Public Administration Blog 1 2013 Batch

‘Unlike the developed West, the Third World’ s development has basically been government led’. Mohit Bhattacharya Page 1, New Horizons of Public Administration (book supplied to you). In the light of this statement explain

1. Why is this so?
2. Is it desirable to ‘Roll Back the State’ ?
3. How far can it be rolled back?
4. States claim the democratic right to govern but do not like restraints. Comment on this statement in the light of Admnistrative Accountability. Comment with reference to the recent comments of the Supreme Court that the CBI is ‘a parrot in the cage’ and the IB  according to CAT . is a ‘chicken’. Do you agree with the view of the Congress Spokesman Shri. Digvijay Singh that this hurts institutional integrity.
5. Institutional integrity, yes but at what cost?

3 thoughts on “Public Administration Blog 1 2013 Batch

  1. 1. The differences between developed and developing nations are primarily political and economic rather than geographic

    Unlike developed west,the Third world’s development has basically been “Government led” because,

    -> Private sectors are financially weak
    -> There is lack of expertise in private sector
    -> There is no motivation for private sector
    -> Private sector runs on profit while Government sector works on Service work

  2. 2. Roll back the state – Government wants people to take responsibility for their own lives and not to rely on the state to provide them with everything. So certain projects would be handed over to private sector.

    There are both pros and cons in Roll back the state,

    1. Private-sector managers have the best knowledge about how to bring about appropriate changes within their organizations and industries
    2. Private-sector managers use planning, monitoring, analysis, training, and control to achieve business objectives such as improving the efficiency of their operations or the quality of their products and services
    3. Less bureaucracy
    4. These jobs tend to pay higher
    5. Infrastructure will be good

    1. At the later stage funding/capital problem arises
    2. Once the work is completed, private sector aims to get back the money invested in the project and starts taking from citizens in the form, for example, toll fees, Entry fees etc.
    3. Job security won’t be there

    So based on the projects, Government should decide whether the project can be handed over to private sector or not.
    Its not always desirable to “Roll back the State”

  3. 1. Why Third World countries’ development is led by Government?
    Third World’s development has been basically government led –
    • Third world countries have come out from long exploitative colonial administration in which Law and order was paramount importance and in the process their resources were exploited
    • Their native systems of governance and socio-economic structures were demolished – such as in India its cottage industries, rural self-sufficient economy, self-government by village panchayats were rooted out
    • There was no capital formation, no development of modern industry to take place of medieval industries. Access to technology was denied. They were made dependent on industrialized economies as raw material provider.
    • So in the absence of private investment, capital, and middle class it was government which has to take major role with its bureaucracy for the gigantic task of socio-economic transformation. It was strong bureaucracy which gave legitimacy to new institutional structures of democracy and to defend these nations from various faults within these nations such as regionalism, communalism, caste and ethnic based division.
    • In many nations strong notions of ‘modern nationalism’ still to be matured and developed which have already developed in western nations before First world war.
    2. “Roll back the State” possible? And to what extent ?
    While “Roll back the State” is the mantra of New Public Management which calls for lean government and strong private led growth as resonated in ‘Reganalism” and “Thatherism”, developing countries should tread this path cautiously as in these countries poverty, inequality is wide prevalent. Cutting subsidies on each and every sector would increase inequality and would lead to disastrous consequences. We have to provide food security for nutrition of our population, so that we can reap benefits of demographic dividend from healthy young and children. We need to provide ‘free education’ to provide equality of opportunity and ‘promote’ skill development. While unsustainable subsidies should be cut down. But at the same time State should have no role in manufacturing consumer goods, water bottle factories (this year in railway budget) and other such activities which private sector can do efficiently and economically.
    3. Making CBI autonomous and IB accountable?
    In any political structure there are three bodies – legislature, executive and judiciary. All the three are required to be independent of each in their own sphere but also should act as ‘checks and balances’ so that not encroach on each other’s power. This sacrosanct principle also governs our political system. Therefore while government has right to govern, it is accountable to people and hence to legislature. Parliament is the supreme body as per the constitution but it is the constitution which vests this power to it subject to rights of people. So ‘State’ cannot trespass rights of its citizens on the pretext of democratically elected government. In the same manner various agencies are constituted to keep checks and balances in place such as – CAG, UPSC who are to aid a particular agency or to keep oversight in a non-partisan manner.
    The same principle should govern the other agencies. Although we have become independent the colonial mindset has not gone. The institutions such as CBI and IB were designed to have unbroken writ and regulation of the centre throughout country bypassing states and were invented by British Raj which used to see people of country and hence their political movement with distrust and as their opposition. But the role of these institutions has changed in current democratic and parliamentary government system.
    CBI’s role should be a premier government agency for investigating anti-corruption cases at the highest level and other cases which have cross-state impact or national level significance not only in letters but in spirits also. IB can play very important role in counter-terrorism operations and can be very important intelligence organization in integrating intelligence inputs and coordinating agency with state and central police agencies. But unfortunately both agencies are misused by government of the day for their vested interests. In this respect SC recently observed CBI as ‘caged parrot’ and CAT observed IB as chiken – a bird which cannot fly.
    The case with CBI is curious. It is answerable to many. It is dependent on Department of Personnel for its manpower, budget and administrative matters; while it is answerable to CVC for anti-corruption cases as per Vineeth Narain SC Judgement and certain matters of recruitment, transfer, manpower management it need to consult UPSC also. Its prosecution wing had to depend on Law Ministry. Like they say “too many cooks spoils the dish”, CBI’s case is similar. CBI need to have functional, financial and manpower related autonomy. It should have independent prosecution wing and at the same time it need to be accountable to non-partisan, unbiased institution which could be Judiciary or Joint parliamentary committee with participation from Judiciary and civil society representation having eminent persons having knowledge of public management/police service/retired CAG.
    In case of intelligence agencies Internationally in USA FBI which is equivalent to IB is accountable to Congress (their legislature) and similarly in UK MI6 and MI5 have oversight of parliamentary committee of security after cold war and similarly in other countries the intelligence agencies are accountable to democratic institutions. We cannot have any institution which is not accountable and extra constitutional or have no statutory basis as this leaves plenty of chances at the hand of executive to misuse it for vested interests. With evolution of role of government, demand for accountability and liberty of its people increasing it is time for India also to come out of cold war era and colonial mindset and make these institutions functional autonomous and at the same time accountable to public institution – i.e. parliament at the least.

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