After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Features of Democratic System 2. Changes in the American System 3. Advantages 4. Disadvantages.
Essay # 1. Features of Democratic System:
Its main features are:
(a) The system is immune from class division. An employee may join at the lowest rung of administrative hierarchical ladder and attain ultimately the highest position. Promotions are based on objective tests, viz., efficiency rating and rating scales. As such, there is no restriction for rise of an individual from one class to another.
(b) The age requirements—18 to 45 years—enable persons to enter public service at a later stage of life as well.
(c) Educational qualifications at the initial start of the service are not of liberal and general nature. Instead, highly specialized qualifications are required for such jobs.
(d) Public service is not a lifelong career. Any individual can enter government service at any stage within the age limits specified and leave it, whenever he likes. The State has not to stand the employees’ training cost. Nor does it prevent them from leaving the government job.
Thus there are no bars which are the essential part of aristocratic system. Some specialized institutions in the universities impart technical or specialized training. A man equipped with such training can easily get a lucrative job in a private undertaking. He may stick to it, so long as a higher job commanding a higher status is advertised by the Government.
The experience gained in an industry proves an asset for a higher government job. Likewise, contacts with the industrialists while in a government department help in procuring more alluring job in an industry. Thus mutual liking and reciprocity help an employee to attain the highest place, if he is enterprising enough and can take initiative.
Essay # 2. Changes in the American System:
In USA there has been a big evolution of civil service system. Prior to the passage of Pendleton Act, spoil system prevailed. The government jobs were considered as booty to be offered to stalwarts as reward after election of President. Merit then had no place in the government appointments.
After the assassination of President Gar-field in 1881. Americans realized the horrors of the spoil system. The congress passed the famous Pendleton act and it was signed by the American President on January 16, 1883. British Civil Service Act had a profound effect on their minds.
Features of the New Act:
1. Competitive examinations for entrance into public service.
2. Relative security of tenure and forbiddance of removal on political grounds.
3. Political neutrality of civil servants by prohibiting their being compelled to make political assessments and indulging in political campaigns. Thus, the British model was adapted to the American needs.
In the initial stages, only 10 per cent of the federal work force was brought under the purview of the Act. The proportion grew steadily. Later some more Acts viz. Hatch Acts of 1939 and 1940 learned on the government jobs political pressure.
The American Civil Service Commission was set up by Act of 1883. It was a big partisan civil service commission consisting of 3 members appointed by President with the consent of Senate. By 1943, approximately 85 per cent of Federal Civil services were covered under civil services rules.
Since 1955, the Federal services Entrance Examination is held for the university graduates. Those who pass are selected for general administrative services.
At the beginning of competitive service only 10 per cent of the services were so selected on merit. Later, the patronage service was instead reduced to about 1100 positions (spoils). Centre’s administration passed Civil Services Reforms Act 1978 which set up two separate agencies:
(a) Office of Personal management;
(b) Merit System Protection Board.
The (a) Office advised the President on Personnel Policy and the (b) office enforced merit principles and took up employees approach.
Thus presently, most of the career administrators equipped with major policy responsibilities have been brought under the Senior Executive Service (SES). About 90 per cent of the SES are senior career civil servants, the rest are non career appointees.
All this clearly reflects that the recruitment system in USA has undergone a sea change and it has resulted into the emergence of a New Public Personal administration system.
Essay # 3. Advantages of the Democratic System:
Following are some of its striking advantages of the system:
(a) It is based upon merit system rather than on birth or wealth. Thus it provides equal opportunities to all. Merit being the sole criterion for selection, it is based on justice and fair play.
(b) It provides incentive to efficient work, as there is no limit to promotions. Through hard work any employee can reach the highest place. Comparatively, the British system’ provides less incentive to the employees, as promotions in this system are either highly restricted or completely non-existent. Besides salary wise aristocratic system assures higher salaries to more experienced and better equipped candidates.
(c) Since age restriction is not there, the system provides a larger scope for selecting the talent. More capable and more mature persons may be appointed for higher jobs.
(d) It not only suits the genius of the Americans but fits into the social and economic setup of the American life. Private Job in U.S.A. is more lucrative, as such it is more alluring. Hence employees may not be keen to stick to government jobs throughout their lives.
(e) It is more economical, as the State saves the training cost. The ambitious employees will get training in the industries where they seek jobs. After equipping themselves with the requisite experience in industries, they may fit in higher government job, having better prospects and higher remuneration.
(f) Last but not the least, it appeals to the conscience of democracy loving people, as it is based upon the democratic principle that every citizen is equally entitled to public office.
Essay # 4. Disadvantages of the Democratic System:
This system also is not safe from the perennial shafts of the critics.
Its main drawbacks are:
(a) Too much specialization in public administration develops stereotyped mentality and creates myopic vision. Administrators with broader vision and general outlook are not procured in this system.
Thus the President of U.S.A. cannot get the assistance, he necessitates at the hands of such highly specialized type of administrators.
In the words of Dr. Finer, “the unfortunate crux of American administrative difficulties lies in the unfilled chasm between the political chiefs and the bureau chiefs and with it the fact that the President needs help which the system still does not provide, and never can, until the day of drastic remedies.”
In America this ‘void is filled’ by the political assistant secretaries who neither have the requisite administrative training nor the experience. This results in administrative deadlocks between the secretaries and the political assistant secretaries. Thus administration becomes chaotic.
(b) Another defect of the system as it prevails in U.S.A. is that the top management is placed in the hands of amateurs who hold tenure posts. It amounts to over-burdening of the Bureau Chiefs—the highest permanent officers in the system.
The latter cannot cope with the onerous duties as on the one hand they lack qualities of general administrators, on the other hand their departmental and inter-departmental coordinative duties, their managerial activities and the help they have to render in the formulation of policies are too exacting. Their stereotyped conception of administration makes the mess of the whole affair.
(c) Lastly, public service ceases to be career service. The public services become avaricious enough as to gain experience in the State service and develop contacts with private enterprisers while in service and leave it for more lucrative jobs in the industries.
Hoover Commission rightly reported, “of acute concern to federal officials generally is the continuous exodus of executives and key personnel from upper bracket positions.” The Commission analyzed the situation and concluded that one half of nearly seven hundred had resigned their jobs because of low salaries and lack of opportunities for advancement.