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"Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses." - Triniboynkosi

New Public Administration in India

  • Date Submitted: 08/11/2011 07:28 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.2 
  • Words: 768
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's call for a revamp of the government itself as a top priority means that the subject of modern public administration has arrived. Classical public administration, based on the works of Max Weber, looked favorably at bureaucracy as a mode of organisation in public affairs. According to Weber, bureaucracy lent legitimacy to the ruler by providing what he termed 'rational-legal administration', or government based on reason and law. The very fact that the prime minister has identified government re-organisation as a top priority implies that India's bureaucracy has failed on this score.
Modern public administration shook itself of the bureaucratic mould in the 1980s, amidst certain political and intellectual trends. In politics, both Reagan and Thatcher had taken a strong stand that government deficits must be curtailed.
Various studies went into analysing the phenomenal growth in the share of government in GDP in these countries since the Second World War. It was in this environment that William Niskanen, who was then at Harvard and currently heads Cato Institute, came out with a neat theory that, just as businessmen maximise profits and consumers utility, bureaucrats maximise budgets! The bureaucrat was identified as Public Enemy No. 1. It was because of his 'economic rationality' that government budgets were refusing to go down. The bureaucrat must go — this became the rallying cry of a new movement in the field of administration called the New Public Management (NPM).
At this point, let us pause to reflect on our predicament. It is not only that our budget deficit is huge and refusing to come down. We have the added problem that not a single function is performed satisfactorily by our gigantic bureaucracy. The latter problem was not faced by the western countries where the NPM movement began.
At its basic level, NPM says that whatever the public good or service to be 'provided'...


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