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Executive Control Over Administration

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Executive Control Over Administration

Executive control over administration means the control exercised by the chief executive (political executive) over the functioning of the bureaucracy. Such control in the USA is exercised by the President and his secretaries, and in India and Britain by the Cabinet and ministers (individually).

In parliamentary government, the Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Parliament for its policies and actions. Each minister is also individually responsible for the acts of omission and commission in his Ministry/department. In other words, ministerial responsibility is the basic feature of the Parliamentary government. For this very reason, the political executive (Cabinet and ministers) exercise control over administration.

Unlike the legislative control which is general, periodical, informational and reporting, the executive control is fuller in content, constant, continuous, stimulative, corrective and directive.

The executive exercises control over administration through the following means or techniques.

Political Direction (Policy-making) In India, the Cabinet formulates administrative policies and enjoys the power of direction, supervision, and coordination with regard to its implementation. The minister, who is in charge of one or more departments, lays down the departmental policy and directs, supervises and coordinates its implementation by the administrators. Thus, through political direction, the Minister controls the operations of administrative agencies working under his ministry/department(s). The departmental officials are directly and totally responsible to the minister. In the USA, the same function is performed by the President and his secretaries.

Budgetary System The executive controls the administration through the budgetary system. It formulates the budget, gets it enacted by the Parliament, and allocates the necessary funds to the administrative agencies to meet their expenditure. In all such activities, the Ministry of Finance (which is the central financial agency of the Government of India) plays an important role. It exercises financial control over administration in the following ways.

(i) Approval of policies and programmes in principle.
(ii) Acceptance of provision in the budget estimates.
(iii) Sanctioning expenditure subject to the powers which are delegated.
(iv) Providing financial advice through the Integrated Financial Advisor.
(v) The reappropriation of grants (i.e. transfer of funds from one sub-head to another).
(vi) Internal audit system.
(vii) Prescribing a financial code to be followed by the spending authorities.

Appointment and Removal (Personnel Management and Control) This is the most effective means of executive control over administration. The executive plays an important role in personnel management and control and enjoys the power of appointment and removal of top administrators. In this function, the executive (in India) is assisted by the Department of Personnel and Training, the Ministry of Finance, and the UPSC. The Department of Personnel and Training is the central personnel agency in India and plays a major role in personnel management and control. At the highest level, the ministers play an important role in the selection and appointment of secretaries and heads of departments. Thus they (i.e. ministers) exercise full control over the administration of departments under their charge through such appointees.

In the USA also, though the President has to seek the approval of the Senate for effecting appointments to top posts, he has the exclusive power of removing them from office. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in the US plays an important role in personnel management and control.

Delegated Legislation Also known as the executive legislation, it is an important tool in the hands of the executive to exercise control over administration. The Parliament makes laws in skeleton forms and authorizes the executive to fill in minor details. Therefore, the executive makes rules, regulations, and bye-laws which have to be observed by the administrators in the execution of the law concerned.

Ordinances The Constitution of India authorizes the chief executive, that is, the President to promulgate ordinances during the recess (interval) of Parliament to meet situation demanding immediate action. An ordinance is as authoritative and powerful as an act of Parliament and hence, governs the functioning of the administration.

Civil Service Code The executive has prescribed a civil service code to be observed and followed by the administrators in the exercise of their official powers. It consists of a set of conduct rules which prevent the administrators from misutilising their powers for their personal ends. The important among such rules in India are as follows.

(a) All-India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1954
(b) Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1955
(c) Railway Services (Conduct) Rules, 1956.

They deal with various things like loyalty to the state, obeying the official orders of the superiors, political activities of civil servants, financial transactions of civil servants, marital restrictions, and others.

Staff Agencies The executive also exercises control over administration through staff agencies. The important staff agencies in India are the Department of Administrative Reforms, the Planning Commission, the Cabinet Secretariat, and the Prime Minister’s Office. Mooney said that a staffing agency is “an expansion of the personality of the executive. It means more eyes, more ears, and more hands to  aid him in forming and carrying out his plans.” Thus, the staff agencies exercise influence and indirect control over the administrative agencies and play an important role in coordinating their policies and programmes.

Appeal to Public Opinion The administrative system, (i.e. civil service or bureaucracy) whether in the USA or the UK or India, is status quo oriented and hence resists change. It does not receive new policies, plans, programmes and projects formulated by the executive with positive mindedness. In fact, the various organs of the administrative machinery, in the words of Pfiffner and Presthus, “seek to strengthen their position vis a vis other agencies, and the executive, by alliances with legislature and pressure groups, as well as by calculated support building campaigns directed at the general public. They develop vested interests not only in programme areas but equally in established ways of doing things, which enhance the self-consciousness and strategic position of the bureaucracy.” Due to this, the bureaucracy resists new programmes and methods as they threaten its (bureaucracy’s) strong position. Under such circumstances, the executive appeals to public opinion.

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