International Handbook on Civil Service Systems
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International Handbook on Civil Service Systems

Edited by Andrew Massey

While there is no universally accepted definition of civil servant and civil service, this authoritative and informative Handbook compares and contrasts various approaches to organising the structure and activities of different civil service systems.
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Chapter 10: The Public Service of India: A Mapping Expedition

O.P. Dwivedi and D.S. Mishra


O.P. Dwivedi and D.S. Mishra1 Three major trends in the development of Indian bureaucracy are discernible over the past many centuries: The first derives from its classical and Mughal era; the second strand is the continuation of several characteristics of the ‘imperial British heritage’, and the third relates to the postindependence period of the past 60 years which has left its imprint on the administrative style and governing structures. In this chapter, it would be far-fetched to attempt to portray all the developments and acts of administrative engineering attempted over the centuries; rather the authors have decided to undertake a mapping expedition to highlight major changes which have occurred and how they interwove especially during the postindependent era, with emphasis on the prognosis of the emerging administrative and political environment, style of governance, and conclude with the challenges facing the nation. 10.1 THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT: LEGACY OF THE CLASSICAL AND MUGHAL ERA The first specifically written account of administrative structure in ancient India can be traced back to the time of Alexander the Great when he invaded India in 327 BC, and around 302–298 BC when Megasthenes (as ambassador from Seleucus Nicator) visited India and found that Chanakya, the prime minister of King Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan empire (322–298 BC), had written the first treatise on the art of governance and administration, called Arthashastra, although several centuries prior to this time, during the Vedic period, kings were advised how to manage their state affairs in...

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