Bureaucracy is the sovereign factor in public administration. It is also called manpower management, personnel management, labour welfare management and so on. But bureaucracy has wider meaning; it deals with classification, recruitment promotion compensation, discipline and retirement benefits of the personnel in government.

According to Encyclopedia of Britannica bureaucracy is a body of professional, full time officials employed in the civil affairs of a state in non-political capacity”. It is a professional body of officials, permanent paid and skilled. The requirements of the civil service are that it shall be impartially selected, administratively competent, politically neutral and imbibed with the service to the community. It does not include persons of military service, judicial service and police service. It does not include persons who hold political offices and those persons who work for the state without being paid that is in an honorary capacity. Thus Bureaucracy is a body of professional administrators as opposed to amateur politicians. Impartial selection that is its members are appointed by an open competition as against politicians who are elected on party lines. They are paid regularly by the state and do not have the incentive of private profit while in civil service. It is a career service in the sense that its members take up public service as a lifetime occupation. Its members are skilled in the sense that they become expert in their profession due to continuous work experience. It is organized on the principle of hierarchy in which a chain of command stretches in a pyramid fashion from the lowest office to the highest. Neutrality that is its members serves different political regimes impartially. Anonymity that is its members works without praise or blame.


 Implementation of Policy— It is the most important and fundamental function of civil servants. They execute laws and policies to attain the goals of welfare state that is social equity economic development and so on.

Formulation of Policy—Formulation of Policy is the function of political executive. But civil servants have also come to play role in it. They aid and advise the ministers in policy making. Political executives being amateurs cannot understand the technical complexities of policies and hence depend upon the expert advice of professional civil servants.

Delegated Legislation—This is a quasi legislative function performed by the civil service. Due to lack of time, pressure of work and increased complexities of legislation the legislative makes laws in skeleton form and delegate’s power to the executive to fill in the details. Thus, civil servants make the sub-laws, rules and regulations, but within the limits of the parent law enacted by the legislature. Delegated legislation is also known as executive legislation or subordinate legislation.

Administrative Adjudication—This is a queasier judicial functions performed by the civil service. The civil servants settle disputes between the citizens and the state. For this purpose, the Administrative Tribunals with judges are established. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Industrial Tribunals, Rent Tribunals and Railway Rates Tribunals are some of the examples of such tribunals in India. These tribunals function outside the ordinary court system.

In addition to the above, the civil service also performs the following functions—Administrative planning, Administration of public enterprises, a Assisting the ministers in fulfilling their responsibilities towards the parliament and its committees, handling financial operations of the state reforming and improving administration through O and M and public relations.


(i)      Guardian Bureaucracy—Under this system, the civil servants works as the guardians (custodians) of justice and welfare of the community. He is selected on the basis of his education. Ancient Chinese bureaucracy and Prussian bureaucracy during the seventeenth and Eighteenth century, the bureaucracy in such system was a scholastic officialdom trained in right conduct according to the classics.

(ii)      Caste Bureaucracy—Such bureaucracy arises from the class connection of those who are in controlling positions; under this system those who belong to the upper castes and upper classes become civil servants. For example Brahmins and Kshatriyas were appointed to administrative posts in ancient India. Such a bureaucracy also manifests in another way linking the qualifications for the higher posts with arrangements that amount to class preference. It is also known as Aristocratic Personnel System.

(iii) Patronage Bureaucracy—Under this system, recruitment to
civil service is based on personal favour or political reward. This type is also known as the spoils system. The traditional home of this system has been the U.S.A.

(iv) Merit Bureaucracy—This is the most widely prevalent type of civil service system. Under this system the civil servants are selected and appointed on the basis of their merit only. Government jobs are thrown open to talent. The merit bureaucracy is governed by objectives and standards specified by the Principle of admission on the basis of prescribed qualification as attested by the outcome of a written examination. Thus
by winning appointment the successful candidates do not incur debt to any sponsor or patron. The elements of the merit system are recruitment by open competitive examinations. In this training programmes, position classification, rational approach to pay and allowances, promotion based on merit principle and retirement programmes are found.

The role and power of bureaucracy have enormously increased in modern states, which have welfare orientation. It has come to play an important in legislative and judicial spheres in addition to its role in administration. This increased role and concentration of powers in the hands of bureaucracy have been criticized by eminent critics.

Recruitment—Recruitment is the cornerstone of the whole public personnel structure. Unless recruitment policy is soundly conceived there can be little hope for building a first rate staff.

Training—Training is an action process by which capabilities of the personnel can be improved to meet organizational needs in terms of their knowledge, skills and attitudes required in performing organizational tasks and functions within relatively short period of time.

Promotion—The right promotion at the right time is an essential part of the process of developing full talents of men and women in the services. Promotion is appointment from a given position to a position of higher grade involving a change of duties to a more difficult type of work and greater responsibility, accompanied by change of title and usually an increase in pay.

Pay and Service Conditions—The conditions of service of a government servant includes pay allowances periodical increment, leave promotion, tenure or termination of service, transfer deputation, various types of rights, disciplinary action holidays, hours of work and retirement benefits like pension provident fund and so on.

Neutrality and Anonymity—A proper and harmonious relationship between the political executive and the civil servant is of great importance for the smooth and efficient functioning of the government machinery. The political executive gets its power from the people through a mechanism of periodic elections and exercises power by virtue of the constitutional position. The civil, both administrative positions and technical expertise as the democratic government is based on the principal of popular sovereignty. The civil servant is subordinated to the political executive who represents the people.

Neutrality means political impartiality or non-political nature of civil service. It implies civil servants should remain non political and must serve différent governments in power impartially. They should render free and frank advice to political executives without political considerations. They should be objective, dispassionate, apolitical and non political band of professional administration doing that job with efficiency, loyalty, proficiency and dedication.

Anonymity means that the civil servants must work from behind the curtain without praise or blame. Anonymity meant that the civil servants would merely advise the politician from behind and would be protected from being exposed to din and fury of politics. The norm of anonymity requires that Minister has to answer for the actions of the civil servants working under him in the Parliament and thus protect them from the criticism of the Parliamentarians. This implies that the Minister assumes total responsibility for aie commissions and omissions of acts of civil servants working under him.


  • Integrity
  • Loyalty to the nation
  • Honesty
  • Efficiency
  • Non Partisan Attitude
  • Humbleness of Civil Servants
  • Non-Corruptiveness
  • Devotion to Duty
  • Sense of Public Good
  • Secrecy
  • Neutrality
  • Anonymity
  • Impartiality
  • Fairness
  • Sincerity

Evils of Bureaucracy—According to some thinkers, the concentration of powers in the hands of bureaucracy has endangered the liberties of citizens. Such phenomenon is characterized as New Despotism. The growth of delegated legislation is described as triumph of bureaucracy as it makes bureaucracy powerful. According to Laski bureaucracy is system of government the control of which is so completely in the hands of officials that their power jeopardizes the liberties of ordinary citizens.

 In our system of government the power of bureaucracy is enormously strong whether in administration in legislation or in finance. It has become most vital and potent element in our system of government although in the eyes of law it wields/scarcely any formal authority. Bureaucracy thrives under the cloak of ministerial responsibility. It is ruinous when it becomes the master. An increase in the number and size of the civil service and the volume of work are not related to each other at all. In other words bureaucracy is self perpetuating in the sense that the civil servants have a tendency to increase day by day in number irrespective of the work load. The official’s make work for each other. It has the tendency to multiply its work and creates new jobs for itself.

However, bureaucracy also has a positive dimension. It has made public administration more efficient, specialized and rational predictable and impersonal. Democracy, if it knows its business has no reason to fear bureaucracy. In fact Bureaucracy is the price of Parliamentary democracy.