Role of civil services in Indian democracy

India is a democratic country and in this system, power confers with the people. The power is exercised through its designated representatives who have the command to manage them for particular period. The civil services by quality of its knowledge, experience and understanding of public affairs support the chosen representatives to device effectual policy and have great responsibility to implement these policies for the welfare of society and enhancement of nation. Parliamentary democracies are generally pigeonholed by a permanent civil service which helps the political policymakers and political executives. India is a constitutional fairness and its operations are usually depends upon four supports that include Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, and Free Press. Each one of these has been assigned its role in democratic establishment. First pillar is associated with the governance of the State. Effective and efficient institutions form the strength of an efficacious development and governance process.

Democracy is an egalitarian principle in which the governed elect the people who govern over them. There are three pillars of modern democracy:




The civil services form a part of the executive. While the ministers, who are part of the executive, are temporary and are reelected or replaced by the people by their will (through elections), the civil servants are the permanent part of the executive.

–The civil servants are accountable to the political executive, the ministers. The civil services are thus, a subdivision under the government.

— The officers in the civil services form the permanent staff of the various governmental departments.

— are basically expert administrators.

They are sometimes referred to as the bureaucracy or also the public service

Importance of the Civil Services

1. The civil service is present all over India and it thus has a strong binding character.

2. It plays a vital role in effective policy-making and regulation.

3. It offers non-partisan advice to the political leadership of the country, even in the midst of political instability.

4. The service gives effective coordination between the various institutions of governance, and also between different departments, bodies, etc.

5. It offers service delivery and leadership at different levels of administration.

Functions of Civil Services

Basis of Government: There can be no government without administrative machinery.

Implementing Laws & Policies: Civil services are responsible for implementing laws and executing policies framed by the government .

Policy Formulation: The civil service is chiefly responsible for policy formulation as well. The civil service officers advise ministers in this regard and also provides them with facts and ideas.

Stabilising Force: Amidst political instability, the civil service offers stability and permanence. While governments and ministers can come and go, the civil services is a permanent fixture giving the administrative set up a sense of stability and continuity.

Instruments of Social Change & Economic Development: Successful policy implementation will lead to positive changes in the lives of ordinary people. It is only when the promised goods and services reach the intended beneficiaries, a government can call any scheme successful. The task of actualising schemes and policies fall with the officers of the civil services.

Welfare Services: The services offer a variety of welfare schemes such as providing social security, the welfare of weaker and vulnerable sections of society, old-age pensions, poverty alleviation, etc.

Developmental Functions: The services perform a variety of developmental functions like promoting modern techniques in agriculture, promoting the industry, trade, banking functions, bridging the digital divide etc.

Administrative Adjudication: The civil services also perform quasi-judicial services by settling disputes between the State and the citizens, in the form of tribunals, etc.

Problems Affecting Civil Services Today

— Lack of professionalism and poor capacity building.

— An ineffective incentive system that does not reward the meritorious and upright civil servants .

— Rigid and outmoded rules and procedures that do not allow civil servants to exercise individual judgement and perform efficiently.

— Lack of accountability and transparency procedure, with no adequate protection for whistle-blowers.

— Political interference causing arbitrary transfers, and insecurity in tenures.

— An erosion in ethics and values, which has caused rampant corruption and nepotism.

— Patrimonialism (a form of governance in which all power flows directly from the leader).

— Resistance to change from the civil servants themselves.

Key Facts about Democracy in India:

— Democracy in India federal republic.

— Democracy in India is headed by the President as the head of the state and Prime Minister as the head of the government.

— There is a parliamentary form of government at the central level.

— There is a universal adult franchise.