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CHAPTER – I EVOLUTION OF THE INDIAN ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM
Background: Public Administration is as old as our ancient civilization. As an independent discipline its history is more than 115 years old. But from the earliest times our monarchical system used public administration in executing government functions. The history of ancient Indian governmental system begins from Vedic times an ordinarily continues up to A.D1000 till the establishment of Mughal rule. In a long history of development of Indian administration numerous administrative organisations rose and fell but its two specialties continued all the time. The first was importance of the village as a primary unit and the second was coordination between the two opposite ends of centralisation and decentralisation. It can therefore be asserted that the present administrations are a developed form of the old administrative system. In other words, modern public administration is based on the foundation of the traditional public administration. We find glimpses of the organisation and functions of administration in Vedic literature, Buddhist treatises, Jain literature, Dharmashastra, Purnas, Rayamana, Mahabharata, Manu Smriti, Sukra Niti, Arthashastra, etc. In ancient India the powers of administering the states were centralised in the king. In Vedic times the king was assisted in his functions by numerous officers. According to Beni Prasad the king was surrounded by a circle of his friends and principal officers. We find in the two epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata a mention of the administrative officers and their relevant departments. We find similar mention in Manu Smriti and Sukra Niti. However, the first detailed mention of the offices of the state is found in Kautilya’s Arthastra.By this time administrative system was fully developed and during the reigns of Chandragupta and Ashoka the development of the ancient Indian administration had reached its acme and peak. In belief, the scope of administrative action had become more comprehensive and dealt with all aspects of human life, physical and moral. Mauryan administrative institutions were further developed during the period of the Guptas. In ancient India decentralisation process had started. Empires were thus divided into provinces, provinces into districts and districts into urban and rural centers from administrative angle. State administration was divided into numerous departments. In Vedic times the number of such departments was limited. Gradually, the number of such departments increased and their jurisdiction extended. We also find a description of the principles of public administration in ancient India administration. Thus the principle of hierarchy had been given a practical shape and seeds of coordination were present between different departments. Such a full-fledged administrative system existed in the reigns of Chandragupta Maurya and Ashok. Along with the principle of hierarchy emphasis was placed on observation and inspection. At that time ordinarily the following departments were in existence: replace department, Army department, Department of External Affairs, Revenue department, Department of Treasury, Industry, Commerce, Justice, etc.
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In ancient India there existed different classes among government officers and other ranks. In the time of Mauryan administration there were three classes of such officers: City officer, military and Village officers. At the head of such officers stood the minister or advisor. The provincial, district and village officers worked in subordination to the central officers. In the words of Altekar, it is doubtful if there existed, like the resent classification , all-India services, provincial services and subordinate services. However, the ‘Mahamatya’ of the Mauryan times and Kumaramatya’ of the Gupta period may have belonged to all-India services. There also existed at that time district or regional officers. Like the present day personnel system mention is made in ancient administration system of the recruitment, qualifications. salaries, leave, pension etc of government employees. At that time merit, efficiency and being a member of the elite group were given special emphasis. According to Radhakumud Mukherjee, the King used to appoint officers with the help of the ministers. The King, the Prime minister and the Purohit formed what may be regard as the present day public service commission. In ancient India there existed the organisation of a central office where all the government records were kept. We can call this office the secretariat of the government, in which various government functionaries, including officers worked. We find mention of such an office during Mauryan times and Chola kingdom. The king appointed personal secretary as well. In brief, the we can say that the present Indian administration is the result of a rich legacy and continuity. It is true to say that the steps of its evolution are some way or the other connected with the past. However, the existing administrative system in India may be said to be the contribution of the British government. From historical point of view the Indian administration may be studies under the following heads : 1. Ancient Indian Administration; 2. Rajput Period Administration; 3. Sultanate Period Administration; 4. Mughal Period Administration; 5. British Period Administration; 6. Administration after Independence.
1. ANCIENT INDIAN ADMINISTRATION
In ancient India different forms of system are found in different periods. The earliest reference can be traced to the Indus Valley civilization. The knowledge about this period is, however, inexact and mostly based on imagination, From the recent excavation the scholars have come to the conclusion that government in Mohenjo-Daro and harappa was systematic. In the Indus Valley civilization we find planned roads and drainage which shows that in cities there existed a municipal government which looked after the and made systematic arrangement for the cities. Moreover, the entire area covered by the Indus Valley civilization contained one type of houses, a common systems and measures and a common script. all this shows that there existed a big empire in the entire area.
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Rigvedic period : The Indus Valley civilization was followed by the Vedic period. The preliminary part of this period belongs to the Rigvedic age which was followed by post-Vedic period. In the Rigvedic period administrative units were known as ‘kul’, ‘Garm’, ‘Vish’ and ‘nation’. Gram or the village consisted of the neighbouring households. In the political system of the Regvedic period the smallest unit was the family. The eldest person in the family became its head. The village consisted of a group of families. The head of the village is known as ‘Gramini’ who acted as the administrative head. A group of villages was known as ’Vish’ and its head was ‘Vishpati’. Numerous ‘Vishas’ constituted a’Jan’ whose key officer was know as ‘Gopa’. This was an important and usually the king himself became the ‘Gopa’. Thus the state possibly was a develope form of these villages. The Prevalent form of government in the Rigvedic period monarchical. The office of the king was hereditary. But the king were not despotic and they had you take an oath at that time of coronation to work in the interest of the people. The main duty of the king was to defend the people and for this purpose he made adequate arrangements. To assist the king in administration there existed various officers. Thus the head of the army was known as’Gramini’. In addition, the king was assisted by numerous ministers the chief of whom was the ‘purohit’. There is also a mention in rigvedic period of two democratic bodies known as the ‘Sabha’and the ‘Samiti’, which controlled the king. The ‘Sabha’ was an elite institution and worked as the council of elders while the ‘Samiti’ was a public body. Post-Vedic period: This period witnessed the rise of powerful kingdom. There was natural increase in the number of the officers assisting the king in the administration. The king took advice of the council of ministers in running the government. The chief of such council was known as ‘Mukhyamatya’. For the administrative purpose numerous departments were created like the finance, inspection and defence departments. There existed as in previous period ‘sabha’ and ‘samiti’ as institutions to limit despotism of the king. The responsibility of the local government was entrusted to a special minister, whose main task was to control the village administration and settle disputes. the head of the judicial administration was the king himself who was assisted by other officers. Period of Epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata are very old epics of our country. In the Ramayana period the form of government was monarchical. Administration was sufficiently developed. In consequence the people were prosperous and happy. The head of administration was the king. To advice him in matters of the state and government there used to be ministers and councilors. The main purpose of the state was to fulfill its duties, to encourage morality, to increase prosperity and happiness of the people and to safeguard their interests. In briefer, the king looked after the welfare of the people. During the Mahabharata period the state has been called “Saptanghi” and the principal form of government was monarchy. The king set an example of high ideals and performance of one’s duties. He was responsible for the welfare of the people. From the point of view of administration there used to be a council of ministers and officers. Special emphasis was placed on merit.
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Buddha Period: A reading of Buddhist literature before the advent of Gautam Buddha and during his life-time shows the existence of ‘Mahajanpadas’. During the period of Buddha numerous republics existed. However, it is important to note that along with these republics there existed four big kingdoms of ‘Magadha’, ‘Avanti’ , Vats’ and Kaushal’. In the republics the real power belonged to ‘sabhas’ which included the common people as well as the elite. The king was the head of the republic and was elected for a fixed period and was accountable for his action to the council or ‘sabha’. Mauryan Period : The most famous book during this period was Arthasastra written by Kautilya. The founder of the new school of the new school of politics, Kautilya, was also known as Chanakya. His original name was Vishnugupta who was the son of Acharya Chanak. Kautilya was a highly educated person and took his higher education from the famous Nalanda university. He then went as a teacher of politics to the wellknown University of Taxila in thenorth-west of the country. Here he came into contact with Chandragupta, the future founder of the Mauryan empire. Chandragupta was a favourite student of Kautilya in the university. There is no unanimity among scholars as to the time Kautilya lived. But historians like Shyam Shastri, Vincent Smith and Fleet accept that Arthasanstra was written during A.D. 100 to 300. However, Satyaketu Vidyalankar, a famous historian on the Mauryan period, opines that it was written during the Mauryan period itself (320 to 185 B.C). It should be noted that Kautilya was the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya who became emperor 9320 to 322 B.C.). Arthasastra is certainly the most authoritative treatise on the Hindu poity. Its author made a deep study of earlier bookds on statecraft and stands pre-eminent in originality intensive depth and scientific analysis as compared to other thinkers. He uses the term ‘Arthasastra’ in a wider sense equivalent to the modern social science. His main contribution was that he gave this science a secular character and wanted the state to aim at the welfare of the people. His Arthasastra comprehends ‘Anvikshki’ or social and moral philosophy, ‘Trai’ or history, jurisprudence, phenomenology, ‘Varta’ or economic science and public administration. After a brief description of the view of the various past scholars like Vishnu, Narad and Brihaspati, Kautilya gives his own vies on different matters. Kautilya has also analysed the merits and demerits of the then prevalent forms of government, namely monarchy, aristocracy, democracy republics and a sort of federation. Thus, in a way, he follows the comparative method of study like Aristotle. The book can be divided into fourteen sections. The first section includes the logical discussion on the need for the state and its origin, forms of government, etc. The second section deals with the duties and rights of various government officers. The third and fourth sections deal with judiciary and code of conduct. The fifth section describes the duties and responsibilities of the king’s servants. In the sixth section there is description of the seven organs, ‘Saptanga’ of the state. The remaining sections are concerned with Mandal Theory, external affairs, peace and war, diplomacy, etc. Kautilya gives a high place to espionage in his book. He gives in some details the method of selecting spies, their role in administration and mode of their working. A brief description of the system of government existing at the time of Chandragupta Maury will not be of out of place here.
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” In order to help the king in the discharge of his responsibilities there was a council of ministers and a vast array of public officers and servants. We will now briefly describe Kautilya’s views on certain specific matters like Saptanga Theory of the State. its origin and ends. The only law known then was survival of the fittest or Matsya Nyaya in which the smaller fish was swallowed up by the bigger one. These four persons were members of the council of ministers whom the king consulted on important matters. They were separate and independent. but he appears to believe in the social contract theory according to which the state came into existence after such a contract between the king and the people. janpad. the Mandal Theory. it is not the interest of self that is dear to the king but the interest of the people that is dear to him. Kautilya believed that the state was an organism and not a mere mechanical institution. The regions were sub-dived into villages at the head of which stood the village officer known as the Gopa’. Amatya. The provinces. The empire was divided into provinces or ‘prants’ at the head of which stood ‘Prantpati’ or the king’s viceroy. in turn. He does not propound any logical theory of the state. In his treatise Kautilya mentions 18 high functionaries. namely. he regarded the state a result of human nature and its needs and it was consequently natural and beneficial. legislative. in a way he can be said to be the forerunner of the British Collector. Saptanga Theory of the State Kautilya regarded the state as indispensable.com) Page 5 . The officers of the Prime Minister or Mahamatya and purohit did not come under the seven organs.indiancivils. namely. The cities were divided into wards for the sake of better administration. were divided into regions or districts for general administration. and law and order. the Purohit who advised the king in governmental and religious functions. Ordinarily. the King. it should be note that Ashok acted as viceroy of Avantika and Taxila provinces before becoming the emperor. Armed Forces and Friends. the Yuvraj or the prince who was slated to succeed the king. The remaining 14 were merely the heads of the departments whom the king consulted on matters coming within their jurisdictions. Fort. magistracy. and the Senapati who was the head of the armed forces. members of the royal family were appointed to this post. Treasury. revenue collection. the Minister who was the supreme adviser . He formed the backbone of administration and can be compared with the present ‘patwari’ or ‘lekhpal’. The mauryan kings had well-organised municipal government. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. it consisted of seven organs. There also existed a well-developed financial and budgetary system and the entire income of the state was spent according to the budgetary system. All these functionaries received high emoluments. Thus.The King: The king was the head of the state and in him were vested executive. Moreover. However. judicial and financial powers. The seven constituents give stability to the state and were responsible for its survival and existence. International Relations and Local Government. there was a universal acceptance of the adage that “the happiness of the king consists in the happiness of the people and in the welfare of the people lies his welfare. in whose absence total anarchy prevailed.
in short. he was a top public official and can be compared to the present cabinet secretary. its planning. Nights are similarly divided into eight parts. thinker. The third part should be reserved for amusement. etc. Amatya looked after administration and its details. etc. Parashar. He has divided the day and the night into eight parts each. Prasatr -Magistrate An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. During the first part of the day. reliable loyal scholarly and well connected. Senapati -Commander of the army 4. Kautilya categories all the Amatyas. Vishalaksha. he was also a special minister. The fourth and fifth portions are reserved for slept. secret matters. The last part should be devoted to prayers. Amatya should be selected from among persons who were efficient. In the fourth part the king should look after the treasury matters and selection of officers. The second part should be devote to the inspection of the Janpad and municipal works. highly intelligent and could take decisions. The king should be an early riser. in the seventh part he should deal with the spies and have consultations with secret agents. an incapable king could be removed.The King : The king was the very life of the state. Dauvarika -Chief of palace attendants 6. The fifth part should be devoted to consultations with ministers. he provides for Amatya’s high emoluments. Purohita -Priest 3. memorandum. fearless and possessed of self control. studies etc. good residence and other facilities. in his own opinion. In the sixth part he should devote himself to contemplation about Shastras or his duties. His power were limited by the injunctions of the Shastras and the king regarded people’s welfare as his own good. Such training.indiancivils. Kautilya’s ideal king was to be conqueror and an expansionist. meals. The selection to this high position was important and a difficult task. he occupied a special position unknown in recent times. Kautilya thus separates the two offices of Minister and Amatya. The good king thus devotes himself to people’s work and observes a heavy schedule. He prescribes a detailed syllabus for such training in which character building finds a special place. He was expected to be ‘Dharmik’ (not religious in the modern sense). according to whom only those persons should be appointed as Amatya who are capable.. and the king who worked against the established code of conduct deserved to be killed. Antarvamsika -Chief of King’s guard 7. Kautilya gives the views of other scholars like Bharadwaj. is aimed at both physical and mental development of the trainees. the king should familiarise himself with the defence matters and budgetary position. etc. The third part should concern itself with personal matters like bath. The king should amuse himself in the sixth part. Kautilya does not envisage his king to be ideal and indulged. According to the Arthashastra.the king was the defender of the Dharma. decisive. In the first part the king should meet high officials or important persons. entertainment. The king was expected to be grateful. The second part is reserved for meals. These are: 1. Mantrin -Minister/Counsellor 2. correspondence. Mantrins and head of departments into 18 Tirthas. always engaged in expanding the boundaries of his kingdom.com) Page 6 . In this connection. etc. However. Kautilya provides for a comprehensive training programmed for the king and princes of the royal family. Amatya : Amatya comes next in hierarchy. etc. Yuvaraja -Price 5. In the seventh part he should inspect arms and the eighth part should be reserved for discussion with Senapati and others about defence potential. He has given a rigorous time schedule for the daily life of a king.
boundaries 18. village tax. it should be well defined and have same natural frontier like the mountain.com) Page 7 . Army: Army played an important role in the state. Kautilya gives good description of the organisation of the army and military science. The Janpad should be prosperous and its land fertile. etc. in brief. medicines. Regarding its inhabitants.8. A good soldier should be loyal. water. A detailed account will be given in the section on foreign relations.indiancivils. For meeting emergencies there existed an emergency fund. forest. Samaharartr -Collector -General 9. including external aggressions and internal rebellions. Ativahika -Officer-in-charge. Finances were well looked after. Kautilya envisaged ethnic differences among the people. etc. Samnidhatr -Chief Treasurer 10 Pradestr -Commissioner 11. river. they should be industrious. he should have the qualities of a Kshatriya. Paur -Chief of the town 13. loyal. Dandpala -Officer of the Army Department 16. intelligent. Income of the state was derived from taxes like export taxes. Forts : Forts are necessary for defence purposes. So far as territory was concerned. Durgapal -Guardian of the forts 17. Nayak -Town Guard 12. Officers in the army should have more of these qualities. brave. adventurous. Treasury : Treasury was the backbone of the state. forests Janpad: Janpad forms the third element of the state. and have a good character. etc. courageous. Antapala -Officer-in-charge. Mantrin-parishad -Chief of council of Ministers Adhyaksa 15. etc. Friends : The term ‘ Friends’ stands for a good neighborly state. well versed in military science. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. sales tax. They should be well equipped with arms and should have adequate provisions like food. articles. There were budgetary provisions for various expenses. Forts continued to play an important role in the stability and consolidation of states. It combines both territory and the people inhabiting it. In the beginning only people of common ethnic origin inhabited the land but with conquest and migration more than one ethnic people were included in the Janpad. Karmanta -Superintendent of Mines 14.
clever. He devotes more importance to ministerial qualities. At times and when needed. model than the British system.Council of Ministers: The king was assisted by a council of ministers headed by the prime minister. patient. (Books II to XVIII are devoted to this purpose.indiancivils. Kaautilya does not care much for the number of ministers. This council comes nearer to the U. the king was bound to accept a majority decision. Constant vigilance is needed to deal with them.S. It is noteworthy that in ancient Hindu polity absorption of the defeated enemy’s territories was seldom done. In conquering other territories the policy of centralisation was to be observed and the normal functions of the society were to be left undisturbed. efficient. Mandal Theory and Foreign Policy The international system prevalent at the time has been elaborately described. The ‘Mahamantri’ or ‘Mahamaty’ was the most influential person next to the king. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Kautilya devotes a full chapter to the selection procedure and qualities needed in a minister. Kautilya classifies these neighbouring kings into twelve categories whose behaviour depends on geopolitical considerations and changes from time to time. Kautilya elaborately describes the methods of conquering enemies. a state whose ruler is ever on the lookout for expansion. Kautilya gives numerous qualities of a minister who should be ‘kuleen’ or of a good family or of a high caste. Acceptance of the superiority of the conqueror or vassalage to him was enough. The fourth category is the ‘udasin’ or the neutral state which is different from the enemy or the middle kingdom and observes neutrality in its relations with other states. The king was free to appoint the ministers. A wise king follows a foreign policy which would strengthen and increase the prosperity of his country and at the same time harass his enemy. There also existed the offices of deputy and assistant ministers. There is mention of a code of good conduct and behaviour on the part of officials. Mandal Theory: Kautilaya has mentioned in Arthasastra four types of states which form the quadrivium of his foreign policy. The system of written records was well developed and government’s orders were usually given in writing. adventurous.A. Care has to be taken in classifying these states. popular. The king was free to consult ministers individually or in groups. ambitious. The council or’ mantriparishad’ however was a constitutional institution and the king consulted it in making high appointments. Ordinarily. patient. individual ministers and the council had joint sessions where the majority decision prevailed. ‘Arit’ or enemy refers to the states surrounding the ‘Vijgishu’ which are usually inimical to the centre.) We shall now briefly describe Kautilya’s views on Mandal Theory and diplomacy. There were strict rules of punishment for them. The third type is ‘madhyam’ or the middle state which is capable of both. and ministers were free to resign in protest. faithful. In Kautilya’s time ministers were not responsible to an elected body but only to the king. either helping him or fighting him. etc.com) Page 8 . This forms the centre. These are ‘Vijgishu’ or a conqueror. loyal. well versed in Shastras including Arthasastra.
Qualifications of an Envoy: According to Kautialya. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Next to him was Parmitrathi who possessed ministerial qualification less by one quarter. an envoy shall not be “puffed up with the respect shown to him. Espionage. free form procrastination and fickle mindedness. knows the conditions of time and place. deceit. He shall not care for the mightiness of the enemy. According to Kautilya. for it is well known that intensions of envoys are ascertained while they are asleep or under the influence of liquor. intelligent. endowed with excellent conduct. The first possessed full ministerial qualifications and was vested with full powers of deciding on war and peace. while Krishna went to the Kaurav Court as a full ambassador. can speak well. Both Sukraniti and Arthasastra mention various methods of conquests. and came first in importance. form in loyal devotion. who can study their expressions. who had a big had a big hand in deciding the issue of peace and war. well trained in arms. and is fearless. hatred and enmity. necessary for embassies to be well equipped and furnished. possessed of foresight. affable. He was a mere messenger or a conveyor of royal writs. According to Kamandak as well as envoy should be fearless. dignity and endurance. influential. possessed of enthusiasm. Angad was sent to Ravan’s court as a messanger (Shasanharaka). shall take bed single. In modern term she may be started to hold the rank of a full ambassador.” The envoys were well provided with spies. however. good speaker. Last of all was Shasanharaka who possessed the ministerial qualification less by one half. he (an envoy) shall start on his mission. He had limited powers and was an agent with definite mission and had no discretionary authority. well up in science of arms and morals and experienced in diplomatic affairs. skilful.com) Page 9 . Each king was to have a foreign minister.Diplomacy : Diplomacy was regarded as a highly finished art.indiancivils. murder. that man is chosen as ambassador who knows the innermost feelings of other men. of good memory. Whoever succeeded as a councilor can be an envoy. wise of strong memory. envoys were of three kinds: Nisrishatratha. These qualifications are described by Kautilya as native born. scorched earth policy. According to him. High Code of Conduct Expected of an Envoy: Not only were an envoys to be highly qualified but a very high code of conduct was expected of them. and free from such traits as excitability. bold. According to Kautilya. pure in character. Parmitratha and Shasanharaka. conveyance. of high family. strength. The Hindu political thought fully recognised the significance of the conduct of foreign relations. The Equipment of an Envoy : A Charge is at times bought against the lavish expenditure of our embassies abroad.” Sukra also puts the envoy in the rank of ministers. “having made excellent arrangements for carriage. Thus. It is. poisoning and intoxicating are some of the methods suggested by Kautilya. According to him. shall stocky avoid women and liquor. affectionate. health and bravery. “the ambassador should possessed material qualifications. eloquent. servants and subsistence. Our ministry of external affairs would do well in keeping the above qualifications in mind at the time of appointing envoys.
Puras or cities and Janpadas had their own administrative system. It is for this reason that Agni . An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. gathering information about the movement of spies. sinews of war. carrying away by stealth relatives and gems. Whatever information he gathered he was to test it by intrigues. The embassy precincts are supposed to be a part of the country to which the embassy belongs and such only the laws of their own country prevail within such precincts.’ even in ancient India the envoys did enjoy certain immunities. Local Government Kautilya certainly provides for a centralised administration. assailable and unassailable points in the state to which he was accredited. that is a messenger whose duty was to openly state his errand. It is these bodies that kept intact the fabric of Hindu society and culture. the precincts of any embassy are beyond the orbit of the laws of the country in which it is situated. His first duty was to state the object of his mission as exactly as entrusted to him even at the cost of his own live. physicians. military stations.com) Page 10 . he was to be alert lest he allowed any useful in formation about his own country to leak out. They enjoyed full freedom to express their mission as exactly as they were entrusted with and being the mouthpiece of their kings. He was to gather information by observing the talks of beggars. merchants. etc.indiancivils. the envoy was together all kind of information necessary for this country. issue of ultimatum. It was for this reason for that Ravan did not kill Hanuman and Angad. intrigues. however. breaking of treaties of peace. ambassadors are treated with high respect and are allowed various immunities and privileges. In fact. However. For this purpose he was to make full use of his spies in the disguise of ascetics. envisages the possability of punishment being meted out to envoys when he advises them to return even without permission on having intimated and unfavorable order to the enemy. the intoxicated and insane persons or of persons talking in sleep. The envoy also have a right to ask for the speedy termination of his mission and the permission to leave the country. In the second place. The envoys enjoy privileges like the right of passage even in time of war and non-payment of taxes and costume duties. the signs made in places of pilgrimage and temples. were not punished for the words spoken by them. as “Transmission of missions. Kautilya. People in the villages and cities duly discharged their duties and responsibilities. bravery. winning over the favour of the envoy and government officers of the enemy”. Diplomatic immunities : According to the modern international law. sowing dissension among friends. There were various types of ‘sabhas’ and ‘samitis’ looking after local matters. He was to be well posted with all the intrigues and conspiracies in the country. All the while. He had to make an acute observation of facts. They acted as the training ground for civic education. heretics and the like. it is worth remembering that ancient Hindu polity did provide for decentralisation of administration.Purana calls an envoy ‘Prakashchar’. They also gave due help to the central authorities.Functions of an Envoy: The duties of the envoy were many and varied. the envoys of Ram. maintenance of treaties. gaining of friends. Kautilya summarised the functions of an envoy.
Rome and Berlin. However. Machiavelli. have many ideas in common as noted below: (1) Separation of politics from ethics may be regarded as their chief contribution. Kautliya’s ideal was a conquering monarch and he condones his expedient actions. The municipality of pataliputra was administered by a ‘parishad’ of 30 members. the second looked after the foreigners . Kautilya’s Arthasastra is the most important treatise in the Hindu polity. (3) Both had long successful careers in government. The ‘parishad’ in turn was divided into six committees. Similarly. Machiavelli was a seasoned diplomat and had to represent Florence many times in the courts of France. Kautilya or Chanakya was the son of the famous Chanak. Along with it there existed a system of administration for the cities which won approbation even from foreigners.com) Page 11 . Kautilya propounded a new schools of thought in politics which was similar in nature and was divoreced from ethics and religion. Both thinkers are undooubtedly outsanding in their contribution to political thought and its practice. Their books on polity. Machivaelli’s prince is a well known treatise on European political thought. His intellectual acumen and comprehensiveness of outlook is definitely unparalleled. He thus had practical experience of diplomacy and administration and developed the power of acute observation and comprehensiveness. quite a few scholars have vehemently criticised him. Both were thinkers of a high order and had the ability to put their thoughts in writing.There was a developed system of administration in the villages.indiancivils. Vishakhadatta calls him ‘kutilmati’ or unscrupulous. Thus. on his part. the fourth controlled trade and regulated weighments . While he had many admirers. each having five members. The same may be true of Machiavelli who was the first European thinker to separate politics from ethics. Bana regards his Arthasastra as a treatise on immorality and lack of scruples. viz. Evaluation Kautilya or Chanakya certainly occupies an eminent position among Hindu thinkers. the Arthasastra and the prince have become classical. Kautilya had his education in social sciences in the reputed Nalanda and Taxila universities. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Both thinkers. a professor in the university and Machiavelli’s father was a lawyer. Kautilya has often been compared to the Italian thinker of the 16th century. (2) Both come from middle class families. his is a controversial personality. Kautilya. though separated by nearly 2000 years. Machiavelli studied in the reputed seats of learning where he was taught the ideals of Rome and literary works of Greece. the fifth inspected the finished goods of the traders and the sixth looked after the sales tax. played an important role in founding an empire and acted for many years as its prime minister. Both were highly educated and studied in the then reputed seats of learning. the first committee looked after arts and handicrafts . Many other scholars regard Kautilya as an angry and sinful person who believes only in expediency and who is only interested in defeating the enemies of the state. The capital of Mauryas was Pataliputra (modern Patna) and it had full-fledged municipal administration. the third looked after property and accounts .
was not so narrow. however. However. He wrote his famous book Arthasastra at this time. They emphasized ends more than means. We should never forget that Kautilya was dealing with a different set of circumstances. To sum up. both believed in and advocated the use of expediency. there were important differences between the two thinkers and practitioners of the art of government. 1530. as given below. Though there is considerable controversy among historians as to the exact date of writing this book. (2)Machiavell’s experience in government and administration was limited to a small principality. was written in A. on the other hand. Machiavelli was a firm believer in expediency . remains that his Arthasastra does touch the practical problems of his time and is a well researched and comprehensive work. The fact. Kautilya’s monarch.C. Kautilya’s Arthasastra was therefore more comprehensive than Machiavelli’s Prince. on the other hand. At the end. To them the main objective was the gaining of power and every means of getting it was legitimate. If these traits came in the way of achieving power. Thus. The smallest administrative unit was the ‘gram’ which was headed by the ‘gramin’ and there was ‘gram sabha’ to assist him. Kautilya wanted a king who was a conqueror and an expansionist and was strong. flattery and hypocrisy. both in the centre and the provinces in a systematic manner. Kautilya flourished in the times of Chandragupta Maurya who ascended the throne in 320 B. we should be carful to judge kautilya in accordance with contemporary ideals and conditions. 400. Machiavelli wanted king who combined in himself the qualities of the strength of a lion and the slyness of a fox. however. put too much reliance on espionage and gave undue importance to expediency. Gupta Period : The Gupta kings built their administration on the institutions inherited by them but made certain suitable changes in the administration. kautilya was really an exponent of an empirical social science and adopted a more comprehensive view and attitude.D.com) Page 12 . An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. The Prince of Machiavelli. he was a much bigger person with loftier aims. he never went to the extent of Machiavelli in glorifying means nor did he completely divorce politics from ethics. The empire was divided for the sake of administrative convenience into provinces which were divided into regions which were further divided into ‘vishyas’. Machiavelli wanted his prince to be consistently inconsistent and favoured sycophancy. while Machiavelli dealt only with the practical and attainable means to help his Prince to conquer and expand. while Kautilya acted as a founder and then the prime minister of a large empire. In brief. they should be brushed aside. The entire central administration was organised into departments which were manged by various officers. while it has become a fashion to dub Kautilya as Mavhiavellian. The Gupta kings administered their huge empire. (1) There was a large gap of time in the dates of their writings.indiancivils. more than a thousand years separate their times. knowledge and purity were welcome provided they were successful in the attainment of power. to him ends were all important. This period followed monarchical from of government and the king was assisted by a council of ministers. He thus believed in a centralised government. had to lead a regulated life and had to operate within the confines of ‘dharma’ which was all powerful. no historian doubts that the book was written not later than A.(4) Both were worshippers of real politics and ambitious kings.D. Kautilya’s thinking. Thus.
An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. the Saiyyads (1414-1451) . and the second looked after correspondence. each of which was handed over to the principal general. as no one can administer the state alone. till the end of the dynasty in A. The Sultan took the advice of his advisors but was nor bound by it. The head of the ‘prant’ .D. whose head was known as ‘shikdar’. The country was divded into regions. the sultanate rulers also needed assistance and advice. Therefore from the beginning the sultanate established systematic administration. It should be noted that during this period the popular control over the Gram panchayats had decreased and their importance was reduced due to the reason that the system of government during this period was based on that of the Gupta period. had ministers to advise him but there was no definiteness about ministers.indiancivils. Babur. the Tughlaks (1320-1414) . Alauddin Khilji and Muhammad Bin Tughla. However. The Sultanate lasted till the defeat of its last Afghan king. He had his secretariat and to help him there was a chain of officers. In addition there were two civil ‘dewans’.com) Page 13 . established various departments. During this period the position of the Sultan was supreme and he was vested with political. The chief of these ministers was known as ‘wazir’ who was the head of entire administration. legal and military powers. The Sultanate period began with the defeat of the Chauhan King. The state was divided into smaller units. 1000. like the centre. at the hands of Muhammad of Ghor or Shahbuddin Ghori in 1192. Ibrahim Lodi. Prithiviraj. in 1526 in the first battle of Panipat at the hand of the Mughal conqueror. Similarly. ‘sarkars’ into ‘parganas’ and ‘parganas’ into villages. For administrative convenience the state was divided into ‘prants’. RAJPUT PERIOD ADMINISTRATION The prevalent form of government during period was monarchical and to assist the king there used to be a council of ministers. the Mughals continued to be paid homage. 4. Muhammad Bin Kasim.Qutubuddin Aibek. even though of a perfunctory character. It was Ghori’s provincial governor.. It included the Slave dynasty (1206-1290). the end of the Hindu period is usually placed at A.2. he also was responsible for judicial administration. urban administration was run by a centralised bureaucracy. In the beginning the Turkish administration was completely military. and the Lodis (1451-1526). However. 1858. Balban. The ‘shikos’ were divided into ‘sarkars’ .D. the old institutions had lost their importance and had fallen into decay. in addition. MUGHAL PERIOD ADMINISTRATION This period can be described best as the Muslim period. Even though the first Muslim invader. The Sultanate period had some imprtant rulers like ILtutmish. scholars etc. This period can besubdivided into the Sultanate Period (1206-1526) and the Mughal period (1526-1858). who ascended the throne as Sultan at Delhi in 1206. had conquered Sind in the 8th century. The ‘prants’ were divided into ‘shikos’ . the Khilji (12901320) . The first of whom looked after religious matters. The king. Next to the ‘wazir’ was head of the military department. 3. SULTANATE PERIOD ADMINISTRATION The Sultanate administration was basically military and its rulers were self-willed despots. but the villages had some sort of self-rule. holy institutions. the biggest of which was ‘prant’ .
Tarikh-i-Shahjani and the written accounts of foreigners like Bernier. magnificent and the great Mughal empire disintegrated after 1707. and was connected on his mother’s side with Chingiz Khan. had descended on his father’s side from Timur. The last Mughal King at Delhi was Bahadur Shah Zafar. Finally. Akbar proved to be a great and sagacious ruler and may be regarded as the real founder of the Mughal dynasty.the Mughal emperors as conquerors and consolidators . The later Mughal emperors were only helpless onlookers. a Chugtai Turk. departments of government and chief officers . An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Thomas Roe and Hawkins throw enough light on the happenings during the Mughal period. His son and successor. He was the founder of the new dyansty but died only after four years of rule in 1530. Humanyun. government and administration. Ain-i-Akbari. had to wage a bitter war with the Afghans till his final victory over them in 1555. This can be done best under certain specific heads . Fortunately. the British East India Company emerged victorious. Humanyun died soon after in 1556. provincial administration. nobility . Jahagir Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. We shall now attempt a brief description of the salient features of the Mughal rule. the judiciary . the king emperor . historical accounts. The first four Mughal ‘Padshahs’ or emperors were good rulers and the new dynasty flourished under Akbar. there are enough books. it was not such in the Hindu period. etc. the revenue system . Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar. who was dethroned and exiled in 1858. he was succeeded by his minor son. Tujuk-i-Jahangiri. public services and bureaucracy . welfare measures. government ‘firmans’ and circulars to give an authentic account of the events and happenings during the Mughal rule. Thus.The Sultanate period was replaced by the Mughal period with the victory of Babur. the nature of Islamic rule . foreigners’ travel accounts. who after his victory in the second battle of Panipat in 1556 ascended the Mughal throne. the army. Babur.indiancivils. A number of new power centres arose in different parts of the country. The splendid.com) Page 14 .
The Mughal Emperors as Conquerors and Consolidators Babur undoubtedly defeated Ibrahim Lodi on the historic field of Panipat on the 21st April. Akbar then turned his attention to Rajputana. His liberal policy bore fruit and soon most of the Rajput princes declared their vassalage to the emperor. Akbar annexed Kashmir in 1586. Gwalior. It was the victory of Akbar in the second Panipat War in 1556. In the north-west. In brief. by 1595 Akbar made himself the undisputed ruler of north India. The powerful Afghan leaders opposed him and his son. his career of conquest and expansion of his empire continued until the capture of Asirgarh in 1601. the Mughals subjugated Gujarat. a ‘vijgishu’. However. 1526.com) Page 15 . in 1564 the kingdom of Garha Katanga in Gondwana ws conquered. Qandhar. For a time the Afghan nobles were able to establish their own rule and Humayun had to flee India in order to save his life. malwa was annexed by conquest. Between 1558 and 1560. it was only in 1562 that Akbar could rid himself of the influence of Bairam Khan. It will be no exaggeration to say that the history of India from 1526 to 1555 is mainly the story of the Mughal-Afghan contest for supremacy. Akbar proved to be a great conqueror and consolidator and a wise and sagacious ruler. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Akbar therefore tried his best ot conciliate the Rajputs and secure their active cooperation. his foster mother Maham Anga and her son Adham Khan and came into his own. The important province of Bengal was next conquered. Sind in 1590-91 and Baluchistan in 1595. His Deccan campaigns resulted in pushing his frontiers from the Narmada to the upper courses of the Krishna. After annexing Ranthambor and Kalinjar in 1569. In 1561. but the Mughal conquest of Hindustan was not an accomplished fact as a result of this victory. The only exception was Mewar whose ruler. a powerful factor in the history of India. Akbar thus furnished the best example of Kautilya’s hero-king. Humayun. but this annexation was in form only and in practice the Deccan rulers continued to defy the Mughals. Akbar realised the value of Rajput alliance in his task of building up an empire. refused to yield.indiancivils. Gifted with statesmanlike foresight. Rana Pratap. Soon after coming to power Akbar started his conquests. who succeeded him in 1530 and spent almost his whole life in meeting these rebellions till he emerged finally victorious in 1555. even though defeated at the battle of Haldighati in 1576. he was a strong imperialist by instinct and followed a policy of conquest for the expansion of his empire. For this reason he is known in history as Akbar the Great. that marked the real beginning of the Mughal empire in India. came into his possession peacefully. Akbar then decided to extend his sovereignty to the Deccan. Ajmer and Jaunpur were conquered and incorporated in his empire.
Jahangir. Bengal and Assam in the east. Islam is so rigid in its outlook that it regards Baha’ is and Qadianis as non-Muslims. Aurangzeb. Such religion came into contact with India in the ninth century and was surprised to find that the majority of People were not the followers of Islam and refused to be converted to the new creed. which does not believe in compromises. the Mughal Empire disintegrated. thus there arose a number of rival centers of power competing with each other for over lordship of the country. religious. The Hindus who were in a clear majority were thus given the nomenclature of ‘kafirs’ or nonbelievers who were regarded as unequal’s of Muslims and were subjected to special taxes like the ‘jezia’. The ultimate reference point was the words of prophet Muhammad. Thus. the British through the East India Company and the French through their trading company. cultural and politician rights. They had no social. Muslims came across a new phenomenon. These laws were contained in Quran. As a consequence. hadis and Shariat. who were called ‘Jimmis’ and had no rights as citizens. However. namely. the Sikhs in the north-west and the Rajputs in central India. In fact.com) Page 16 .indiancivils. the British won and in 1858 the East India Company was abolished and the administration was taken over by the British government. the Hindus were barely tolerated and were given no rights. Shah jahan and Aurangzeb. Mysore and Nizam in the south. ultimately.To Akbar thus goes the credit for the founding of and consolidating a big empire. Smaller European powers like Portugal and the Dutch too joined this struggle. a society where non-Muslims prevailed. Such new powers were the Marathas in the west. The process had begun in the time of Aurangzeb himself and during the reigns of his incapable successors the process continued unhampered. Islam never envisaged a society dominated by non-Muslims. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. the foreigners through their trading companies entered the scene. namely. In fact. Islam never recognised the possibility of any change in society. Islam aimed at the realisation in practice of a society where only the laws of God prevailed. due to an important change made in Akbar’s policy of liberalisation wrought by the orthodox Muslims ruler. The state envisaged thus could only be theocratic. in the confusion that followed. Its territorial expansion went on a pace during the rule of his three successor. This explains fundamentalism in Islam. The orthodox go further and exclude even Shias from the concept of a true Muslim who can only be a Sunni. Nature of the Islamic Rure: It is very essential for an understanding of the Muslim rule to keep in mind the nature of Islam.
In the first place. It is true that there was some element of in intolerance introduced in Jahagir’s time. Akbar realised that in a Hindu dominated country. he initiated the policy of marriage alliances with the Rajput princely families and offered high posts to the chiefs like Man Singh. On the contrary. The King Emperor The king was the hub of the Mughal empire and its administration. more or less. comprehensive and generous. this policy naturally evoked dissatisfaction and led to rebellions.This was the situation during the entire Sultanate period. the emperor was invested with all political and religious authority. The Mughal rulers had faith in the doctrine of divine rights and regarded themselves as the representatives of divinity. Akbar introduced certain measures. Shah jahan. he was a generous and tolerant ruler. and authority on jahangir. there was a marked change in this policy of non-discrimination and equal citizenship for all. he declared himself to be the ‘mujahid’ or the ultimate judge to decide all religious issues. he started the practice of holding free discussions with the followers of different religions and established a new religion called Din-i-Ilahi which did not attract many followers.com) Page 17 . This was a blow to the ‘ulemas’ who lost the authority to decide religious matters.indiancivils. In brief. Bhagwandas and others. Akbar’s successors. In brief. During the reign of his successor. He had farsightedness and statesmanlike qualities. It is noteworthy that Islam did not recognise such divinity. At the very beginning. it did become more tolerant. In the time of the emperor himself disintegration of the empire had begun and despite his best efforts downfall could not be controlled. he also felt the need to win the support of the Hindu princes for a foreign dynasty. even though the form of government under Akbar continued to be theocratic Islam. Such a ruler was the head of both the political state and religion which pervaded almost every field. however. The trend became well marked by the time of Aurangzeb who was an orthodox ‘sunni’ Muslim in his personal life. there was a marked change in the treatment of the Hindus. He could make. The term ‘pad’ denotes stability and over lordship and the term ‘shah’ means ruler. Beni prasad. No wonder that during his rule the doctrine of equal citizenship was given a short shift and ‘jezia’ was once again imposed on the Hindus. continued this policy of tolerance till the rise of Aurangzeb to power. He was also the supreme commander of the armed forces. amend and unmake any law and was vested with ultimate judicial authority. In the second place. described the nature of the state in his time as a “culture state”. Thus the Mughal rulers prided themselves that they owed allegiance to no one and were themselves so powerful as to be overlords. With the ascent to the throne by Akbar. he abolished the hated ‘jezia’ tax on the Hindus in 1564 and gave them some citizenship rights. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. the only way to rule peacefully was to befriend them. To achieve his ends. As such. he was the fountain-head of all powers. Akbar was not a bigot or fundamentalist. In the third place. As early as 1526 Babur had proclaimed himself as ‘Padshah’ and his successors followed suit. Fourthly.
a powerful class to be able to dictate the acceptance of Magna Carta by the British king in 1215. This unwholesome practice continued under the later Mughals and was contributory to the fall of the dynasty. organise elephant fights and lion and tiger hunts. Public Service . Persian and Indian. conferment and distribution of titles. Salim. etc. Dara Shikoh is too well known to need reiteration. it became a regular feature that there was a struggle for the throne even in the king’s life-time. though accepted in theory. Nobility Two characteristics of the baronial class deserve attention. However. It reminds one of the duties of the king according to Kautilya. The second feature of nobility was that is was purely official in nature and was not hereditary. The example of Aurangzeb’s ascent to the throne after incarcerating his father. It may best be described as “the Perso-Arabic system in an Indian setting”. showing their faces (jharokha) every morning to the people. In the first place. the Muslim rulers in India followed the principle of confining the claims to the throne only to the royal family. It is interesting to note that the king’s main interest was people’s welfare. which were special rights denied to all others like sitting on the throne. According to the Quran the entire responsibility for people’s welfare was vested in him. was not observed in practice. the king should be chosen by the people. The ‘Jagir’ of a noble thus escheated to the crown on his death. The system prevented the rise of a class which could challenge royalty and rise in rebellion against the king. Even Akbar the Great had to face a rebellion from his eldest son. There were elaborate rules of etiquette to be observed by all who attended the durbars.The Mansabdari System An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. According to the Islamic code. Hindu and Muslim. it should be remembered. The law of primogeniture. the king led a wellregulated life and observed a heavy schedule daily. However. Tartar. Thus. issuance of coins in their name.The Mughal rules lived in luxury and their life style was magnificent and prosperous they enjoyed certain prerogatives.com) Page 18 .indiancivils. This system had both minus and plus points. the Mughal government was a combination of Indian and extra-Indian elements. The plus point was the absence of such a class with vested interests in rank and property. the titles and emoluments could not usually be transmitted on hereditary basis. A reading of the daily routine of the king remained one of the regulated daily life prescribed by Kautilya in his Arthasastra. the reigning Shah Jahan and killing his elder brother. ordering death penalty and dismemberment of the limbs. putting of royal seal on government documents. The European nobility was . The class of nobility thus was a heterogeneous body composed of diverse elements like Turk. reading of ‘Khutba’.
cash or ‘jagirs’. elephants. The rank was not hereditary and an officer could be entrusted at any moment with an entirely new duty. Ain-iAkbari tells us that the Mughal officers enjoyed “inordinately high salaries”. Each grade carried a definite rate of pa.Diwan responsible for revenue and finance . the office of the Wazir emerged powerful and influential.houses and ‘karkhanas’. but deterioration in their efficiency began during the reign of Aurangzeb and it became worse after him. AJhangir and Shah Jahan. In this connection. Both and Humayun appointed Wazirs but during Akbar being minor his patron Bairam Khan styles himself as Vakil-i-Sultanat and became all powerful. loading-animals and carts. it slowly lost its influence and authority. the exalted upper grades were reserved for members of the royal family.indiancivils. out of which the holder was expected to maintain a quota of horses. Akbar and his successors followed the Sultanate practice of distributing all administrative functions and authority among four Wazirs or ministers .Sadar in charge of judiciary and religion . Mir Bakshi in charge of the army and administration. the Muslim ministers were merely the assistance to the king who was free to consult them at will and was in no case bound by their advice. In the later years of Akbar and during the reigns of his successors. These four officers or ministers were regarded as the pillars of the empire. Chief Sadar or Sara -ul. The number of such officers was not specified and the Muslim law was silent about their number and mode of appointment including qualifications necessary for holding such posts.com) Page 19 . Consequently. suspended or removed by the Emperor himself. It led to the creation of the ‘mansabdari’ system in services which included both civilian and army officers. The highest rank an ordinary officer could hold was that of a commander of 5000 . There prevailed two ways of payment to public officers . The most important of such officers was the Vakil or the Wazir. Though the office of the Vakil continued till the time of Shah Jahan. The general character of the public services remained unaltered during the reigns of the akbar. Akbar rid himself of all influences by 1562 and separated the two offices of Vakil and Wazir. a princely amount at that time. He thus assumed the powers of the modern prime minister.Mughal administration was essentially military in nature and every public official had to be enrolled in the army list. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. He was a good courtier who was sent to fight a war in the north-west and died there. In fact. Every public officer held a ‘mansab’ or official appointment of rank and every ‘mansabdar’ was expected to supply a given number of troops for the military service. These high officers were responsible to the king alone. In Akbar’s time there were thirty three grades of ‘mansab’ ranging from “commanders of 10” to “commanders of 10000”. These ‘mansabdars’ were directly recruited. a ‘Mansabdar’ of 5000 received a net monthly salary of at least 18. and Mir Saman in charge of royal store .000 rupees. promoted. the case of Raja Birbal is worth mentioning. Council of Ministers The first thing to note in this connection is the difference between the Council of Ministers under the Hindu kings and it absence under the Muslim rulers. Kautilya and other thinkers have written elaborately about the council and how it exercised some control over the king. the upper limit was relaxed and the officers cold rise much higher. As referred to earlier. It is is noteworthy that the system never worked as it was expected to and the ‘mansabdars’ rarely fulfilled the condition of maintaining their due quota. Under the Muslim rule there is no such provision in the law. Moreland conclueded that after making deductions for the maintenance of their quota and other incidental expenses.
a descriptive roll of the ‘mansabdars’ was drawn up and the system of branding horses was made more strict. There was an officer known as the ‘malguzar’ in charge of the revenue collection in each district who was assisted in his task by a host of officials. Land was divided into four classes on the basis of production. Only the area under actual cultivation was assessed. could not check this evil effectively. Besides the ‘mansabdars’. that is. ‘jarib’or bamboos joined by iron rings which assured a content measure. The foot soldiers were of two types. The Armed Forces Historians differ as to the exact strength of the Mughal army. These measures. etc. The revenue system worked satisfactorily on the whole. The chief features of the system were survey of land and its measurement .618). the bane of the ‘mansabdari’ system was “false muster”. The share of the country was fixed at one third of the actual product. which was equal to 33inches ‘tanab’ or tent-rope. swordsmen and lathi wielding men. The armoury of foot soldiers included swords. Regulations were introduced for periodical musters. ‘syies’. it was very different from the ‘zamindari’ system introduced in north India by the Britishers. This revenue system was based on the ‘rayatwari’ system under which the actual cultivator was theassessee . land kept follow for some time to recover the productive capacity .13.indiancivils. messengers. the Vakil and Wazir but in 1582 was appointed full Diwan or Diwan-i-Ashraf. gunmen or shooters. The system deteriorated with the passage of time. the total number of the Mughal army was cavalry(3. land which had remained uncultivated for five or more years. however. The architect of the new system was Raja Todarmal who was first appointed as deputy to Muzaffar Khan.86. classification of land .Revenue System This needs a detailed treatment as land revenue has always remained a major source of state revenue and the system of land revenue administration of the Mughals was really taken from the system introduced by Sher Shah and the British followed the Mughal system. Todar mal first attemped a new land revenue system in Gujarat. platoons of fifteen persons and their officers were divided into four categories. the empire was divided into ‘subahs’ which were subdivided into ‘sarkars’ which again were subdivided into ‘parganas’ which were a union of several villages. Lands were carefully surveyed with the use of a new measurement called ‘Illahi gaz’ or yard.com) Page 20 . as against one sixth under the Hindu rulers. elephants (1863). thus the Mughals had no need for a large standing army. shields. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. According to Ain-iAkbari. and ‘banjar’ that is. there were the ‘Ahadis’ or a special class of horsemen who were directly under the emperor. and could be paid in cash or in kind. The cavalry was the most important of these branches and was based on the ‘masabdari’ system. To facilitate revenue collection and administration. These were ‘polaj’ or land capable of being annually cultivated . In addition. High officers were found to be just and uncorrupted but lower functionaries were not always so. ‘chachar’ or land that had remained fallow for three or four years . The non-combatants included attendants. the combatants and the non-combatants. infantry (42. tents men. there were ‘dakhilis’ or supplementary troopers placed under the command of ‘mansabdars’ and paid by the state. and fixation of rates. artillery(4200 ships of all types).382). wrestlers. ‘party’. The combatants included archers. watermen. Steps were taken in Akbar’s reign to mitigate this evil.
there was no adequate arrangment for provisions and stores and the soldiers were more worried about these matters than actual warfare. yet even he was eager to be known as impartial and just. Above the urban and provincial courts was the emperor himself who. was the fountain of justice and the final court of appeal. Shah Jahan became more orthodox and departed from many rules and customs but he was famous for impartial justice.Thought the Mughal army was well equipped and big in size. it incorporated various types of regions like mountainous. In this matter the liberals among these kings did not strictly follow the Islamic law which had no place for Hindus who formed the large majority of the population. Lastly. while on march. there was no proper arrangement for training these soldiers. became a magnificent spectacle with ‘begums’ and other women indulging in luxuries. The chain was 28 meters in length and had sixty bells attached to it. lethargic and spiritless and could not cope with the sturdy and almost ascetic Maratha soldiers. could not hear all the cases and so there was set up an elaborate judicial system both at the centre and in the provinces. as shown earlier.com) Page 21 . ‘mansabdars’ rarely had their full quota of soldiers. in his brief rule. The great defect of this system was that the soldiers and horsemen recruited by the respective ‘mansabdars’ were more loyal to them than to the emperor. He set apart one day in the week to hear the complaints of the ordinary persons. the army. His son Aurangzeb was an orthodox ‘sunni’ Muslim and wanted to establish the rule of the ‘shariat’ throughout his empire.indiancivils. Humayun. His grandson Jahangir was famous for providing the golden chain which could be rung even by the lowliest of his subjects. The king however. The basis of the army was. yet it suffered from certain deficiencies. Branding of horses and frequent inspections hardly mattered. The police An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. if such an army became idle. It is said that a stage was reached when the army camps occupied an area of seven square miles. The army thus came to be a mere sum total of the soldiers of different ‘mansabdars’ and lacked cohesion. as the “Khalifa of the Age”. introduced a ‘tabal adal’ or a system of judicial trumpets. Moreover. Judiciary The Mughal emperors regarded as their main duty to dispense impartial justice and to organise a judicial system open to all their subjects. The emperors deemed the organisation of a just and impartial judicial system as their first sacred duty. desert areas and regions full of forests and the soldiers were never trained for warfare in such areas. Secondly. Thirdly. the ‘mansabdari’ system. No wonder. Any complainant could ring one of these bells at any time. It is true that this system was not hierarchically organised into tribunals as at present. with magnificent tents and articles of luxury. As the empire grew in size.
we find many welfare schemes being undertaken for the convenience and comfort of the people. (vii) to prepare and inventory of and take charge of the property of deceased or missing persons who left no heirs. Welfare Measures The interest of the people was the first duty of a monarch both in the Hindu period and under the Mughals. the central government. (vi) to gather information about the affairs of the neighbouring villages. contagious diseases and other natural calamities and the people suffered unbreakable miseries. (v) to employ spies.com) Page 22 . some voluntary organisations and charitable individuals also organised such measures. and the income and expenditure of the various classes of people. and watch the movements of strangers. The Mughal period is well-known for the construction of mosques. Consequently.The most important public official in the urban areas was the Kotawal whose main task was preservation of peace and security in the urban areas. To carry such mail there was the uniquitous ‘harkara’ who was specially trained for running and the fast going horses which were changed at regular place. floods. and (ix) to prevent the burning of women against their will. (viii) to prevent the slaughter of oxen. Such measures were taken by the king. tanks. There existed some dispensaries and schools for the diseased. the Mughal palaces had adequate arrangements for it. In addition. and of citizens. In fact. reservoirs and ‘baands’ . ‘makbaras’ minars. His duties have been well delineated in the Ain-i-Akbari. (ii) to regulate prices and check weights and measures. The reigns of Akbar. palaces and splendid and magnificent houses. provincial administrations and local bodies like ‘gram panchayats’ and municipal administration in the cities. The list of duties so outlined is too comprehensive to be followed in actual practice. Mention may be made in this connection of the mail or dak system and relief measures undertaken in times of natural calamities like the famines which were an unfortunate recurring feature of the Mughal rule. Many of these roads had shaded trees planted on both sides and there was good arrangement for wells and tanks. there were dug canals. ‘dharmshalas’ or ‘sarais’ on the way for the temporary stay of the travelers. forts. The most important of such measures was the construction and maintenance of trunk roads which joined important cities and commercial centers throughout the vastly spread empire. the invalids and children. there was governmental provision for relief measures. It is a pleasure to read the laudatory accounts of such measures in the books written by foreigners. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. There was a good governmental ‘dak’ system to cater to the needs of the government as also of the citizen. In addition. thirteen or fourteen kilometers in distance. Jahagir. to meet the irrigation needs. buffaloes. Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb witnessed famines. we find various public welfare measures being undertaken by the government. In addition. horsed and camels. (iii) to keep watch at night and patrol the city. Erection of public baths was a specialty of the Mughals. Though there existed no famine code as such.indiancivils. (iv) to keep the registers of houses. These were(i) to detect thieves. frequented roads.
But his authority was limited in revenue and financial matters which were exercised by the ‘diwan’ appointed by the king himself. He was the head of civil administration and his main duty was to maintain law and order. In addition. He was also the supreme judge in the province and as such was the final court of appeal from the lower courts. Subedars lived a luxurious and magnificent life. In the time of Jahangir.The number rose to twenty-three during the reign of Aurangzeb. They were usually meritorious. the number of provinces under Akbar before 1602 was twelve . men of character. in turn. the ‘subedar’ was dependent on the ‘diwan’ in financial matters and the ‘diwan’ had to depend on the ‘subedar’ in military and law and order matters. He was also the head of the provincial army and was responsible for the upkeep of armed forces. local culture and language were never taken into account. The ‘subedar’ was undoubtedly the head of both the civilian and military administration in the province. It is noteworthy that the basis of forming provinces was administrative convenience and military importance . the poor and the needy. learned scholars. The Rajput princes came largely in this category. Both of these officers had an array of officers and officials under them. These officers were paid high salaries and allowances. A word may be said now about the administrative dyarchy at this level.Provincial and Local Administration For purposes of administration. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. His multifarious duties had three main aspects . The entire burden of provincial administration rested on the shoulders of ‘subedars’. the diwan was the head of all revenue officials in the province. Just as the ‘subear’ was the head of the entire military and civil administration and all officers from the ‘fauzdar’ downwards were under him.after the conquest of the Deccan the number rose to fifteen. usually they held high ‘mansabs’. the vast Mughal empire was divided into ‘subahs’ or ‘prants’ which were subject to change from time to time. In addition.m the number rose to eighteen and it became twenty-one in the reign of Shah jahan. Both were interdependent and for good administration of the province their cooperation was called for .indiancivils. and ‘suyargal’ or lands given in charity to the religious saints. were subdivided into ‘parganas’. The provinces were subdivided into ‘sarkars’ which can be compared to the modern districts and these. military and judicial. assigned areas like ‘jagirs’ given to various public officials in lieu of their salaries and allowances. The head of the province was called ‘subedar’ who was appointed by the emperor himself. there were subordinate princedoms and fiefs whose rulers acknowledged the suzerainty of the emperor but were otherwise free and independent.civil. Such high officials were selected for their military prowess and administrative qualities. honest and loyal. In this way. certain areas were directly under the central rule.com) Page 23 . Thus. These were the main administrative units. and their services were liable to be terminated by the emperor for misbehavior and bad conduct. These areas were called crown or ‘Khalsa’ lands. These high officers were transferred to different provinces after every three or five years lest they developed local affiliations and vasted interests.
5. He was the highest revenue officer at the district level and worked under the control of the provincial ‘diwan’ and had a number of subordinates assisting him in his duties. there was dual administration at this level as well. was the administrative and revenue unit. The entry of this company in the Indian subcontinent as a purely commercial corporation. in turn. its subsequent changeover to the status of a government. ‘chaklas’ and ‘thanas’ or police stations. subdivided into ‘parganas’ and each ‘pargana’ was a cluster of villages. there were acquired administrative areas under the direct control of the central government like the ports. something akin to the present ‘tahsil’ or ‘taluq’. the final liquidation of the company’s rule in 1858. As at the provincial level. Similarly. There existed nothing like the present municipal administration. forts. The villages were largely left untouched by the Mughal administration and gram panchayats looked after village matters. In addition to these units. He held a ‘mansab’ and was appointed by the king.com) Page 24 . The district administration had thus two wings. He worked under the control of the provincial ‘subedar’. BRITISH PERIOD ADMINISTRATION The existing system of administration in India can be traced to the East India Company’s rule in the country. political and administrative history. He was the highest officer in the ‘sarkar’ and can be compared with the present collector and district magistrate. executive and revenue. frontier posts.The province was similarly divided into ‘sarkars’ which can be compared to the present districts. the ‘malguzar’ was the revenue official in charge of financial and revenue matters. Each ‘sarkar’ was. He was the executive head of the district administration.indiancivils. The ‘pargana’ . The head of the executive wing was the ‘fauzdar’. thus. There was really no arrangement for local government. and the taking over of the government directly by the Crown in Britain are matters of interest to any student of Indian constitutional. the attempts at establishing British parliamentary control over the Company’s government. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www.
1947 which led to the emergence of India as full-fledged dominion on 15th August of that historic year.indiancivils. there was no central authority in India. In November 1949 the Constituent Assembly of free India. 4. liberty.com) Page 25 . Before 1773. a day remembered for the famous resolution on independence for India. 5. 1919 took the first concrete steps in this direction by introducing Dyarchy. Administrative system 1919 -1937. Each presidency was governed by a Governor-in-Council who was responsible directly to the Court of Directors in England. This was followed by the Government of India Act. the Secretary of State for Indian on 20th August 1917 promising responsible government to India within the British Empire. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. 2. Administrative system 1937 -1947. ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM BEFORE 1858 Centralization The year 1773 provides a landmark in the evolution of the Indian constitutional and administrative system. Administrative system before 1858. We shall now briefly describe the evolution of the Indian Administrative system by dividing it into the following well marked periods: 1. assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation. The new constitution embodied in its Preamble the solemn resolve of the people “to constitute India into a Sovereign Democratic Republic’’ pledged to secure to all its citizens justice. passed at the historic session of the Indian National Congress at Lahore in 1929. The Government of India Act. and those of “unity and integrity of the nation” by “unity of the nation”. Administration after Independence. 1935 with its twin features of all India federation and provincial autonomy. The East India Company’s dominions in India were covered by the three presidencies of Bengal. beginning with the Indian Councils Act of 1861 and later by attempts at democratisation of the government machinery by the Indian Councils Acts of 1892 and 1909. equality and fraternity. The new constitution however came into force on 26th January 1950. The Forty Second Amendment Act of 1976 has changed the preamble in two important aspects the words “Sovereign Democratic Republic’’ have been replaced by “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic” .The assumption of responsibility by the Crown for administering India was followed first by attempts at decentralisation. This inevitably led to the famous declaration by Lord Montague. In this declaration Montague declared that the goal of His Majesty’s Government in India was “that of increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration and the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire”. Bombay and Madras. finalised the monumental task of framing a constitution. 3. The culmination came in the enactment of the Indian independence Act. Administrative system 1858-1919.
in its dispatch dated 10th December. Growth of Departments It was a characteristic feature of the government of India. The final step towards centralisation was taken by the Charter Act of 1833 by which the Governor -General of Bengal became the Governor-General of India . operations and concerns which in any way the “Court of Directors of the East India Company were required to pay due obedience (and be) governed and bound by such orders as they shall.The characteristic feature of the organisation of the Government of India between 1773 and 1861 was the concentration of the authority at the centre. The Board was “authorised and empowered from time to time to superintend. his Government became known for the first time as the Government of India. This trend took a significant turn. its authority became coextensive with the area of British possessions in India and the independent legislative powers formerly exercised by the governments of Madras and Bombay were taken away. the governor and later the governor-general. Though the legal fiction that the Court of Directors were responsible for the affairs of the East India Company continued till 1858. The Regulating Act of 1773 had created a council of four members and specifically laid down with adverse results in the decade that followed that all decisions of the council were to be taken by a majority of the votes of those present. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. receive from the said Bord”. with the increasing control of the British parliament over the affairs of the East India Company. the Governor-General having only a second or casting vote in the case of a tie. by this Act the real power had passed into the hands of the Board of Control. The Pitt’s India Act of 1784 placed Indian affairs under the direct control of the British Government by establishing a Board of Control representing the British Cabinet. the board enjoined upon the Government of India the need to exercise the authority conferred upon it by Act. direct and control all acts. The presidencies of Bombay and Madras in times of peace and war. from its earliest times. Further. it had been a government by council.indiancivils. This measure enhanced the power and prestige of the governor .by and seldom exercised.com) Page 26 . The commercial origin of British Administration in India may partly account for it. 1834 accompanying the Charter Act of 1833. The acquisition of territorial sovereignty and the increasing need for prompt decisions in an expanding empire did lead to the vesting of more and more powers in the chairman of the council. The regulating Act of 1773restricted the power of the presidencies from making war or treaties without the sanction of the Governor-General in Council. but the fundamental principle of collective rule and responsibility was not affected. “ Such an overriding power related only to measures placed before the Council in their executive capacity and not in their judicial or legislative capacity. This was amended in 1786 by authorising the governor-general “to override his council and act on his own responsibility in respect of measures whereby the interest of the Company or the safety or tranquility of the British possessions in India or in any part thereof are or may in the judgment of the Governor-General be essentially affected. The same Act further amplified the power of control and superintendence of the Governor-General over the other presidencies by extending it to “ all transactions with country powers or the application of the revenues or forces in time of war or any such other point as shall be referred by the Court of Director to their control”. from time to time.general . namely. in reality it was more of a stand . that.
As a result in 1774 the government of Bengal as the ‘Supreme Government’ by virtue of the Regulating Act. all government affairs were conducted by the Council till the introduction of the portfolio system in 1859 by Lord Canning.indiancivils. which related more or less to trade and cognate subjects. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. appointments. was taken care of by the governor-in-council and the records were called ‘Consultation’ and later as ‘Proceedings’. In 1756. revenue fortifications. 1757. Midnapore and Chittagong. according to which all matters relating to the Company’s political and military affairs and the collection of revenues arising from the royal grant of the ‘dewani’ were to be dealt with by the select committee and the collection of revenues of Burdwan. However. the public department and the secret department. This committee was superseded by the revenue board in 1772. secret and revenue departments. and so forth. The official business of the Company. In 1763 steps were taken to divide the business of the Company into two departments. in 1765. also with French. In 1771 the Board of Directors appointed a committee of revenue called the Comp trolling Committee of Revenue and the entire management of the revenue affairs (including administration of civil and criminal justice) which had formed a part of the duties of the select committee was entrusted to this committee. This select committee replaced the secret committee and met for the first time on 21st February. and all transactions with the ‘country governments’.Thus. All transactions of this committee were treated as highly confidential. The secret department would conduct the work in connection with military plans. with the appointment of Clive as president and governor. was to be dealt with by the council. the necessity of maintaining secrecy over transactions of a political nature was keenly felt and a secret committee of four members was set up in August 1756. Dutch and other Europeans and in general to take such measures as shall best conduce to the protection and Preservation of the Company’s Estate. Rights and Privileges in Bengal.com) Page 27 . Functions were further divided in between the select committee and the council in 1766. were exercised up to 1775 by the Governor-General -in-Council. the court of directors appointed a Select Committee “to transact with the country governments and neighboring powers. namely. with a command of the Company’s military forces the proceedings of the secret department were discontinued and a select committee of five members was formed. had public. A little later. accounts. The functions of the revenue board as a repository of governmental authority in revenue matters. The public department would continue to officiate over all affairs relating to shipping.
The GovernorGeneral of Bengal became the Governor-General of India. the presidency of Fort William in Bengal and the presidency of Agra. namely. the Ecclesiastical Department. the commercial department ceased to exist and the military and secret departments were transferred to the government of India. foreign and financial department and the other of the secret. The legislative function was reserved for the ‘supreme government’ . revenue and judicial. As a result. In1835 a legislative department was created under the charge of the judicial secretary. abolished or merged with one another. a Military Board. In 1793 a separate department called the Judicial Department was created to deal with matters hitherto dealt with by the revenue department. A chief secretary was in general control of all departments.indiancivils. which dealt with matters relating to military subjects. the Board of Council. and military. the Clothing Board and the Board of Customs. The new military department was considered a branch of the public department. public (including commercial). all general orders of whatever nature and all “memorials of officers respecting rank’. each in charge of a secretary . revenue and judicial department. The remaining departments were grouped under two secretaries. The Charter Act of 1833 introduced important changes in the administrative set-up. which was created in 1786 along with the secret and political department. the secret and foreign department and the secret department of reform. The military department continued as such till it was absorbed in the secret and military department continued as such till it was absorbed in the secret and military department. Thus.com) Page 28 . a Board of Revenue and a Board of Trade. secret. The period 1800-1833 was marked by immense expansion of the secretariat to cope with the increased volume of work. A Hospital Board was also formed in 1786 and its designation was changed in 1796 to Medical Board. political and foreign. the departments of the ‘Supreme Government’ were grouped under four sections. Salt and Opium were at this time created. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. towards the end of the eighteenth century. The name of the board of revenue at Calcutta was changed to Sadar Board of Revenue in 1829 and another such board was created at Allahabad in 1833. namely. The overgrown presidency of Bengal was divided into two distinct presidencies. besides being also the governor of Bengal and the activities of the Company as a commercial body came to an end. During the same year important changes were introduced both in the civil and military administration of the country and the board of directors ordered that the government of the country be carried on by the governor-general -in council through the medium of four boards. one took charge of the general. political. Several departments like the Persian Department.Towards the end of 1776 a military board (in reality a military department) was formed for the purpose of recording all orders affecting the army passed in other departments.
The remaining branches.indiancivils. was created and to him were transferred the powers formerly exercised by the Court of Directors and the Board of Control. One consequence of this change was that the legislative branch of the home department was abolished and all legislative functions were vested into he Council of India . 1855. as constituted by Section 22of the Act. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. general marine. He was assisted by a council of 15 members called Council of India or India Council. the military board was dissolved and on January 18th 1858 the medical boards in the three presidencies were also abolished and their functions were allocated to an officer in each presidency who was designated as Director -General of the Medical Department. direct and control all acts. The former government had already (in January 1843) appointed a separate secretary for its financial department.The political. 1858 was that the control of the Government of India was transferred from the Company to the Crown. judicial. foreign. were charged to the revenues of India. The expenses incurred on the establishment of the Secretary of State. to be known as the Secretary of State for India. wear placed under a third secretary. legislative and ecclesiastical. under the direction of the Secretary of State. operations and concerns relating to the government or revenues of India. The council. and on 1st May. revenue. conducted the business transacted in the United Kingdom in relation to the government of India and its correspondence with India. 1855. A legislative member was added to the council. on 9th February.On 29th April. The Act authorised the Secretary of State to superintend. and all proceedings pertaining to the railways were dealt with by the home department until the inspection of the public works department as a separate organisation which virtually took over all civil functions. including railways. the department being called the Home Department of the Government of India. 1843 the governor-general in-council decided to separate completely the secretariat of the government of India from that of Bengal. A new office of a cabinet minister. The India Act of 1853 placed Bengal in charge of a lieutenant-governor on May 1. the Secretary of State was given an office called the India Office. including his own salary. 1843 the other department were also separated . To enable him to discharge his functions well. ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM(1858-1919) Secretary of State The first important result of the enactment of the Government of India Act. and secret branches were placed under another secretary and the department was called the foreign department of the government of India. on May 1st. 1854 and certain changes were made in the pattern of administration.com) Page 29 .
It was only after 1861 that the Indians were brought a little closer to administration and given an opportunity to participate. all powers had been concentrated in the hands of the governor-general since 1833. The council was further strengthened by the addition of not less than 6 and not more than 12 members nominated by the governor-general for the purpose of legislation. Not less than half of the additional members were to be nonofficials. however minimally.” About a decade earlier. who exercise a very full and constant check over their proceedings. Similarly. which in Section 45 laid down: “Every Local Government shall obey the orders of the Governor-General-in-Council and keep him constantly and diligently informed of its proceedings and of matters which ought. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. “the essential point to be borne in mind is that at present even in matters primarily assigned to the Provincial Governments these act as agents of the Government of India.” In 1833 the subordinate presidencies of Bombay and Madras were deprived of their power to legislate. to be reported to him.indiancivils. In financial matters as well. The Act of 1861 for the first time introduced legislatures of a new type. the Decentralisation Commission of 1909 had observed. 1892 and 1909. The all-pervasive authority of the central government was correctly described by the Montageu-Chelmsford Report of 1918. every local government had to submit its legislative measures to the government of India for approval. This distinguishing feature remained unaffected throughout this period and was statutorily reaffirmed by the Consolidating Act of 1915. and (ii) the establishment of local self-governing institutions. These factors were: (i) association of Indian with the government. the governments of Bombay and Madras were authorised to nominate the advocate general and not less than 4 and not more than 8 additional members to their respective executive councils for purposes of legislation. The Act provided for the addition of a fifth member to the Executive Council of the governorgeneral. though restricted trend towards decentralisation ensued. the law member. in its opinion. or as to which he requires information and is under his superintendence. All questions involving new principles were settled by the central government and provincial governments were left to run the routine administration. Policy of Association Two factors at this time were responsible for making invaluable dents in an increasingly monolithic policy structure and as a result a new. In pursuance of this policy of association. it was of a very limited nature. Though this power was restored in 1861. None of the Acts passed by the British Parliament to regulate the government of India prior to 1861 took into consideration the political right s of the Indian people. Provision was made for the institution of similar legislative councils in the India Councils Act of 1861 made a beginning in representative institutions and legislative devolution. three important Acts were passed in 1861.Centralisation One characteristic feature of the pre-1858 administrative system was centralisation or concentration of all authority in the hands of the Government of India. “In the past the Government of India have regarded themselves as distinctly charged with the duty of framing policy and inspiring reforms for the whole of India. direction and control in all matters relating to the Government of its Province. in affecting official attitude. namely.com) Page 30 .
As regards the rural self-governmental agency. In 1840 the principle of election was introduced to a very limited extent. referred to the necessity of taking further steps to bring local interest and supervision to bear on the management of funds devoted to education. A small addition was made to the powers of the councils. Introduction of Local Self-Government The Corporation of madras came into being in 1688 and in 1726 charters setting up similar municipal bodies for Calcutta and Bombay were issued. However. the ancient village system was known to be popular and efficient. the additional members of the governor-general’s councils increased up to a maximum of 60. public works. they received insufficient encouragement from district authorities. New Municipal Acts were passed in various provinces between 1871 and 1874. It was to be not less than 10 and not more than 16 in the case of the supreme (governor-general’s) council and not less than 8 and not more than 20 in the case of Madras and Bombay. at least in the presidencies of Bombay and madras. Two fifths of the additional members were to be non-officials. The government agreed to allow election in an indirect manner. those of Madras. carried the above policy still further. The number of members in the council was also increased.indiancivils. however. But during the nineteenth century notwithstanding the statutory recognition of panchayats as petty courts in Bombay and Madras. the Government of India Resolution of 1864 admitted that “the people of the country are perfectly capable of administering their own local affairs.com) Page 31 . Bengal.. every view of duty and policy should induce us to leave as much as possible of the business of the country to be done by the people”. The maximum number for Bengal was fixed at 20 and at 15 for the North-Western Province and Oudh(later to be known as the United provinces). A further step in the direction of local self-government was taken in 1870 when Mayo’s government in their resolution of that year dealing with decentralisatin of finance. It would. etc. The system of indirect election continued but separate representation for Muslims was introduced for the first time. though the members so elected could take their seats only after being nominated by the governor-general. The Act increased the size of the legislative councils. Bihar. popularly known as the Morley-Minto Reforms. sanitation. These Acts extended the elective principle.. As a result. Burma and Assam Legislative Council but allowed the provincial councils to have a majority of non-officials. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Bombay. though they still remained strictly circumscribed. appear that the dominant motive in this fresh attempt to develop local institutions was to relieve the burden on imperial finances by levying local rates and cesses..The Indian Council Act of 1892 enlarged the functions of the legislative councils. The Act also introduced the principle of election in an indirect manner. Orissa and the United Provinces to a maximum of 50 and those of the Punjab. though they still remained merely deliberative bodies. The Indian Council Act of 1909.
indiancivils. throughout.” The resolution advocated the establishment of a network of local self-government institutions with special emphasis on the necessity for meeting the requirements of the rural areas . The next important stage was reached in 1915 when the government of India issued an important resolution enunciating their policy of progressive reform of local bodies. it had plenty to recommend in terms of administrative improvements. Executive action was taken in 1920 to implement these principles.The next important step was taken during the viceroyalty of Ripon who has been called ‘the father of local self-government in India”. It was stated that local bodies would henceforth be vested with greater autonomous powers and outside control would be minimal. it is desirable as an instrument of political and popular education. The Montague. The commission put emphasis on the importance of village panchayats and recommended the adoption of special measures for their revival and growth. affirming the necessity of removing all unnecessary official control over local institutions. The most significant feature of the new policy was the remarkable shift in the approach to the problem. It also recommended the lessening of government control over local bodies and augmenting the sources of income of these bodies. 1917 in Parliament and the government of India followed it up in 1918 with another resolutions. a larger measure of financial decentralisation and adoption of election as a means of constituting local bodies wherever possible. Chelmsford Report on Indian constitutional Reforms of 1918 examined the existing system of local government in the country and came to the conclusion that. the reduction of the official element in the local bodies to not more than a third of the total strength . Montague made his famous declaration of 20th August. neither the government of India nor the provincial governments faithfully carried out the policy of Ripon. the exercise of control from within and not from without . In 1882 his government issued the famous resolution which continued to influence the development of local government in India till 1947. The resolution quoted : “It is not primarily with a view to improvement in administration that this measure is put forward and supported . making them as representatives as possible and giving them powers that were real and not nominal. The Decentralisation Commission in its report of 1909 examined the problem of local government in great detail and though the commission had very little to suggest by way of any substantial innovation. the educative principle had been subordinate to the desire for immediate results.com) Page 32 . Unfortunately. Portfolio System An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Soon thereafter. The result of the resolution was a series of acts regarding municipal bodies and a variety of legislative enactments as regards rural areas. It also recommended and adoption of special measures for their revival and growth.
statutory recognition to this innovation was accorded by Section 8 of the Act of 1861. the members of the council came to be recognised as heads of their departments and thus acquired a greater degree of initiative and responsibility over the functioning of their departments. The tumultuous days of 1850 only aggravated the need for more drastic reforms. thereby abolishing the commercial activities and trade monopolies of the Company. however. The secretariat consisted of one secretary-general with three assistants and a clerical establishment. The need for a reorganisation of departments became obvious. In the first place. The Governor-general made such rules for the transaction of the executive business of the government of India. neither the unorthodox methods of Wellesley nor the orthodox procedural reforms of Dalhousie improved the situation visibly.public. The introduction of the portfolio system had some important results. However. particularly by Lord Dalhousie. The Charter Act of 1833 vested the powers of control and supervision in the ‘Supreme government’ . secret and commercial. Growth and Recorganisation of Departments From the early days. the member in charge of a department could issue final orders with regard to matters relating to finance and expenditure.As shown in the earlier section. Inordinate delay became unavoidable. for every important matter arising in any department as well as where it was proposed to overrule any local (provincial) government. reference to the Governor-general was necessary. which also authorised the Governor-general to make rules and orders for more convenient transaction of business in the council. The essence of the innovation was that a member of the council would be appointed in charge of one or more departments of the government by the governor-general and he would issue orders on behalf of the governor-general-incouncil. Wellesley would probably be regarded as an exponent of one with a complete disregard for the law and its usages in the matters of bureaucracy practically ignoring the council till after the law and its usages in the matters of bureaucracy practically ignoring the council till after the decisions had been taken. The organisation was completed in 1843. the government of India had been divided into departments. The reforms came with an innovation known as the portfolio system which was introduced in 1859 by Canning.indiancivils. which lightened enormously the workload of the governor-general. remedial measures were also adopted. During the time of the Regulation Act there were three departments . Accordingly.com) Page 33 . An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. varied from time to time. Secondly. all transactions of the government of India until 1858 were carried out by the council as a board and the pressure of the increasing volume of work began to be felt by the successive governor-generals. the matter was referred to the Governor-general. so also the home department for matters relating to the services of the general administration or internal politics If the concerned departments did not agree. The number of departments and their functions. the wheels of the government now turned with greater speed and efficiency.
This last department was to concern itself exclusively with the matters relating to the source and development of revenue in the several branches and ascertaining how it may be increased. But this bifurcation did not last long and the two departments were once again amalgamated. and in 1871 matters relating to revenue. The Military Department was recorganised as a result of Curzon’s resignation over the famous controversy with Kitchener. largely as a consequence of the recommendations of the Finance Commission of 1880. On 9th Dec. Commerce was merged into the newly created Department of Commerce and Industry. none of these upheavals were important in themselves to effect a fundamental change in the broad organisational pattern. and revenue. Agriculture and Commerce. duties were being transferred from one department to the other in the process of reorganisation. agriculture department on the other. On 1st October. Reforms of 1919 An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Commerce was incorporated in finance.indiancivils. horticulture. the legislative department came into being in 1869. led to the abolition of this department in 1879. the department of Home. Considerations of economy. however. Revenue and Agriculture was bifurcated into the Home department on the one hand. It was soon abolished in 1906 and in its place two new departments were instituted which dealt respectively with matters relating to the army and military supplies. The latter took over charge of land revenue. The next major change was attempted in 1905 in Lord Curzon’s time. minerals. While the new departments were being formed. However. meteorology. But it was reconstituted two years later. On 18th February of the year the railway branch of the public works department was abolished and the control of the expanded railway system was entrusted to the newly created Railway Board as on 1st March. while agriculture and revenue were once again entrusted to the home department which was renamed as the Department of Home. surveys. a part of itself to the Department of Education. famine and emigration from the Home department. surveys. Revenue and Agriculture. Public works was separated from the home department and the public works department was formed in 1855. 1910 the Home department gave away for the last time.com) Page 34 . agriculture and commerce were taken away from the home department to form the Department of Revenue. the Commander in Chief holding charge of the army portfolio and the military supply departmentbeing placed under a separate member of the Executive Council. agriculture. It was decided that all questions relating to railways requiring reference to the government should come under the cognizance of the Department of Commerce and Industry.The number of departments steadily increased between 1843 and 1919. the railway board and its staff were designated as the Railway Deparment.
The preamble to the Act states that “it is the declared policy of Parliament to provide for the increasing association of Indians in every branch of Indian Administration and for the gradual development of self-government in British India as an integral part of the Empire. a classification between central and provincial subjects was made on the basis that where uniformity of policy and control throughout the country were required. commerce. the central and provincial spheres were demarcated and distinguished from each other with greater clarity and precision. the Central Provinces. while all subjects in which the interest of a province predominated or in which freedom and initiative could with advantage be left to local authorities should be treated as provincial. coinage and public debt. civil and criminal law were classified as central subjects. railways. an attempt was made to give a more effective voice to the public in the conduct of the central government though no element of responsibility was introduced into this sphere. justice. military matters. In respect of these provinces. public health. Burma. This involves at once giving the provinces the largest measure of independence . posts telegraphs. “the provinces are the domain in which the earliest steps towards the progressive realisation of responsible government should be taken. Some measure of responsibility should be given at once and our aim is to give complete responsibility as soon as conditions permit. The subjects earmarked as provincial were so classified both for purposes of legislation and administration. Madras. had stated . The Montagu-Chelmsford Report on which the Government of India Act was based. The Government of India must remain wholly responsible to Parliament and saving such responsibility its authority on essential matters must remain indisputable pending experience of the effect of changes now to be introduced in the provinces”. the provinces were considered to be the most suitable unit for beginning the experiment of self-government. income tax. irrigation. medical relief. the subject should be treated as central. Devolution of Authority The conspicuous result of the reforms was the devolution of authority in some measure from the centre into provinces. Secondly. Bombay. First. Bihar.It has been stated in the previous section that the characteristic feature of the organisation of the Government of India prior to 1919 was the centralisation of all power and authority in the governor-general-in-council. Accordingly. Included among provincial subjects were local self-government. Orissa. administrative and financial of the Government of India which is compatible with due discharge by the latter of its own responsibility. There were three main concepts on which the new scheme was based. Thirdly. education.indiancivils. trariff and customs. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. public works. currency. famine relief forests. Bengal. A major change in this feature of the organisation took place with the passing of the Government of India Act of 1919.legislative. land revenue. This was not done directly by any clause of the Act but by the devolution rules made under it . to that limited extent even the control of the British parliament over the affairs of the Indian government was abrogated.” The Act set out to determine the precise limitations to the increasing association and to define the actual scope of self-governing institutions. foreign affairs. police and prisons. the Punjab and the United Provinces.com) Page 35 . The rest of British India remained unaffected. The devolution was effected only in the nine provinces of Assam.
agriculture. Growth of Local Self-Government under the reforms of 1919. Thus. The legislative council themselves were greatly enlarged in size and were provided with substantial majority of elected members. Laws were passed in every province for the growth of village panchayats. It should be noted that the governor-general -in council continued to be supreme as before except in relation to the legislative authority.com) Page 36 . Some of the important transferred subjects were local self-government. The main reserved subjects were administration of justic. showed a steady tendency to diminish. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. The general trend of these Acts was practically the same. the Act enjoined the governor to override the advice of his ministers whenever he so deemed necessary. they remained subject to central control. he would come under the control of the central government. Over a large part of the field the provinces became virtually autonomous. the line of demarcation between Centre and provinces became to a considerable extent a vertical one. direction and control over the provinces was concerned. the other part consisting of ministers. in respect of most of reserved subjects the control was rarely exercised. All the provincial governments displayed great zeal for the progress of local institutions and many Acts were passed with that end in view. This division into ‘transferred’ and ‘reserved’ subjects constituted the essence of dyarchy in the provinces. one part consisting of the governor and his executive council in charge of the reserved subjects . On the whole. However.indiancivils. local self-government became a provincial and transferred subject under a responsible Indian minister. prisons.In the words of Maxwell Committee Report. chosen by the governor form among the elected members of the provincial legislatures in charge of the transferred subjects. They aimed at lowering the voting qualifications and increasing the strength of elected members to the extent of making it the immediate arbiter of policy in local affairs. In a third part of the field the Centre became responsible for both policy and advice and the use of Provincial Governments as agents in this sphere. The franchise for their election was considerably lowered and a part of the provincial budget was placed under their control. public works excluding irrigation. “with the Reforms of 1920. the attempt was to lessen the official control to make the local bodies representatives of the people and to endow them with adequate authority. So far as the power of the government of India in respect of superintendence. irrigation. but in different parts of the field. but even in this limited field should the governor act in defiance of the advice of his ministers. cooperatives and excise. but in practice. instead of policy resting with the Centre and administration with the provinces were responsible for both policy and administration. education. land revenue. Over another large part. The executive government in the provinces was constituted of two parts . labour and finance. control of newspapers.” Dyarchy in the Provinces The provincial subjects were further divided into ‘transferred’ and ‘reserved’. public health. These ministers were made responsible to the Provincial Legislative Council for their Act and policies. the power still remained unimpaired except in the case of ‘transferred’ subjects. medical relief. police.
However. On 25th February.50. with as many as 100 elected members . an attempt was made to give a more effective voice to the public in the conduct of the central government. This did not mean that all the expenses of his establishment and office were also a charge on the British revenues. its membership was increased to 140. the number of Indians on the governor-general’s executive council was increased to 3. This did not mean that all the expenses of his establishment and was to be paid out of British revenues. The assembly was given more powers and part of the budget was made notable. which until 1919 was charged to the Indian revenues. the control of the secretary of state was reduced in the provincial sphere so far as the transferred departments were concerned and to the extent the governor acted on the advice of his ministers. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www.com) Page 37 . the franchise was also widened. Secretary of State No marked change took place in the control of the Home Government over Indian affairs. the secretary of state continued to possess and exercise the power of superintendence. Other important changes made in the same year were the abolition of the Central Board of Education and the Bureau of Education. Reorganisation of Department In August 1921. Thus. Under the Montford Reforms. However. The total number of members of the council was also increased from 5 to 6 before 1919 to 8 to 12 under the new Act. and the amalgamation of the Department of Revenue and Agriculture with the Department of Education and Health and renaming the new department as the Department of Education. These still continued to be paid out of Indian revenues but the British government subsidised them to the extent of 1. In 1923 the public works department was merged with the Department of Industries and the newly constituted department was renamed as Department of industries and Labour. Another change was that the salary of the secretary of state for India. direction and control over the government and revenues of India. The central legislature was named as the Legislative Assembly. Medical Administration was transferred from home to the education department. 1921 a reorganised department of Industries was created and the activities of the Commerce department were curtailed. was by this Act made an obligation of the British parliament and was to be paid out of British revenues. which was renamed as the Department of Education and Health.indiancivils.000 dollars a year.Changes at the Centre The scheme of constitutional reforms introduced in 1919 did not extend to the sphere of the Government of India. Health and Lands. and it remained the duty of the governor-general to carry out his orders.
the federal part of the new constitution evoked serve criticism from all political parties in India. Provincial Autonomy An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. At the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947. 1947. spurned by the Congress. the India National Congress decided to withdraw its cooperation and by the end of 1939 the Congress ministers resigned. Lord Linlithgow. and popular ministries were restored in the provinces. Another attempt was made by Lord Wavell. The provincial part of the Act was inaugurated on 1st April. After the declaration of the war. For one thing.com) Page 38 . These proposals had a mixed reception. the then governor -general. the then governor-general. The task of framing a constitution was pursued with zeal and the Constituent Assembly gave the constitution its final shape on 26th November 1949. granting to India the status of a Dominion . 1946.an emergency provision incorporated in the Act. with Jawaharlal Nehru as its Vice-President. though for different reasons.ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM (1937-1947) The two basic concepts underlying the Government of India Act. but. efforts were made by the British government to win over the cooperation of Indians. the Labour party came to power in Britain after the 1945 elections. the prescribed minimum number of princes had not given their consent to join the federation till before the declaration of war in September 1939. In March Mountbatten partition of the country and the creation of two dominions. 1935 were provincial autonomy and an all-India federation. In 1940. The imprisoned Indian leaders were set free . It was. Even the provincial part of the Act could not operate for long. it was decided that the introduction of the federal scheme should be suspended during the period of war. in 1945 to break the deadlock but to no avail. India became a free nation. Throughout the war. This time the League initially refused to join but did not later. On 18th July the British parliament passed the Indian Independence Act. Then came the well known Cripps’ proposals in 1942 which were again unacceptable to nationalist opinion in the country. the federal provisions could not be introduced at the same time. The new constitution was ushered in on 26th January 1950. Its initiative resulted in the famous Cabinet Mission Plan published on 16th May. however. Meanwhile. This led to the suspension of the constitution in a large majority of provinces and the Governor’s rule was introduced under Section 93 .indiancivils. elections were held to the Constituent Assembly which met at Delhi in December 1946 but the League boycotted it. elections were held to the central and provincial legislatures . An interim government was formed in 1946. This scheme was later completely abandoned. made what has come to be known as the ‘August Offer’. The Muslim League initially accepted the scheme but withdrew its support when Congress accepted it. The Labour government initiated a new approach. In the meanwhile. 1937. In the wake of a unilateral declaration of war by the viceroy and governor-general on behalf of India. For another. for various reasons.
it introduced responsible government more or less fully in the provinces. administration and finance. This Act for the first time carved out separate and instinct jurisdiction for the centre and the provinces. provincial and concurrent. Had it been achieved. The new Act. The dyarchical structure introduced by the Act of 1919 had proved a failure. it gave the provinces an exclusive authority in a defined sphere in which it was broadly free from central control. Undoubtedly. certain subjects were earmarked as provincial and governmental functions which were to be exercised by the provincial authorities.com) Page 39 . In accordance with this threefold sphere. This would have turned the entire subcontinent into one political. In the concurrent sphere both governments were free to legislate. Under the Act the executive authority of the province was exercised on behalf of His Majesty by the governor who was given a council of ministers to aid and advise him in the exercise of his function. The Government of India possessed concurrent powers in the provincial shphere . Secondly. dyarchy and the creation of the new post of Crown Representative. and their authority over this sphere was by no means excluded. central. abolished the system by putting an end to the distinction between reserved and transferred subjects. The first two lists were placed within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal and provincial governments respectively in all the three fields of legislation. The Act also took an important step in the direction of the introduction of responsible government in the provinces. In additions. therefore. while in the latter sphere the governor was not bound to follow the minister’s advice even though it may be sought and given. The introduction of provincial autonomy in 1935 was the culmination of the process of decentralisation initiated in 1861.indiancivils. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Provincial autonomy introduced by the 1935 Act had two aspects. excepting in so far as he was required to act “in his discretion’ or “ in the exercise of his individual judgment’. Changes at the Centre The Act of 1935 had envisaged three important changes at the centre. all-India federation.By the Act of 1919 and the devolution rules made under it. three separate lists of subjects were embodied in the Act . By far the most significant change introduced by the new Act was the provision for the establishment of an all-India federation including all the British Indian provinces and the princely states. these provisions put severe constraints on an effective responsible government. In the first place. But the responsibilities entrusted in this way were not exclusive. The new reforms proposed an important departure in this respect. but the central legislation prevailed over the provincial laws in the case of a conflict. There was no obligation to consult the ministers in the former sphere. but it remains true that during the years of the working of Congress ministries (1937-1939) and (1946-47) the governors chose to act by and large as constitutional heads. a third common sphere was created for their concurrent jurisdiction and action. one wonders if the tragic partition of the country in 1947 would have come to pass. legal and constitutional entity. a grand concept never before realised in the long history of India.
all of whom were to be Indians. the Act made no reference to the powers of superintendence. Thirdly. This scheme. The ‘transferred’ departments were to be administered by the governorgeneral. external affairs and tribal areas . of whom eight were to be Indains . However. be combined in one person. be called ‘reserved’ and ‘transferred’. Only in the provincial sphere was there a substantial reduction in his authority. This was done on the insistence of the princes who did not wish to dealt with by the new representative Indian government responsible to the people. As a result. the Act created the new office of the Crown Representative. The enlarged council began to function from October 1941. the Act provided for the introduction of dyarchy at the centre. which may. an experiment earlier discredited in the provinces. for the sake of convenience. derived its authority directly from the British Crown and therefore ceased to be mere agent of the secretary of state. Such a possibility had in fact been envisaged and had been incorporated in the Transitional Provisions contained in Part XIII and the Ninth Schedule of the Act of 1935. with the aid and advice of a council of ministers who were to be members of the federal legislature and responsible to it. This arrangement continued till the formation of the interim government on 2nd September 1946. Till 1935. the secretary of state’s position vis-a-vis the central government continued to be as it was before.com) Page 40 . After the rejection of the Linlithgow offer of August 1940 by the Congress. under the new dispensation. The interim government gave place to a full fledged cabinet on 15th August 1947. the remaining subjects were ‘transferred’. Secretary of State The Act of 1935 introduced a vital change in the status of the Government of Indian which. This provision of the Act did come into force and the Crown appointed the governor-general as also its representative. This decision was announced in July 1941 and the executive council was enlarged by the addition of five members. however. ecclesiastical affairs. since the federal part of the Act never came into force. however. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. it was decided to expand the governor-general’s council and indianise it by creating a majority of Indian members in it. the governorgeneral too was required in certain matters to act ‘in his discretion’ and in other matters ‘in the exercise of individual judgment”.indiancivils. never came into operation. As in the case of the governor. Under the former were included defence. the British Crown’s authority over both British India and the Indian states was exercised by the governor-general in council under the general supervision of the secretary of state. In spite of the failure of the federal provisions of the Act the government of India continued to work under the provisions of the Act of 1919 with certain necessary modifications till the coming into force of the Indian independence Act of 1947. direction and control with which the secretary of state was invested by virtue of former Acts. The ‘reserved’ departments were to be administered by the governor general with the advice of the counsellors. The new Act separated the two roles and the newly created office of Crown Representative was in future to perform the functions and duties of the Crowning relation to the Indian states. Its membership was further increased to fifteen in July 1942.In the second place. The federal subjects were divided into two parts. The two offices could. This meant an increase in the membership of the council excluding the governor-general to twelve. The Executive Council was to be abolished and the new counsellors were to be responsible to the governor-general.
railway priorities. Growth of Local Self-Government With the introduction of provincial autonomy and the coming into office of popular ministries. International Labour Organisation. and the bifurcation of the Department of Industries and Labour on 8th November 1937 into two separate departments. The position was reversed by the new Act . meteorology.indiancivils. copyright and ecclesiastical matters were transferred to the Department of Commerce. activities of the Department of Communications increased considerably and consequently in 1942 the Department of War Transport was formed by the bifurcation of the Department of Communications into two departments. Perhaps the most significant of these was the introduction of the Janapada set-up in Madhya Pradesh in 1948. aviation. In 1946 these two departments were merged into one and given the name of the Department of Communications and Transport. Other important developments in this period were the revival of the Board of Education in June 1937. Growth and Reorganisation of Departments The constitutional changes as a result of the Government of India Act. mines. The foreign and political department was split in 1937 into two distinct departments . boilers.In the second place. while posts and telegraphs. petrol rationing and producer gas. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. after India became independent in 1947. (a0 the External Affairs department . The Department of Labour took over matters relating to labour. This scheme anticipated the panchayati raj introduced a decade later in various parts of the country. public works. there was a marked move towards democratising local bodies and strengthening them. the British Treasury made an annual grant towards them. stationery and printing. The subjects allotted to the Department of War Transport were major ports. that of the Department of Labour and the Department of Communications. which were originally allotted to the Department of Posts and Air were transferred to the War Transport department on 15th July 1944. However. inter-provincial migration. But nothing substantial could be achieved due to the short-lived tenures of such ministries (1937-39) and (1946-47). The subjects of Central Road Fund and Motor Vehicles legislation. the Act abolished the India Council and substituted in its place a new body called the Secretary of State’s Advisers. Subjects relating to industries. radical measures of reforms were taken in this field throughout the country. broadcasting roads. 1935 and the tremendous pressure of work due to the outbreak of war in 1939 brought about parallel changes in the departments. the expenses incurred for the salaries of the secretary of state and his staff were now charge to the British revenues but India was to make some contribution towards meeting them. utilization of road and water transport. factories. electricity.com) Page 41 . patents and designs were taken over by the Department of Communications. explosives. geological survey. The third change was that while under the Act of 1919 the expenses of the establishment of the secretary of state were charged to the revenues of India. the Department of Posts and Air and the Department of War Transport. During the Second World War. and the Department of Defence respectively. and (b) the Political department. Health and Lands. the Department of Education.
stationery. was merged with department which came to be known as the department of Industries and Supplies. 93) communications. (7) finance. geological survey. Another important development was the establishment of the Department of Planning and Development in 1944 charged with the task of planning and post war reconstruction. 1946. that is. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. there are certain areas where the national scene is somewhat murky and confused. (4) defence. In this section an attempt is made to identify certain trends which have been dominant during this period. The increased activities of this Department rendered it so unwieldy that it had agian to be bifurcated on 8th April. 916) states. Thus the department of Education.In the meanwhile. The former dealt with labour matters and resettlement of ex-servicemen. (15) railways. In June 1947. ADMINISTRATION AFTER INDEPENDENCE It is now 58 years ago that India became a free and independent country. The Second World War also had a great impact on the Department of Labour. and (18) works. (17) transport.indiancivils. A new department of food created in 1942 was concerned with the procurement and distribution of foodstuffs. (6) external affairs and commonwealth relations. (14) legislative. health and agriculture. the Department of Commonwealth Relations was merged with the Department of External Affairs and redesignated as the Department of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations. 910) industries and supplies. During this long period there has been a general progress in various walks of life all over the country. In January 1946 the supply department set up in August 1939. With independence and a transfer of administration from the Crown to the popular government of India. Civil Defence and the Indians Overseas. all departments were renamed as ministries on 29th August. The last department was given the designation of Commonwealth Relations in April 1944. (13) labour. Health and Lands was split into three separate departments of education. boilers and explosives. (5) education. it was abolished in July 1946 and its work distributed among other departments. mines. However. while the latter dealt with all matters relating to public works. the Department of Labour and the Department of Works. (8) food. Certain major changes were made after the end of the Second World War in 1945. printing. Information and Broadcasting. namely. (9) health. into two separate departments. (2) commerce. three new departments had been created in 1941.com) Page 42 . (12) information and broadcasting. Mines and Power. However. mines and power.(11) home. 1947 as (1) agriculture. In April 1943 Civil Supplies was added to the industries department and renamed as the Department of Industries and Civil Supplies.
1991 while on election tour in Tamil An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. Her long rule witnessed many upheavals. the Indian victory in the war with Pakistan and the birth of a new state. Jawaharlal Nehru died on 27th May 1964. The person responsible for this victory was Jayaprakash Narain who symbolised the aspirations of the people. The slogan of ‘conscience vote’ was the product of the period. There also ensued an internecine struggle for power between the Congress organisation headed by its president and the Congress parliamentary party headed by the prime minister. which never had any popular mandate. First came the general elections of 1967 in which the Congress party got a thinner majority in the Lok Sabha but lost to the opposition parties in many states. the prime minister won. This was really a ‘benami’ government kept in power by the numerically large Congress party for its own reasons. The opposition to this new phenomenon ultimately led to the declaration of Emergency in June 1975 and another split in the ruling Congress party.1. It came to a head in 1969 on the issue of the election of the president of the republic. The experiment. the elections of 1971 and 1972 won on the attractive slogan of ‘garibi hatao’ under the leadership of Indira Gandhi.com) Page 43 . In fact. in this bitter struggle for power. The sympathy wave generated throughout the country put her son. an intellectual thinker. who unfortunately died in January 1966. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh non-Congress parties formed the government. These elections witnessed a sea change in political situation. This Congress victory gave rise to a new political personality in the form of Sanjay Gandhi who all through remained an extraconstitutional authority. The elections of 1989 again put the opposition led by V. where the Samyukt Vidhayak Dals (a loose collection of opposition parties) formed the government. Singh in seat of authority. Then came the elections of 1991-92 Rajiv Gandhi was the natural leader of Congress party and under his leadership election campaign began.. Bangladesh after dividing Pakistan which itself was the result of partition. In important states like Uttar Pradesh. Rajive Gandhi in power. Rajiv Gandhi had every chance of forming a new government but unfortunately he was assassinated on 21st May. He was succeeded by Indira Gandhi who remained in power till her assassination on 31st October 1984. Lal Bahadur Shastri. He was succeeded by his close party colleague. the period of stability and the undisputed rule by the Congress party till the general elections of 1967. viz. it was a miracle that fifty odd members of parliament could form a government under the nomenclature of Samajwadi Janata Party. He was a liberal democrat. progressive in outlook and a nationalist. but by this time had got involved in so many uncalled for circumstances that the prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in her own residence. Then was formed Chandra Shekhar government. however. It was followed by social measures. he began well but by the end of his five-year tenure had become unpopular. endangering the strength of political parties in the legislature. The period also witnessed the new and hitherto unknown phenomenon of defections.indiancivils. Political Instability: This period can be subdivided into two distinct parts. In fact. largely because of the Bofors scandal. It was a new experiment leading to the formation of government by a minority party supported form outside by two parties who had nothing in common except their nonCongressism. The BJP or Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as an alternative to the ruling congress at the centre.P. This was the bottom most in which Indian politics could sink. the struggle had already begun in the time of Nehru. The elections of 1977 threw a new leadership under Morarji Desai who headed a combination of all opposition parties under the name of Janata Party. The fall of the minority Janata Dal was always imminent and it fell by the end of November 1990 due to its differences with the BJP. failed and the 1980 elections saw the Congress party back in power.
2.K. In the south as well the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) is creating unrest in Tamil Nadu. After the twelfth Lok Sabha elections a 43 members two tier ministry headed by 74 years old BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee and its 18 parties allies was sworn in on 19th March.indiancivils. Narsimha Rao. Before taking charge of government the BJP and its allies in their national Agenda for Governance promised to usher in a new political age of reconciliation and accord. The election of 1996 saw a new. 1997. In the thirteenth LokSabha elections the National Democratic Party is supporting from outside. Even a cursory glance of Indian history will reveal that the overriding problem in this country has always been the maintenance of peace. Violence has taken over from nonviolence and peace. Congress won the election and the Congress party under the leadership of P. out of its zeal and socialistic ideology.Nadu. protect the innocent and punish the guilty. The peaceful. No doubt.Breakdown of Law and Order: The ruling Congress party made major mistake and miscalculation at the very beginning by giving priority to development over the maintenance of law and order. On 28th March. The north east is also seething with militancy and demands have been raised by the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam) and similar groups for self-determination. He headed a combination of 13 opposition parties under the name of United Front.com) Page 44 . unique and novel experiment under the leadership of Dewa Gowda. there is a threat to the unity and integrity of the country from various sides. corrupt and finds its jurisdiction much too extended and complex. 1997 to withdraw support to the Deva Gowda government is one of the series of developments that have been taking place ever since the eleventh Lok Sabha elections held in 1996. the police is demoralized. amending and repealing laws and the existing laws are not observed in practice by the people. Gujral assumed office on 21st April. law-abiding and the quiet citizen is at a loss to understand how he should cope with the problems. Vajpayee government wins confidential vote in the Loksabha by 274 to 261 votes. By his manipulating qualities he completed his full term of five years. but is should never be forgotten that development is possible only in a peaceful atmosphere. Now it seems coalitions are inevitable in a country as diverse as ours. Atal Behari Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the third time when he took oath of Prime Minister office on 13th October. This is the second time that Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. development in a poor and backward country like India is important. 1999. Political interference in law and order has made the problem worse. Muscle power is thriving and violence rules everywhere. namely. Militants are active in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab in the north west and have openly declared their ideology to create separate and independent states in this region. The Congress party. In place of Deva Gowda United Front government headed by I. The law enforcement agency. It is a big political change in the working of parliamentary government in our country. downgraded law and order to meet the development. The first and primary duty of any government is to preserve law and order in society. The sudden decision of the Congress party in March. formed the government in June 1991. 3. Almost the entire country is in flames and the rule of gun and lathi is ruling everywhere. While both parliament as well as the state legislatures are busy making. But Gujral 8 months old government resigns after Congress withdraws support. There is also a demand for the formation of new states in Jharkhnad and Uttarakhand. This new experiment leading to the formation of minority power. The Threat and Danger of India Turning into a Congeries of Independent States: Despite its preamble. 1998.V.
44 lakhs in 1986. science. have undergone considerable expansion and reorganization.was 14.73 lakhs in 1957. public undertakings and budgetary allocations. advisory bodies. the states presenting a different picture altogether. The present ministry has in all members. Every matter minor and major is coloured deeply in political and selfish maneuvers for no good of public in general but class and caste. as reported by the Second Pay Commission.76 lakhs in 1994. whether it is the number of ministries or departments. The personnel engaged in all these bodies goes on merrily increasing and adding to the cost of the ever-expanding exchequer. At the time of the transfer of power in 1947. The number has been growing constantly. An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www. 1948. while the situation at the centre has not been so bad vis-a-vis. By 1973 this number had gone up to 60 and stood at 68 in 1987. commerce. the ministries dealing with industrial development. The ministries in the small states of the north east similarly tend towards proliferation for political reasons. According to the Fifth Pay Commission (1994-97) the number of Central government employee was 38. education. In brief. secretariat officers of the civil services. This wholesome advice has. This increase has naturally led to a rise in the number of secretariat officers.45 lakhs. there is near confusion in the administrative field.com) Page 45 . social welfare. Proliferation in Administration: It is the dominant trend in this period. public undertakings boards and commissions. It appears impossible to limit the number of ministries in a government. Here we shall confine ourselves with the unprecedented increase in the expansion of secretariat and public services in general. Because of the change of the ideals and goals of government after independence. technology.4. etc. Such proliferation has been accompanied by the vast increase in the number of ministries and departments. however. To check such increase a high power committee has recommended that the number of such appointees should not exceed 10 percent of the total number of legislators in the legislature. not been followed in practice and the number of ministers has usually been determined on political considerations. nobody in the country known the exact number of such bodies at any given time. There has been tremendous proliferation all over.indiancivils. the work of the government of India was carried ourt by only 18 ministries. the budgetary allocations etc. In fact. the number rose to 29. In 1947 the number of members in the Central Council of Ministers stood at 16.82 lakhs in 1971. At the top of these civil servants are the three all India services. and stood at 34. new constitutional or merely legal bodies. This increase has naturally been adding in the number of political appointees in charge of various departments and ministries. The number rose to 17. as shown below: Name of the Post 1973 1991 Secretary/Special Secretary 50 124 Additional Secretary 44 103 Joint Secretary 219 411 Directors 124 369 Deputy Secretary 404 525 Under Secretary 617 1124 The number of central government employees on April 1.
and most of the items are important factors making for unity.. Power lodged in Central organisms for resolving many conflict between Centre and State.. “Two parliamentary systems operating currently... A certain small but important civil service common to the states and the Centre .” A central power to veto state legislation where it is held to conflict with national law.. lack of ‘action mindedness’. Diminishing or disappearing influence of grants in aid on policy in so far as the grants become customary continuing and not increasing steadily and largely in amount.. Appointed of governors by the centre.. an American Commentator on Indian administration.. factors making for unity and factors making for disunity.. as well as customs.An undercurrent of non-democratic ideology among a small but militant minority..... Paul H... An Online IAS Interactive Coaching Institute (www.... Probable weakening of national leadership in time or at particular times. Natural preoccupation of most people with their personal affairs.. Appleby. capable of disproportionate influence in association with popular disappointment over the rate and tempo of reforms. Central collection of national revenue. especially within a strong State..com) Page 46 . this is an impressive list.. one in the centre and one in the States.. the absence of a well filled in social hierarchy with relatively easy movement and communication between level in such a hierarchy.it may be useful to attempt to identify these factors and to ask whether those making for unity are sufficient. capable of coming under the control of different parties (Like today).. Since success of India as a nation is the prerequisite to all other kinds of success here including the success of the sates . and the related resentment of governmental taxation and ‘interference. The general character of the constitution in leaving considerable room for flexibility and evolution... etc. .. gives a brilliant exposition of the administrative make-up or our society in the following way.In spite of the emergency powers provided in the constitution an apparently diminishing capacity of the centre to exercise those powers by taking over administration of government within a state.. when ordinary leaders follow extraordinary leaders... Provision of an emergency power under the Centre might take over administration in a State.. absence of any nucleus field structure of the Centre around which to establish emergency administration.. they are more or less balanced by other factors tending towards disunity. and growing hostility to the idea ... Central capacity for influencing State policy through grants in aid and loans.. educational and economic gap between the mass of citizens and the elite elements of leadership.Before proceeding further it is necessary to have an appreciation of the administrative context in which Indian society has been destined to shape itself.. administration of defiance and foreign affairs.Let us first consider those making for unity. The great social.. .... Central monopoly of income taxes other than agricultural and central excise taxes. both in the Indian Constitution and in present society and practice. and distrust of government.indiancivils.. “There are . However. Prospective disappearance of the one party situation. No doubt.