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ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission Article shared by The major achievement of the Nehru era can be
ARC: Administrative
Reforms Commission
Article shared by
The major achievement of the Nehru era can be called
the establishment of the Department of Administrative
Reforms. It offered management advice and facilitated
the implementation of reform policies through
coordination and liaison work training in administration
got a boost and administrative information management
could provide a reliable resource for reform.
On Nehru’s demise in 1964 and a brief stint of Lal
Bahadur Shastri as Prime Minister, Morarji Desai was
the most senior political leader on whom fell the
responsibility of revamping the administrative organi -
sation of India. On 5th January, 1966 the President set up
a commission of enquiry which is popularly known as
the Administrative Reforms Commission.
It consisted of Morarji Desai as chairman and K.
Hanumanthaiya, H.C. Mathur, G.S. Pathak and H.V.
Kamath as members. All of them were members of
Parliament at that time. A senior civilian, V. Shankar,
was appointed member-secretary of the commission.
Unfortunately, due to various reasons, the membership
of the commission suffered frequent causalities needing
The first to leave the commission was G.S. Pathak on his
joining the Central cabinet in January. He was replaced
by Debabrata Mookerjee. In March 1967, Morarji Desai
himself joined the Central cabinet as Deputy Prime
Minister and K. Hanumanthaiya succeeded him as
chairman. A little later, after the death of H.C. Mathur,
T.N. Singh was appointed as member in his place.


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

ADVERTISEMENTS: The ARC as it is popularly known was given a very wide and comprehensive terms
The ARC as it is popularly known was given a very wide
and comprehensive terms of reference. It was
specifically asked to examine the public administration
of the country and make recommendations for reform
and reorganization where necessary.
Sectors of administration mentioned in the terms of
reference included:
(1) The machinery of the Government of India and its
procedure of work,
(2) The machinery for planning at all levels,
(3) Centre-state relationships,


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

(4) Financial administration, (5) Personnel administration, (6) Economic administration,


(7) Administration at the state level, (8) District administration, (9) Agriculture administration, and (10) Problems of

(7) Administration at the state level, (8) District administration, (9) Agriculture administration, and (10) Problems of redressal of citizens’ grievances.



To facilitate the work of the commission a resolution of the government detailed each of the above ten areas for specific recommendations.


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

Some of the issues to be examined under each head were:

(1) The machinery of the Government of India and its procedures of work:

  • (a) The grouping of subjects in department,

  • (b) The role of the Cabinet secretariat,

  • (c) Problems of inter-ministry coordination,

  • (d) Staffing patterns and methods of work within

ministries and departments,

  • (e) Relationship between ministries and their attached

and subordinate offices.

(2) The machinery for planning at all levels:

  • (a) Planning organisations and procedures at the Centre

and the states, and

  • (b) The relationship of the Planning Commission at the

centre and planning agencies in the states with other agencies.

(3) Centre-state relationship:

  • (a) Centre-state relationship in the realm of planning

and development, with particular reference to the growth of central agencies handling subjects in the Concurrent and State Lists,

  • (b) Centre-state relationship in other spheres, with

particular reference to the needs of national integration

and of maintaining efficient standards of administration throughout the country.

(4) Financial administration:

  • (a) Budgetary reform,


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

  • (b) Reform in the administration of accounts,

  • (c) The role of audit,

  • (d) The system of expenditure control, including

procedures for sanctioning schemes and the problem of financial delegation and decentralisation,

  • (e) Procedures governing financial relations between the

Centre and the state.

(5) Personnel administration:

  • (a) Personnel planning and organisation for it,

  • (b) Recruitment policies and procedures, including

selected techniques,

  • (c) The Union Public Service Commission and the State

Public Service Commissions,

  • (d) Promotion policies and incentives,

  • (e) Policy and rules to ensure efficiency, honesty and

maintenance of morale,

  • (f) Training,

  • (g) Role of the Cabinet Secretary and the ministries of

home affairs and finance,

  • (h) Personnel management of public sector enterprises.

(6) Economic administration:

  • (a) Economic coordination and role of departments of

economic affairs and coordination. Planning Commission and the department of industry,

  • (b) Administration of foreign exchange,

  • (c) Export promotion and role of the concerned



ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

  • (d) Review of the mechanism and procedures of

economic controls,

  • (e) Role of the ministry of industry and supply vis-a-vis

other ministries,

  • (f) Organisation for promoting industries in the private


(7) Administration at state level:

  • (a) Examination of organisation and procedures of state

government with special reference to problems of allied nature,

  • (b) The need to strengthen administration in the states at

all levels.

(8) District administration:

  • (a) The role of the collector in respect of general

administration and development adminis tration, and as the agent of the state government,

  • (b) The role of the collector in the matter of public

grievances and complaints,

  • (c) The relationship between the collector and

Panchayati Raj institutions,

  • (d) The relationship between the collector and

departmental heads at the district and supra-district levels,

  • (e) The size of districts,

  • (f) Personnel policies in relation to the post of collector.

(9) Agricultural administration:

  • (a) The role of the ministry of food and agriculture and

other ministries concerned with agricultural production,


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

and coordination between them.

  • (b) Inter-relationships between state agriculture

departments, community development organisations and other organisations concerned with agricultural production in the states,

  • (c) Organisation for agricultural administration at the

state and district levels,

  • (d) Coordination between research and extension


(10) Problems of redressal of citizens’ grievances:

  • (a) The adequacy of the existing arrangements for the

redressal of grievances,

  • (b) Need for introduction of any new machinery of

special institution for redress of griev ances.

The details helped the Commission to constitute study teams and develop a dialogue with knowledgeable people and an active interface among the members of the Commission. Morarji Desai remained the chairman of the Commission for few months and was later succeeded by K. Hanumanthaiya.

The government asked the commission to consider the need for ensuring the highest standards of efficiency and integrity in the public services, and for making public adminis tration a fit instrument for carrying out the social and economic policies of the government. A comprehensive enquiry of this type was to be undertaken in India for the first time.

The government left the commission free to “devise its own procedures, and appoint committees and advisers to assist it”. The Commission worked from January 1966 to June 1970. It set up 20 study teams, 13 working


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

groups, 4 expert groups and 1 task force to investigate into specified problems and suggest reforms.

The association of a large number of knowledgeable persons in public life of the country worked with these teams and groups which made the commission available a variety of insights on different aspects of administrative reforms. The commission submitted 20 reports in all to the Central government which comprised 578 recommendations.

The reports of the commission came on the following subjects in the years noted against each:

(1) Problems of Redress of Citizen’s Grievances (1966) (2) Machinery of Planning (Interim) (1967) (3) Public Undertakings (1967) (4) Finance, Accounts and Audit (1968) (5) Economic Administration (1968) (6) Machinery of Government of India and its Procedures of Work (1968) (7) Life Insurance Corporation (1968) (8) Machinery for Planning (1968) (9) Central Direct Tax Administration (1969) (10) Administration of Union Territories and NEFA


(11) Personnel Administration (1969) (12) Delegation of Financial and Administrative Powers


(13) Centre-state Relations (1969)


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

(14) State Administration (1969) (15) Small Scale Sector (1969) (16) Railways (1970) (17) Treasuries (1970) (18) Reserve Bank of India (1970) (19) Post and Telegraphs (1970) (20) Scientific Departments (1970)

Additionally, the ARC produced 33 reports of the study teams and working groups. Out of about 580 recommendations of the ARC, most of them were of a procedural nature or restated the well-known positions of the commission. The commission recommended actions and study team reports have a mine of ideas which go a long way to induct specialisation, professionalisation and de-centralisation in administration.

The concern for efficiency, effectivity and economy is writ large on all these recommendations, the commissions has finalised. The earlier reports in varied areas have been re-examined and the conclusions tend to further the reform process initiated by Dean Paul Appleby.

The abstract of the major reports of ARC are reproduced here:

(1) The Machinery of Government:

(i) The size of the council of ministers should be determined by administrative needs, and national combination of subjects into ministerial portfolios be encouraged.


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

(ii) The Cabinet Secretary should be a general coordinator and principal staff adviser to the prime minister, the cabinet and the cabinet committees.

(iii) A department of personnel should be set up under the prime minister and its functions should be the formulation of personnel policies and review of their implementation, talent-hunting, development of personnel manpower planning, training and career devel opment.

(iv) There should be only two levels of consideration below the minister, namely,

  • (i) Under secretary/deputy secretary, and

(ii) Joint secretary/additional secretary/secretary with a ‘desk-officer’ system.

  • (v) Responsibility for overall coordination within a

ministry should be assigned to one of the

department/secretaries appropriate for this purpose.

(vi) The department of administrative reforms should be placed under the deputy prime minister. (vii) The existing O&M units should be reactivised.

(2) Centre-states Relationships:

  • (i) An Inter-state council consisting of the prime minister

as chairman, the finance minister, the home minister, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and five representatives, one each from the five zonal councils should perform functions under Article 263 of the Constitution.

(ii) The Finance Commission should make recommendations on the principles which should govern the distribution of plan grants to the states.


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

(iii) Powers should be delegated to the maximum extent to the states with regard to their work on projects in which the Centre is interested or which are carried out by them.

(3) Personnel Administration:

(i) There should be a unified grading structure for the entire civil service so as to facilitate the movement of officers from one area to another as per need or competence.

(ii) Greater opportunities should be provided to government servants of lower ranks to rise rapidly as high as their competence and performance warrant.

(iii) Wherever the members involved in a particular function are viable, the posts should be grouped into regularly constituted services.

(iv) The present system of confidential reports is replaced by performance reports to get civil servants merit properly assessed (The Manmohan Singh government has accepted it with sweeping modifications).

(v) The public servants should not have a right to strike and their grievance should be settled through a joint consultative machinery and administrative tribunals.

(vi) There should be an improvement of recruitment policies and procedures, pruning of excessive personnel, abolition of unnecessary and ineffective organisations, fixation of work norms, simplification and codification of rules, rationalisation of holidays and strict limitation of overtime work and transfers. (vii) A functional field must be carved out for the IAS. (viii) Central training division in the department of personnel be created.


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

(ix) Both the husband and wife should not be employed under government at the same time.

  • (x) A civil servant may be allowed to retire voluntarily

after he has completed 5 years of service and given

proportionate pension and gratuity.

(xi) The quantum of pension admissible may be raised to three-sixths of the average emolu ments of the last three years as against the existing three-eighths.

(4) Finance, Accounts and Audit:

  • (i) The November 1 should begin the financial year to

facilitate a more realistic assessment of revenue and an

even spread of expenditure.

(ii) The departments and organisations should introduce performance budgeting, which would inter-relate financial outlays with physical targets and achievements and present estimates and expenditure on terms of functions, programmes, activities and projects.

(iii) Audit should aim at a positive and constructive approach to see improvements in organi sational efficiency and effectiveness of financial rules and procedures.

(iv) The Commission did not consider the question of separation of audit from accounts.

  • (v) The system of internal financial advice should be

strengthened to develop financial competence within

each department of ministry.


ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

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ARC: Administrative Reforms Commission

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