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74. Characteristics of the Civil Service

Posted 19 January 2012 / By Prof. B.R.A Rao / Political Science

Study material can be found in Test 3
1. What do you mean by the term civil service?
2. We cannot have a committed Civil Service.
3. How is entrance to the Civil Service determined?
4. Civil Service is marked by a red tape.
5. Everything the Civil Service does is recorded. Why?
6. Civil Service thrives under the cloak of Ministerial Responsibility

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Comments (24)

  • 1.The Civil Service consists of a body of experts . What do they do?

    • ADITYA KUMAR from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      Their first and most important fundamental function is implementation of government’s policies. They execute laws and policies to attain the goals of a welfare state.
      Secondly they advise the political executive on policy matters. Political executives being amateurs cannot understand technical complexities of policies and hence depend on the advise of the civil servant
      Thirdly they have quasi legislative (delegated legislation) and quasi judicial functions (administrative adjudication)

      • ADITYA KUMAR from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

        *advice of the civil servant

  • 2.How do Finer and Gladen define it?

    • ADITYA KUMAR from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      Dr.Herman Finer has defined Civil Service as “a professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled”.

      According to E.N. Gladden, “A civil servant may be defined as a servant of the Crown (not being the holder of a political or judicial office), who is employed in a civil capacity and whose
      remuneration is wholly paid out of monies provided by Parliament.”

      • Jaspreet Kaur Khaira from Chandigarh, Chandīgarh, India

        According to E.N.Gladden,”The requirements of the civil service are that it shall be impartially selected, administratively competent ,politically neutral,and imbibed with the spirit of service to the community.
        According to Herman Finer,”Civil Service is a professional body of officials,permanent,paid and skilled.”

  • 3.The Civil Service consists of professionals but they are generalists. What does it mean?

    • T.S.ARAVIND from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      The civil servants come from various academic backgrounds. Each one of them has expertise in a different field but when donning the role of a civil servant they are generalists-meaning to say that though they come from different walks of life, they are highly trained to tackle a host of issues incoherent with their area of specialisation in academics. They are generalists in the sense that their role is that of administration of whatever is entrusted to them and they are professionals in the field of administaration- for a simple reason that civil service is a number of professions pooled together.

    • b.a.nagesh from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      1.The civil servants are generalists, they know less and less about more and more.
      2.As generalists knowledge of various issues are accumulated
      over a period of time

  • 4.The Civil Service consists of a hierarchy. It serves the people but does not receive orders directly from them. Explain

    • T.S.ARAVIND from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      One of the prominent features of the civil service is the hierarchy. A hierarchical system is one which is analogous to a ladder in which each step is higher than the previous one as you go up. Orders are passed from top to bottom and never the vice-versa. Orders carry authority along with them and hence should be obeyed by subordinates when received. Each one in the hierarchy has a specific role, rank, pay and authority.
      The civil service is designed to serve the people, it does not receive orders directly from them. It is done on their behalf by the people who they elect.

  • 5.The Civil Service is marked by anonymity. What is its role regarding public opinion?

    • T.S.ARAVIND from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      Since the civil service does not receive orders directly from the people, it is also not accountable to them directly. It therefore, is impervious to public opinion but efforts should be made to position the civil service as a mediator between the government and the people.

      • Jaspreet Kaur Khaira from Chandigarh, Chandīgarh, India

        It is the mute instrument of public policy . It works under conditions of utmost secrecy . Their role being to advise,warn and assist those responsible for state policy and when the policy has been decided, to provide organisation for its implementation . Customarily,civil servants are protected from public blame or censure for their advice . All praise or blame goes to Minister . The system of ministerial responsibility which shelters civil servants from public blame and criticism , demands of them that they should act anonymously in the name of the government .

  • 6.Bureaucracy thrives under the cloak of ministerial responsibility. Explain.

    • T.S.ARAVIND from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      “Like the King, the civil service can do no wrong”. Bureaucracy can take no credit for the achievements of the government but at the same time, it cannot be blamed for any blunders or inaction. Bureaucracy exists to implement the policies of the state and help them frame policies to an extent, but the latter is not binding on the government.

      • SANTOSH RAJ from Madras, Tamil Nādu, India

        Bureaucrats are responsible to their political executive, who in turn are responsible to the legislature.for every action of civil servants the ultimate responsibility lies with their political head. hence the minsiter of department is responsibe for omission and comission of the bureacrats in his minsitry .

  • 7. The Civil service is impartial. Should it not be committed to the Government?

    • b.a.nagesh from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      1.The civil service must be committed to the
      policies and take an active part in their implementation;
      however they must not be committed to any political party

  • 8. Entrance into the Civil Service depends on merit. .Explain

    • Jaspreet Kaur Khaira from Chandigarh, Chandīgarh, India

      Civil service is essentially merit -based . The political executive has no voice in the recruitment of the civil servants . The recruitment is in the hands of an expert body which is independent of the executive .

  • 9. The Civil Service is characterized by red tape. What do you mean?

    • Chandarraj from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      The red tape is “Punctilious exactitude” in the observation of regulations.
      Bureaucracy puts too much emphasis on “procedure through proper channel” and precedents.

      Punctilious Exactitude = Particularly Exact,

    • b.a.nagesh from Bangalore, Karnātaka, India

      1. Red tape results from the various levels the file has to move both upward from the junior assistant to Section officer to the Principal Secretary of the dept to the Miniater and downwards.
      2.Red tape signifies delay as decision making gets delayed
      due to the examination of various precedents that are to be examined before a decision can be taken.

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