The Role of Civil Service in Administration
The Role of Civil Service in Administration
Etymologically civil service or bureaucracy means a rule by a set of officials. According to the dictionary of the French Academy (1798). Bureaucracy means the power and influence of the heads and staff of governmental bureaux. According to Fimer, “The civil service is a body of officials – permanent, paid and skilled. These permanent officials are called bureaucrats. They play a vital role in the administration of a country. At each level of government, the bureaucrats actively perform their respective jobs.
Characteristics of Bureaucracy:
Civil service has some characteristics :
a. Civil service follows a definite hierarchical structure.
b. The bureaucrats are regularly paid by the government. The amount of salary is determined by the positions of the bureaucrats.
C. The appointment of the officials is based on their specific qualifications of them. In most countries, special testing formats or techniques are introduced. In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Public Service commission performs the task of appointing the officials through a specific format of testing.
d. The bureaucrat is loyal or obedient to the prevailing laws e. the state. In a bureaucratic administration, every action is based on recorded information or statistics.
A model of bureaucracy or civil service given by German Philosopher Max Weber is known as the ‘Ideal Type of Bureaucracy’. Permanence, skill, impartiality, etc. are the key features of civil service.
Functions of Bureaucracy:
The administrative system of a modern state is bureaucratic by nature. Almond Powel comments that the conception of bureaucracy is one of multifunctionality. The multifarious activities of civil service are given below:
a. The decisions which are taken by the Executive department of government are implemented by the permanent body of officials. The bureaucrats put the laws passed by the Legislative into effect.
b. While implementing the decisions, they sometimes encounter various problems that requires the application of expertise to be solved. In those cases, the bureaucrats have to take some pragmatic steps in order to conduct the different activities.
C. The bureaucrats also perform some judicial functions. The registration of land, property, and trademark, are the jobs functioned by civil service. In some cases, Administrative Tribunal are made up of the bureaucrats such tribunals aim at ensuring justice.
d. The responsibility of taking measures regarding some welfare activities such as education, public health, economic progress, social security etc. and implementing those activities or projects falls on the shoulder of the civil service.
e. The day-to-day functions of the Executive are conducted by civil service. They maintain the law and order situation of the state and they are sincere and impartial in their jobs.
f. One of the most important functions of bureaucracy is to provide the ministers and the political authorities of the state with valuable suggestions and instructions. In the cabinet form of government, the bureaucrats assist the ministers to answer the questions put by Mp’s in the parliament.
g. The civil service helps the different departments of the government by providing them with the required information. So, they act as information-givers.
h. It is very obvious that political authority of state has the power to decide on the issues of foreign policy. But civil service plays an active part in the process. Moreover, bureaucrats take part in most of the international seminars, and symposiums and thus they represent their respective state.
In modern times, there exist many Pressure-creating groups. They create massive pressure on the government with a view to achieving their desired goals and aims and try to manipulate govt. decisions or policies in their favour. In these cases, bureaucrats handle the situation tactfully and they try to mediate between different groups. So, they can be called ‘moderators’.
It is very clear that civil service is very important in modern administration and modern administrative structure largely depends on civil service.
Bureaucracy and Red-tapism:
Though the role of civil service cannot be underestimated, it is not altogether free from some defects. The main defect or flaw of bureaucracy is the indifferent attitude of the bureaucrats to the public welfare and interests. They are always bound by a chain of rules and regulations. So, they are very reluctant to go beyond their chain of command. Besides bureaucracy is antagonistic to the basic principle of democracy. Democracy is a rule by the people. On the other hand, bureaucracy is a rule by bureaucrats – a body of govt. officials.
Bureaucracy or civil service is a routine-bound and hierarchical institution. Loyalty to laws is one of the main attributes of this institution. As there is a set of officials from the highest to the lowest rank, a file has to visit a number of tables for approval. As a result, it wastes a lot of time. Such delay in decision-making and implementation is named as Red-tapism.
Bureaucratic Problems in Bangladesh:
In our country, civil service is a body of paid officials, which evokes an image of an institution that is aristocratic, and isolated from common people. Our country lacks the required number of skilled officials in the administration. The code of conduct is not strong enough to motivate them to do their respective duties properly and regularly. Besides, corruption and nepotism have engulfed the institution so vehemently that the entire administration is groaning under the heel of black power. Bribery and upholding personal gains are inseparable parts of Bangladesh’s civil service.
Moreover, Our bureaucracy is bound by a parochial sense of party politics. Politics influences the institution. So much that it’s impartial mature of it is tainted. The loyalty and discipline are spoiled and they can no longer function independently. Consequently, civil service in our country is very problematic.
In our country, we see an extraordinary or super growth of bureaucracy. They sometimes, do not care about political authority and turn out to be the most influential power of the state. They become masters of the people, not the paid servant of the Republic. There are some reasons:
- Lack of consciousness of our people or lack of education.
- More and more independence or freedom and unbridled exercise of power by civil service unchecked.
- Inexperienced and weak political leaders.
- Political instability or turbulence.
Bureaucracy or civil service means a rule, bureaucrats. But the main problem with this institution is that the officials do not answer for their work or jobs. In some cases, they become very irresponsible and corrupt and thus go beyond political control. As a result, the progress of a country is hindered on a massive scale. So, finally, we can comment that civil service plays a vital role in administration but it must be corruption free and impartial in its duties.
A separate court can be formed to put the bureaucrats on trial. If they are controlled within a reasonable limit, they will turn out to be the real servants of the Republic. As a result, democratic practices will be meaningful, bringing about peace, prosperity and solidarity among the common people. We can confidently claim that the active and whole-hearted participation of our bureaucrats can radically change the to-be-or-not-to-be administration.
Documentary on Bangladesh Civil Administration