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Administrative Reforms Commission
The Government of India appoints the Committee named ARC or Administrative Reforms Commission so that it can work as reviewer and recommend reforms in the country’s public administration system like for governance system. It was on January 5, 1966 that first ARC had been established. The then MP Morarji Desai chaired the Administrative Reforms Commission at the initial stage but sooner it was chaired by K. Hanumanthaiah, MP upon Morarji R Desai being elevated to the post of country’s Deputy Prime Minister. The establishment of second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was held on 31.08,2005 as a inquiry commission to ensure country’s public administration can be revamped and for that an outline should be prepared. Veerappa Moily chaired this commission.
First Administrative Reforms Commission
The Ministry of Home Affairs under the Government of India constituted the first ARC through the resolution no. 40/3/65-AR (P) to establish it on January 5, 1966. This resolution mainly focused on the areas that included ARC composition, commission mandate and important procedures to follow amongst others.
It was mandated that the commission being established should work through giving consideration to the key requirements which result into assuring maximum level of competence and veracity in all the public services concerned. Most importantly it was assessed that the public administration should be made one of the most suitable instruments to continue with the government policies relating to society and economy henceforth ascertaining maximum goal achievement for the desired development in system, so was it focused to keep concerns of people under consideration. It was designed to look into following aspects for better governance and accuracy in the system:
- The machinery of the Government of India and its procedures of work;
- The machinery for planning at all levels;
- Center-State relationships;
- Financial administration;
- Personnel administration;
- Economic administration;
- Administration at the State level;
- District administration;
- Agricultural administration; and
- Problems of redress of citizen’s grievances.
There are certain important areas that had been excluded from the purview of Commission which included thorough investigation or examination of defence administration, railways, external affairs, intelligence and security departments besides some areas in the educational administration that might be under the examination by an existing commission that might examine that. This Commission would be powerful enough though to observe and consider the issues pertaining to that sector and can offer the recommendation in its machinery for any kind of reorganization to ensure better governance system for that it is considered a common agency for excellent service.
By the time this Commission concluded in the mid-1970s it submitted following 20 reports as findings and suggestions:
- Problems of Redress of Citizens Grievances (Interim)
- Machinery for Planning
- Public Sector Undertakings
- Finance, Accounts & Audit
- Machinery for Planning (Final)
- Economic Administration
- The Machinery of GOI and its procedures of work
- Life Insurance Administration
- Central Direct Taxes Administration
- Administration of UTs & NEFA
- Personnel Administration
- Delegation of Financial & Administrative Powers
- Center-State Relationships
- State Administration
- Small Scale Sector
- Reserve Bank of India
- Posts and Telegraphs
- Scientific Departments
Major recommendations consisting of 537 were the part of the above 20 reports submitted. Inputs were received from different administrative Ministries whose feedbacks were included in consideration of the report submitted to implement and was finally put before Parliament in November, 1977 for execution.
Second Administrative Reforms Commission
The Government of India set up the second ARC under the resolution no. K-11022/9/2004-RC for the new committee for inquiry and to formulate a thorough outline to overhaul the public administration system in a new step.
Composition of the Second ARC
- V Ramachandran - Chairperson
- Dr. A.P. Mukherjee - Member
- Dr. A.H. Kalro - Member
- Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan - Member
- Vineeta Rai - Member-Secretary
Appointment of V. Ramachandran was done once the resignation of Veerapaa Moily was accepted on April01, 2009. Previously, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had resigned on September 01, 2007 from this post.
Key mandate which the Commission was given to explore was developing a guideline about finding the accurate measures for achieving thoroughly hands-on, responsive, answerable, justifiable and well-organized governance system and administration to suit the country best on each ground. Following were the factors for that this commission was asked to focus at: (i) Guidelines for Indian government’s organizational structure (ii) Governance ethics (iii) Thorough Restoration of Personnel Administration (iv) Enriching the Financial Management System in Governance (v) Procedures that can turn the State level administration more efficient (vi) Taking practical measures to keep the District administration effective (vii) Empowering local self-government/panchayati raj Institutions for governance (viii) Implementing participative public service through effective social capital and trust (ix) Administration to focus on the citizen-centric ideals (x) Giving e-governance more preferment (xi) Dealing with the Federal Political issues (xii) Crisis Management (xiii) Public Order
This Commission was advised to be excluded from doing any type of detailed evaluation of defence administration besides railways, external affairs and issues pertaining to intelligence and security issues. Other factors that were excluded from its purview were reforms in judiciary and Centre-state relations etc. for which other examining bodies are already involved. The government advised the Commission to overview and examine whether some problems or issues of the said sectors not in its purview could be well examined. It was aimed at further recommendations if any to make their functioning more strategic in the Government and many service agencies concerned.
Working of Second ARC
It was emphasized to this Commission that it would formulate its own plans and procedures for that it should also consult with the State Governments concerned if the Commission feels suitable to continue in its role. The Commission might appoint any type of committee and or consultant and advisers for all sorts of assistance. This Commission was also authorized to use any of the existing material or report they find and deem suitable on a particular issue or subject to deal and develop strategies by keeping them into consideration instead of trying to address such things through their own resources. The departments concerned and the ministries of the Indian Government were instructed to provide maximum information through providing the documents or any other type of assistance which might be needed for this Commission to come at conclusions. The Central Government commended all State Governments and departments for extending total support and cooperation to this Commission for them to continue their roles smoothly.
The Government was submitted the following 15 Reports from this Commission upon its fulfillment of the huge project assigned:
- Right to Information-Master Key to Good Governance (09.06.2006)
- Unlocking Human Capital - Entitlements and Governance-a Case Study (31.07.2006)
- Crisis Management-From Despair to Hope (31.10.2006)
- Ethics in Governance (12.02.2007)
- Public Order-Justice for each..... Peace for all. (25.06.2007)
- Local Governance (27.11.2007)
- Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution - Friction to Fusion (17.3.2008)
- Combating Terrorism (17.9.2008)
- Social Capital - A Shared Destiny (8.10.2008)
- Refurbishing of Personnel Administration - Scaling New Heights (27.11.2008)
- Promoting e-Governance - The Smart Way Forward (20.01.2009)
- Citizen Centric Administration - The Heart of Governance (30.3.2009)
- Organizational Structure of Government of India (19.5.2009)
- Strengthening Financial Management Systems (26.5.2009)
- State & District Administration (29.5.2009)
Implementation of Recommendations
The then External Affairs Minister was made Chairman by the Central Government which constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) on March 30, 2007 for overlooking and consideration of recommendations suggested by the Second ARC for thorough review and to initiate their implementation as per guideline set. This Group also initiated the process for proper guidance to all Ministries or Departments concerned to make implementation effective and easy. Its reconstitution was done on August 21, 2009 under the Chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister. The examination of all 15 reports submitted was finished by the Core Group on the Administrative Reforms which was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary. The Group of Ministers considered eleven points so far and them for implementation:
Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance (First report)
- Unlocking human capital: Entitlements and Governance – a Case Study relating to NREGA (Second Report)
- Crisis Management From Despair to Hope (Third report)
- Ethics in Governance (Fourth Report)
- Local Governance (Sixth Report)
- Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution (Seventh Report)
- Citizen Centric Administration – The Heart of Governance (Twelfth Report)
- Social Capital-A Shared Destiny (Ninth Report)
- Organizational Structure of Government of India (Thirteenth Report)
- Promoting e-Governance – The Smart Way Forward (Eleventh Report)
- State and District Administration (Fifteenth Report)
All GoM recommended reports have been taken into consideration and are in the multiple stages of implementation as well. Ministry of Home Affairs has already implemented the report on "Combating Terrorism (Eighth Report)”. The exploration by now indicates that its zest has been well understood and required necessary action on this report has been taken. In total the considered reports are 12 by now. The GoM has kept the rest three (Report No.V, X, and XIV) into pipeline and are in the process for their consideration sooner or later. A meeting that held on December 03, 2009 discussed the issues especially all the progresses held till now for report consideration besides updates on the action taken for the second report about unlocking human capital that relates to NREGA and. Discussion was also held about the progress on the action taken pertaining to the first report about right to information) besides the issue of crisis management for which the third report has thorough details.