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Indianization Of Public Services

Indianization Of Public Services


  • The most important legacy of the British rule in India was the creation of the Indian Civil Service.
  • The idea of a merit-based service originated in India for the first time with the submission of the Macaulay report in 1854. The idea of a specific age limit to compete in the examination also evolved in 1854.
  • Another important contribution of the British rule was the idea that the competitive examinations be conducted by an independent agency.
  • Accordingly, the Federal Public Service Commission was cre­ated in 1926 and entrusted with the task of recruiting civil servants.
  • The training system was institutionalized by the British.
  • By setting up of William College in 1880 at Calcutta and continued with several modifications and innovations till the end of the British rule in India.

Civil Services Under The East India Company (1675-1875)

  • The development of the civil services in India dates back to the fiGt quarter of the 17th century, when some British merchants, under the banner of the East India Company, came to India for the purposes of trade. The earliest organised civil service in British.
  • India was the ‘Covenanted Civil Service’ which constituted a group of men who canied on the trade of the East India Company and were known as its ‘civil servants’.
  • These were distinct from the naval and military officers of the company. The servants of the company were purely commercial agents, known as ‘factors’ and were incharge of the trading stations which were established along the sea coasts. These ‘factors’ were neither statesmen nor administrators, but those who had some knowledge of Eastern trade.
  • In 1675, the company established a regular gradation of posts..Thus a youngman was recruited first as an ‘apprentice’ to later become a ‘writer’ and, after serving in this capacity for five years, could be promoted as a ‘factor’.
  • The ‘factors’ after putting in three years service could be promoted as ‘Junior Merchants’ who usually after a period of three years of service could become ‘Senior Merchants’. The business transacted by these officials was commercial in nature.
  • Initially, the power of appointment to these posts vested with the Court of Colnmittees but, in 17 14, it was laid down that appointments in the company were to be made through the recommendatory nomination of the members of the Court of Directors.
  • Every writer had to enter into a convenant or indenture with the company. It was a long document which contained many conditions including faithful, honest, diligent and careful service and bound the writers to observe, keep and fulfil each and every order of the company and the Court of Directors.
  • Hence they were known as covenanted civil servants. This patronage principle operated in varied modes and forms till 1833, when limited competitive element in the selection of company writers was introduced.
  • The Regulating Act of 1773 made a clear distinction between the civil and commercial functions of the company which resulted in a separate personnel classifica_tiori. The commercial transactions of the company were to be kept separate from revenue and judicial administration, which were to be conducted by a separate class of servants.                  Indianization Of Public Services
  • The Act also prohibited private trading by all those civil servants responsible for collection of revenues or administration of justice. Private trading was restricted to those engaged in commercial transactions. It forbade civil servants from accepting any gifts from the people.
  • It can be said that the Charter Act of 1793 made a significant contribution to the development of civil services in India. It laid down that any vacancy’occuning in any of the civil offices in India “shall be filled from amongst the civil servants of the company belonging to the Presidency in which such vacancies occurred”.
  • The Act excluded outsiders from entering the service even though they enjoyed patronage in England. The Acttried to improve the morale of the civil service by making it a closed and exclusive service. The maximum age limit for appointment to the post of writer was raised to 22 years.
  • In 1800, Govemor General Wellesley, established the college at Fort WiIliams with the objective of training civil servants. But this was not favoured by the Court of Directors.
  • Finally, in 1806, the Court of Directors decided to set up a training institution at Haileybury in England which was accorded a statutory status by the Charter Act of 1813.
  • The writers nominated by the Court of Directors of the Company were required to undergo two years of training at the institution and pass an examination before they were confirmed as writers. The areas of training included European classical languages, law, politrcal economy, general history, oriental languages etc. This College was abolished later in 1857.

Imperial Civil Service (1858-1917)

  • On the termination of company’s government in 1858, Indian administration came directly under the Crown.
  • The Government of India Act, 1858 vested the power of superior appointments of a political nature with Her Majesty. Her powers, in actual practice, were 7 exercisable by the Secretary of State for India, a Minister of Cabinet rank, who was to be I assisted by an under secretary and a council of fifteen members.
  • The powers and functions I I exercised by the Board of Control and Court of Directors were transferred to the Secretary of State in Council. The responsibility for the conduct of competitive examinations for appointment to her Majesty’s civil service was transferred to the Civil Service Commission (set up in 1855) in London.
  • With 1858, started a new era in the history of public services in India. The system of reserving certain posts for the members of the covenanted service was introduced. This t continued upto Independence and still to some extent is a part of the successor service i.e. I the Indian Administrative Service, The Indian Civil Service Act, 1861 rescrved certain I principal posts to be filled from the covenanted service. All these posts were put in a schedule.
  • There was growing demand by educated Indians to secure employment in the Covenanted Civil Service. There was failure on the part of Bricsh to fulfil the assurance given in the Government of India Act, 1833 and Queen’s Proclamation of 1858.            Indianization Of Public Services
  • The Act provided that no Indian ‘shall by reason of his religion, place of birth, descent, colour, or any of them, be disabled from holding. any place, or employment’ under the Government of the East India Company. The selection based on patronage prevented Indians from getting into the service.
  • Though open competition was introduced under the Charter Act of 1853, the provisions such as fulfilment of fitness criteria for competition, holding of examination in London did not let Indians compete.
  • The British Parliament passed an Act in 1870 authorising the appointment of any Indian (of proved merit and ability) to any office or the civil service without reference to the Act of 1861 which reserved specific appointments to the covenanted service.
  • It also did not make the desired headway, as the opinion was divided on throwing open all civil appointments, or establishing a proportion between Indians and Europeans in the tenure of higher offices.
  • New rules were framed in 1879, which established the Statutory Civil Service; it provided that a fifth of covenanted civil service posts was to be filled by the natives. Only Indians were eligible to be appointed to this by the local government subject to approval of Government of India and the Secretary of State.
  • Unfortunately, the statutory system also failed to achieve the purpose for which it was created. With the Indian National Congress, passing in its very first session; in December, 1885, a resolution for simultaneous civil service examination in England and India, the pressure for Indianisation increased further.
  • The British government decided to consider the question of admission of Indians either to the covenanted civil service or to the offices formerly reserved exclusively to the members of the service

Aitchison Commission

  • A Commission headed by Sir Charles Aitchison was appointed in 1886, to prepare a scheme of admission of Indians to every branch of public service.
  • It was expected to look into the question of employment of Indians not only in appointments, ordinarily reserved by law for members of the covenanted civil service but also in the uncovenanted service covering lower level administrative appointments.        Indianization Of Public Services
  • The Commission rejected the idea of altering the system of recruitment to the covenanted civil service.
  • It advised the abolition of the Statutory Civil Service and advocated a three-fold classification of civil services into Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate.
  • The provincial service was an exclusive sphere of extended Indian employment in the public service. It alqo proposed a reduction of the list of the scheduled posts reserved by the Act of 1861 for the members of the covenanted civil service and the transfer of a certain number of posts to the provincial civil service.
  • As recommended by the Commission, the Statutory Civil Service was abolished.
    • The designation covenanted civil service was also done away with and the civil services of the country were divided into three grades-the imperial, provincial and subordinate civil service.
    • The superior posts were included in the imperial civil service and recruitment to it was to be made by the Secretary for State in Council.              Indianization Of Public Services
    • The provincial civil service was designated after the name of the particular province to which it belonged.
    • The lower level grades of the uncovenanted service were constituted into a subordinate service.

Civil Services Under The Government Of India Acts, 1919 And 1935

  • On 20th August 1917, E.S. Montague, the then Secretary of State in India, issued the historic declaration in the House of Commons announcing the British Government’s new policy of “increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration, development of self governing institutions with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible Government in India as an integral part of British Empire”.
  • A year later, i.e. in 1918, Montague and Chelmsford (the then Viceroy), both in their joint report on Constitutional changes, expressed supplementing the recruitment to civil services in England by fixing a definite percentage of recruits from India.
  • The percentage was fixed at thirty-three per cent for superior posts with an annual increase of one-and-a-half per cent. They proposed an increase in percentage of recruitment to other services in India. They were in favour of appointments to be open to all branches of public services without racial discrimination and holding a separate competitive examination in India.
  • The Government of India Act, 1919 on Constitutional reforms recommended a threefold classification of services into All India, provincial and subordinate.
  • All the Imperial services then functioning in the provinces whether in the reserved or transferred departments, were designated as the ‘All India Services’. Special safeguards were guaranteed to the members of All India Services in regard to dismissal, salaries, pensions and other rights.
  • The Act proposed as a safeguard against political influence the constitution bf a Public Service Commission entrusted with the task of recruitment to the service.
  • In 1922, the first competitive examination was held under the supervision of the Civil Service Commission. The Indian candidates selected on the basis of its results were put on probation for two years at an English University.              Indianization Of Public Services

The Lee Commission

  • In the midst of great political furore in India over the negative British response towards Indianisation of services and in view of the several complicated problems in relation to the public service matters, in 1923 a Royal Commission on Superior Civil Services in India uhder the chairmanship of Lord Lee was appointed.
  • The Commission recommended the division of main services into three classes :
    • All India
    • central and
  • The central services were those which dealt with the Indian states and foreign affairs, with i administration of the state railways, posts and telegraphs, customs, audit and accounts, scientific and technical departments.
  • The Commission recommended that the Secretary of State should retain the powers of appointment and control of the All India Services (mainly Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Medical Service, Indian Forest Service and Indian Service of Engineers) operating in the reserved fields of administration.
  • The most important recommendation of the Lee Commission was regarding services operating in the transferred fields (e.g. Indian Educational Service, Indian Agricultural Service, Indian Veterinary Services eic.), whose further recruitment and appointments were to be made by the concerned local governments.
  • Thus those services were to be provincialised. The existing members of the All India Services were to retain all rights of the officers of All India Services, but the provincial governments were given powers of appointment only on occurrence of fresh vacancies.              Indianization Of Public Services

The Government of India Act, 1935 (Indianisation of Higher Civil Services etc.)

  • As the Act of 1935 introduced provincial autonomy under responsible Indian Ministers, the rights and privileges of the members of the civil services were carefully protected.
  • The protection of the rights and privileges of the civil service was a special responsibility of both the Governors and the Governor General. It was provided that a civil servant was not to be dismissed from service by an authority below the rank of the officers who had appointed him.
  • The salaries, pensions, emoluments were not subject to the vote of the legislature. The Act also provided for the setting up of a Public Service Commission for the federation and a Public Service Commission for each of the provinces, though two or more provinces could agree to have a Joint Public Service Commission.
  • As a result of introduction of provincial autonomy under the Act, only three services i.e. Indian Civil Service, the Indian Police Service and Indian Medical Service were to continue as All India Services. Recruitment to other All India Services (Indian Agricultural Service, Veterinary Service, Educational Service, Service of Engineers, Forest) were provincialised, their recruitment and control coming under the provincial government. The serving me’mbers continued on existing terms and the conditions of service were fully protected.

Indianization Of Public Services



Public Administration by G.Rajput

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