The British legacy in terms of the unification of India by a communication and transport infrastructure and rule of law was beset by a basic problem. The British had developed these to further the goals and ambitions of colonialism.
The communication and transport infrastructure had been built to tap raw materials for the industries in England and to create a market for British manufactured goods in India. Further the network was developed to facilitate movement of British troops to quell popular movements and uprisings against the British.
The Indians in the post- independence period clearly had different priorities. They needed a transport and communication network that would build the base for a strong self-reliant economic foundation for India.
Secondly, the network was needed to promote movements of Indians from one part of the country to another for seeking employment, promoting trade and market for indigenously manufactured goods and cultural exchange that would strengthen democracy. This needed to be strengthened.
In the same way, the administrative structure built by the British had been to maintain law and order to facilitate British rule. Indians needed the administrative structure to be responsive to the needs of development and progress of Indian democracy. The debate in the Indian political establishment was centred around this challenge. It was suggested by Nehru amongst others that the older institution of the ICS needed to be dismantled and replaced.
As early as 1951 he complained: “we rely more and more on official agencies which are generally fairly good, but which are completely different in outlook and execution from anything that draws popular enthusiasm to it.” He suggested two ways to tackle this challenge: “one by educating the whole administrative machine and secondly by putting a new type of person where it is needed. But this did not happen.
The Indian Administrative scenario which was formed was very much in the ICS mould. Nor was the lower bureaucracy renovated. People who joined Community Development Programmes out of idealism and social commitment were frustrated by attempts of bureaucracy to render them as low paid underlings. Moreover, the administrative machinery did not improve over the years.
It deteriorated further becoming more inefficient and inaccessible. Further evidences of corruption began to manifest. In 1963 Nehru wrote to his chief ministers to point out “the need to strengthen our government apparatus and to fight a ceaseless war against corruption and inefficiency”.