Public Administration Mains 2018 : Model Question and Answer - 107

(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: Significant Issues in Indian Administration)

(Current Based) Question: Solving Corruption and poverty needs an accountable and adventurous state. Comment (30 Marks/350 Words)

Model Answer:

Indians are exasperated with corruption and exhausted by poverty. But therein lies the tension: Ending poverty needs a more adventurous state while ending corruption needs a more accountable one.

Recent amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act will protect honest risk-takers but these changes are not enough. The only sustainable solutions for accountability and risk-taking to co-exist in our state are Rationalisation, Institutionalisation and Specialisation.

The case for rationalisation is clear; banks make loans, some will always go bad, and stupidity is not illegal. But public-sector banks are more accident prone, taxpayers pay for their mistakes, and 21 is too many.

The case for institutionalisation is clear; governance even in private sector banks — places where there is skin in the game and capital has a voice — lately has been regrettably complicated and delayed but a healing process set off by shareholder action, board churn and regulatory action create important precedents.

Bureaucrats either look up at technocrats or down on them; never straight across. This results in caricatures that impede getting a clearer look but areas like banking need specialisation. Government bank ownership must shift to a specially staffed, continuously trained, autonomous, independently governed holding company that holds banks to high performance standards (growth and credit quality) and commits to a 24-month deadline of ending access to government money that is desperately needed in education, apprenticeships, and health care.

Political parties stuck in the rhetoric of left and right are exhausted and no longer have answers because they fight yesterday’s wars rather than address today’s inter-disciplinary challenges of surplus food production, gridlocked cities, civil service performance management, learning outcomes, health care, and living wages.

Corruption probably knocks off 2 per cent of our GDP and poverty stunts the lives of 300 million Indians; solving both problems needs an accountable and adventurous state. Getting there involves being different, not bigger, better or smaller. To paraphrase philosopher J Saul, our citizens deserve a massive restructuring of the state because they are not customers of bureaucrats but their employers. (Total Words- 335)

Valuable Inputs from The Indian Express Columns : ‘Accountable and Adventurous’ by Manish Sabharwal

(Linkages: Corruption and Poverty, Corruption and Accountability, Poverty and Accountability)

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