Basic premises - meaning, scope and significance of
The need for Public Administration
With the increasing complexity or modern life, the importance of public administration has been increasing. This is because of the need for intervention by the State in the day-to-day activities of the citizens. There is hardly any aspect of a citizen’s life which does not come into contact with some government agency or the other. In ancient times the needs of the citizens were limited. They could, therefore, live in more or less self-sufficient village communities producing in the village itself whatever they needed for their simple existence. The scientific and industrial revolutions have changed the situation. The industrial products require a degree of specialization which makes it necessary for the communities to live in bigger cities. The means of production have become rather complex and require a much greater degree of organizational effort. A number of activities can no longer be organised by the citizens privately or even by village or city communities. The national government and the State and the local governments have,
therefore, to come forward to provide the necessary infrastructural facilities for organizing production as well as for facilitating community living. For example, roads and Railways have to be built to facilitate the transport of raw material to the site of production as well as to facilitate the distribution of the
manufactured goods. These facilities are also required to meet the needs of the citizens in moving over long distances required by modern day living. Similarly, communication facilities like the telephones; microwave transmissions, satellite communication etc. have to be provided to meet the needs of the communities. All these require massive investments in human and material resources far beyond the capacity of small village or even city communities. These investments have to be made by the national government and administered with the help of the local governments and the local communities. Apart from the financial investments, a lot of
organizational effort is required to meet these needs of the citizens. The points of contact between the citizens and the government
have, therefore, increased tremendously. The importance of public administration has been keeping pace with these developments. The interest of the scholars in the study of public administration has also been correspondingly increasing. Although the study of public administration as a separate discipline is of recent origin, the subject has been studied for quite a long time as a part of the discipline of the political science. Before taking up a study of the subject of public administration, it would be worthwhile to have an idea of the meaning and scope of the subject.
Meaning of Public Administration
Public administration is a part of the wider term “Administration”. To understand the meaning of public administration we must,
therefore, firstly try to understand what administration means. Administration
The word administer is derived from the Latin words administrate, which means to care for or to look after people, to manage affairs. According to this wide definition almost every human activity involves some kind of administration. Even in primitive societies, simple activities like hunting, food, gathering, etc., could not be carried on without some form of organization. Somebody had to determine as to who will do what. Certain norms of behaviour had to be laid down to decide the distribution of work among the members of the primitive groups. Of course, the administration at that time was rather simple because the tasks to be carried out were also simple. With the growing complexity of modern life the
administration of private as well as public affairs has become more and more complex. We would now consider some of the
definitions of administration given by...
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