Answer the following in detail with reference to the given points.
Define public administration and explain its scope with reference to the following points.
- narrow perspective
- wider perspective
Public Administration is a sub-discipline of Political Science. It focuses on 'government in action' i.e., implementation of government decisions, policies and programmes in fields of social security and welfare, law and order, transport and communication, health and sanitation, etc.
The executive branch of government consists of the Political Executive (council of ministers) and Permanent/Non-political Executive or Bureaucracy. Public Administration as a subject studies the activity and process of the government.
According to Waldo, 'Public Administration is the art and science of management as applied to the affairs of the state'.
Public Administration broadly includes the following -
- Activities of all three branches of government, especially that of the executive branch.
- Non-political public bureaucracy operating in a political system.
- Management of public affairs and policy execution.
- Concerned with public welfare and hence provides service and regulatory functions to the people to attain a good life.
Scope of public Administration.
Public Administration can be studied as two categories.
(i) Narrow perspective - It focuses on aspects related only with the executive branch of government. Gullick and Urwick sum this view in the acronym POSDCORB to denote Planning, Organisation, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting, Budgeting.
- Planning - working out in broad outline/blueprint of what is to be done and methods to be adopted for it. e.g., NITI Aayog has adopted the approach of grassroots - national level.
- Organisation - establishing the formal structure of authority through which work is delegated, defined, and coordinated e.g. All India services.
- Staffing - recruitment, training, and working conditions of personal e.g., in India this is through UPSC.
- Directing - making decisions and issuing instructions and orders as the administration is a continuous activity.
- Coordinating - interrelating the work of various selections and parts of the organisation to eliminate overlapping of work or conflict over responsibility
- Reporting - reporting to superiors/higher authorities any information about on-going/completed tasks. This ensures responsibility and accountability.
- Budgeting - refers to fiscal planning, control, and accounting.
(ii) Wider perspective - This differs from the narrow, managerial view of public administration. It includes activities of all three branches of the government, their interrelationships, Specialized government functions such as defence, finance, health care, etc. as well as collaborations with private groups e.g., NGO's in providing services to the community. This view is concerned with techniques of administration (POSDCORB) as well as with substantive matters of administration.
According to Woodrow Wilson, 'Administration is the most obvious part of the government- it is a government in action, the most visible, operative side of the government.'