Short Essay on the Role of Political Context in Administrative

Though one cannot discard the role played by the political parties, interest groups, legislatures, courts, electorates in the political development which Riggs says, “is itself a fundamental requisite for a better life, for the world and the people of the new nations, and that progress in public administration and economic growth will not automatically promote political development”.

However, it may be pointed out as Fainsod asserts that “improvements in the effectiveness of development administration ultimately depend on the quality and training of the public servants who man it and on a social and political environment which liberates their energies”. Needless to emphasize that bureaucracy has much to determine in the success or failure of governmental plans.

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Now bureaucracy is mainly referred to as ‘rule of administrative officials’. To Riggs, it is “a concrete organization, composed of hierarchically related roles, serving formally as agent for a larger social entity or system.”

The persons assuming such roles are engaged in actions which are primarily administrative in function and as already stated the effectiveness of a government to a large extent depends upon the performance of its public servants. These public servants in many new States have tended to exercise political functions and in doing so they abuse their power.

Though in many new states the exercise of bureaucratic power is balanced by the countervailing power of a set of extra-bureaucratic institutions, consisting essentially of an elected assembly an electoral system, and a party system.

And Riggs affirms this view “that the effective operation of any modern government requires an approximate balance of power between these two major sets of governmental institutions”.

To maintain a balance between the two, Riggs suggests that a “strong constitutive system’ might exercise substantial power and improve effective control over bureaucracy”.

He opines that the basic thrust of public policy should be formed through the ‘constitutive system’ and the “relative power of it (constitutive system) may be ascertained by its ability to determine the choice of incumbents for the cabinet-level top-most positions in the bureaucracy”. In this way a balance of power between the politics and administration can be maintained.

In the United States and western politics, this balance is already there but in the developing countries an imbalance exists between the power of bureaucracy and the power of constitutive system.

Riggs suggests: “In these systems (developing countries) priority needs to be given to efforts to achieve balance, either by straightening the constitutive system, i.e., legislature, parties and elected politicians or the bureaucracy, depending on which of these key institutions is relatively less powerful”.

Thus in the political context of administration there is the need of strengthening and improving both the political as well as bureaucratic institutions so that the developmental goals which the developing countries have set are not hampered from realization.

Improved administrative practices and democratic values largely condition the success of administration of development in the developing’ democracies and therefore should go side by side.