Sardar Patel’s vision on bureaucracy


Sardar Patel’s vision on bureaucracy
Prof. Hari Desai, Ph.D.
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Sardar Patel with the IAS probationers 
  • Sardar Patel’s Magna Carta for the rights of bureaucracy: “ If you want to have an efficient all-India service,I advise you to allow the services to open their mouth freely. If you are a Premier it would be your duty to allow your Secretary, or Chief Secretary, or other services working under you, to express their opinion without fear or favour. But I see a tendency today that in several provinces the services are set upon and told: ’No, you are servicemen, you must carry out our orders.’
  • The Union will go-you will not have a united India, if you have not a good all-India service which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security that you will stand by your word and that after all there is a Parliament, of which we can be proud, where their rights and privileges are secure. If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution. Substitute something else. Put in a Congress Constitution or some other Constitution or put in R.S.S. Constitution-whatever you like-but not this Constitution. This Constitution is meant to be worked by a ring of service which will keep the country intact.
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            From the time of Mrs. Indira Gandhi to the present day Government of Mr. Narendra Modi, topic of committed bureaucracy and judiciary has always remained centre of debate. It is  quite natural for the Prime Minister and other Ministers to have obedient bureaucrats. Traditionally in Indian Democracy, references of bureaucratic style are regularly quoted from the period of Nehru and Sardar. With reference to the bureaucracy, it is very essential to understand the desired practices followed by Sardar Patel, as contributed in the constituting the model for the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and Indian Police Services (IPS). His views should be considered authentic to understand and analyse it. Earlier in the British India, British and Indian officers were allowed to join the Indian Civil Service (ICS). At the same time, there was provision for Indian Police (IP) in the British Police Services.
            In October 1946, Sardar Patel called a conference of the Provincial Premiers, equivalent to present day Chief Ministers, to seek their concurrence to create two new cadres, namely the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) which would replace then Indian Civil Services (ICS) and Indian Police (IP), respectively. The purpose of the meeting was to fill up positions of officers in British India’s ICS and IP posts as the British were leaving India. The idea of Indian Administrative Services and Indian Police Service was floated for the discussion. It may be  remembered  that the selection process of Civil Servants was shouldered by Federal Public Service Commission during the British rule in India. But today the selection process of IAS and IPS is managed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). During the   Congress  and  Muslim League coalition Government, Sardar Sahib thought of establishing Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service. After the Partition, British officials left India and many Muslim officers migrated to Pakistan.
            As the Home minister with Government of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel appropriately opined in the Constituent Assembly that the officers who were in the services must  be provided Constitutional guarantees and safeguards  in the following categories: 
1.       Members of the former Secretary of States Services (mostly ICS and IP) who had been retained after the transfer of power. Every individual officer of this category had been given an assurance by the Central Government of protection of his Service rights.
2.      The two new Services created after transfer of power i.e. IAS (Indian Administrative Services) and IPS(Indian Police Services) which had been set up with the unanimous support of the Provincial Governments.
            To gain the confidence of the officers on duty, Sardar Patel had made suitable provisions for the Constitutional guarantees and safeguards. In the Constituent Assembly there was vigorous discussion about Indian services. The Sardar was bugged by the criticism of many ICS and IP officers who had sent the Congressmen to prison during British rule. However after the Independence, stated the Sardar, despite all the apprehension against patriotism and integrity, all the officers who were involved in administration at national level were expected to cooperate and contribute for the nation building process. Even Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had his doubts and reservations about   the ICS officers. Some of the top leaders also used to voice their opinion against the monetary benefits available to such officers. In the Constitute Assembly on 10th October 1949, Sardar Patel with grave concern said, ‘I am distressed that a senior Member like Mr.Ananthasaynam Ayyangar, a responsible Member of the House, who is the  the Deputy speaker of the assembly, considers and expresses the opinion that the members of the service were carrying on a very difficult administration for the last two or three years, and at the same time harbours the feeling that they are enemies of our country. …I feel very sad that the very instruments from whom we have to take work, we have been continuously quarrelling with. If that is so, we are not doing a service to the country. We are doing great disservice.’
            After considering the expression of opinions  of the Members like Mahavir Tyagi, Dr. H V Kamath, Naziruddin Ahmad, Rohini Kumar Chaudhary, R K Sidhwa and Dr. S P Deshmukh, about the  officers in Indian Services, the first IAS training centre was established in April 1947 at Metcalfe House in  Delhi, keeping in mind the capability and experience, the top criteria for selection process of Indian Services. It was aspired to become the world’s most effective bureaucracy by all such standards. For the same, with the consent of the Cabinet, the Sardar constituted  a committee under the able leadership of A D Gorwala, ICS.    
            During the discussion of Indian Administrative Services in the Constituent Assembly, Sardar Patel disclosed the circumstances under which he accepted the division of British India.
            “I give you this inner history which nobody knows. I agreed to Partition as a last resort, when we had reached a stage when we could have lost all. We had five or six members in the Government. The Muslim League members had already established themselves as members who had come to partition the country. At that stage we agreed to Partition; we decided that Partition could be agreed upon on the terms that the Punjab should be partitioned-they wanted the whole of it - that Bengal should be partitioned - they wanted Calcutta and whole of it. Mr. Jinnah did not want a truncated Pakistan, but he had to swallow it. We said that these two provinces should be partitioned. I made a further condition that in two months’ time power should be transferred and an Act should be passed by Parliament in that time, if it was guaranteed that the British Government would not interfere with the question of Indian States. We said, 'we will deal with the question; leave it to us; you take no sides. Let paramountcy be dead; do not directly or indirectly try to revive it in any manner. You do not interfere. We shall settle our problem. The Princes are ours and we shall deal with them.’ On these conditions we agreed to Partition and on those conditions the Bill in Parliament was passed in two months, agreed to by all three parties. Show me any instance in the history of British Parliament when such a Bill was passed in two months, But this was done. It gave birth to this Parliament.”
            In the Constituent Assembly meeting held on 10th October 1949, while enacting the Article 283(A) and making provision for some of the rights and safety for the officers of all India services, Sardar delivered a speech which can be considered Magna Carta for the rights of bureaucracy.
            “ If you want to have an efficient all-India service, I advise you to allow the services to open their mouth freely. If you are a Premier it would be your duty to allow your Secretary, or Chief Secretary, or other services working under you, to express their opinion without fear or favour. But I see a tendency today that in several provinces the services are set upon and told: ’No, you are servicemen, you must carry out our orders.’ The Union will go-you will not have a united India, if you have not a good all-India service which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security that you will stand by your word and that after all there is a Parliament, of which we can be proud, where their rights and privileges are secure. If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution. Substitute something else. Put in a Congress Constitution or some other Constitution or put in R.S.S. Constitution-whatever you like-but not this Constitution. This Constitution is meant to be worked by a ring of service which will keep the country intact. There are many impediments in this Constitution which will hamper us, but in spite of that, we have our collective wisdom come to a decision that we shall have this model wherein the ring of Service will be such that will keep the country under control.”
            With the acceptance of supreme authority of the Constitution, Sardar Patel referred  bureaucracy as a custodian of the national interests. Sardar Patel observed that the officers from all India Services were obedient to ensure corruption free administration but he was not in favour to protect corrupt officers. “My advice to you is all Members of the Parliament should support the Services, except where any individual member of the Services may be misbehaving or erring in his duty or committing  a dereliction of his duties. Then bring it to my notice. I will spare nobody, whoever he is. But if these services people are giving you full value of their Services and more, then try to learn to appreciate them. Forget the past. We fought the British for so many years. I was their bitterest enemy and they regarded me as such but I am very frank and they consider me to be their sincere friend.”
            Sardar Patel had full faith in the ability of ICS officers for their contribution in building the nation, as similar to those of merged Princely States. The Sardar always trusted their devotion and loyalty to the nation.

E-mail: haridesai@gmail.com
           


Sardar Patel’s vision on bureaucracy Sardar Patel’s vision on bureaucracy Reviewed by Dr.Hari Desai on December 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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