Essay on Scope and Area of Public Administration

It is, being attended too heavily in the developing countries with a view to orienting it to development aspects (programmes and projects related to socio­economic progress) of administration. Development administration is concerned with the design and building of sound systems.

It does not imply that development administration is subservient to public administration. Development administration is as much important as the public administration.

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The former refers to organized efforts to carry out development oriented goals, the latter to the general or regulatory administration of the government. To quote Shou-Sheng Hsuch, “development administration is essentially a public administration to maintain the general activity of the government as a going concern”.

On the other hand, development administration, as the expression implies, lays emphasis on that role of public administration which is to develop the activity of the government, especially in the economic, political and social fields. Thus Hsuch does not draw a clear line between the developmental and the general activities of the administration.

The traditional public administration is concerned with maintenance of law and order, collection of revenue and application of rules, policies, etc. But it differs from development administration in its objective and scope.

First, development administration is a goal-oriented administration which is geared up to the objectives of nation-building and socio-economic progress. Second, it lays emphasis on increasing the administrative capacity for development. The first may be referred to as ‘administration of development’ and second as ‘development of administration’.

Thus development administration has a wide scope of activities than the one public administration has. It does not Saul M. Katz observes: “No longer is it limited to the maintenance of law and order, the provision of some limited public services, and the collection of taxes; rather it is specifically involved in the mobilization of resources and their allocation to a great variety of development activities, on a massive scale”.

It follows from Katz’s views that development administration is charged with the increasing responsibility of carrying out planned change in the economic, social and political fields.

However, while making a distinction between development administration and public administration, their respective importance should not be lost sight of Tarlok Singh in the context of development administration in India, argues: “The character of the prevailing structure of general administration has a decisive influence on the strength and weakness of development administration. This is because of links which subsist between general and development administration”.

The objective of development administration is the attainment of development goals. As an applied discipline of public administration, it claims an important share in policy making and in the choice of ends not the basic aims of the State, but important programmatic goals or purposes. It is the word ‘development’ that is important that draws a line of demarcation between the two-public administration and development administration.

Following the World War II the functions of the government have increased in size and number. But with this, serious imbalance has emerged between the hopes of the people and realities and between the needs of development and their fulfillment. This has resulted in setback of national development.

In order to carry out the growing functions of the government, the administrative system, which until recently had only been looking after the general and regulatory administration, needs to be developed, adapted or expanded.

Apparently this involves not only expansion or improvement or even basic reorganization of administrative system but also enhancement of the capabilities of administrators involved in the task of national development. This type of administrative system is currently termed as ‘development administration’. It is an interdisciplinary subject of response to the development needs of the so-called ‘Third World’.

Before the 1960s in the government organizations there was emphasis on attaining economy and efficiency but with the expansion in the functions of government to cope with complex problems and urgent demands of national development, many administrative reforms now recognize that economic and efficient management is not enough. The administrative machinery must be geared to the pursuit of new development goals.

Bryant very aptly remarks: “with the awakening issues of human rights and basic human needs, and a changing international order, development administration can and must address equity and redistributive issues with a focus on the implementation problems that these issues raise”. Development administration embraces an emphatic concern with focus on implementing developmental policies.