• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The book for the first time offers a comprehensive and contemporary account of the state of civil services in South Asia countries. It brings together experiences of former senior bureaucrats and critics from India and other SAARC nations to affirm the state of civil service and the need for reforms.

While there have been studies describing the character, structure and the progress of the administrative systems in South Asia, there is no comprehensive account on the region's present bureaucracy. This book attempts to bridge that gap through 15 insightful chapters by experts and experienced bureaucrats. There is a general introduction too by the editor. The chapters have been divided thematically into four parts. The first two parts discuss the present state of civil service in India and possible reforms. The third part offers a comparative account of the functioning of civil service commissions in the SAARC nations. The fourth part has case studies based on on-the-job experience of bureaucrats from SAARC countries that describes how the system functions within the parameters of good governance.


The Indian bureaucracy or state administration is as old as the Mauryan Empire. Arthashastra of Chanakya is credited to be one of the earliest treatises on state craft in human history. The Arthashastra tells us that a single wheel cannot turn and so governance is only possible with assistance. Therefore, a king should appoint councillors and listen to their advice. Kautilya, or Chanakya, had specified seven elements to create an administrative apparatus with different grades and salary structure. Thus, the Indian bureaucracy is one of the ancient systems that dates back to around 400 BC and seems to have no parallel (except China). The socio-historical studies explaining the emergence of a bureaucracy to maintain public works in all hydraulic societies in Asia further supports ...

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