What Is Departmental Undertaking?

Are you curious to know what is departmental undertaking? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about departmental undertaking in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is departmental undertaking?

In the world of economics and governance, the term “Departmental Undertaking” often surfaces when discussing public sector enterprises. Departmental Undertakings are entities that are owned and operated by a government department or ministry. These organizations play a crucial role in providing essential services, generating revenue, and furthering the government’s objectives. In this blog, we will delve into the concept of Departmental Undertakings, their characteristics, and their significance in the context of government-owned entities.

What Is Departmental Undertaking?

A Departmental Undertaking is a government-owned enterprise or organization that operates under the direct control and administration of a specific government department or ministry. These entities are typically established to fulfill specific objectives, such as providing essential services, generating revenue, or implementing government policies.

Characteristics Of Departmental Undertakings

  1. Government Ownership: Departmental Undertakings are wholly owned by the government, which means they operate as public sector entities.
  2. Direct Control: These organizations are under the direct control and supervision of a government department or ministry. This control extends to management, operations, and decision-making.
  3. Fulfillment of Government Objectives: Departmental Undertakings are established to serve specific government objectives, such as ensuring the availability of essential services, promoting economic development, or achieving social welfare goals.
  4. Budgetary Support: They often receive budgetary support from the government to cover operational expenses and capital investments.
  5. Limited Autonomy: While they operate independently, Departmental Undertakings have limited autonomy in decision-making compared to other forms of government-owned enterprises.

Examples Of Departmental Undertakings

  1. Postal Services: In many countries, the postal department operates as a Departmental Undertaking. It provides mail and courier services to citizens and businesses while being directly controlled by the government.
  2. Railways: National railway systems are often operated as Departmental Undertakings. They are essential for transportation and infrastructure development and fall under the direct authority of the government.
  3. Public Healthcare: Public hospitals and healthcare facilities are another example. They are owned and managed by the government to provide healthcare services to the public.
  4. Public Education: Government-owned schools and universities fall under this category. They aim to provide quality education and are managed by the education department.

Significance Of Departmental Undertakings

  1. Service Provision: Departmental Undertakings ensure the availability of essential services to the public, such as transportation, healthcare, and education, which may not be adequately provided by the private sector.
  2. Revenue Generation: Some Departmental Undertakings, like railways or postal services, generate revenue for the government through user fees and other charges.
  3. Economic Development: They play a role in promoting economic development by providing critical infrastructure and services that support various industries and sectors.
  4. Social Welfare: Departmental Undertakings contribute to social welfare by providing accessible and affordable services, particularly in healthcare and education.
  5. Government Control: The government’s direct control over these entities allows it to implement policies and strategies to achieve specific goals, such as environmental protection or social equity.

Challenges And Criticisms

While Departmental Undertakings serve important roles, they also face challenges and criticisms, including issues related to efficiency, bureaucracy, and financial sustainability. Balancing the need for public services with cost-effectiveness is an ongoing challenge for many of these entities.


Departmental Undertakings are a vital part of the government’s role in providing essential services, driving economic development, and promoting social welfare. They represent a direct and tangible way for the government to fulfill its responsibilities to its citizens. While they face challenges, their significance in delivering critical services cannot be overstated, making them an integral part of the public sector in many countries.


What Is Departmental Undertaking Class 11?

This is the oldest and most traditional form of organizing public enterprises. These enterprises are established as departments of the ministry. These enterprises are not established as independent institutions as these are not independent legal entities.

What Is An Example Of Departmental Undertaking?

Some example of departmental undertakings is Indian Railways, Post and Telegraph, All India Radio, Doordarshan etc.

Who Has The Departmental Undertaking?

Department undertakings are established as the departments of the ministry and are financed, managed, and controlled by either central government or state government or jointly by both. For example, Indian railways, Post and telegraph, Doordarshan, Prasar Bharti.

Is Rbi A Departmental Undertaking?

RBI (Reserve Bank of India) is an independent body which is not a departmental undertaking. Doordarshan and KSRTC are also departmental undertakings. Doordarshan is a state-owned television broadcaster in India and KSRTC is a state-owned corporation that provides bus transport services in the state of KarnATAKA, India.

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