W. Wilson:“Administration is the most obvious part of government; it is government in action, it is the executive, the operative and the most visible side of the government ".
01.Importance of Public Administration
The contemporary age, which has witnessed the emergence of ‘Administrative State’, public administration has become an essential part of society and a dominant factor.
The functions it is called upon to perform, have expanded in scope and nature, and what is more, are continually increasing. Many of them are more positive in nature because they care for the essential requirements of human life, be it health, education, recreation, sanitation, social security or others. It is, therefore, a creative factor, with its motto being ‘human welfare’.
These functions are over and above its regulatory functions. The view points of eminent scholars, as referred to below, amply reflect the significance of public administration.
Woodrow Wilson:“Administration is the most obvious part of government; it is government in action, it is the executive, the operative and the most visible side of the government.
Brooke Adams:“Administration is an important human faculty because its chief function is to facilitate social change and to cushion the stock of social revolution”.
W.B. Donham,‘If our civilization fails, it will be mainly because o breakdown of administration’.
Paul H. Appleby:‘Administration is the basis of government. No government can exist without administration. Without administration government would be a discussion club, if indeed, it could exist at all’.
02.The role of public administration in various facets
A Government can exist without a legislature or an independent judiciary. But no Government can exist without administration.
An instrument for providing services:Public administration mainly concerned with the performance of various activities performed by government in the public interest.
Felix A. Nigro aptly remarks, “The real core of administration is the basic service which is performed for the public”.
a)An instrument for implementing policies
Modern governments go a long way in formulating and adopting sound policies laws and regulations. It should not be forgotten that such policies, laws, etc. are not merely printed papers. Such paper declarations of intent are translated into reality by public administration thus converting words into action and form into substance.
b)A stabilizing force in society
Public administration is a major force for bringing stability in society.
It has been observed that though government often changes, but violent change is seldom experienced by administration. An element of continuity between the old and the new orders is provided by public administration.
It does not hold true only of constitutional changes of government in democratic countries, but is also reflected when there are revolutionary changes in the form and character of government.
c)An instrument of social change and economic development
Public administration’s role as a change agent is particularly crucial in developing nations. It is expected of the state at present to work for accelerating socio-economic change and not to be a passive agency to maintain the status quo.
The present day government is expected to provide various services to its population.
The increase in the number of functions undertaken by the government require highly specialized, professional and technical, services. Modern public administration usually represents a galaxy of all of a nation’s occupations.
According to Gerald Caiden public administration has assumed the following crucial roles in contemporary modern society: preservation of polity; maintenance of stability and order; institutionalization of Socio-Economic changes;management of large scale commercial services; ensuring growth and economic development; protection of the weaker sections of society; formation of public opinion and influencing Public policies.
03.The points mentioned below summarise the reasons for the growing importance of public administration:
01.The industrial revolution gave rise to socio-economic problems making the government to assume new roles and responsibilities such as protection and promotion of the rights of workers in industrial establishments, etc.
Consequently, the state has enacted a number of Industrial and Labour laws and it is imperative for public administration to implement such laws in order to meet the requirements of labour welfare.
02.Scientific and technological developments have brought about welcome additions in infrastructure such as power, transport and communication system.
The invention of telephone, telegraph and other mechanical devices such as typewriter, tele-printer, and calculators, photocopying machines, computers, fax and the electronic mail has brought revolutionary changes in office administration. All these have made possible ‘big government’ and ‘large scale administration’. Besides changing the ethos and character of public administration, the revolution in information and communication technologies have contributed to improved delivery of services to people.
03.Centralized economic planning has been pursued in many developing countries as a method for socio-economic development. It requires a large number of experts and elaborate administrative machinery for plan formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
Apart from the reasons cited the rapid growth of population, modern warfare, increase in natural and manmade disasters, decline in social harmony, increase in violence due to conflicts, communal riots, ethnic wars, terrorism, etc. have increased the importance of public administration.
It goes without saying that public administration is not only the operative but also the most obvious part of the government. It is government in action and occupies a significant place not merely as an instrument of governance but also as an important mechanism for preserving and promoting the welfare of community. It has substantive impact upon the life of the people. It is a vital process charged with implementation of pre-determined, welfare oriented, and developmental objectives.
L.D. White: “Public administration consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfilment or enforcement of public policy”.
As per White, this definition covers a multitude of particular operations in many fields the delivery of a letter, the sale of public land, the negotiation of a treaty, the award of compensation to an injured workman, the quarantine of a sick child, the removal of litter from a park, manufacturing uranium 235, and licensing the use of atomic energy. It includes military as well as civil affairs,