Ordinarily speaking a bureaucratic government is a government by officials appointed on the basis of a competitive examination or by nomination. These officials enjoy permanent tenure of service and retire on pensions at a prescribed age-limit. They are permanent and whole-time servants of the government and cannot carry on another profession simultaneously. They are experts and specialists in their particular job.
In the present age of democracy, every government has a bureaucratic element in its administration. Whereas general policy of administration is laid down by the popular executive, it is put into effect by the bureaucracy.
Some of its advantages may be brought out as follows:
(a) The bureaucratic government is very efficient because its members are especially trained for performance of their duties. Since they are professional public servants, they acquire lot of administrative experience.
(b) Such a form of government is more suitable for backward countries wherein democracy has not taken deep roots in the soil.
(c) Bureaucratic government can render unbiased justice to the various communities and the same is not possible at the hands of the majority party controlling the responsible machinery of the government.
The bureaucratic government suffers from the following defects :—
(a) Bureaucracy may be an efficient government, but an efficient government is not necessarily a good government. A bureaucratic government had no direct contact with the people and it is liable to ignore their wishes. People on their part also develop indifference and apathy for public affairs.
A good government is one which stimulates interest of the people in public affairs and which aims at political education of the masses.
(b) Bureaucrats are characterized as enlightened despots who act regardless of popular desires and sentiments. At times, they grow callous and ruthless in the conduct of their business.
(c) Bureaucracy inevitably leads to red tapism and dead formalism which involve wastage of energy, time and money. The bureaucrats are wedded to their official customs and precedents.
(d) Bureaucracy gives birth to a powerful class of bureaucrats who at times may intimidate the responsible machinery of government and tyrannise over the people.