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The standard and efficiency of Public Administration in any country depends ultimately on the caliber, training and integrity of the members of the civil services (public services).

According to Herman Finer, “The function of the civil service in the modern state is not merely the improvement of government; without it, indeed, government itself would be impossible.


It is the heterogeneous body of persons who are engaged upon the tasks confined to the nation’s civil administration.

Civil Services are generally defined to mean the ‘public services’ constituted by the government to translate all its plans and programmes into implemental action. Normally, it does not include the legislature and judicial officers, nor the members of the defence services. Official of local bodies are not civil servants and local bodies control their own staff.

The civil servants are the holders of civil posts, whose remuneration in India is paid out of Consolidated Fund of India.


Kautilya in his Arthashastra’ has mentioned three categories of government employees:

(1) Officer (Yukta)

(2) Clerk (Upayakta)

(3) Servant (Tatpurusham).

During the Mughal period the institution of Mansabdari developed. It was a combined civil and military bureaucracy.

During the Hindu period the civil and military establishments were separately maintained.

In the Times of the East India Company :The East India Company appointed a large staff of merchants, agents and writers to run its business. When at a later stage the Company became a political power and was called upon to administer large territories in India.The nature of their duties was exacting because they were sent out to rule over a newly conquered territory. The power to appoint civil servants and the determination of their pay and other conditions of service was laid down in the original Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth.

It was in 1793 that a reorganization of public services was made by Lord Cornwallis. His so-called unification of services meant, in practice, the creation of ‘Covenanted Service’ which gave a permanent status to civil servants. Only Europeans could belong to this service. Indians were excluded from all posts of trust and responsibility. In 1806, Haileybury College was established in England to give preservice training to junior officers

Macaulay Committee Report : The Board of Control appointed a committee to advise it which consists of five members with Lord Macaulay as its chairman. Macaulay desired that a considerable number of the Company’s Civil Servants should be men who have taken the first degree in Arts at Oxford or Cambridge.

Between 1858 and 1918 : In 1870 only, an Indian was able to enter the Indian Civil Service. In 1870 the rules regarding selections were modified and it was provided that Indians of approved merit and ability would be selected by nomination, without going through the competitive examination in London. Only one or two persons were appointed by this method. The subject was reconsidered in 1879 and it was laid down that recruitment in India would be extended up to one-fifth of total number of civilians taken during the year. A commission was appointed, under the chairmanship of Sir Charles Aitchison to investigate the claim of Indians to higher appointments, which submitted its report in 1887.

In 1912 a Royal Commission was appointed under the chairmanship of Lord Islington to review the public services in India and to further explore the possibilities of employment of Indians in the superior services.

The Government of India Act, 1919 : British Parliament passed the Government of India Act, 1919. This is also known as Montague-Chelmsford.

the Government of India Act, 1935 : The Act of 1935 provided for a Federal Public Service Commission and a Provincial Public Service Commission for each province so that the public services may be completely free from political influence and the merit rule may be put in operation which is so necessary for efficient conduct of public affairs.

The Indian Independence Act, 1947 : Probably there are two main causes for the passing of the Indian Independence Act of 1947 by the British Parliament which created the dominions of India and Pakistan, by dividing India into two parts. In the first place, after the conclusion of World War II the Parliamentary elections in Britain resulted in a clear victory for the labour party as a consequence of which the Labour Party headed by Mr. Attlee formed the ministry. Second, the political awakening in India had become so great that a suppression of political aspirations of the people would have caused great bitterness as a consequence of which in a future war between Anglo-American countries on the one side, and the
on the other, the chances were that Indians would have joined hands with the latter in overthrowing the yoke of British slavery.

The Constitution of India, 1950 : The Constitution of India of <26th November, 1949, which came into operation on the 26th January, 1950makes India a Sovereign Democratic Republic. The Constitution originally permitted, only two All-India Services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service. However, Parliament can create other All India Services by passing a law to that effect. In 1951, the All India Service Act was passed by the Parliament. In 1966, a new All India Service – the Indian Forest Service- was created. At present, in India, there are three All India Services, 59 Central Services Groups ‘A’ and in large number of Provincial or State services are in existence. The All Indian Services Officers have a contingent of 11,413 officers with 5,519 officers in the IAS, 3,498 officers in the IPS and 2,756 In the Indian Forest Service as on 1-1-2001.