Current Public Administration Magazine (SEPTEMBER 2019)

Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine

1. Accountability and Control

Judiciary must take proactive steps to stop lynching, punish perpetrators

Judicial apathy sends terribly wrong signals to future perpetrators, who may justifiably believe that they may ultimately be acquitted, and in any case will be bailed out pending trials. On January 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an ANI interview spoke on lynchings: “Any such incident does not reflect well on a civilised society… This is totally wrong and condemnable… For improving this situation, we should all work collectively. There should be no such incident in the society.” Later, in June, while speaking in Rajya Sabha, the PM again said, “The lynching (in Jharkhand) has pained me. It has saddened others, too”.

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2. Indian Government and Politics

SC’s Ayodhya judgment

As the 40 days of hearings are over, and just before the Lordships are set to rule on the matter, it is good to recall that it will be 27 years since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya this December. Sophie Howe is a Future Generations Commissioner in Wales. Her job, as defined by a law that was enacted in Wales in the UK in 2017, is to make sure that public bodies are accountable to the future. As she said in a recent podcast: “My job description, as set out in law, is to act as the guardian of the interests of future generations.” Her duty is to make sure that decisions, which the next generation could have to pay for in 30 years, are not made.

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3. Indian Administration

The steel frame has become a cage

The current economic slowdown is short-term pain for long-term gain because of overdue medicine. In September 1984, J R D Tata responded to retired bureaucrat P N Haksar’s letter taunting him that businessmen were not doing enough for India’s development with “I began my 55-year-old career as an angry young man because I couldn’t stomach foreign domination… I end it as angry old man… because it breaks my heart to see the continuing miserable fate of the vast majority of our people, for much of which I blame years of ill conceived economic policies of our government. Instead of releasing energies and enterprises, the system of licences and controls imposed on the private sector, combined with confiscatory personal taxation, not only discouraged and penalised honest free enterprise but encouraged, and brought success and wealth, to a new breed of bribers, tax evaders, and black marketeers”.

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4. Police Administration

A law alone will not serve as a panacea against torture by police in India

What is needed is ‘ease of policing’, better training and infrastructure Common Cause’s recent survey on the Status of Policing in India is said to have affirmed that the black sheep in the police force find nothing wrong with beating up criminals to extract a confession. It is still, however, too judgemental to suggest that torture is endemic to Indian policing, as Maja Daruwala does (‘Exorcising third-degree’, IE, September 27). There is still an overwhelming majority of IPS and other police officers in the country who abhor torture and have faith in human dignity. Torture is not justified under any circumstance. It is a wound in the soul that demeans the society.

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5. Current Topic

Lack of clarity about the role of Chief of Defence Staff

The past five years have seen the last vestiges of the Nehruvian legacy being progressively swept away. Conclusive proof of this came when the present government ordered retaliatory raids, in peace time, on Pakistani soil. Strategic culture is said to have a significant impact on national security and state behaviour. In 1992, RAND Corporation analyst, George Tanham had pronounced that a combination of “lofty Hindu philosophy and a fatalistic outlook” had prevented the development of a strategic culture in India, and that “… Indian elites showed little evidence of having systematically thought about national strategy”. Tanham’s contentions were contested by those who asserted that being heirs to the rich philosophy of Vedic literature, epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the wisdom of Chanakya’s Arthashastra, Indians had never lacked a strategic culture.

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