Civil servants should act with a spirit of service to the community and in a professional manner. They should conduct themselves in a way that instills and retains the confidence of all those whom they have official dealings with. They shall fulfill their duties and obligations responsibly. They shall deal with the public and their affairs fairly, efficiently, promptly, effectively and sensibly, to the best of their ability. Where necessary, the Government has a prior call at all times on the abilities, energies and attention of civil servants.
The spirit of public administration is dependent on a moral base of benevolence to all citizens” . Possibly the word citizen should be omitted, as the focus of Fredrickson’s meaning is on the word benevolence and the use of citizens implies a limitation that seems out of character for the compassionate author. Fredrickson also says, “Without benevolence, public administration is merely governmental work. With benevolence, our field has a meaning and purpose beyond just doing a good job; the work we do becomes noble—a kind of civic virtue” (1997, 234).Benevolence toward all is the ethical spirit of public administration. It is about public interest and business administration is about the private interest. The civic virtue of public administration is a caring altruism, which is the opposite of the utilitarian, hedonistic egocentric mind-set. When the practice of government slips into the latter mind-set, it no longer is public administration as it has lost the moral foundation dimension.
Public administration is much more than government administration, which is only about management for the sake of management. Public administration includes and is deeply associated with the state because the state should care for all of the people and the assets of the people including its natural environment. However, the scope of public administration is not limited to the state, as it includes all other forms of administration and collective public activity that have a moral base of benevolence toward all. For example, the scope of public administration includes nonprofit and international organizations, such as the United Nations.
Public administration concerns fostering efficiency, effectiveness, and equitable organizations because of its civic virtue. Why? The resources at any moment are finite and public-spirited organizations need to marshal those resources wisely to maximize the benefits for all. Thus, wasting resources by being uneconomical or inefficient is antithetical to the public administration spirit. In addition, the equitable use of resources is central. Not developing all the skills and talents of the people is not caring for all in society. For example, racism, sexism, and other forms of bias are antithetical to the spirit of the field. Public administration is about caring for everyone rather than smaller subsets or groups, regardless of how policy makers rationalize those divisions.
The scope of public administration includes providing recommendations to elected and appointed policy makers and then implementing those decided policies, but the process is not neutral. Public administrators must always be firm advocates of nonpartisan conduct in both presenting recommendations and implementing public policy for the public interest. Typically, public administrators support regime values for all citizens if those values are consistent with the citizenry’s ethical spirit. If there is no consistency between the two, public administrators must advocate for benevolence toward all internally within their government institutions. Failing in that attempt, public administrators may have to resign their public employment and become external advocates. The implementation of public policy is more than a means; it also is the end purpose of civility and caring for all. Clearly, differences in approach to serve that end can and do exist. Public administrators must be neutral on the public policy approach taken as long as public policy leaders do not abandon the critical ethical spirit. That spirit includes enhancing the prospect of positive change, public responsiveness, and citizen involvement in the management of public organizations and institutions. This assumes that those changes, responsiveness, and enhanced citizen involvement foster benevolence to all. Broadening the range of administrative discretion and citizen choice, trying to build organizational cultures that encourage creativity and risk taking, and developing systems for the diffusion of innovation are typically very supportive of the public administration ethical spirit. Moral agency includes weighing and balancing constitutional and legal issues with political issues within the democratic context, but the ultimate responsibility is to the people. The ethical rudder is responsibility to the public interest.
That responsibility to the public interest ennobles the public administrator. It is not a responsibility to a particular set of citizens, but rather a commitment to be fair, just, and equitable to all. Certainly in the context of market capitalism, the spirit of public administration must dominate in order to help mitigate the worst consequences of capitalism and complement its most positive consequences. For example, public administrators in both government and nonprofit organizations need to manage the safety net so that each person can realize their opportunities to self-actualization. Such a role in society brings dignity and nobility to the public service beyond money and fame.
The idea of development is gradually becoming a central point of fascination for social scientists and policy makers. We, the Indians subsisting in the fast metamorphosing socio-political scenario are caught in an age of societal and economic contradictions. The national interest and the attendant developmental posers are there to be perceived as an intertwined matrix of narratives which at the long end of the theme will promote national equity coupled with social justice. The concept has its genesis in rationality, open mindedness, internationalism and is guided by global forces. It has also vouched for inclusive growth and has really provided tremendous potential for the human advancement irrespective of caste, creed, gender and other attendant categorizations. The theory of dependency to development and liberalism, all implicate for growth and discuss the end products of it. Indeed, the figure on literacy from 65.38% (census 2001) to 74.04% (census 2011) shows a development at its highest speed, but there has been an extreme fluctuation, if we perceive literacy at the regional basis. It has also been reported that as the girls move in the upward direction in terms of educational attainment, so their drop out rates increase.
The change is not necessarily in the desirable way, as the absence of inclusive development is noticed. We believe it is an extreme challenge before the trend of development. Economic surveys too have recognized that the growth rate in India is improving. We have also noticed the acceleration in the quality of life shifting from green revolution to white one and from traditional chapatti to the suicidal paraphernalia of pizza and burger. This has gradually pushed us in the domain of the first world country. It is, of course, a success to be celebrated and enjoyed with. Do the weaker sections really have access to all? The issues and challenges before the weaker sections are many and this seminar aims at looking at the various issues related to their estrangement and alienation. Indeed, weaker section on the other hand, defined as the unprivileged, disadvantaged and vulnerable section of society, like scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities, women, unorganized labour, disables, aged and inform persons, street children, and destitute can be categorized, as the weaker section of society. This section of society is unable to fulfill even the basic needs of the human existence, namely food, clothing, shelter, health and education and leading their life below poverty line. This tells the status of the weaker section in the nation.
Thus, the kind of consequential digress which are witnessing with the weaker section being a matter to be pondered over very systematically. However, the development of weaker section has been a central question particularly in the context of the constitutional provisions, plans, programs, policies and schemes meant for their development. The target of weaker section seems to have been unachieved. This is why the stipulated period of ten years set to achieve constitutionally, the goal of development of the target group at the very out set of the independence of India has been bound to persist decade after decades. Even now there is advocacy from different corners by different organizations for increasing the time limitation to achieve the target of development of the weaker sections and also for incorporation of some more caste groups and the segments of the population with the category of weaker sections.
As a matter of fact the traditional understanding of weaker section was revolving around lower caste, tribal, women, working class, resource less and poor where as the weaker section in modern times signifies the children, disabled persons, crime victims, victims of natural calamities like earthquakes, cyclones, drought, flood etc., victims of abuse of power, victims of epidemics, and other incurable diseases, and the victims of other social calamities like riots, terrorism, war and other social conflicts, unorganized sector workers.
In the economic sense of the term, the weaker section embodies that part of population including men, women and children who are living below the official poverty line and identifiable with certainty. In this frame of reference, around 50% of the Indian population men, women and children can be considered to be economically weaker section of society where as in the constitutional frame of reference the weaker section implies the scheduled caste (SCs), Scheduled tribes( STs), socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC), Other Backward Class (OBCs) women and children. The trajectory of development has also influenced the sections but the concern from the common counters believes that they have exploited to cope of with the structure. There has been imperceptible appearance of private governing sources in the lives of these marginalized communities and the paucity of resources has not been able to bring them to main line despite the prevalent subsidized mobility. This is the need of the hour to see the problem they are facing and also assess the possibility which can be exploited for them.
The roles of civil servants in the case of vulnerable and marginalized section of the society become very important. This is because of the following reasons: