Policymaking is an extremely difficult process that involves the interaction of a complex set of forces.  It is the principal function of the state. According to Yehezkel Dror- “Policymaking is a complex, dynamic process whose components make different contributions to it.”[1] Now the question arises what policy is? It is the public need and a blueprint that guides the government for the achievement of goals. Before coming to the term public policy, it would be fruitful to understand its two components – Public and Policy. In the history of political science public policy has emerged as a discipline in much later stage. In the 1980s much effort was put to expand the relevance while adhering to the scientific vigor of the policy sciences which separate two approaches policy analyses and policy processes.[2] Policies are framed by the Legislature whereas implemented by the Executive or administrative part. Public Administration is a detailed systematic execution of public law.

In the formulation and implementation of public policy, the role of public administrators is very significant. The role of the governmental agencies is direct while the role of the non-governmental agencies is indirect. Bureaucrats or public servants of the top management level assist the ministers in policymaking. They are the part and parcel of various policy-making bodies like the UGC, the NITI Aayog, etc. The process of policymaking begins with the ideas people have about the actions they want the government to undertake.  As per political scientist Harold LasswellThe policy sciences is the study of the process of deciding or choosing and evaluate the relevance of available knowledge for the solution of a particular problem”.[3]

Public policy successes and failures cannot be understood apart from the management process that converts them into action. But sometimes public policy goes in vain because societal problems may have multiple causes and the specific policy may be unable to eradicate the problem. [4] Policies are the guidelines that government entities use to coordinate their various programs and administrators are responsible for producing and managing those policies. The needs of the public are constantly changing, so policymaking must be an on-going process;-, the need of re-evaluating the existing policies is necessary to keep them from becoming ineffective. Good public policy is all about ‘what’ and ‘how’. It requires strong and engaged leadership along with-, the ability to guide public opinion to a required outcome.

The essence of public administration is policymaking said by Dr.Appleby. Ever since Wilson wrote his essay on “the study of administration” published in 1887, politics-administration dichotomy which sees the policy as outside the scope of administration. Without a policy, government and administration are rudderless. It is the policy that sets the task for administration. Policy emanates from public administration is because of the fact that administration is in constant touch with the general public and is in a better position to understand the difficulties that arise in the execution of legislation. Administrators oversee the formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation of public policies. Not only officials but the citizens of democratic nations have the ability to influence policy decisions by participating in public votes, lobbying, petitioning.

Government constitutes political executives (ministers) plus permanent executives (bureaucracy). The quality and efficiency directly depend on the bureaucracy. Who is affected and to what extent influence frames of success or failure. For instance, in a country like Bangladesh, the role of bureaucracy is undermining because of dominant political behaviour. Policy decisions are likely to benefit some populations and harm others.  For instance, Banning international flights into a country may be successful for the health of a national community, but not for families stranded overseas who cannot return. The various organizations that participate indirectly or directly in policy-formulation are the legislature, the executive, the judiciary, top admin­istrators, political parties, pressure groups, people, etc. There are two main types of policies i.e. Political policy and Administrative policy. Political policy is the policy made by the government. It is the general policy set out by the Parliament and political executive in pursuance of the promises made at the time of election by the party in power.

Policy making process

Administration is the most supreme in policy-making. Policy-making is a continuous process. There must be a periodical review of the usefulness of a policy. Public administration has to concern itself with four P’s standing for; (a) policy making (b) planning; (c) programme and (d) projects. Besides participation in making policies, the civil servants are also involved in the traditional role of direction and execution of policy. The advantages of officials include in policy formulation is their qualification, vast experience, knowledge, as they are the think tanks of government. Its process includes some sequential patterns.

  • Problem formation( how does it go in agenda of government)
  • Formulation( who participates in this stage)
  • Adoption( what requirements must be made)
  • Implementation( what impacts does this have )
  • Evaluation( consequences of policy)

 The policy formulation includes putting problems into agenda means of the thousands of demands only a small portion receives the attention of policymakers. The legislature is a constitutional device for legitimizing the policies rather than an independent policymaking unit. In a democratic country like India, the task of the cabinet is to decide the policies which are to be placed before the legislature for sanctions. The formulation process is completed only after the appropriate authority has adopted the policy. The implantation process is the take of putting these formulate processes into practice.  In this, the role of committees is crucial for various policy initiatives for instance university education commission formed under the chairmanship of Dr. Radhakrishnan. 

The next journey is Policy implementation which reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the decision-making process. Apart from developing public policy, public administrators also supervise the implementation of policies. For instance; if the federal government enacts a policy, it is responsible for monitoring and ensuring that subordinate administrators understand the goal of that policy and how they can achieve it.[5]The success of any administration and government depends largely upon the implementation process. It requires strong determination, actions, and will. Because it does not implement itself and has to translate into action. , on account of lack of time and knowledge. The legislature passes skeleton Acts and leaves the details to the administration. It deals with the problems of accountability and control in the administration. Implementation is the dynamic process that never ends until the policy was withdrawn or ends. Public administration is the policy implementation organisation.  It’s not an easy task. Without the cooperation of top administrators, little can be achieved. Surprisingly judiciary also plays a very crucial role in implementation of the policy. The last stage comes here is an evaluation which is the last opportunity to bring the policies back into the decisions. It is the measurement scale of the effectiveness of the public policy. It helps us to understand the degrees to which policy issues have been issued. This policy cycle is best explains in the black box theory of Davis Easton. [6]


Finally, a policy must be framed after due consultation with the persons or group of people, their unions and associations, and other interests likely to be affected by the policy. Well-planned policies help in the socio-economic development of a nation. Bureaucracy is deeply involved in the proper shaping and articulation of policies.  It helps in explaining the causes and consequences of governmental activity. Despite so many challenges ahead of public policies like lack of funds, unwillingness, nepotism, poor coordination, political interference, and centralization of powers; these policies are the backbone of the nation. Policies have their origin in governmental institutions such as legislatures, executive, and the judiciary. When a policy is authoritatively determined by government institutions only then it becomes public policy. Only government gives legitimacy, implemented, enforced give and universalistic character, to policy.  Thus the relationship between public policy and public administration is very close.

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[1] Iasscore.in. 2020. ISSUE IN POLICIES AND PROGRAMES. <https://iasscore.in/topical-analysis/issue-in-policies-and-programes

[2] Bidyut chakrabarty and Prakash Chand, public administration in globalizing world, 214 (sage publication )2012

[3] Bidyut chakrabarty and Prakash Chand, public administration in globalizing world, 213 (sage publication )2012

[4] American University Online. 2020. Between Public Policy And Public Administration: The Relationship Matters More Than The Differences: <https://programs.online.american.edu/mpap/master-of-public-administration-and-policy/resources/between-public-policy-and-public-administration>

[5] Ohio University. 2020. Public Policy Vs. Public Administration | Ohio University.: <https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/blog/public-policy-vs-public-administration-how-do-public-organizations-get-things-done

[6]  Bidyut chakrabarty and Prakash Chand, public administration in globalizing world, 199;200;201 (sage publication )2012


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