Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine
1.Accountability & Responsibility
Electoral Reforms in India Elections lie at the very heart of democracy. It is through elections that people in a democracy participate in public affairs and express their will. It is again through elections that power changes hands in a peaceful and orderly manner in a democracy and the authority of government gets clothed with legitimacy. „Elections, thus not only sustain democracy but enliven it as well. Holding of free and fair election is, therefore, a sine qua non of democracy.
India is both the largest and one of the most populous democracies in the world. This apart, in comparison to most of the developed democracies of the world, problems of illiteracy, poverty, etc. still continue in India as is the case with most of the developing countries. Its electorate is not only vast but also quite diverse reflecting the plurality of caste, religion, region, language, etc. of its social mosaic. Conducting periodic elections in the country by encouraging large-scale popular participation is a stupendous task.
Going by India"s record in this regard, periodic elections as a means of smooth transfer of power have been a regular and successful feature of India"s democracy in the past seventy years. Not only this, Indians have time and again reposed faith in elections as the most potent means of non-violent and peaceful protest against all acts of omissions and commissions of Government. Elections have thus become integral to India"s democracy as elsewhere in other successful liberal democracies, the world over.
2. Indian Government and Politics
The Government has announced a new comprehensive Civil Services reforms programme aimed at better services delivery to the public.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today approved the new National Architecture for Civil Services Capacity Building called “Mission Karmayogi” that aims to transform the capacity building apparatus at individual, institutional and process levels at Government of India.
The fundamental focus of the reform is the creation of a ‘citizen centric civil service’ capable of creating and delivering services conducive to economic growth and public welfare. Accordingly, Mission Karmayogi shifts the focus from “Rule based training to Role based training”. Greater thrust has been laid on behavioural change.
The National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building has been so designed that it remains entrenched in Indian Culture and sensibilities while drawing learning resources from the best institutions and practices from across the world. The Programme will be delivered by setting up an Integrated Government Online Training- iGOT Karmayogi Platform.
A Public Human Resources Council under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, with Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, eminent HR practitioners, national and international experts would oversee the entire capacity building exercise.
An expert body called Capacity Building Commission will be set up to harmonize training standards, create shared faculty and resources, and have supervisory role over all Central Training Institutions.
A Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV will be set up as Section 8 – Not for Profit Company which will own and manage the iGOT-Karmayogi platform. The SPV will own all Intellectual Property Rights on behalf of the Government of India.
An appropriate monitoring and evaluation framework will also be put in place for performance evaluation of all users of the iGOT-Karmayogi platform so as to generate a dashboard view of Key Performance Indicators. The iGOT model was tried
3. Economic Administration
Economic reforms in India refer to the changes in policies and regulations that aim to improve the efficiency and productivity of the Indian economy.
• Economic liberalisation in 1991: This was a response to the balance of payments crisis that led to the devaluation of the rupee and the adoption of a structural adjustment programme by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The liberalisation involved reducing import tariffs, removing industrial licensing, allowing foreign direct investment (FDI), privatising public sector enterprises, deregulating financial markets and reforming tax policies.
• End of Licence Raj in 1991: This refers to the abolition of the system of industrial licensing that required firms to obtain government permission for setting up, expanding or closing businesses. The Licence Raj was seen as a major obstacle to industrial growth and competition, as it created rent-seeking opportunities and bureaucratic delays.
• Nationalisation of banks (Banking Reforms) in 1969: This was a move by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to bring 14 major private banks under government control, with the aim of expanding credit to rural areas, small industries and weaker sections of society. The nationalisation was followed by further consolidation of banks, branch expansion and priority sector lending norms.
• Abolishing Privy Purse in 1971: This was a constitutional amendment that ended the payment of annual sums to the former rulers of princely states that had acceded to India after independence. The Privy Purse was seen as a symbol of feudalism and inequality, and its abolition was part of Indira Gandhi's populist agenda of 'Garibi Hatao' (Remove Poverty).
4. Current Topics
Legal reforms in India refer to the changes in the legal system and institutions that aim to improve the delivery of justice and the protection of rights.
• Proper codification of law rather than common law system: This means that the laws should be written down clearly and systematically, rather than relying on judicial precedents and customs. Codification can help reduce ambiguity, inconsistency and arbitrariness in the application of law, and also make it easier for people to access and understand their rights and obligations.
• Alteration of judicial administration: This involves improving the management and functioning of courts and tribunals, such as by increasing their infrastructure, resources, staff, technology and transparency. Judicial administration reforms can help enhance the efficiency, timeliness, quality and accountability of justice delivery.
• Shifting from an inquisitorial system to an adversarial system: This means that the courts should adopt a system where the parties to a dispute present their evidence and arguments before an impartial judge or jury, who then decides the outcome, rather than a system where the judge or magistrate actively investigates and questions the facts and witnesses. An adversarial system can help ensure a fair trial, respect for due process and the presumption of innocence.
• Judicial selection and retention: This relates to the criteria and process for appointing and removing judges and magistrates. Judicial selection and retention reforms can help ensure that the judiciary is independent, competent, diverse and representative of the society.
• Compensatory mechanism: This refers to the provision of adequate compensation or relief to victims of wrongful conviction, miscarriage of justice, human rights violations or judicial misconduct. Compensatory mechanism reforms can help restore the dignity, reputation and livelihood of the aggrieved persons, and also deter future violations.
• Enhancement in appointment procedure: This involves improving the procedure for appointing public prosecutors, law officers, legal aid lawyers and other legal professionals who play a vital role in the administration of justice. Enhancement in appointment procedure reforms can help ensure that these professionals are qualified, ethical, impartial and accountable.
5. Indian Administration
Police reforms has been on the agenda of Governments almost since independence but even after more than 50 years, the police is seen as selectively efficient, unsympathetic to the under privileged. It is further accused of politicization and criminalization. In this regard, one needs to note that the basic framework for policing in India was made way back in 1861, with little changes thereafter, whereas the society has undergone dramatic changes, especially in the post independence times. The public expectations from police have multiplied and newer forms of crime have surfaced. The policing system needs to be reformed to be in tune with present day scenario and upgraded to effectively deal with the crime and criminals, uphold human rights and safeguard the legitimate interests of one and all.