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12th May 2023
Civil service reforms, H N Sanyal Committee, First ARC, Rajamannar Committee, Sarkaria Commission, National Commission to Review the working of the constitution and Singhvi Committee
Administrative Reforms Commission (employed by the Government of India) publishes some reports, known as ARC reports. ARC’s reports are crucial documents for public administration, effective governance, and much more.
Mainly there are two ARC reports, the first ARC report (published by the 1st ARC started in 1966) and the second ARC report (published by the 2nd ARC set up in 2005). The 1st ARC Report had provided 537 primary recommendations in about 20 reports before it was winded up in the 1970s.
- Conversely, the 2nd ARC published 15 reports encompassing various public administration sectors.
- Though both the ARC Report recommended effective reforms, the 2nd ARC is considered essential for the study of public administrations.
ARC (Administrative Reforms Commission) Report for UPSC
The Government of India has appointed an organization or body known as the Administrative Reforms Commission that provides recommendations for evaluating India’s public administration system. India’s ARC was set up twice.
1st Arc (Administrative Reforms Commission)
The Indian Government established the first Administrative Reforms Commission on 5 January 1966 under revolution number 40/3/65-AR(P). In the beginning, Morarji Desai managed the ARC, but after he got appointed as India’s Deputy Prime Minister, K. Hanumanthaiah managed it as the chairperson.
- This ARC declaration described the ARC configuration, the authorization of the commission, and the practices to be ensured.
- The first ARC was authorized to provide thoughtfulness to certify the premium standards of proficiency and integrity in public services.
- The ARC was mandated to make public administration the perfect equipment for implementing the Indian Government’s various socioeconomic policies and socio-economic development.
- It had provided 537 primary recommendations in about 20 reports before it was wound up in the 1970s.
2nd Arc (Administrative Reforms Commission)
The Government of India founded the 2nd ARC on 31 August 2005 under the resolution K-11022/9/2004-RC. It was established to make a comprehensive scheme to revamp the public administration system in India.
Initially, Veerappa Moily managed the commission as the chairperson. However, after his resignation in 2009, V. Ramachandran took responsibility as the new chairperson.
- The second ARC was authorized to propose some effective measures to attain a practical, responsive, responsible, sustainable, and proficient public administration at all the government levels in India.
- The 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission also published 15 reports encompassing various public administration sectors.
The 2nd ARC Report comprised reforms such as the Indian Government’s organizational structure, integrity in governance, Revamping of Personnel Administration, Reinforcement of Financial Management Systems, Local Self-Government, Citizen-centric, Problems in Federal Polity, Promoting e-governance, Crisis Management, RTI, Unlocking Human Capital, and many more.
- The first-ever report from the 2nd ARC was Right to information, considered a principal means for Good Governance in India.
- The Government of India excluded sectors like Military defense, security, and intelligence, etc., and subjects like judicial reforms and relations between central and State governments from the 2nd ARC’s recommendations.
- In 1969, the Tamil Nadu Government (DMK) appointed a three-member committee, chaired by Dr. P.V. Rajamannar, to investigate the entire issue of Centre-state relations.
- It wanted the committee to propose constitutional amendments to ensure the states’ maximum autonomy.
- In 1971, the committee delivered its report to the Tamil Nadu government.
The committee’s key recommendations are as follows:
- An Inter-State Council should be formed immediately.
- The Finance Commission should be made permanent.
- The Planning Commission should be disbanded and replaced by a statutory body.
- Articles 356, 357, and 365 (concerning President’s Rule) should be deleted entirely.
- The provision stating that the state ministry holds office at the pleasure of the governor should be removed.
- Certain subjects from the Union List and the Concurrent List should be transferred to the State List.
- Residuary powers should be devolved to the states.
- All-India services such as IAS, IPS, and IFS should be phased out.
- The agitation for State autonomy led to the creation of the Sarkaria Commission by the Central Government to recommend changes in the Centre-State relationship.
- The Commission submitted its report in 1988.
- The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution were deeply concerned about ensuring the unity and integrity of the country. They were aware of the forces of disruption and disunity working within the country. These dangers at the time of independence could be handled only by a strong government at the Centre.
- Therefore, the framers of the Constitution assigned a predominant role to the Centre.
- At the same time, they made provisions for the establishment of cooperative federalism.
- The working of the Indian federation during the last five decades clearly shows that the relations between the Centre and the States have not always been cordial.
- The Administrative Reforms Commission and several other Commissions were appointed by the Government of India from time to time to regulate Centre-State relations.
- The Union Government appointed the Sarkaria Commission to suggest ways and means to improve Centre-State relations.
- The clamour for more autonomy led to the constitution of the Sarkaria Commission in 1983 which was asked to examine and review existing arrangements between the Centres and the States in all spheres and recommend appropriate changes and measures.
- An extraordinary situation, the need to defeat the emergency regime of Indira Gandhi, brought them together. With the return of the Congress party under Indira Gandhi’s leadership with a secure majority, the movements for state autonomy slowly receded in the background.
- At the present moment, there is no movement for state autonomy like earlier, even though the struggle to get more financial resources for the state continues.
- In 1990 a visible change came in the correlation of forces active in Indian politics.
Major Recommendations of Sarkaria Commission
The Sarkaria Commission finally submitted its report in the year 1988. The Sarkaria Commission’s charter was to examine the relationship and balance of power between state and central governments in the country and suggest changes within the framework of the Constitution of India. Despite the large size of its reports – the Commission recommended, by and large, status quo in the Centre-State relations, especially in the areas, relating to legislative matters, the role of Governors, and the use of Article 356.
National Commission to Review the Working of Constitution (NCRWC)
- The National Commission to Review the Workings of the Constitution was established by Government Resolution on February 22, 2000, and is chaired by Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah.
- According to the terms of reference, the Commission shall examine, in light of the past 50 years’ experience, how best the Constitution can respond to the changing needs of modern India’s efficient, smooth, and effective system of governance and socio-economic development within the framework of Parliamentary democracy, and to recommend changes.
- If any, that is required in the Constitution’s provisions without interfering with its basic structure or features On March 31, 2002, the Commission delivered its findings to the government in two volumes.
- The mission of the NCRWC is to recommend amendments to the “Indian Constitution.”
- The Commission concluded that Article 263 of the Constitution had enormous potential that has not been properly used in resolving numerous difficulties involving more than one State.
- The Commission observed that when the Union Government enters into a treaty touching an issue on the State List that is crucial to the interests of the states, no previous consultation is undertaken with them.
Recommendation of the Commission
- There were 249 recommendations in total from the commission. 58 of them call for constitutional amendments, 86 for legislative action, and the remaining 105 for executive action. Following is a list of the commission’s major recommendations:
- Under Article 15 and 16, discrimination should be prohibited on the basis of “ethnic or social origin, political or other viewpoint, property, or birth”.
- Article 19’s freedom of speech and expression should be expanded to expressly include “the freedom of the press and other media, etc.”
- Article 21-A, the right to education, should be expanded.
In terms of preventive detention two adjustments should be made:
- The maximum length should be six months; and
- The advisory board should be composed of a chairman and two other members who should be serving judges of any high court.
- Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism should be considered as independent religions from Hinduism, and the clauses combining them under Article 25 should be removed.
- During the operation of a national emergency, the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights under Articles 17, 23, 24, 25, and 32, as well as those under Articles 20 and 21, will not be suspended.
On Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Lack of quality of report):
According to the National Commission to Review the Constitution’s Workings, “administrative departments frequently criticize the audit department’s operation.” They point out that audits frequently focus on minor concerns and a negative fault-finding approach rather than finding a solution to the administration’s problem.
On Directive Principles:
- Part IV of the Constitution’s heading should be changed to ‘Directive Principles of State Policy and Action.’
- A new Directive Principle on Population Control should be added to the list.
- Every five years, an independent National Education Commission should be established.
- To promote inter-religious harmony and social solidarity, an Inter-Faith Commission should be constituted.
On Fundamental Duties:
- The ways and mechanisms by which Fundamental Duties could be publicized and made effective should be considered.
- The Justice Verma Committee’s suggestions on the operationalization of Fundamental Duties should be adopted as soon as possible.
- Article 51-A should add the following new essential responsibilities:
- The responsibility to vote in elections, participate actively in the democratic process of governance and pay taxes.
- To promote a sense of family values and responsible parenting in matters of children’s education, physical, and moral well-being.
On State funding of election:
The National Commission to Review the Constitution’s Workings did not support state funding of elections but agreed with the 1999 law commission report that an appropriate framework for regulating political parties would need to be put in place before state funding could be considered.
On Anti-Defection Law:
- All individuals who defect (individually or in groups) from the party or alliance of parties on whose ticket they were elected must renounce their parliamentary or assembly seats and run in new elections.
- The defectors should be forbidden from holding any public office, including ministerial positions, or any other remunerative political position, for at least the remainder of the current legislature’s term or until the next elections, whichever comes first.
- A vote cast by a defector to overthrow a government should be considered void.
- The Election Commission, rather than the Speaker or Chairman of the House concerned, should have the authority to determine on questions of defection disqualification.
On Center-State Relations:
The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution made recommendations, many of which were similar to those made by the Sarkaria Commission. The following few of the novel recommendations:
- According to Article 307, a legislative organization named the Inter-State Trade and Commerce Commission should be constituted.
- A committee consisting of the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Minister of the state in question shall nominate the Governor.
- The Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule should cover disaster and emergency management.
- In the event of a political breakdown in a state, the state should be given an opportunity to explain its position and correct the situation before invoking Article 356, to the extent possible.
- The 1990 Inter-State Council directive should explicitly outline the topics that should be discussed during the discussions.
L M Singhvi Committee
Recommendations of L M Singhvi Committee
- Local self-government should be acknowledged by the Constitution.
- Panchayat elections should be held on a regular basis and without delay.
- Every state should establish a Panchayati Raj judicial tribunal to deal with issues relating to the administration of Panchayati Raj.
- Adequate financial resources are required to guarantee that panchayats function effectively.
- Individuals affiliated with political parties should be discouraged from participating.
- The Nyaya Panchayat should be tasked with mediating and resolving disputes.
- The Gram Sabha represents direct democracy, and rural Panchayats should be better organized. Gram Sabha should be prioritized.
- It recommended constitutional status for the Panchayat System.
- Establishment of the Nyaya Panchayats to mediate and resolve disputes.
- Gave more emphasis to Gram Sabhas.
- It provided for a plan to gain financial autonomy for the local bodies.