientation, unity of command, division of work, coordination, planning, budgeting, accounting, decentralization, merit based recruitment, heirarchy and delegation of authority.

Arthashastra didn't believe in separation of executive from judiciary. the king was the pivot of the kingdom. He was to be assisted by advisors. But even administration could be tried for violating rules. Arthashastra recognised importance of foreign policies and international relations. It focused on codifying laws and written orders.

Kautilya had a criteria for selecting officials. They were tested for piety, lure of money, lust and fear. Those who passed these tests were suitably placed. Officials were transferred as per kings wishes. Mauryan administration was a welfare state and unique as it laid emphasis on public welfare even in an autocratic agrarian state.

Drrawbacks of arthashastra were fundamental mistrust of officials, focus on individuals than institutions, over centralization, excess checks and balances. relationship pf Science of public administration with Vedas isn't valid in todays world.

It is difficult to determine if Arthashastra refers to administration of a period or is normative i.e. describes how ideal administration should be. Principles of public administration are not given but machinery of government is described.

However a few of the principles are valid even today.

Administrative Law - Dicey

Administrative law: It covers entire gamut of public administration including statutes, charters, rules, regulations, procedures for smooth running of administration. It is concerned with operation and control of powers of administration authority with emphasis on functions rather than structure.

Dicey's rule of law: No man is above the law. Every person is subject to ordinary law and enables to jurisdiction of ordinary tribunals. Every citizen is under same responsibility for act done by him without lawful justification. In this respect there is no distinction between officials and private individuals.

Napolean Bonaparte's Droit Administratif: He felt that there should be separate law for administrative officials. This Dicey rejected as he felt this would lead to excess administration and no grievance redress.


  1. Subordinates common law , rights of personal freedom, private property to common good. stress is on public interest than on individual interest.
  2. Application of flexible standard for implementation of law.
  3. Interpretation of these standards by tribunals.
  4. Administrative law is not codified but experimental. It puts public officials in a better position with respect to people.

Reasons: As welfare state was formed social interest got precedence over individual rights. Judicialization of administration was needed for enforcing social policy and legislation's.

Principles of administrative law:

  1. Power is conferred on administration by law.
  2. No power is absolute, uncontrolled no matter how broad its nature is.
  3. There should be reasonable restriction on exercising powers depending on the situation.

Quasi Judicial Executive body - Administrative tribunal

  1. Flexible, adaptable as adjudication isn't restricted by rigid rules of procedures.
  2. adequate justice, cheap and faster relief than courts.
  3. Can violate principles of natural justice. Summary trials. Don't follow precedents. Lack of training in judicial work for heads of tribunals.

Solutions could be to train tribunal heads in legal acumen. Civil society members should be appointed. Decisions should be accompanied by reasons. Principles of natural justice should be followed.

Critics of Dicey:

  1. Droit administratif wanted separate courts for administrators and individuals. This was to ensure more autonomy to officials to handle contingencies and also as normal courts couldn't get complex administrative tasks.
  2. Dicey however wanted single courts and one rule for regulating individuals and administrators.
  3. However Dicey hailed UK law which itself gave immunity to the sovereign so it wasn't equal.
  4. Also delegated legislation and administrative adjudication was present in UK too.
  5. Dicey's rule of law wanted to treat rich and poor equally and so Marx called it a creator of inequality.
  6. Dicey didn't take into account future development in administration and modernization.

Public policy

  1. Substantive: Concerned with general welfare or development.
  2. Regulatory: To regulate trade, business and safety measures.
  3. Distributive: Meant for specific sections of the society.
  4. Redistributive: Redistribution of policies concerned with bringing socio economic change.
  5. Capitalization: Subsidies to state enterprises for public welfare.
  6. Technical: Policies framed for arrangement of procedures which a system shall provide for discharge of action by various agencies in field.

New Public Management

Restructure government operations along market lines. Distinguish strategic policy formulation from implementation. Emphasize performance evaluation and quality improvement. Stressing upon effective service provision and value for money for customer.


  1. Gain more service from lesser revenues.
  2. Replace bureaucratic structures with market strategies.
  3. Keep needs of customer a priority.
  4. Transfer delivery to lower levels.
  5. Distinction between policy making and execution.
  6. Adopt private sector managerial techniques.
  7. Promote competition among delivery agencies.

NPM has three goals efficiency, economy, effectiveness.

NPM however reaffirms political administrative dichotomy by delegating day to day administrative matters to professional bureaucrats and dealing policies to political leadership.

NPM features:

  1. Focus on management, performance appraisal and efficiency.
  2. Breaking bureaucracy into agencies that deal with each other on user pay basis.
  3. Use of quasi markets and contracting out to foster competition.
  4. Management style to emphasize on output targets, monetary incentives, freedom to manage.