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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Unemployment in India

“If we want to give jobs to 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, we have to go in for low-tech manufacturing that does not require high levels of education. … This is how China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea did it”

Narayan Murthy


World-over, almost all the national governments are facing in full blast many severe problems, especially after the ‘great economic depression’ of 2008. Unemployment amongst youth, (especially amongst unskilled individuals looking for jobs)  is one of the biggest worries for any government.

Profession has a direct effect on the life-style and mindset of a person. It  creates one’s specific identity and status in the society. Normally a person is  known and ranked by their profession.

About India, the absolute number of illiterates and semi-literates is  very high. Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy (TOI, 16.2.16, p.17) rightly says “If we want to give jobs to 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, we have to go in for low-tech manufacturing that does not require high levels of education. … This is how China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea did it” For not so well educated unemployed youth, who are looking for menial jobs and find no jobs,  opportunities can be generated y giving them training in low-tech manufacturing skills.

Change in pattern and nature of employment – Pattern and nature of employment keeps on changing with time. With it changes the demands and systems in job-market and values of people, while in search of a job, Time has created a big difference between the nature and pattern of modern and traditional form of employment.  The nature of jobs was quite different during agricultural societies before industrialization, then after industrialization it changed and now with advancement of technologies, modernization and globalization, it has changed drastically.

Before industrialization, most of the people were engaged in agriculture and other professions related with it. During industrialization, process of urbanization began. People preferred to work in some factories/industries and earn more money. And now with advanced technologies, modernization and globalization, the pattern of employment and work-culture has changed tremendously allover the world.

People in India have been a little late in keeping pace with the trends of modern world of professionalism. The result is a large number of unemployment.

Number of unemployed in India – According to the data released in September, 2014, over 11.3 crore persons in India (about 15% of the working from 15 to 60 years of age group) are available for work. They are unemployed. As reported previously by Times of India, over 20% of youth between 15 to 24 years of age were jobless. In absolute number, it is about 47 million. In J&K, it is 48%, in Bihar 35%, in Assam 38%, in W. Bengal 54%, in Jharkhand 42%, in Odisha 39% and in Kerala 42%. (Figures quoted from Times of India, p.11, 24.9.14). The situation is quite alarming and the issue of unemployment needs the attention of the government on priority basis.

Government as creator of jobs – Today jobs-creation and inflation have become the prime concern for almost each and every democratic and government of a welfare state after the two world wars, more so after the great economic depression of 2007-8. Instead of playing a role as a facilitator, the government has become the generator/creator of jobs. The government is supposed to create enough employment opportunities for all the youth.

At present India needs to create 10 million jobs a year for next five years (2014-2019) or four times more than it has been creating over the past five years. It is a big challenge before the government.

No unemployment problem in ancient India – In ancient  India, there was work, employment, dignity and honour for all . There was no dearth of employment opportunities for persons willing to work. Everybody was usually busy in one’s own hereditary/traditional occupations. Instead of holding others responsible for their unemployment, the system blamed “Adharma” (immoral behavior), “Alasya” (laziness) and “Agyan” (ignorance) for unemployment and all evils like exploitation, poverty and helplessness that follow unemployment automatically.

Problem started during Industrialization – The process of industrialization  modernization, which began during British rule, has adversely affected employment prospects of unskilled workers, especially in rural areas. New kinds of occupations have been continuously being added to the traditional jobs of pre-industrial-society. Many traditional occupations have become obsolete. With it, different kinds of problems are cropping up every day.

White collared jobs have gained popularity, access to which depends on formal education, certificates/degrees/diplomas. For it, people need to go to centers of learning/institutions, hone their skills through formal training and attain certificates/diplomas to get employment and to further their future prospects. But there is an acute shortage of such kind of training centers as well to cater the needs of a large number of aspirants for proper jobs.


Unemployment is one of the acute problems in India ever since its independence. Now it becoming more and more difficult to provide jobs to all youths.     Present day dilemma is that millions of youth are not able to get employment anywhere in the government, private or public sectors.  There is cut-throat competition for positions of power. Craze for white-collared jobs has escalated. There has been growing aversion for menial jobs or traditional occupations. Modernity has given freedom to individuals to pursue an occupation of ones own choice. With it emerged different kinds of problems.  come out of the web of modernity.

According to a UNDP’s Human Development Report, India has to provide jobs to 63.5 million new entrants into the workforce between 2011 and 2016, of which bulk are in the 20-35 age group. A study jointly conducted by CII and Deloitte reports about aspirations and concerns of a multi-generational workforce as “Indian workplaces have become an interesting blend of three generations – the business leaders and CEOs of baby-boomer generation (45 plus) management teams and senior professionals from Gen X (23 to 45) and young Gen Y professional (under 23)”.

Adding to it, generation gap has led to differences in working and communication styles as well as motivation. It is important for baby-boomers, who are leading organizations, to understand the working style and beliefs of the younger generations. The younger generation do not see themselves staying at one organization for long, but their commitment and dedication towards work and responsibilities has not reduced. Also they prefer a fair system, where processes are more transparent and the system is less bureaucratic.  (Quoted from TOI, N. Delhi, P., 19, 24 Aug. 2013)

There is a tough competition for any job. People blame each-others for their unemployment. They have been caught in the vicious circle of traditionalism and modernity. They are moving in circles in an effort to find out a foolproof system. Neither traditional nor modern occupations are fool-proof/flawless. Then  once changed, systems never return to their original forms, howsoever difficult situation becomes.

Both the systems of occupations have their own strength, weaknesses and professional hazards. Only one has to keep a balance and be mentally prepared to meet the present-day challenges coming on the way. Also it has to be kept in mind, ‘Once changed, the system never returns to its original form. While trying to find out a better system, people should not ignore simple solutions to the present problems.

Problems of traditional pattern of employment – Occupations being community based, individuals did not have much choice in matter of occupations. With the passage of time, the rigidity of the system suffocated the creative minds of those individuals, who could contribute much more to the society while working in the areas of their own interests. The rigidity led to heartburn and heart-burn to changes, somewhere rationally, and somewhere it happened in a jest for change.

Problems of Modern pattern of employmentModern system of occupation has generated new kinds of problems such as

  • Too much dependence of people on government for creating jobs for them.
  • Government the creator of job opportunities – Instead of being facilitator, the government has become the generator/creator of employment/jobs-opportunities, It is supposed to create jobs, whether job-market demands it or not.
  • Government the ‘Messiah’ and common-men ‘pigmies’ – In its role of a provider, those in positions of power – political or bureaucratic – in the government have assumed absolute power to control the destiny of common men. They have become ‘Messiahs’, and down-sized common-men to ‘pigmies’.
  • Dependence on government-jobs – Government has become the biggest employer, people’s prefer jobs in government as it gives to its  employees regular fixed salaries and job security.
  • Increased corruption – For each and everything, people look up at the Government and seek the blessings or support of those who occupy places in echelons of power. It has corrupted the whole system.
  • Bleak career prospects for unskilled labor – The process of modernization has adversely affected employment prospects of unskilled workers, especially in rural areas.
  • Stress on degree/diplomas – Access to modern occupations and advancement in career depend on formal education, certificates/degrees/diplomas. People now learn and hone their skills in formal centers of education and training.
  • In present competitive world even a degree is not enough to get work. Recruiters look for multi-skilled candidates. A job-seekers need to equip himself with other skills in extra curricular activities in different fields.
  • Shortage of the formal institutions – Employment and advancement in career depend on formal degrees and training. But there is an acute shortage of the formal training institutions to attain necessary qualifications for the large number of aspirants mainly because of population explosion. It deprives many, especially belonging to weaker sections to get admission in educational and training institutions.
  • Rush for white-collared jobs – Industrialization and technological developments have made white collared-jobs popular. Most of the time energy and effort of youth are wasted in search and pursuit of those jobs, for which they neither have aptitude nor attitude or which are beyond their reach for one reason or the other. This time they could have utilized otherwise for constructive purposes.
  • Added confusion – At present, choice in matter of employment and non-availability of jobs in the sphere of their choice has confused young minds. A modern youth gets confused as to what career/profession, he/she should opt. Some times employees lack the mindset needed prior to entering into a profession.
  • Increased unemployment – Aversion of modern youths from their traditional occupations has today rendered millions of them unemployed or underemployed. Besides, there is a cut throat competition for each and every job with the result that unemployment or under-employment is continuously increasing in absolute numbers.                            

System of Employment in ancient and medieval India

Principles behind the traditional way of Occupations- In ancient and medieval India, assignment of work was based on certain realities, principles and way of life –

  • Human actions dependent on attitude and aptitude – In traditional system, it is believed that the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satwa), Passion (Rajas) and dullness (Tamas). `Goodness’ is associated with purity, peace and knowledge; `Passion’ with comfort and action; and `Tamas’ with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness.These qualities determined the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of individuals and give them direction for action. It makes individuals different from each other in attitude, aptitude, physical and mental capacity, aspirations, like and dislikes, inclination and expectations.
  • Principles of ‘Varna, karma and Dharma’ – Principle of Varna had assigned duties to different groups according to people’s natural instincts and qualities. Principles of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Karma’ developed clear-cut vision of rights and duties/responsibilities of each group, considering the requirements of different occupations.
  • Stress on “duty, tolerance and sacrifice” – Whereas, modern Westernized culture have grown around the idea of `rights” forming the natural foundation of human relationship, systems in India evolved around the concept of “duty, tolerance and sacrifice”. Emphasis on duty had made people or groups humble and tolerant. Sacrifice was regarded far more important than success, and renunciation was regarded as the crowning achievement.
  • Work, employment and dignity for all – In ancient and medieval India, there was work, employment and dignity and honour for all in India. There was no dearth of employment opportunities for persons willing to work.
  • “Adharma”, “Alasya” and “Agyan” responsible – Instead of blaming others for unemployment, “Adharma” (immoral behavior), “Alasya” (laziness) and “Agyan” (ignorance) were held responsible for unemployment and for all evils like discrimination, exploitation, poverty, miseries and helplessness of the people that follow unemployment automatically.
  • Maintained differentiation between various occupations – The traditional system of occupations had maintained differentiation between various occupations. All functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society were divided into different occupations, which were distributed amongst different sections of society according to their attitude and aptitude. People were usually engaged in their own hereditary/traditional occupations. They learnt the skills and tricks of their trade in a natural way with every breath while growing up. The system managed well the daily necessities and day to day relation of its members. It encouraged interdependence in social matters.
    • Principle of ‘Varna’ – Accordingly, Principle of       ‘Varna’ did fourfold division of occupations and their performers –       Brahmins were assigned the work of learning, research and development,       kshhatriyas the job of defense and maintenance of law and order in the       society, Vaishyas of trade and commerce, and Shudras all kinds of service       functions.
    • Principle of Dharma – Principle of Dharma assigned       each group a specific work to do and developed a clear-cut vision of       rights and duties/responsibility of each group based on its traditional       occupation. It boosted morale of the people and promoted social       equilibrium and solidarity. There was automatic de-centralization of       control systems and authority. The separation of rights and duties       combined with the principle of inter-dependence developed its own system       of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority.
    •  Principle of ‘Karma’ – Principle of ‘Karma’       created the work culture. It gave stress to duty.
  • Sense of duty – Occupational pattern of India      had filled the community with a sense of duty and trained them in      obedience. Sense of duty stopped those in power to exercise coercion      against its working class. Also it prevented resentment amongst masses. It      helped Indians to adjust themselves, without much difficulty, to most      drastic changes in the past. The systems stopped people from taking law in      their own hands. While other nations passed through many bloody      revolutions, India kept on adapting itself to changing times. In ancient     Greece, Rome or other European countries, people were made to work under      the threat of a whip.
  • Importance to ‘Self-discipline’, self-direction and      ‘Self-effort’ – Every group was expected to lead a self restraint      and self disciplined life in all respect, be it in the matter of daily      routine, occupation or inter-group relationship.
  • Segmental Ranking according to relevance and contribution to society – Segmental ranking of different groups was done according to relevance and contribution of their occupations to society. Social status of different occupational groups was dependent on their relative self-discipline (relative purity), morality, knowledge and spiritual standards. Considerations of self-discipline, hygiene and cleanliness on the basis of climatic conditions of the region were given importance.
  • Ranking system did not put different groups within a framework of hierarchical layers of social order, each fitting neatly below the other, but more or less as a series of vertical parallels. ‘
  • No hard and fast rule of ranking – In ancient India, there was no hard and fast rule of ranking various groups. Usefulness of a profession to society as a whole, conduct and way of living of different people were the factors to determine social, economic or political status of a group in society vis-a vis others. There were times when gap between Vaishyas and Shudras became narrow or when Shudras acquired a better position in the society.
  • No group placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position – Categorization of people as forwards or backwards or as weaker sections was almost non-existent at that time. The system was so conceived by the genius sages and ‘Munies’ (intelligentsia of ancient India) that there was hardly any room for any Varna to consider itself, as being placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position with reference to another.
  • Respect or honor not dependent on birth – Khatriyas and Shudra were accepted and revered as philosophers or spiritual teachers. Great respect had even earned by persons from humblest origin as a right. They had the all opportunity to pursue knowledge and reach up-to the top.

For example, Sage Vashishta was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute, but he is highly respected allover India as the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism. So was ‘Kshatriya’ Vishwamitra, the maker of the Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, is recited even as of today almost in every house every day and on all auspicious occassions. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman. Balmiki, the original author of Ramayana, was an untouchable according to present standards, but is still highly respected.

  • Self-restrictions – Higher a group, greater were the self-restrictions on its conduct through rituals. Brahmins (intelligentsia) commanded respect of the whole society. They, being at highest place in the society, were put under maximum restrictions. They were supposed to lead a simple life, devoted to the spiritual and intellectual pursuits and denied accumulation of wealth.
  • System not too rigid – The system was not too rigid as far as pursuing an occupation was concerned. The work in the sectors of agriculture or army was open to all. Members of particular Varna did not exercise monopoly over authority or respect. It is an established fact of Indian History that Brahmin or even Shudras sometimes became the kings. There were times, when inter group marriages took place in the past in order to increase their strength.

HT Colebrooke, one of the early Sanskrit Scholars says, “It may be received as a general maxim that occupation appointed for each tribe is entitled merely to a preference. Every profession, with few exceptions, was open to every description of persons and the discouragement arising from religious prejudices is not greater than what exists in Great Britain from the effects of Municipal and Corporate laws.” (Quoted from ‘Indian Express’, dated 18.9.90, p 8). In England also it was not uncommon for a clergyman, a lawyer or soldier to educate and train his sons for his own profession. So was it in India. (Quoted fromShore Fredrick John Notes on India Affairs Vol II P.473)

Salient features of employment and training in ancient India

Traditional occupational pattern of India was unique in many ways –

Employment, dignity and honor for all – Traditional occupational pattern had provided employment, dignity and honor to all. The system led to accomplish skill, specialization, success and happiness, decentralized authority and resources, made management within each unit effective and organized human and social behavior in tune with the objectives of the society.

Disassociation between Wealth and knowledge/skills – Unlike West, there is disassociation between Wealth and knowledge/skills. The value system of India has separated wealth from status, power from authority, pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts.

Stress on attitude and aptitude rather than birth – According to “Smritis” it was not birth, but the qualities and deeds of an individual, that fitted him into a particular group of occupation. Later on, upbringing, atmosphere and convenience tended to make these occupational groups hereditary. Gradually different hereditary occupational groups emerged in the society. People found it more economical and convenient to practice one’s own traditional occupation.

Stress on knowledge and duty – Whereas, in Western societies social status of a person or organization has always been associated with material success or control of power, authority. In India, status of a person is determined on the basis of its knowledge, purity, discipline and moral standards.

Division of labour – In the world of occupation there had been division of labor. All functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society were divided into different occupations. On the basis of natural endowments, intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes, skills, personal needs and other innate characteristics, each group was assigned a distinct function to perform.

Specialization – System as a whole evolved an atmosphere, where a high level of specialization and wisdom in different areas of activities could be achieved. Being constantly in contact with the family occupation, it was natural for the people to learn maximum about their traditional occupations.

Spawning bed for social and technical skills – The system served as a spawning bed for social and technical skills. There was a tendency to bring in the most diversified skills to high level of excellence. By its very nature, it encouraged the development and preservation of local skills. The manner, in which social, technical and occupational knowledge and skills were transferred and developed, was through practice and experience; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people.

Natural training without investment -The system inheritance in matter of assignment of different functions to different groups led the people to learn basic qualifications and tricks of the trade within their families itself from their elders. Skills were learnt more on job under the training and guidance of ‘elders’, already there on various jobs/occupations.

Skills passed on from one generation to another – The system transmitted knowledge, expertise and tricks of a trade, intelligence, abilities, experiences, values and skills from one generation to another in a natural way. Children, while growing up, learnt about hidden intricacies of a profession and solutions of their occupational problems, informally from their elders. The system as a whole increased the confidence of the workers and saved them from confusion or unhealthy competition.

Reservoir of natural leaders – Don Martindale said that India possessed a reservoir of natural leaders – Brahman naturally trained in literary skills, Kashitryas in art of leadership and different service groups in skills. It has been seen that a Marwari, traditionally belonging to business community, invests his money in share market with more ease and confidence than a graduate from other communities possessing a degree in business management.

No confusion – The system saved common-men from confusion or unhealthy competition. It avoided rivalry or bitterness for pelf, power or position amongst different sections of society. There was no confusion, unhealthy rivalry or frustration on matter of work, because every body had his traditional occupation.

Clear vision of responsibilities– Principles of Dharma and Karma made clear-cut vision of rights and duties of each group, based on and due consideration of the requirements of different occupations. It developed understanding amongst people for their liberties, limits and responsibilities.

Each occupational group having an independent entity – Each occupational group had an independent entity, having its own hierarchy, based either on a tribal identity or an occupational identity. There was not much disparity between different occupational groups or between urban and rural people in ancient India.

Job-satisfaction – the system gave job-satisfaction to almost all individuals except for a few and managed smoothly daily necessities and day to day relation of its members. All castes including untouchables were assigned important social duties. Harijan women helped all castes at time of child-birth, Harijan males beat drums in front of Hindu’s houses or in front of a procession on auspicious occasions/ceremonies. Village barber spread news, arranged marriages and served food during celebrations. Occasionally non-Brahmins or Harijans served as priests of temples of goddesses like Sita or Kali, where all castes made offerings.

Automatic system of checks and balances – Such a system of division of labor developed its own systems of checks and balances over arbitrary use of its authority. Separation of rights and duties combined with the principle of inter dependence provided its own system of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority. There was an automatic decentralization of authority. The principles behind the whole system together provided the society a quality of life.

Interdependence – Local character and semi-autonomous nature of the system made close interaction and cooperation between different groups a reality. Not a single group could claim to be self sufficient, capable to survive alone and fulfill all needs of its people. Still people enjoyed a large measure of freedom in respect of their personal matters. The system as a whole was capable to fulfill all the needs of its people.

Combination of inter-dependence and self-reliance – Inter-dependence in social life and self-reliance in personal life were the intrinsic features of ancient system making each local area self-sufficient. Interdependence of different groups made it possible to have close contact amongst the people living in a local area. People whether living in a village or city, were bound together by economic and social ties and had a strong bond of mutual dependence.

Developed a common bond– The system developed a common bond underlying their activities and minds. There was closeness and cooperation within each and every group, engaged in common occupation due to common callings, common problems, and common solutions.

All professions worth pursuing – All occupations were regarded worth pursuing. Principle of Dharma inspired people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honor and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assured the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi were equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing. It brought worldly honor and spiritual happiness for individuals and provided the whole society a quality of life.

No confusion, bitterness, rivalry or frustration on matter of work – Each individual and every group served the community in one way or the other and was, therefore, satisfied. All the social groups lived the life of dignity and honor with the feeling that they, too, were contributing something to the society.

Benefit of knowledge to the ignorant and illiterate masses – In ancient India, illiterate masses got the benefit of researches and knowledge of intelligentsia – learned sages and Munies. On the basis of their scholarly researches and experiences, the sages prescribed certain guidelines in the form of rituals to for the benefit of common men and keeping order in the society. In modern societies, this job is done by the national governments by enacting laws and forcing people to follow them.

Downward filtration of culture – It made downward filtration of culture, sophisticated language and knowledge possible. In modern society, everybody lives in one’s own world, hardly having any interaction with others. There are watertight compartments between different groups living in an area.

Control over natural resources of the nation – Society as a whole had control over its natural resources. All local groups, whether high or low, living in an area mutually depended and supported for fulfilling different kind of needs and cared for each other.

The traditional system of occupation of ancient India had led the society to have more production, economic efficiency and expertise in almost all the areas and activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc. The system worked so well that when the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. The first few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. During this period, arts, commerce, crafts, philosophy and knowledge flourished magnificently.

Many travelers visiting India, from alien lands at different points of time, confirmed that India possessed huge wealth, knowledge, and quality of life. It was a cheerful land. Each person found a niche in the social system. Its people reached a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas. An average Indian, according to Dr. Albert Swheitzen, “Did not find life a vale of tears, from which to escape at all costs, rather he was willing to accept the world, as he finds it and, extract, what happiness he could, from it”. Recently U.S. Ambassador John Kenneth Galbrigth remarked, “While he had seen poverty in many countries of the world, he found an unusual attribute among the poor of India. There is richness in their poverty. They did not count wealth in money alone”.

Changes in scenario with industrialization

Industrial revolution started during late eighteenth century. The systems and economics of industrial era were built around long lasting structures like that of agricultural society. But it had undermined every pillar of old agricultural societies. Industrialization process along with modernization has changed the traditional job-pattern and work culture tremendously especially during 19th and 20th centuries under British rule. Instead of learning the tricks of the trade from their elders and getting advantage of their long experiences, the dependence on formal income-generating skills training programs and their certificates increased for getting employed.

Initial period of industrialization – Initially technologies were developed for lessening the strain on human muscles and designed for illiterate labour force. Machines were heavy, rigid and capital intensive. Work was unskilled, standardized and broken into simplest possible operations. All the workers were equally good, easily interchangeable like parts of a machine. Numerous unemployed people were always available. The workers were kept ignorant and powerless by keeping information restricted. These workers were chained to industrial discipline. Their life in the factory was tightly regimented,

Casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style – Outcome of industrialization has been casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style, commitment, motivation and culture. Many traditional occupations were discredited. Indian handicrafts and cottage industry were destructed. Efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsmen and weavers were scattered. They lost their creativity, sense of achievement and pride.

Unemployment increased – Majority of people could neither enter into modern sector, nor could stick to their traditional occupations. Very few of them could join modern occupations. In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, most of them had no option, but either to join band of agricultural laborers, industrial workers and marginal labor for their survival or increase number of unemployed or under employed.

More freedom to individuals to select occupation of their choice – Industrialization gave more freedom to individuals to select occupation of their choice.

Opposed by feudal agrarian – In the beginning of industrial era, the changes, brought in by industrial revolution, were opposed strongly by forces of feudal agrarianism, landed gentry, hierarchical church and the intellectual and cultural elite.

Major changes due to industrialization – Industrial Revolution made drastic changes in the social life of people. There had been shifts in population, ecology, technology, culture and relationships. The behavior, life style, values, and attitudes as well as in the power equations and inter-relationship of various individuals, groups and organizations of the agrarian societies had changes. Along with it changed the pattern of family life, work-atmosphere, and political environment and business culture of the nation.

The industrial societies assimilated different regional groups. They could feel more liberated, while living in anonymity in urban areas. The need for a homogeneous workforce gradually shifted the individual and mass loyalties from society/village to nation. The power of the rural feudal faded.

Industrialization developed mass-culture – Industrialization has initiated the culture of mass capital, mass production, mass-consumption, mass media and mass democracy.

The pace of changes faster – The pace of social, economic and political changes, brought in during the industrial era, was much faster than that of agricultural era. It has influenced the thinking, behavior pattern and work-culture of the societies allover the world.

Money the prime motivator of workforce – Industrialization shifted the attention of the people to generate more wealth. People were desperately dependent on money for their survival. Money became the prime motivator of workforce, the main tool of social control and political power. (Toffler, Power shift) The most basic struggle was over the distribution of wealth-who gets what?

Urbanization – Migration of millions from villages started. Rural landowners shifted to cities, to explore their luck in expanding industrial arena. They relied on new technological developments, machines and material for generating more money. Along with them, many peasants and traditional professionals migrated to cities in search of jobs, as the industrial labour. They became urban workers subordinated to private or public employers.

Many traditional jobs became obsolete – Industrialization has made many traditional jobs obsolete. Many more occupations were considered less paying, more hazardous or time consuming. Millions found their income threatened, their ways of work obsolete, their future uncertain and their power slashed.

Benefitted rich people – Rich and privileged class took advantage of technological knowledge and new opportunities and became richer. But the general masses became poorer and more miserable. The social and economic condition of rural people deteriorated continuously. Consumerism had increased the economic and cultural differences enormously between the elite and the masses of a society.


Changes, modernization brought – Traditional system of occupations has already been weakened. Many new kinds of jobs have emerged. In some sectors Indians have brought in revolutionary changes.  In addition to traditional occupations many new jobs have been emerged in IT industry, manufacturing arena, automobiles industry, pharmaceuticals sectors, construction business and telecommunication sectors etc.

Gap between theory and practice – Modernization gave rise to the concept of democracy. People are supposed to be the supreme power. With it emerged the concepts of liberty, equality, and fraternity and concepts like Welfare State and Development administration. But in real life, the systems developed in recent past have placed immense power in the hands of the elites and executives. Rulers, politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists, investors and intellectuals now control the natural resources and reap the benefits of developments of modern industrialized world. The power of this privileged class is continuously increasing. They have monopolized the access to knowledge and formed chain of commands to control workforce and mobs.

Process of modernization gave rise to many new kinds of jobs in organized sector in addition to the traditional occupations in unorganized sector. Institutions like the post office, telegraph, telephone, newspaper, magazines, movies, radios and television, each working independently and capable of conveying the same message to millions simultaneously came into existence. Also institutions like bureaucracy, corporations, hospitals, schools etc. have emerged in the modern world.

Dehumanized face of modern institutions- The dehumanization of institutions had weakened the most, the institution of family and eroded the power of elders in a society. Industrialization had relegated family to a purely social and non-economic position. Executives as well as workers were equally torn between the workplace and home in a physical sense and between family and organization in an emotional sense. This conflict had adversely affected the motivation, morale and productivity in modern societies. Many functions of family were transferred to other institutions, like education and training to schools, caring of elders and destitute to state and work to factory or office. Individualism and materialism reigned supreme during industrial era.

Popularity of White collared jobs – White collared jobs gained importance and popularity. Menial work was considered derogatory More a person withdraws from physical labor, more honored, civilized and qualified, he/she is regarded by modern society. The trend of easy and quick money started.

Domination of a few sections of society – New elite like bureaucrats, lawyers, professionals, journalists, industrialists dominated the scene. They seized control over workforce and the mobs. Instead of community reviewing work and pressurizing individuals to perform their duties, a new power structure hierarchical and impersonal-known as bureaucracy, came into being and flourished gradually.

Aversion from their traditional occupations – Total aversion of modern youth from their traditional occupations has today rendered millions of them unemployed or underemployed, thus wasting their time, energy and efforts in pursuit of those jobs, for which they neither have aptitude nor attitude or which are beyond their reach for one reason or the other. This they could have utilized otherwise for constructive purposes.

System benefitted “Haves” only – Some young entrepreneurs, having education, money and awareness, did market survey and hijacked many discarded traditional occupations. They modernized such disdained and contemptuous jobs like mechanization of fishing or leather industry and made them profit oriented. Less capital-intensive occupations like that of barber or washer-men have been overtaken by educated middle class. They re-christened them as saloon, laundry etc and employed those poor traditional workers, who were earlier practicing such occupations independently.

Cut-throat completion for fewer jobs in organized sector – Still there is neck to neck competition for fewer jobs in the market, especially in organized sector. Rivalry and bitterness for pelf, power or position is continuously increasing. Indian government of ‘socialist’ and ‘Welfare state’ has become provider of jobs instead of being a facilitator. Rather than focusing its attention on teaching people ‘how to fish’, the benevolent government believes in ‘giving a fish’ to needy persons. They have taken up responsibility to provide employment to its citizens, which led to centralization of control systems in matter of occupations.

Wastage of most creative and impressionable time of human-life – Stiff competition at present everywhere has pushed millions towards a situation, where they face hardships in getting a satisfactory job for themselves. It has rendered majority of them unemployed or underemployed, who are wasting all their efforts and most energetic and creative time of their lives in constant search for a job. By proper career planning, this valuable time could have utilized for constructive purposes.

Increased mobility – Increased mobility, due to developments in the field of transport and quicker means of mass communications have given rise to mobility and urbanization.

Family no longer a support – Agrarian families, living for generations under a single roof, gave way to nucleus families. It reduced the influence of elders (patriarchs) in the society. The social control mechanisms, which traditionally held the community together for centuries, have lost its grip. As the culture of nucleus family grew, family no longer provides support system to needy and poor relatives of extended family. The safety net provided by the well to do individuals of the community gradually vanished. The poor increasingly became not only poorer, but also destitute.

Human needs increased enormously – Instead of all the attempts to lessen the strain on human beings and making life more comfortable, the life of a person has become more complex. The needs of people have increased enormously in present day materialistic/consumerist society. Everybody is running after money and is trying to get as much as one can by hook or crook.

Degradation moral values – The last three centuries saw the degradation of social, moral and political values. Throughout the period of last few centuries fundamentalism grew, stronger exploited the weak, majority persecuted a minority, and ruling elite oppressed the masses. Uncertainty of mob moods compelled the politicians to get divided into numerous small, temporary, sectional or single issue groups, continually forming, breaking and reforming alliances. Bureaucratic power had joined hands with politicians. It increased favoritism, pay-off and corruption. In such an atmosphere of hostility, communities were torn by moral conflicts, drugs, crimes, corruption, ruthlessness, exploitation, and authoritarianism under the garb of social welfare, family break-up and other agonies. Industrial ecological by-products started threatening urban systems, health systems, welfare systems, educational systems, transport systems, almost all the most basic systems of human life.

Human-life becomes more complex – Diverse demands of the people increased complexity in politics. The redistribution of wealth, power and resources increased rivalry and conflict between various groups and regions. Inter class and intra-class group tensions and conflicts continuously increased due to economic inequality and disparity. The democratic Government could satisfy the demands of strong pressure groups only.

Mal-distribution of wealth and power – The whole scenario has led to many wars including the two world wars. Industrialization is responsible for gross mal-distribution of wealth between different individuals or groups or nations. It has made some very rich and others very poor. Better-industrialized western nations attempted to influence or control the economy of the developing or underdeveloped nations, in order to increase their power and position in international sphere.

Industrial revolution originated in Europe, therefore, during initial period of industrial revolution money power was centered in Europe. It was after Second World War, that USA became financially the strongest. The collapse of USSR in 1990 as superpower, made economic dominance of USA unchallenged. The developing and underdeveloped nations are trying hard to make their place in world economy. Within a nation sharp social and economic differences were seen between different regions, and between rural and urban areas. Prosperity and poverty grew simultaneously in this era.

Chaos everywhere – Once known, it becomes easier to cope with the changes strategically. However, the industrial revolution and modernization process together have overloaded individuals, organizations and nations, with too many changes too soon, and led to disorientation and incapacity of human beings to guide its course. As a result, began chaos, disparity and uncertainty in almost all the nations, particularly in the developing and underdeveloped nations. People blamed each other as well as their social, political and economic structures and their systems. They dealt with these changes haphazardly, on a one to one basis. In this way, industrialization started disintegrating under its own weight. Everywhere people got sick of too much consumerism and materialism. Some of them even desired to return to pre-industrial culture. By 1970s and 1980s, signs of crisis in industrial societies appeared.

Information technology revolution – Before people could cope with too many changes in too short a time, the world has moved in for yet another major revolution of Information technology somewhere around 1970. It has again changed the power structure, values, work-culture and socio-economic-political atmosphere of the whole world.


Demands of Twenty first century India

Abundance of natural resources for development – Modern India has all the resources, a nation needs for development – men money and material, most important amongst the three being human resource. Its total labour-force is about half a million.

It is estimated that by 2020, India will have the largest and youngest labour force in the world. Its average age will be less than 30 years. There is no dearth of talent, intelligence, quality or knowledge in any given area. There is tremendous amount of skilled and unskilled manpower, all kinds of raw materials, a good legal system, a huge market and potential to export virtually everything, provided the cost of its inputs are kept at international levels. India is the 11th largest economy in the world and is 4th largest purchasing power parity.

It is the world’s youngest country and land of entrepreneurship with largest number of self employed. About 52% of Indians are self-employed, about 55% in rural communities and 41% in urban areas. Many of these (about 20%, according to the international labor organization) are at the bottom of pyramid.

During recent global financial and economic turmoil, India has shown that it has talent for creativity in the face of adversity. It has the capacity to emerge without much difficulty from the crisis. Bringing together India’s creativity in entrepreneurship and youthful dynamism could lead to sustained inclusive growth and overcome the recent economic slowdown.

Not to reject out-rightly family occupation – Modern youth should not out-rightly reject the option of following traditional professions. Rather, it should be encouraged. The qualities and knowledge inherited due to family background could always be honed further in various training institutions by making youth aware of recent technological developments.

Even today, when there is full freedom to an individual to choose a job of one’s own liking, many youth prefer to follow their family occupations. And they are doing very well. In 21st century, the trend of following family occupations is increasing continuously in many sectors, like the Film world, legal profession, business world.

In a changing world, nothing can be more disabling than its isolation of past. Nothing is more needed than the constant interpretation of what was seen then in terms of what is seen now. Today must be a constant challenge to the opinions, systems and practices of yester times. Therefore people should not retain a system or outlook, which in the light of modern times can be replaced by a better form and which could be more effective and beneficial to the people. At the same time, society must not sacrifice an ancient form or system to an unreasoning passion for change.


In the 21st century, ‘Power’ is based on knowledge. Knowledge is now easily available to common-men citizens in almost all the fields. Land, cheap labour, raw material and capital – all these conventional forms of production may increasingly become less important. The present is passing through an exceptional time of human history, when the world is leaving behind the industrial era and is ushering into a super-symbolic electronic era based on extra-intelligent networks. Only people have to prepare themselves to cope with the change. The system as a whole had led the society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work through sound system of education and traing.

Latasinha's Weblog

Changes with ‘Industrialization’, ‘Modernization’ and ‘Globalization’
In modern India, with industrialization, modernization and globalization, the pattern of employment or choice of choosing one’s occupation or job and work culture has changed tremendously. From community-based, it has become individual based. Instead of being forced to get occupied in traditional jobs, modern India has given freedom to everyone to choose any profession of one’s liking.
Today, instead of being facilitator, the government has become the generator/creator of employment and the biggest employer. The government is supposed to create more employment opportunities for the people, whether job market requires employing more people or not. And still a large number of people remain unemployed. Between 2005 and 2012, India’s GDP growth was 54% but its net job growth was only 3%. There were only about 15 million net new jobs.
Employment pattern in Ancient and medieval India
In ancient and medieval India, there was…

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | Social and political values and systems | 2 Comments

Administrators (Generalist) and technocrats (Engineers) in government of India

Generalist Administrators and technocrat Engineers in government of India

“The Engineers’ (specialists) work is out in open, where all men can see it. If he makes a mistake, he cannot, like a doctor bury it; he cannot like a lawyer, blame it on judge or jury. He cannot, like a politician, claim his constituents demanded it.

Nor can he, like a public official, change the name of it and hope people will forget; unlike clergyman, he cannot blame it on devil.

  • If his works do not work, he is utterly damned.
  • If they do work, the world mostly forgets the name of the engineer.
  • The credit goes to some fellow, who used other peoples’ money to pay for it.”

                                      Herbert Hoover


Thousands of personnel in government services – For the performance of its manifold activities, government employs thousands of employees – generalist administrators, engineers, technical personnel and professionals – into its administrative set-up (i.e. civil services or bureaucracy) at various levels from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. In the government, all of them are always connected with the exercise of authority. Bureaucracy is always connected with the exercise of authority as its officials belong to the class of power elites. They have to deal with common men – human beings with many complexes, psychological and sociological. Its dealings extend to society as a whole.

Both, generalist administrators and engineers (technocrats) play a crucial role – Both, generalist administrators and engineers (technocrats) play a crucial role in the governance and all-round development of the nation. Together they play the role of knowledge managers in the government. Both being the pillars governance and developmental activities, are responsible to work for the public good. The basic qualities, needed in its officials for achieving its goals are – efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature and speedy working.

Main functions of administrators and technocratsTheir main functions are to formulate/frame and implement the plans and policies in different areas, taking care of the interest of the nation as a whole. For policy making, planning, programs and monitoring and re-evaluating the projects, both dig the information, collect relevant data, give the collected material a shape and present in the form of government’s projects, plans and policies.

Both recruited through an open competitive examination and professionally trainedOfficials for higher level are recruited through an open competitive examination and professionally trained in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist such as intelligence services to maintain law and order, diplomatic service for external affairs, technical services for Public Works Department or Electricity Departments, Railways and Customs etc.


Till today, generalist administrators, belonging to IAS and IPS, receive the greatest possible attention of the Ministers and elective representatives of the people. The government in India has yet to learn to give due regards and free space to work in its administrative system.

Tense relationship between bureaucrats and technocrats – Engineers, in government services are by and large, a demoralized lot finding it difficult to uphold the values of integrity and devotion. They are unable to feel the professional pride. The reasons are –

  • Personnel policies of the government not in tune – The systems/personnel policies of the government are not in tune with the requirements of developmental Administration.
  • The reason of dissatisfaction amongst engineers is that in the government sector, an administrator, especially belonging to IAS, moves up the ladder much faster than a specialist (engineer) as a result of assured career prospects. In the process the posts which are the legitimately belong to specialists and other professional are usurped by IAS personnel.
  • Administrators always remain at the controlling/giving-end. Personnel belonging to specialist services in the government engaged in development functions always remain at asking end. They look up at generalist administrators for passing their plans and get their permission for getting the jobs done.
  • Government’s failure to accord due place to the engineers, professionals and specialists in its administrative set-up has caused a conflict of professional jurisdiction, counter-motivation and a sense of frustration amongst the engineers, specialists and professionals. Such a discarded value system has led to inter-service tensions and rivalries, indifferent attitude of officials to work and perform their duties sincerely.

Liberalization and globalization has given ample of opportunities to hard-working first rate engineers and specialists to join private sector or go abroad. There they get job-satisfaction and fatter salaries. Today technical departments in government are finding it difficult employ and retain talented, upright and sincere persons as they do not want to join the government.

Structure of administrative machinery

The structure of the whole administrative machinery plays an important role in performance of tasks. It is vertically and horizontally divided in order to meet the differing requirements and emerging tasks – concerning governance or developments, so that government can function in harmony and cooperation of all officials. Government divides different posts systematically into several classes in accordance with the nature of functions to be performed, responsibilities to be shouldered and other conditions.

Nature of government functions – The manifold activities of a government broadly fall into the following groups –

  • Control functions,
  • Service functions, and
  • Development functions

Control functions – Control functions deals with maintenance of law and order. It is performed at higher/decision-making level by officials belonging to IAS, IFS; intelligence services -IPS, IB, CBI etc. and revenue services looking after financial activities of the government.

Service functionsTo provide services to public at large, there are some non-technical professional as well as technical services like various Railways, Post and Telegraph etc which provide services to the public at large. And

Development functions – The responsibility of building up permanent infra-structure for the sustainable development of the nation falls on the shoulders of technocrats belonging to superior technical services.

Other yardsticks of position classification – Usually positions, supervision and authority to be exercised downward, other responsibilities, simple or complicated type of work, qualifications required for the post etc., are the factors, which operate in the determination of classification.

The factors, which are usually taken into account for assessing the status, salary-structure, importance and career prospects of various services in government are:-

  • Degree of skill,
  • Strain of work
  • Experience involved
  • Training acquired,
  • Responsibility      undertaken
  • Mental and physical      requirements
  • Disagreeableness of      task
  • Hazard attendant of      the work and fatigue involved

An old battle – The battle between administrators and technocrats for access to the administrative posts at the policy-making and equality in salary dates back to 1957 and now the controversy between them has emerged as the knottiest internal problem facing the government. Partly this problem has been inherited from the colonial past, and partly, it is political leaders’ own making.

Why more importance to Generalist Administrators?

Deep in their hearts, National leaders are very well aware of the importance of various technical and professional services in the emerging development context. They are convinced also that the demands of engineers and other specialists are just and genuine.

  • Intelligence: It is well known that technocrats have brighter and more talented than many IAS officers. Mrs. Indira Gandhi accepted that brightest students choose engineering and medicine. She said, “it is odd that the greatest doctors and engineers in the country, who would be rated as the leaders of the profession and who save lives or add permanent assets to the nation can rarely hope to receive the pay or status of Secretaries of Ministers”. The truth gets confirmed seeing that specialists are securing higher ranks even in the competitive examination for non-technical civil services.
  • Academic qualifications before Recruitment: As far as basic minimum academic qualifications at the recruitment stage is concerned, engineers and doctors have an edge over the generalists, because they have to go through a far more rigorous curriculum in professional institutes before competing for Class I Central Services. The Academic requirements for the government’s most prestigious jobs in the civil service (IAS) and the Foreign Service are lower (only a graduate degree) than the standards set down by other services such as Indian Economic and Statistical Service, which requires a Masters Degree, but still receives lesser importance, so far as the pay scales and career prospects are concerned.
  • Differential in pay structure: One of the arguments propagated for maintaining differential in pay structure is that the quality of a service could be measured in terms of number of written papers set in the recruitment examination for different services. Higher the number of papers, higher the pay scales. This argument is not valid.
  • Higher Responsibility: If shouldering higher responsibility is the major criteria for determining the pay structure, differentials in emoluments, then the Prime Minister, the Cabinet ministers and Parliamentarians should have been highest paid persons in the country as they formulate the national policies and carry the nation with them.
  • No accurate methodology to evaluate responsibilities – No methodology exists to evaluate accurately the responsibilities borne by various services. The Third Pay Commission is on record and has admitted as under “…it is difficult to make inter-service comparison of duties and responsibilities attaching to different posts and results may not be free from controversy” (Third Pay Commission’s Report Vol. I P.113, 1973) and “… we have not found an arithmetical equation between the engineering and Indian Administrative Service practicable….” (Ibid P.137)
  • Hazards of the job: While an IAS officer works from his air-conditioned room in summers and still receives special pay, the specialists have to attend site duties in a remote, difficult and deserted place at accelerated pace at accelerated pace under hot sun to achieve the target before monsoon. The technocrats have to work hard continuously for carrying out the developmental and promotional functions of the government.
  • Permanent assets to the nation – Technocrats give permanent assets to the nation and thus play a crucial role in the modernization process of the country. Do not society and the government acknowledge their valuable contributions? If not more, then at-least pay them equally for their hard work and valuable services?
  • Ignoring the claims of technocrats – The government of India, ever since Independence, has been ignoring the claims of technocrats. It says that they have been employed for doing those jobs, why should they be given special pay or extra facilities. But when it comes to an IAS officer, when he/she is deputed to secretariat, he is offered a special pay for doing that job. In fact now he gets special pay for even holding district charge, for which he is basically recruited.
  • Increased work-load: The Government recommends higher emoluments for personnel of the IAS on the grounds of increased work-load. According to it, Collector’s job has acquired new dimensions with the growth of democratic institutions and now Collectors have to spend a considerable time in consulting and guiding non-official bodies for enlisting public cooperation and participation in schemes sponsored by the Government. Therefore, IAS deserves an edge over other Services. A closer look at the district posting itself, however, reveals the following facts:
    • It is true that the work load of a Collector is multifarious, but at the same time, it is also a fact that the governments in all the states have gone in a big way to reduce the geographical and functional jurisdiction of collectors. Not only the size of districts have been reduced, but posts like District Planning Officers, District Development Officers and Revenue Officers have been created to relieve the Collector of those important functional duties. Consequently adequate neutralization to the increase in workload has been provided through limiting the geographical and functional jurisdiction.
    • Span of field duties – According to Pr. Das Gupta and Pr. Ray, the argument that field duties of IAS are becoming increasingly, complex and arduous – is not valid on the ground that field duties are not the exclusive feature of the IAS alone. As a matter of fact, the field duties are an integral part of other Central Services as well. While the IAS and IPS have the advantage of power and authority to deal with problems of field management, other services have to manage their work under stress and strain of democratic process like the union activities or social, economic and political pressures etc. It can not be argued that the field duties of an Engineer or technocrats are less arduous and hazardous than that of his counterpart in Indian Administrative Service.
    • Does this short stay justify higher pay scales for the entire service? The span of field duties by technocrats is far longer. In 1979, a review was undertaken by DAPR and it was found that direct recruits IAS officer in some states were not getting adequate sub-divisional experience and district experience. “Of the officers with four to five years of service 45% of the Direct Recruits according to our 1979 review and 58 % of the direct recruits in the 1981 review had not been allowed to work as sub-divisional officers for two full years. They were short of two years. Similarly in eight state cadres, 70% or more of the officers have not done sub-divisional charge for two years” (77th Report of Estimates Committee presented to7th Lok Sabha on 17.4.1984, P. 76-77)
    • An officer of the       IAS stays in the post of a Collector for not more than three to four       years in his entire service span of over 35 years. Does this short stay       justify higher pay scales for the entire service? The span of field       duties by officers of Class I Central Services is far longer.

Critical review

Colonial heritageFor British rulers services engaged in control functions were more important than any other. They neither had much interest in public welfare schemes nor did they interfere unnecessarily in the interests of privileged sections of the society. India has inherited many things from their past. The colonial heritage – a carry-over of the colonial bureaucratic traditions – can be seen in elitism, authoritarianism, aloofness, red-tapism and paternalistic tendencies of its administrators.

Importance of control functionaries for Imperial rule – Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister said in the House of Commons in his historic `steel-frame speech’’ on August 2, 1922, that the British Civil Servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and he could not imagine of any period when `they can dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British Civil Servants … There is one institution we will not cripple, there is one institution we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges; and that is hat institution, which built up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India”1.

“Steel-frame of the whole structure’’ – ICS was the `steel-frame of the whole structure’’ of governance of Imperial rule in India and was exclusively trained to suit to the special needs of the British Imperial Power. Sir Edmund Blunt had said, “Superior Indian Civil Servants were the practical owners of India, irresponsible and amenable to no authority, but that of their fellow members.” Dr. Fisher also confirmed “it is the government”.

Popularity of British ICS allover the world – ICS was popular not only in India, but allover the world, “It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely how barely a thousand of British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule.

Ranking of various services -Main interest of the imperial Government was in maintenance of law and order situation and collection of revenue. British rulers neither took much interest in public welfare schemes nor did they interfere unnecessarily in the interests of privileged sections of the society. For them, controlling wing was more important rather than any of the organizations engaged in service/development functions. Therefore as suggested by Macauley and Ishington Commissions –

  • Superior status to ICS & IP – The superior status accorded to IAS and IP was perfectly in accordance with the aims of foreign rulers. These services were predominantly meant for ‘White-people’ belonging to the elite and rich families of Britain. Their oligarchic socio-economic background had its shadow on them and forced them to form a separate class – a close aristocracy of talent, race and even of colour. They were in-charge of control functions i.e. maintenance of law and order, revenue collection – crucial to perpetuate British rule in India as far as possible.
  • In the middle – In the middle were the Central (professional) services, especially engaged in revenue work, Education, Finance, Telegraph and Communications, Railways and Survey of India etc. occupied a place next to the paramount functions of law and order and revenue collection. These services were meant for implementing the policies of the Union in areas which were directly under Government of India. There was a mixture of European and native officers. Appointment did not require any professional qualification or experience.
  • Least attention to technical services – Technical services were given the least importance.  Technical services required knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree/ diploma and/or experience for entering into these services. By its nature of work, Scientific and technical services could not pose any serious danger to the Empire.

Nine All India services – Though British government in India was not much interested in nation-building activities or building up the infra-structure for the benefit of common-men, still on the eve of the Government of India Act 1919, there existed nine All India Services.

Some of the non-ICS services of generalist nature were as popular as ICS. ICS (Judicial) was popular amongst Indian ICS officers as there was not much pressure of Imperial Government on their working. Indian Custom Service was also very popular as its officials were usually posted in big towns.

Abolition of other All India services except for ICS & IP – As the movement for Indianization gained momentum, most of the technical services and services engaged in service functions were either abolished or provincialized.

Indian public opinion allergic to All India Services – Indian public opinion and the attitude of national leaders became allergic to All India Services. It was not on the basis of their actual performance, but because they were controlled by the Secretary of State and were a living symbol of foreign rule.

National interest allowed to go by default – As BB Misra says “It was the ICS and IP that remained unaffected and continued to act as unifying force. Most of the other services were abolished. Considerations of national unity, the positive need of India’s all-round development and the attainment of a minimum uniform standard in administration were allowed to go by default.”

After the independence

Independent India committed to ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Development administration’ – After the independence in 1947, India is committed to the principles of ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Development administration’ The change from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic based on the principles of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goals demands drastic changes in its administrative set-up.

Sweeping changes in knowledge based modern society In recent past, emergence of a knowledge based society has brought drastic changes, especially after Information technology revolution of 1970s has brought in many changes. The liberalization of the economy in early 1990’s and globalization of the market forces have triggered off sweeping changes too. It is redefining the work-culture of the day.

Importance and responsibility of technocrats increased – The role of engineers/technocrats becomes crucial as they are directly involved in building up the infra-structure for carrying out the developmental and promotional functions of the government. They derive their strength from their increasingly crucial role in the modernization process of the country. Their importance has increased tremendously from their ever-increasing number in service sector of the government; and the work they are supposed to perform for improving the quality of service to the masses.

Needs of Knowledge based modern society – More than just replacing laborious and slow processes with smooth and speedier ones, the organizations, whether big or small, needs to redefine jobs, responsibilities, objectives and broad organizational cultures. The objective is to enable individuals to empower their own environment, make their own decisions and focus on quality and responsiveness to peoples needs within the parameters of organizational policy.

Changed work-culture – The advances in computers, telecommunications or networking technologies and rapid commercialization of the world- wide computer web of network have changed the work-culture of the day. The changes brought in by Information technology Revolution ensures: –

  • Better management controls and decision-making.
  • Improved customer service and speedier response to inquiries.
  • Improved techniques of decision, accuracy of information.
  • On line information.
  • It has made it very easy to get and share needed information, any time and anywhere, for controlling the environment.
    • Today a single computer works in different modes of environment and organization and broadens a person’s acquaintance with EMS, IMS, DSS and DPS (Electronic Message System, Information management system, and decision support system Documentation Preparation system.)
    • Having a centralized system with different departments or industries, connected by a network, supporting management functions i.e. decision making, organizing, planning controlling and initiating would make the future office a paperless office, ensuring direct line, from one computer system to the computers of all concerned.

No more reliance on ‘Jack of all, but master of none’ theory – Now when knowledge-based-society has already taken over the charge, the Jacksonian theory, that ‘Jack of all, but master of none’ does the job better at higher decision-making levels, does not work effectively. It is an age of specialization. There are very few jobs, which can be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, knowledge or continuous experience in a specific discipline. All personnel working in organizations and institutions involved in development process need not only the quality of minds, but also the subject-matter contents in their minds.

Bureaucrats in the role of knowledge managers – In the increasingly knowledge-based modern society, bureaucrats play the role of knowledge managers. They are expected to find out knowledge based solutions for different challenges and problems of modern world. For performing their roles effectively, they are required to develop through Management” courses and Training” programs

  • Observation skills, alertness and awareness of their surroundings;
  • Intelligence or basic applicative skill to create solutions;
  • Capacity to collect relevant data;
  • Ability to understand pros and cons of a problem and suggest alternatives;
  • Mental alertness to deliver results within time and cost parameters.

Rapid advances in Information Technology – The advances in computers, telecommunications or networking technologies and commercialization of the world- wide computer web of network have changed the work-culture of the day. The changes brought in by Information technology Revolution ensures: –

  • Better management controls and decision-making.
  • Improved customer service and speedier response to inquiries.
  • Improved techniques of decision, accuracy of information.
  • On line information.
  • It has made it very easy to get and share needed information, any time and anywhere, for controlling the environment.
  • Today a single computer works in different modes of environment and organization and broadens a person’s acquaintance with EMS, IMS, DSS and DPS (Electronic Message System, Information management system, and decision support system Documentation Preparation system.)
  • Having a centralized system with different departments or industries, connected by a network, supporting management functions i.e. decision making, organizing, planning controlling and initiating would make the future office a paperless office, ensuring direct line, from one computer system to the computers of all concerned.


Due regards to technocrats – Immediately after the Independence, in India, where science and technology had yet to make their full impact, technical/specialist services needed to be given due place in the government, as they are directly involved in building up the infra-structure and for carrying out the developmental and promotional functions of the government. Technocrats derive their strength from their increasingly crucial role in the modernization process of the country, their ever-increasing number in service sector of the government and for improving the quality of service to the masses. However, their status has remained almost the same even in twenty first century. Indian Administrative Service is still the elitist service.

The great economic Depression – The great economic depression of 2008 has shaken the global world. Almost all the nations have suffered great losses due to recession and Euro-economic crisis. It has adversely affected the economy of the whole world. To recover from damages done in the recent past, both generalists and technical government services require the personnel of integrity, intelligence, ability and relevant knowledge in their specific areas.

A balanced and harmonious relationship between bureaucrats and technocrats – Good and effective governance and meaningful results of desired goals requires a balanced and harmonious relationship between generalist administrators and technocrats/engineers. Weakening of any part of this pillar could only spell disaster. Therefore, government has to make feasible administrative, organizational and working arrangements rationally and systematically.

National leaders in India are very well aware of the importance of various technical and professional services in the emerging development context. Deep in their hearts, they are convinced also that the demands of engineers and other specialists are just and genuine. But political expediency and motivations stops from taking any concrete step.

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , , , , | 7 Comments


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