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The history of public administration in India begins from the Ancient India. Later, during the Mughal rule and the British rule, a lot of factors in the public administration changed. From the monarchy of kings to the creation of the Federal republic and the Parliamentary system, the evolution of public administration in India took place. In this article, we will walk through India’s history of public administration. But first, let us quickly discuss what Public administration means.

What is Public Administration?

Public Administration is a part of administration. It includes the management of Government activities in the public. For example, education, agriculture, health, etc. All the various policies and departments that are for the welfare of the public, come under Public Administration. In the present, the administration is done by Council of Ministers, Prime Minister, and the President of India. But, this has not always been the same. There has been an evolution of Public Administration in India. This can be understood by discussing the Ancient, Mughal, and British periods in the history. Let us talk about this in detail.

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Public Administration in the Ancient Phase

The form of Government in the Ancient phase was Monarchial. Meaning that the king was the head of the administration. In this phase, the following periods had a developed public administration. Ancient India’s history of public administration is as follows.

Rig-Vedic Period

  • Family was the smallest unit
  • Villages were headed by Gramini
  • Multiple villages formed a Vish which was headed by a Vishpati
  • Multiple Vishes formed a Jan headed by Gopa 

Post-Vedic Period

  • Increase in number of officers in Finance, Defence, etc.
  • Council of Ministers to advice the king
  • Head of the Council of members was called Mukhyanatya
  • Sabha was an assembly where the important members of the society advised the king
  • Samiti was a larger assembly in which all the member of the society took part

Epic Period

  • Public Administration in this period was very well developed
  • The administration comprised of the King, Ministers, and Councils
  • Focus of the administration was to fulfill its Dharma, promote morality, and maintain the prosperity and happiness of the people

Mauryan Period

  • The empire consisted of provinces
  • Each province had smaller districts
  • Further, the districts had rural and urban areas
  • Villages were crucial in distributing the administrative duties for decentralization
  • The King had the powers in execution, judiciary, and legislation
  • Commander of the army and head of military administration were also the roles of the king
  • Administrative departments had an Adhyaksha (Superintendent) as head

Public Administration in the Mughal Phase

During this phase, rulers like Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Auramgzed carried out the administration. The form of government was still Monarchial. That is the King was the head. India’s history of public administration during the Mughal phase was as follows.

  • Administration in the Mughal Phase was the Mansabdari system. It combined the Military and civil administration
  • The empire consisted of Subas or Provinces
  • Head of the Province was a Subedar or Governor
  • Each province consisted of Sarkars with the officers in the administration as heads
  • In rural areas, the village headman and subordinate watchmen formed the Police administration. While in Cities, it was the Kotwals
  • The Wazir or Diwan carried out the revenue administration. Under the Wazir were the Mushriff and Mustaufi

Public Administration in the British Phase

The form of Government during the British Phase was diarchy. There were various reforms, legislations, and acts passed. Some of these include Charter Act of 1853, Pitt’s India Act of 1784, and the Government of India Act 1935. Let us discuss the history of Public Administration in India during the British rule.

  • The Government of India Act (1935) brought the diarchy system at the central level
  • Police station was created along with the posts like SP, IGP, etc
  • Introduction of Rule of law and judicial independence
  • Introduction of legislations like the Police Act (1861), Indian Penal Code (1860), and the Indian Evidence Act (1872)
  • The administration of revenue introduced Budget in 1860
  • In 1860, Central Revenue department was created
  • Civil Service came into the picture
  • In 1926, Federal Public Service Commission was created

This is how the evolution of Public Administration in India took place. The introduction of new legislations and the changes in the role of ministers, all of it were important for the development of public administration. Today, India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. It has a Parliamentary form od Government which has Council of Ministers, Prime Minister, and the President. We hope that this article was helpful for you. You can post your doubts in the comment section below.

History Of Public Administration In India FAQs

What do you mean by Public administration?

Public Administration is a part of administration. It involves the implementation of Government policies among the public.

Who is the father of Public Administration?

Woodrow Wilson is the father of Public Administration.

What does the evolution of public administration in India look like?

The earliest public administration in India had Monarchy as the form of government. Later, diarchy was introduced. Finally, we have the parliamentary system.

What type of administration do we have in India?

India has a Parliamentary form of Government which has Council of Ministers, Prime Minister, and the President.

Who is the head of Public Administration in India?

The Minister is the head of Public Administration departments in India

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