(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)
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
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
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