After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of the Aristocratic System 2. Fulton Committee for the Aristocratic System 3. Advantages 4. Disadvantages 5. Conclusion.
- Meaning of Aristocratic System
- Fulton Committee for Aristocratic System
- Advantages of Aristocratic System
- Disadvantages of Aristocratic System
- Conclusion to Aristocratic System
Essay # 1. Meaning of the Aristocratic System:
The word ‘Aristocracy’ means government by the nobles. The aristocratic system originated and developed in England and was later adopted by other western countries. Under this system a distinction is made between different grades of personnel and promotion from lower to the higher is strictly restricted.
The appointment to the higher class like the posts of Secretaries or Joint Secretaries is not made through a competitive examination but depends upon the discretion of the Chief Executive.
The officers hold office by appointment, based upon the personal judgment of the appointing officers as to their capacities and selections can be made from persons who have never held public office. The theory is that the qualification required of this class is of a personal character.
It is not so much administrative experience as general administrative capacity which is more expected from these officers who have to cooperate with the minister. Hence, they are known Administrative chiefs.
The relation between them and the appointing authorities is of so personal a nature, that the latter should have wide discretionary power in making their selections. Though they are usually appointed from amongst the administrative officials yet they may be appointed from outside also.
In India they are called secretaries, joint secretaries and deputy secretaries. In England they are termed as permanent under secretaries and assistant secretaries.
Next to the higher class is the administrative class which includes all those who occupy all the important positions in public administration, e.g., heads of divisions and districts. They generally belong to the IAS cadre in India. This class is recruited through a competitive examination held by the Union Public Service Commission.
The standards of examination are so high that only wards of the officials and other higher classes, who have had early education in Public Schools, can compete with success.
The high proficiency in English, etiquettes, manners and personality which are usually determined by his breed and high standard of living and all similar requirements are such which practically exclude the lower strata of society from competing. Moreover, the age limit previously 21 to 24 years debarred students hailing from rural areas from these services.
To accommodate rural areas candidates the maximum age limit has been raised from time to time. It was raised to 26 years, a little later in 1979 to 28 years. Again since 1986 it was reduced to 26 years. For 1992 the maximum age limit was kept at 33 years. This was only for one year. It was reduced to 30 years in 1999. Presently, this age limit persists.
Below the Administrative class comes the technical and supervisory classes. They are also appointed through competitive examination. However, the qualifications and standards required from these candidates are far lower than those of the above class.
The students belonging to middle class families also can easily take to these services by dint of hard work and merit obtained in the competition. These two classes of public services are kept in watertight compartments and there is very limited possibility of employees of this category getting promoted to the Administrative Class.
Another distinguishing feature of this system is that public service is made a permanent career. This introduces professionalism, in public services. The appointment of candidates at an early age, their systematic training, their fixity of tenure, provision of a proper system of promotion, adequate emoluments, and retirement benefits turn civil service into a career service.
Dr. Finer has rightly remarked, “It is different from business, from an art, from teaching, from other professions. Its objectives are individual, its spirit and methods are special.” He further opines, by making public service a life career the employees are assured of “a comfortable salary but not a fortune and comfortable pension and social honour at sixty.”
Another notable feature of this system is that the educational qualifications prescribed for such posts are meant for determining the general mental attainments of the candidates rather than any special expert knowledge. Lord Macaulay and Trevelyan, the founders of this system in U K., emphasize the significance of this feature.
Macaulay remarked, “Men who have been engaged up to one or two and twenty in studies which have no immediate connection with the business of any profession and the effect of which is merely to open, to invigorate and to enrich the mind will generally be found in the business of any profession superior to men who have, at eighteen or nineteen, devoted themselves to the special studies of their calling. Indeed early superiority in literature and science generally indicates the existence of some qualities which are securities against vice, self-denial, a taste for pleasures not sensual, a laudable desire of honorable distinction, a still more laudable desire to obtain the approbation of friends and relation. We, therefore, think that the intellectual test about to be established will be found in practice to be also the best moral test that can be achieved.”
In England the aristocratic system had a great sway till late times. The conditions and character of the administrative class were so fixed that practically only graduates of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge could hope to compete with success. This system was congenial to the aristocratic character of the British society.
Though sincere efforts have been made by legislation to break the partial monopoly of Oxford and Cambridge universities in the supply of men for the superior positions, still the system obtains there to a considerable extent.
Essay # 2. Fulton Committee for the Aristocratic System:
In UK the system was given a new look in the sixties of the 20th century. In 1965, an Estimate Committee of the House of Commons brought out a report on the “recruitment to civil services.” It recommended an enquiry into the structure, recruitment and management of civil services. It led to the inception of a departmental committee in 1966 under the chairmanship of Lord Fulton.
The Report of the committee 1968 highlighted the following main points:
(a) The civil service was a product of the 19th century and supported the gifted generalists amateur.
(b) The crying need of the hour was to look to the job first and bring a more professional approach to the working procedures.
(c) A new civil services department should be set up to take up the administrative work of the Treasury and oversee the civil services commission.
(d) A civil services college should be established.
(e) Management service units should be set up in all major departments.
(f) In most departments there is a necessity of senior policy adviser besides a permanent secretary to the concerned minister.
(g) Ministers should be allowed to employ temporary experts to advise them.
British Government’ Approach to the Recommendations:
Most of the recommendations of the committee were accepted and were progressively implemented. The Civil Services Department was created in November, 1968. Treasury classes were abolished and they were merged with the professional and specialists’ grades. In the dominions also the system was adopted. Certain other democracies, U.S.A. being an exception, opted for this system. India has also opted for this system.
Essay # 3. Advantages of the Aristocratic System:
First, it beautifully combines the principles of representative government with efficient government. The minister who is a political chief represents the popular feature of administration while the Secretary who has acquired that position after long training and experience represents expert character.
This harmonious combination of popular sovereignty with expertness enables the government to formulate and execute policy with efficiency and accuracy.
Second, the discretion given to the ministers in selecting their administrative personnel helps in maintaining harmonious relations between them and the officers, who are men of broad vision, high creative intellect and general mental culture.
These qualities are more essential than the technical expertness for higher administrative posts. Technical expertness, it is claimed, develops a stereotyped mentality and myopic vision whereas the breadth of outlook and general mental culture enable the Administrator to have a grasp on the administrative activities as a whole.
It does not, however, mean that the system is hostile to expertness. It only emphasizes the need of top management being manned by administrators having broad vision and creative intellect.
Essay # 4. Disadvantages of the Aristocratic System:
First, the system has been dubbed as highly undemocratic, as it creates class rather than a representative civil service. Administrative class is drawn from higher strata of society, executive from the middle and clerical and others from the lower middle classes.
Willoughby was also of the view that primarily, its adoption was due to this fact that it was congenial to the aristocratic character of the social system of England rather than to the deliberate opinion on the part of those entrusted with the conduct of public affairs of its intrinsic merits.”
Second, it is pointed out that it creates a class of conservative-minded administrators who are not prepared to effect radical reforms in the country. Such officers are misfit under socialistic governments.
Third, low age limit is the target of criticism. It is contended that low age limit debars people hailing from rural areas from competing for such services. The State is thus deprived of administrative talent simply on the basis of age. The State should draw talent from all possible sources. Likewise every individual should have equal opportunities of serving their nation if they have the talent.
Fourth, it is remarked that the recruitment qualifications enable the state to requisition the services of laymen rather than the experts. This is not economical to train such raw recruits at the cost of State Exchequer.
Last, the system is said to be undemocratic, as it debars the lower grade employees from getting promoted to higher administrative posts. Lack of incentive to promotion may impair efficiency as well.
Essay # 5. Conclusion to the Aristocratic System:
However, most of these points of criticism are not wholly valid. The defects pointed above can easily be minimized or avoided. The class correspondence between the civil service and the society may be obliterated if a wide variety of subjects in the competitive examination is provided.
Likewise, inclusion of liberal scholarships in the universities and colleges will enable the deserving students belonging to poor families to equip themselves with the requisite recruitment qualifications.
It is not essential that the civil services drawn from the aristocratic families would be opposed to radical reforms. Had it been so, nationalization of iron and steel industries would have been successfully carried out by the British Civil Services, with the advent of Labour Government in U.K. in 1945. The Indian Administrative Services also have not lagged behind in this respect.
Likewise, the upper age limit should be raised as done in the case of I.A.S. in India recently. This will enable the rural talent, who join the schools at a later age and subsequently pass graduation at a higher age comparatively, to compete for such services and thus serve the nation.