Current Public Administration Magazine (MARCH 2024)

Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine

(MARCH 2024)

1.Accountability & Responsibility

  • Executive Control over Bureaucracy

Executive control over bureaucracy refers to the mechanisms through which the executive branch of a government, typically led by the President or Prime Minister, exercises oversight and direction over the administrative agencies, departments, and officials that constitute the bureaucracy. This control is essential for ensuring that the bureaucracy effectively implements government policies and adheres to the legal framework.

In democratic systems, executive control over bureaucracy is achieved through various means:

 Appointments: The executive has the power to appoint the heads of various departments and agencies, which allows for alignment with the administration's policy goals.

•  Rulemaking: Executives can influence the rulemaking process, which involves detailing how new policies and regulations will be implemented within agencies.

•  Budgetary Control: The executive can propose budgets that allocate resources to different bureaucratic agencies, effectively controlling their priorities and activities.

•  Executive Orders: Presidents or Prime Ministers can issue executive orders to direct the bureaucracy in specific ways, often bypassing the legislative process.

•  Oversight and Evaluation: Regular evaluations and oversight mechanisms are in place to monitor the performance and compliance of bureaucratic agencies.

These controls are designed to maintain the accountability of the bureaucracy while allowing the executive to effectively govern and implement its policy agenda. It's important to note that while the executive has significant control over the bureaucracy, there are also checks and balances in place to prevent the misuse of power and ensure that the bureaucracy can operate without undue political interference.

Maintaining a balance between political oversight and bureaucratic independence presents several challenges:

•  Political Interference: Excessive political interference can undermine the autonomy of the bureaucracy, leading to a lack of impartiality in administrative decisions.

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2. Indian Government and Politics

  • Discretionary Powers of President and Governor

The discretionary powers of the President and the Governors in India are a unique aspect of the Indian Constitution, allowing for certain decisions to be made independently of the elected legislature or executive.

For the President of India, the discretionary powers include:

•  Suspensive Veto: The President can return a bill (except a money bill) to Parliament for reconsideration. However, if the bill is passed again, the President must give assent.

•  Pocket Veto: The President can withhold assent to a bill indefinitely, as there is no time limit specified for presidential action on a bill.

•  Seeking Information: The President can seek information from the Prime Minister regarding the administration of the affairs of the union.

•  No Majority: In the case of no clear majority in Lok Sabha, the President can use discretion in inviting a leader to form the government.

•  No-confidence Motion: If a no-confidence motion is passed, the President has the discretion to dissolve Lok Sabha or invite another leader to form the government.

For the Governors of States, the discretionary powers are categorized into:

•  Constitutional Discretion: Powers explicitly provided by the Constitution, such as granting pardons or commuting sentences under Article 161.

•  Situational Discretion: Powers used in specific situations that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution but arise from the necessity of a circumstance.

These powers ensure the smooth functioning of the democratic structure and provide a mechanism to resolve conflicts or issues that may arise at both the central and state levels. It's important to note that while these powers give certain autonomy, they are also subject to scrutiny and must be exercised judiciously within the framework of the Constitution.

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3. Social Administration

  • Women Centric Budget

The philosophy behind a Women Centric Budget is rooted in the concept of gender budgeting. It's an approach that aims to integrate a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process, ensuring that gender equality commitments are translated into fiscal commitments. The Union Budget 2024 of India, which is expected to be women-centric, reflects this philosophy by focusing on initiatives that empower women and promote gender equality.

The key principles of a Women Centric Budget include:

•  Equity: Ensuring fair allocation of resources to address the specific needs of women and girls.

•  Empowerment: Providing women with the tools and opportunities to participate fully in the economy and society.

•  Efficiency: Allocating resources in a way that maximizes the social and economic return on investment, particularly in terms of women's development.

•  Effectiveness: Ensuring that the allocated resources actually reach women and have a positive impact on their lives.

By adopting this philosophy, the government aims to create a more inclusive economy where women's contributions are recognized and valued, ultimately leading to sustainable development and growth. The Women Centric Budget is not just about funding explicit gender equality initiatives; it's also about analyzing fiscal policies and budgetary decisions to understand their impact on gender equality and using this information to design and implement more effective gender policies.

A women-centric budget refers to a budget that is designed with a focus on women's needs and aims to promote gender equality. The Union Budget 2024 of India is expected to be women-centric, with heightened expectations for a gender-centric approach by the Centre.

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4. Current Topics

  • Parliamentary Election 2024

The Parliamentary Election 2024 in India is a significant event, scheduled to be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, 2024. The votes will be counted on June 4, 2024, and the results will be declared on the same day. This election will determine the composition of the 18th Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's bicameral parliament.

The election is set to be one of the largest democratic exercises in history, with approximately 970 million people eligible to vote out of a population of 1.4 billion. The legislative assembly elections in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim will be held simultaneously with the general election.

The incumbent Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is seeking a third consecutive term, and the major political parties contesting include the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC), among others. The election will be a crucial determinant of India's political and economic direction for the next five years.

The Parliamentary Election 2024 in India is set to be a landmark event with several important facts and figures:

•  Total Electors: The election will see a total of 96.8 crore electors participating, which includes 1.8 crore first-time voters.

•  Gender Ratio: In 12 states, the ratio of female voters is higher than that of male voters, with over 85 lakh first-time female voters expected to participate.

•  Voter Demographics: There are 19.47 crore voters between the ages of 20-29, reflecting the youth's significant role in this election.

•  Inclusivity: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has registered approximately 82 lakh Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), 2.2 lakh centenarians (100+), and 48k third-gender voters, showcasing its commitment to inclusive electoral rolls.

•  Logistics: The logistical scale of the election includes 10.5 lakh polling stations, 1.5 crore polling officials and security staff, 55 lakh Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), and 4 lakh vehicles.

•  Historical Context: This will be the first general election after significant events such as the abolition of Article 370, the creation of the Hindu Temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya, and the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

•  Incumbent Prime Minister: Narendra Modi is contesting for a third consecutive term, aiming to equal the record of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

These facts highlight the scale and significance of the upcoming elections, which are not only crucial for India's democratic process but also for setting the direction of the nation's future policies and development. The elections are a testament to the vibrancy of Indian democracy and its ability to engage a diverse and vast electorate.

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5. Indian Administration

  • Ombudsman

The concept of the Ombudsman has a rich history and originates from Sweden. The term "Ombudsman" is derived from Old Norse and Swedish, with the Old Norse words "umboð" (commission) and "maðr" (man) forming the basis for the Swedish word "ombudsman," which means "representative" or "agent".

Historical Origins:

•  The earliest form of an ombudsman-like role can be traced back to China during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) and later in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty.

•  In Korea, the position of "secret royal inspector," or "amhaeng-eosa," was unique to the Joseon Dynasty. These inspectors were appointed by the king to monitor government officials and look after the populace while traveling incognito.

•  The Roman Tribune also had similar roles, with the power to veto acts that infringed upon the Plebeians.

•  Another precursor to the ombudsman was the "Diwān al-Maẓālim," which dates back to the second caliph, Umar (634–644), and the concept of "Qaḍī al-Quḍāt" in the Islamic tradition.

Modern Development:

•  The modern Ombudsman institution began in Sweden in 1809, more than two centuries ago, to protect citizens' rights and ensure that government officials are accountable.

•  The Swedish Ombudsman was appointed by the Parliament to oversee the government's compliance with laws and regulations.

•  Following Sweden's example, other countries adopted the concept, with Finland establishing an Ombudsman in 1919, Denmark in 1955, and Norway in 1961.

•  By the end of the 20th century, the role of the Ombudsman had been instituted by most governments and some intergovernmental organizations, such as the European Union.

Today, the Ombudsman serves as an independent and impartial intermediary between the state and the citizens, addressing complaints about maladministration and ensuring that people's rights are protected. The institution has evolved to include specialized roles such as children's ombudsmen and has expanded to cover various sectors, including the private sector in some cases.

An Ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by the government, who investigates complaints made by individuals against public entities or organizations. The role of an Ombudsman is to address these complaints by mediating fair settlements or recommending solutions to resolve any issues.

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