Public administration is the implementation of government policy and also an academic discipline that studies this implementation and prepares civil employees for working in the public service. As a “field of inquiry with a diverse scope” whose fundamental goal is to “advance management and policies so that government can function.” Some of the various definitions which have been offered for the term are: “the management of public programs”; the “translation of politics into the reality that citizens see every day”; and “the study of government decision making, the analysis of the policies themselves, the various inputs that have produced them, and the inputs necessary to produce alternative policies.” The word public administration is the combination of two words—public and administration. In every sphere of social, economic and political life there is administration which means that for the proper functioning of the organization or institution it must be properly ruled or managed and from this concept emerges the idea of administration.

Public administration is “centrally concerned with the organization of government policies and programs as well as the behavior of officials (usually non-elected) formally responsible for their conduct”. Many non-elected public employees can be considered to be public administrators, including heads of city, county, regional, state and federal departments such as municipal budget directors, human resources (HR) administrators, city managers, census managers, state mental health directors, and cabinet secretaries. Public administrators are public employees working in public departments and agencies, at all levels of government.

In the United States, civil employees and academics such as Woodrow Wilson promoted civil service reform in the 1880s, moving public administration into academia. However, “until the mid-20th century and the dissemination of the German sociologist Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy” there was not “much interest in a theory of public administration”. The field is multidisciplinary in character; one of the various proposals for public administration’s sub-fields sets out six pillars, including human resources, organizational theory, policy analysis, statistics, budgeting, and ethics.

In 1947 Paul H. Appleby defined public administration as “public leadership of public affairs directly responsible for executive action”. In a democracy, it has to do with such leadership and executive action in terms that respect and contribute to the dignity, the worth, and the potentials of the citizen. One year later, Gordon Clapp, then Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority defined public administration “as a public instrument whereby democratic society may be more completely realized.” This implies that it must “relate itself to concepts of justice, liberty, and fuller economic opportunity for human beings” and is thus “concerned with “people, with ideas, and with things”. According to James D. Carroll & Alfred M. Zuck, the publication by “Woodrow Wilson of his essay, “The Study of Administration” in 1887 is generally regarded as the beginning of public administration as a specific field of study”.

Drawing on the democracy theme and discarding the link to the executive branch, Patricia M. Shields asserts that public administration “deals with the stewardship and implementation of the products of a living democracy”. The key term “product” refers to “those items that are constructed or produced” such as prisons, roads, laws, schools, and security. “As implementers, public managers engage these products.” They participate in the doing and making of the “living” democracy. A living democracy is “an environment that is changing, organic”, imperfect, inconsistent and teaming with values. “Stewardship is emphasized because public administration is concerned “with accountability and effective use of scarce resources and ultimately making the connection between the doing, the making and democratic values”.


India in the 600 BCE

Such neat and prosperous civilizations as Harappa and Mohenjo-daaro must have had a disciplined, benevolent and uncorrupt cadre of public servants. In support of this, there are many references to Brihaspati’s works on laws and governance. An interesting extract from Aaine-Akbari [vol.III, tr. by H. S. Barrett, pp217–218] written by Abul Fazl, the famous historian of Akbar’s court, mentions a symposium of philosophers of all faiths held in 1578 at Akbar’s instance. This sounds credible in the context of Akbar’s restless desire to find truth, reflected in his launching a new religion called Din-e-elaahi. The account under advisement is given by the well-known historian Vincent Smith, in his article titled “The Jain Teachers of Akbar”. Some Charvaka thinkers are said to have participated in the symposium. Under the heading “Naastika” Abul Fazl has referred to the good work, judicious administration and welfare schemes that were emphasized by the Charvaka law-makers. Somadeva has also mentioned the Charvaka method of defeating the enemies of the nation. He has referred to thirteen enemies who remain disguised in the kingdom for their selfish interests. They may contain a few relatives of the king and subsidiary rulers, but they should not be spared. They should be rigorously punished like any other such opponent. Kautilya, as already mentioned, has given a detailed scheme to remove the enemies in the garb of friends. The Charvaka stalwart, Brihaspati, is so much more ancient than Kautilya and Somadeva. He appears to be contemporaneous with the Harappa and Mohenjo-daaro culture.

The central point of traditional religious ritual is to earn ready money for its perpetrators. All unproductive, barren rites designed for various moments in human life starting from several months prior to birth and extending over several years beyond death in the form of the annual sraddha, many of which are current even today, are but channels to feed the priests. They are unreal, imagined and wasteful. While they are unreal, imagined and wasteful; the feeding is real.

This cunning paradox was realized by the Charvaka for its real worth. They wanted financial causes to produce financial results. Imagined causes only produced imagined results not real ones.