Difference Between Public Corporation and Department

Public Corporation and Department:

Both Departments and Public Corporations are Line Agencies of the government, but they are different in many ways.

(1) Difference Regarding the Headship- A Department is headed by a minister. He is a politician. He is assisted by one or more deputy ministers. The secretary of the department is at the top level of the administrative hierarchy but he and his department work under the ministerial headship.

On the other hand, each Public Corporation is headed by a Board of Directors, who are experts in their fields.

(2) Difference Regarding Autonomy- Public Corporations enjoy both administrative and financial autonomy. The rigid and stringent rules of the government are not applicable to them.

On the other hand, Departments work under the complete control of the government. They are strictly and continuously bound by the rules and regulations of the government.

(3) Difference Regarding the Recruitment of Staff- Departmental staff is recruited by the public service commissions and governed by strict rules and regulations of the government.

On the other hand, Public Corporations have autonomy in the recruitment and appointment of their personnel. They have their own rules and regulations regarding the personnel administration.

Several public corporations can combine to utilize the services of a recruiting agency or corporation for tapping the required skilled and qualified personnel. They can also recruit personnel by tapping the source directly through campus interviews.

(4) Difference Regarding Size- Deaprtments are large in size. These are the largest units of administration headed by ministers.

On the contrary, corporations are relatively small in size and come into existence for the new economic and commercial functions of the government.

(5) Difference Regarding Control Systems- Departments are directly under political control through the ministers. A minister heads and controls the working of a department. He is also responsible for the work of the department under his charge. Public Corporations are relatively free from political interference. They are responsible before the government as well as are subject to legislative and judicial control. But they enjoy a large measure of autonomy in internal administration. The whole of the administration of a department is under the direct and continuous control of the executive.

(6) Each Public Corporation is a Legal Entity- A corporation is a corporate body and hence it can sue and can be sued in a court of law. It has its own assets and liabilities but this is not the case with a department.

(7) A Public Corporation is created by a statute, while a Department is created or eliminated by a decree of the Executive- A Public Corporation is created by an act of the legislature whereas a Department can be created or abolished by an order of the Chief Executive.

Thus, a Public Corporation differs from a Department both in the external relationship with the government and in its procedure, which follows the pattern of private enterprise. However, both of them are Line Agencies of the government. Most of the functions of the government are carried out by the departments. However, those functions which require business skills, commercial efficiency, and freedom from political interference are entrusted to Public Corporations.

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