Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Key Principles of Civil Services Reform [ARCII]

Extract ARCII, Report 10, Refurbishing of Personnel Administration, Introdcution

The key principles of civil services reform:

1. Setting right the asymmetry of power: It was noted that there is an imbalance in the exercise of power in governance. Often systemic rigidities, needless complexities and over-centralization make public servants ineffective and helpless in achieving positive outcomes. On the other hand, negative power of abuse of authority through flagrant violation of law, petty tyranny and nuisance value is virtually unchecked. This situation is further aggravated by the asymmetry of power in our society. The ‘privileged’ government position gives even the lower government functionaries, enormous power over most of the citizens given the abject poverty, illiteracy and a lingering feudal culture. h is needs to be set right in any effort towards public services reforms.

2. Insulating civil servants from undue political interference: In a democracy, the civil service has to be answerable to the elected government. There is criticism, however, that increasingly partisan intervention and cronyism are undermining the Rule of Law, distorting incentives and condoning corruption. h is is adversely affecting the morale of public servants. The relationship between the political executive and the civil services needs to be transformed on the basis of mutual understanding, respect and recognition of each other’s distinct roles and responsibilities.

3. Professionalisation with stability of tenure and competition: There is need to recognize the complex challenges of modern administration in various spheres of activities. Meeting such challenges require domain expertise and long experience in the sectors concerned. There is also need to foster excellence in the public system. Existing procedures and practices do not adequately help in developing domain expertise, nor utilizing the available domain expertise.

4. Citizen-centric administration: The perception of the civil services today is of a vast impersonal organization without commitment to human needs and values. It is necessary to redress the situation particularly in this era of participative democracy by making the governance apparatus an instrument of service to the people.

5. Accountability: There is a general feeling that existing mechanisms of accountability are inadequate. On the one hand, there are alibis for non-performance and on the other, competence and integrity are not adequately recognized or rewarded. Therefore, innovative and eff ective mechanisms need to be put in place to protect public money, guarantee intended outcomes and enforce accountability.

6. Outcome orientation: Monitoring in government is primarily through measurement of expenditure against outlays and at best through defi ned outputs. Clearly, there is need to move towards measurement of outcomes. A change in this direction has already started with the initial outcome budgeting exercises. In order to engineer this shift to outcomes, major changes in attitudes, monitoring and evaluation systems, incentives and accountability measures are necessary.

7. Promoting public service values and ethics: Apart from the traditional civil service values of efficiency, integrity, accountability and patriotism, it is necessary for civil servants to inculcate and adopt ethical and moral values including probity in public life, respect for human rights and compassion for the downtrodden and commitment to their welfare.

Civil Service Personnel Reforms are required because...

Extract ARCII, Report 10, "Refurbishing of Personnel Administration", Preface

Rapid and fundamental changes are taking place in the political, economic and technological fields. These call for major changes in the civil service.

- Far-reaching changes in the global economy have made it necessary to build a competent, well-functioning civil service.
- As a result of recent changes induced by globalisation, countries are competing internationally not only in the market place but also on the quality of their governance structures.
- The changed policy of deregulation, liberalisation and competition has suggested a new role for the civil service, emphasising the strategic management of the economy in less prescriptive and more market-driven approaches.
- The changes in the economic structure raise new demands related to control and accountability of the civil service as well as new definitions of professional obligations.
- In addition, the role and importance of civil society organisation and of the private sector in the Indian economy and the society in general have increased substantially over the years. As a result, it is important for the civil servants to see the private sector and civil society organisations as partners in the process of economic and social development of the country.

Reasons for resistance to change on part of civil servants:

Friday, 27 July 2012

After Nehru - by Perry Anderson

Dear Friends,

I have come across a very insightful article on the developments of Indian institutions at the time of independence- for eg: the parliamentary system, first-past-the-post electoral system, why the impoverished indian masses have not overthrown the elite representatives etc.- all in all I would recommend it as a must read- it is very long and sentences too are long- but please persist in your effort to read this.


Also regarding more pubad question papers and answer keys, the blog cant support big size photos and there may be problems in visibility. So there are two options- either I post the photos, or shall i just upload them on some file-sharing site and post the link here. Please tell me which is the more convenient option. And you could also recommend a file-sharing website.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Public Administration Questions: first chapters of Paper 1&2.

Hello Friends,

In response to a request by one of you (Milan Damji) for practice questions, am reproducing the question paper of the test-series I have joined (Krishna Pradeep, Hyderabad). These question-paper does the useful task of combining topics from both papers of the optional- this way we are encouraged to utilise concepts and examples across the two. 

I will upload the key that we were given in a day's time. Best wishes for your prep.



Section A (Introduction to Public Administration)
1.       Comment on the following.                                                                                                        3 x 20 = 60 mks.

a.       “Public Administration is the use of managerial, political, and legal theories and processes to fulfil legislative, executive, and judicial governmental mandates for the provision of regulatory and service functions for the society as as whole or for some segments of it”.
b.       Woodrow Wilson’s ideology of “politics-administration dichotomy” is irrelevant in the present context of good governance.
c.       The new paradigm of public administration styled as New Public Management has emerged as a staunch advocate of a series of shifts of emphasis in the way in which public sector should be organised and managed.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

National Development Council in the News

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi made use of the National Development Council (NDC) forum, convened to discuss the Approach Paper to the Twelfth Five Year Plan, to launch a blistering attack on the Manmohan Singh government on the political and economic fronts.
“It is with a sense of great anguish and deep regret that I wish to draw the attention of this august body to attempts being made increasingly by the Central government to tinker with the federal structure mandated by the Constitution,” Mr. Modi said.The Chief Minister counselled the Centre to observe ‘federal dharma' and maintained that extreme vigilance and caution had to be exercised to ensure all constitutional authorities were allowed to carry out their mandated functions.He charged the Centre with being inconsistent with the federal fiscal system while transferring resources to States, which had led to problems relating to administration and financial discipline. “It is ironical and sad that while progressive States are empowering people and decentralising decision making, the Central government is moving in the opposite direction.”Mr. Modi took exception to direct transfer of funds by the Centre to the district-level agencies and said that the unusual procedure of bypassing State governments weakens them and results in poor quality outcomes.
“It has been observed that many critical issues of the States remain pending resolution by the Central government for years... It almost appears that it is for the States to repeatedly knock on the doors of the Central government, which is oblivious to their pleas. There is an urgent need to set up a structured mechanism which addresses such issues and resolves them in a time-bound manner,” Mr. Modi said. (Oct 2011). 7

Bombay Manifesto

Among Indian big business, by the 1920s, two major groupings had emerged,neither fundamentally antagonistic to the other but pursuing different policies.The first, led by the Tatas and containing such major forces as the Bombay Millowners' Association, was openly loyal to the British. The second, headedby Birla and containing the various Indian Chambers of Commerce (formed later into the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) gave supportto the Right wing of the Congress leadership - at times decisively pressing it toward a deal.

Though neither of the two schools was prepared for an anti-imperialist struggle,they pursued different strategies in heading it off. Of the two strategies,that of the Birla group was certainly more sophisticated, and eventually persuaded most of the proponents of the group headed by Tata. Sir PurshottamdasThakurdas, probably the biggest cotton trader in India, was in a sense a bridge between the two schools - a director of many Tata firms as well as of many foreign-owned ones (such as Killick Nixon), he was also Birla's closest confidante.

A few days after the Lucknow Congress A.D.Shroff of Tatas fired off a refutation of Nehru's speech. Three weeks later, on May 18, 1936, 21 leading Bombay businessmen issued what came to be known as the "Bombay Manifesto" - against Nehru. Among the signatories were Sir N.Saklatvala, Sir Purshottamdas Thakurdas,Sir Chimanlal Setalvad, Sir Pheroze Sethna, Sir Cowasji Jehangir, WalchandHirachand, Dharamsey Khatau and A.D.Shroff. It began with a quotation fromthe Lucknow address which advocated socialism for India, and which gave Russia as an example of the sort of civilisation India should work for. The signatories then stated:
  "We have no hesitation in declaring that we are unequivocally  opposed to ideas of this kind being propagated, as in the present condition  of widespread economic misery in the country, they are likely to find a ready  though unthinking reception. We are convinced that there is a grave risk  of the masses being misled by such doctrines into believing that all that  is required for the improvement of their well-being is a total destruction  of the present social and economic structure. The inculcation of such ideas  into the minds of unthinking millions of this country would lead to a situation  in which not only the institution of private property but the peaceful  observation of religion, and even personal safety, would be jeopardised."  
Source: http://www.wengewang.org/simple/index.php?t22618_2.html

Categories of Protected Areas

There are 4 categories of the Protected Areas viz, 
a. National Parks, 
b. Sanctuaries,
c. Conservation Reserves and 
d. Community Reserves.

Sanctuary is an area which is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological significance. The Sanctuary is declared for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.  Certain rights of people living inside the Sanctuary could be permitted. Further, during the
settlement of claims, before finally notifying the Sanctuary, the Collector may, in consultation with the Chief Wildlife Warden, allow the continuation of any right of anyperson in or over any land within the limits of the Sanctuary.

12th FYP: Approach Paper

Extract from 12th Five Year Plan Approach PaperOVERVIEW

The Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-08 to 2011-12) had aimed at achieving faster and more inclusive growth. Rapid GDP growth, targeted at 9.0 per cent per annum, was regarded necessary for two reasons: 
(a) to generate the income and employment opportunities that were needed for improving living
standards for the bulk of the population; and
(b) to generate the resources needed for financing social sector programmes, aimed at reducing poverty and enabling inclusiveness.

The economy has performed well on the growth front, averaging 8.2 per cent in the first four years. Growth in 2011-12 is likely to be around 8.0 per cent. The economy is therefore, likely to achieve an average GDP growth of around 8.2 per cent over the Eleventh Plan period, which is lower than the 9.0 per cent targeted originally, but higher than the 7.8 per cent achieved in the Tenth Plan. This implies a nearly 35 per cent increase in per-capita GDP during this period. It has also led to a substantial increase in government revenues, both at the Centre and the States, resulting in a significant step-up of resources for the programmes aimed at inclusiveness.
The acceleration in the growth in the Eleventh Plan period compared with the Tenth Plan is modest,but it is nevertheless a good performance, given the fact that a severe global economic crisis depressed growth in two of these five years, and also that in the year 2009 India had the weakest monsoon in three decades. The slowdown in 2011-12 is a matter of concern, but can be reversed if the investment climate is turned around and fiscal discipline is strengthened.

Friday, 6 July 2012

ARC II- Organisational Structure of GoI (Report 13)

Reforming the structure of the Government of India is necessary because the sustainability of the other reforms is closely interlinked with the creation of a pro-active, efficient and flexible organizational framework.

Most of the structures existing in the government are based on the Weberian model of division of work - a well defined hierarchy, adherence to rules and, by and large, impersonal functioning. These organizational structures have stood the test of time to a considerable extent but are more suited to command and control functions and less so when it comes to developmental, promotional and facilitative functions of the state. India’s position on various key human development and economic parameters remains well below desired levels. In a way this is a reflection of the structure and functioning of governmental organizations. 

Click here to read about Existing Structure of GoI: its Strengths and Weaknesses

A major and basic restructuring is essential to combat the evils of fragmentation, narrow departmentalism, 
concentration of powers and micro-management at the higher levels which leads to inordinate delays and lack of accountability. The commission feels that the following core principles should govern the restructuring of the Government of India:

Coordination Mechanisms in GoI: GoM, Cabinet Sectt...

Extract from ARC II- Report 13, "Organizational Structure of GoI", pgs 134-140

Different Coordination Mechanisms

a. Cabinet Committee and GoMs (Group of Ministers) There is need for ensuring extensive horizontal coordination where policies are spread over a number of departments and where policy delivery mechanisms are distributed in different parts of the government. This issue of coordination among departments in the 
Government of India was also examined by the First Administrative Reforms Commission (First ARC) which recommended setting up of Standing Committees of the Cabinet. Also each of the cabinet committees mentioned above should be supported by a secretaries’ committee in order to ensure that time and energy are not wasted in dealing with issues which can be settled at the secretaries’ level. Some of them are:
Cabinet ommittee on Economic Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Management of Natural Calamities, Cabinet Committee on Security, Cabinet Committee on World Trade Organisation Matters.

In addition, several Groups of Ministers (GOMs) have been constituted to look into different issues/subjects. some of these GOMs have been empowered to take decisions on behalf of the cabinet (Empowered Group of Ministers) whereas the others make recommendations to the cabinet.  
As of May 2012 there are thirteen EGoMs on Spectrum Allocation and Auction, Procurement and Management of Food Grains, Sale of shares of GoI in CPSEs, Effective management of Drought-related issues, Ratnagiri Gas and Power Ltd, Gas pricing and commercial utilization,  National Highway Development Project, Ultra-Mega Power projects, Mass Rapid Transit Systems, Under-recoveries of OMCs, SEZs, amend Competition Act 2002. Most were headed by Pranab Mukherjee, but now that he is contesting for post of President, different people are being considered for appointment. Mr. Sharad Pawar quit as Chair of the Telecom EGoM.

Governmental Processes- strengths and weaknesses

Extract ARC2: Report 13 "Organisational Structure of Government of India", pgs 126-130

[Note: to be read with Existing Structure of GOI: Strengths and Weaknesses]

a. Record keepingWhile the present system undeniably creates voluminous manual records, the use of this data remains constrained due to lack of proper categorization, referencing and access systems. 

b. Institutional MemoryA robust record maintenance system helps in the creation of an institutional memory of past policies and precedents that can guide future decision making.Over-reliance on precedents, discourages independent application of mind and inhibits creative approaches to problems. Another drawback is that even in routine decision making where such institutional memory can be best used, absence of effective data retrievable systems leads to ‘cherry picking’ precedents to suit one’s convenience.

c. Accountability: An elaborate system of paper based records helps in pin-pointing responsibility for each decision made in a Government Department. In theory, this would also ensure that accountability can be enforced for wrong decisions. In practice however, the system fosters risk avoidance and inhibits free and fair expression of views by honest officers for fear of reprisal on the one hand while the involvement of multiple individuals in the decision making process can lead to diffusion of accountability.

d. Inbuilt Redundancy-self CorrectingExamination of an issue on file by multiple levels enables repeated scrutiny which in turn enables correction of errors and omissions at any particular level and thus creates a 
kind of self correcting mechanism.

e. Insulates Individual Functionaries from Extraneous InfluencesThe present office procedures enable individual functionaries to record their independent views on the files. The system, at least in theory, safeguards the right of expression of individual functionaries and protects them from extraneous influences and victimization, more so with the coming in force of the Right to Information Act.

Policy-Making and Policy-Implementation [ARC II]

Extract from ARCII- Report 13, "Organizational Structure of Government of India", pgs 105- .119

[Note: Useful for Public Policy unit of PubAd Paper1- Spurthi].

Policy Making to Policy Planning
…Policy planning is an improvement on policy making and came into vogue in the 1960s. Policy planning takes into account the present national and international scenarios as also the likely future contingencies in a given area of interest, and provides a menu of choices enabling the organisation, whether it is the government or any category of enterprise, to prepare itself in advance to meet those situations. 

Whereas, policy making is working out the response when one is face-to-face with a situation. Policy planning is of help in shaping events along directions conducive to best results while policy making caters to a current requirement in an existing context.The domains of politics and economics eminently lend themselves to policy planning rather than policy making. The reason is that once a political or economic event has come to pass, it becomes a question of catching up with its fallout by trying out suitable remedies, whereas what is of greater importance is either preventing such an event from happening at all, or minimising the harm and 
maximising the gains. There is all the difference between dealing with a looming crisis by anticipatory action and reacting to a crisis that has already occurred — in short, between fire-proofing and fire-fighting.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs was the first to start a division for Political and security Policy
Planning in 1967; soon thereafter, the Union Ministry of External Affairs also set up a similar division for Foreign Policy studies with K. R. Narayanan, (former President of India), as the Director. Both units worked in concert taking a holistic view of policy planning in domestic and foreign affairs.The paper on the agrarian situation in states predicting in 1968 a phenomenon that subsequently came to be known as Naxalism has been widely cited in all academic discourses worldwide for its conclusion that in the absence of vigorous implementation of land reforms, the Green Revolution was bound to turn to red.

Regrettably, the waning of enthusiasm on the part of Ministers and the present generation of civil servants for policy planning is the cause of ad-hocism witnessed in the handling of issues at the centre and in the states. Disturbingly, the Government seems to be reacting to national security and terrorism on a tragedy-by-tragedy basis, rather than having a comprehensive and long-term strategy. The same tendency to wait on events instead of being abreast of them marks external relations as well. It is time policy planning was built into the process of decision making to enable the country to be ahead of developments without being overtaken by ugly surprises.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Existing Structure of GoI-its Strengths and Weaknesses

Extract ARC2: Report 13 "Organisational Structure of Government of India", pgs 68-70

Existing Structure of the GoI

The work of Government of India is distributed into different Ministries/ Departments. 

A Department has also been defined in the General Financial Rules as follows:
(1)  A department is responsible for formulation of policies of the government in relation to business allocated to it and also for the execution and review of those policies.
(2) For the efficient disposal of business allotted to it, a department is divided into wings, divisions, branches and sections.
(3) A department is normally headed by a secretary to the Government of India who acts as the administrative head of the department and principal adviser of the Minister on all matters of policy and administration within the department.
(4) The work in a department is normally divided into wings with a Special Secretary/Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary in charge of each wing..."

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Existing Structure: The existing structure of the Government of India has evolved over a long period. It has certain inherent strengths which have helped it stand the test of time. However, there are weaknesses also which render the system slow, cumbersome and unresponsive.

Delivering High Quality Public Service: The Singapore Way

Extract from the 13th Report of ARCII, " Organisational Structure of Government of India", Box 2.2

In the 1990s, Singapore had nearly 60,000 civil servants. Its civil service, until the 1960s as corrupt and as bureaucratic as any in Asia, had become something of a model.  Several long-term policies and actions, 
closely resembling NPM, seem to have contributed to this eminence (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1992; Quah, 1995):

  1. Autonomy for Agencies: Singapore has over 60 statutory boards each enjoying a great deal of autonomy. Each could decide whom to hire, promote, and fire. Each formulated and implemented operating policies within its parliamentary mandate. 
  2. Containment of corruption: An earlier anti-corruption ordinance was modified in 1980 under which the corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, formed in 1952, was given additional powers. This bureau used its powers to investigate even ministers; at least one reportedly committed suicide when threatened with an investigation.
  3. Competitive Pay: By world standards, Singapore paid its public servants well indeed. There was a long-standing policy since 1972 of reducing the gap between public and private sector remuneration.
  4. Recruitment of Highfliers: Relatively high pay scales enabled Singapore to attract and retain highfliers in its civil service. The  Singapore Public  Service  Commission tried to reinforce this by some attractive incentives. 
  5. Computerization: computerization in the government began in 1962.  Singapore’s civil service was fully computerized by 1990.  In terms of public service, this effort meant shorter waiting times for customers and faster responses.
  6. Service Improvement Unit (SIU): This unit was set up in 1991 to monitor the standard of public services and catalyze their improvement by soliciting feedback from the users of these services. SIU encouraged ministries and statutory boards to assess the quality of their services through service audits and exit interviews, and to set quality targets for achievement. 
  7. Quality circles: In the 1980s, the Government of Singapore adopted the idea of quality circles to launch nearly 8000 quality circles called WITs (work improvement teams).

New Public Management in 2nd ARC- 13th Report

Extract from 13th Report, "Organisational Structure of Government of India", pgs 8-11.

NPM is one of the three models of structural reform in government noted in the 13th Report of ARC II , on the ‘Organisational Structure of GoI”. The other two being ‘reinventing government’ and ‘re-engineering’.

New Public Management (NPM) is “shorthand for a group of administrative doctrines” in the reform agenda of several OECD countries starting in the 1970s.According to the OECD (Kickert, 1997: 733), “a new paradigm for public management” had emerged, with eight characteristic “trends” (listed below in modified order, to range from internal to external concerns):

(1) strengthening steering functions at the center;
(2)  devolving authority, providing flexibility;
(3) ensuring performance, control, accountability;
(4) improving the management of human resources;
(5) optimizing information technology;
(6) developing competition and choice;
(7) improving the quality of regulation; and
(8) providing responsive service.

Origins of NPM
2.3.1 New Public Management (NPM) – has also been called market-based public administration, managerialism, reinventing government, and post-bureaucratic model. It evolved in Britain and the US, and later spread to most of the affluent liberal Western countries and also to several developing countries like Ghana, Malaysia, Thailand, and Bangladesh. Its initial growth can be traced to the relatively minimalist, non-interventionist state ideology of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but the basic approach of NPM was later adopted by a number of countries that did not necessarily share this ideology.

NPM sought to bring management professionalism to the public sector without necessarily discarding the active role and welfare goals of the state. NPM also offered the possibility of a more cost-effective and citizen-friendly state, and the possibility of substantially enhancing the governance capacity of the state for tackling the highly complex challenges of our times.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Presentations on Public Administration

Dear Friends,
I have come across a few presentations on Public Administration on http://www.slideshare.net/ginandjar/presentationsSlideshare which will definitely be useful to improve our answers. Do have a look.

Concepts and Definitions
- Public Administration as a Developing Discipline
- Globalization and Public Administration
- Recent Trends (New Public Service, Post Modernism, Governance)
- Public Policy; Public Choice; Administrative Law; Bureaucratic Power; Accountability & Ethics; Bureaucratic Pluralism; Differentiated Public; Bureaucratic Populism; Representative Bureaucracy;
- Shift from Development Planning to Deregulation, Privatisation, and Urban Economic Zone; Rational Planning; Incremental Planning; Advocacy Planning; Transactive Planning.
- Rethinking Government and Governance in the face of Globalization