Saturday, September 6, 2014

TOWARDS NEW ICT BASED ADMINISTRATIVE CULTURE

We have already discussed the Nature and Concept of Administrative Culture in a previous post of this blog.

So, today we will discuss the case for ICT based change and how to implement and blend it into an organisation's existing Administrative culture.

One sees the immense public interaction that govt. offices have to do day in and out and that is very burdening on the staff if they are using primitive & inefficient systems to carry out these heavy transactions. Such inefficiency leads to degraded service delivery and also corruption resulting from non-transparency.

The solution to this issue is - ICT implementation.

STEPS TO ICT IMPLEMENTATION:

1)Gain high level management support for the project;
2) Undertake a pilot project
3) Ensure that all users have access to the networks to provide an adequate population of users
4) Make sure the networking is integrated with the organisation core office automation applications.
5) Have the central IT unit coordination
6) Tackle difficult questions of security cost and ownership
7) Demonstrate possibilities to those interested
8) Provide the organisation with a presence on the internet
9) Provide a way to receive information from internet
10) Create an internal process to guide internet use
11) Provide positive role models for users
12) Provide new mechanisms to support rhetoric of organisation
13) Use technology to implement and administer technology


MECHANISMS TO BE USED FOR ICT IMPLEMENTATION:

1) Identify ICT applications that can provide improved services to citizens and help public administration in improving planning,monitoring and administrative processes.

2) Demonstrate feasibility of implementing such applications by specifying broad architecture, detailed design and creating prototype application software (wherever feasible); and

3) Disseminate the work to public administrators that promote and use e-governance.

REFORM ACTIVITIES THAT THE GOVT. NEEDS TO PERFORM TO IMPLEMENT ICT:

1) Lay emphasis on 'new governance' concept and its implications to accountability,management and democratic control

2) Instructional materials to acquaint both policy scholars and practitioners with these alternative tools and with the 'tools approach' that focuses attention on them. More than that,it is needed to establish an agenda for future action that might improve the operation of public programmes by sensitising policymakers and policy administrators to the distinctive features and operating demands of the various tools that public programmes embody;

3) Develop conceptual papers on strategies that governments can follow to introduce e-governance.

4) Work with specific departments/programmes to identify opportunities for developing ICT applications

5) Design ICT applications and identify hardwares and software resources that would be required to implement such applications

6) Develop the software or prototypes(wherever feasible) to demonstrate the feasibility of building such applications.

7) Conduct cost-benefit analysis of e-governance projects and preparing comprehensive evaluation reports.

8) Document case studies of successful e-governance applications already developed in the field.

9) Design workshops for sensitising senior echelons of public administrators.

10) Develop papers,reports and films to disseminate the output.


LIMITATIONS TO THE ABOVE IMPLEMENTATION OF ICT:

1) Bureaucracy is ever so reluctant to open up and give away the power of secrecy that they wield over the information they control through the internet that will expose their inefficiency.

2) Paucity of funds with the public bodies.

3) Many public administrators and office staff understand e-governance as mere 'computerisation' for calculations and typewriting thus 90% of the computers' processing and storing and information delivering capacities are lying unutilised/underutilised.

4) Non compilation of data bases and even if there is a database, it is rarely updated thus reducing the computer networks to no use at all.

SUGGESTIONS FOR CUTTING BACK ON THE LIMITATIONS:
1) Make a compelling case for change - The people who have a stake in the outcome see the need to change as it has been proved via research that as the employees' understanding of a need for change went down, the failure rate went up.

2) Communicate formally and informally

3) Personalise the Message - What does it mean for me?

4) Acknowledge the unknowns

5) Surface rumours and Fill in the blanks

6) Practice what you preach

7) Acknowledge and build on what employees value

8) Re frame resistance

9) Employees resist coercion, not change

10) Empathise

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roles And Applications of ICT ( Information & Communication Technology)




Significance Of ICT in Governance:

1) Enhances the quality and delivery of Public services

2) Enhances the quality of citizen-government interface

3) Enables people's participation in governance, and

4) Provides greater access and outreach so as to include the disadvantaged in governance





ROLES OF ICTs:
  • Information Browsing - Remote Access Systems to information databases on personal computers and via the internet have grown exponentially in the last few years. World Wide Web browsers allow a user to quickly access a wide variety of information sources which are both in audio and video (multimedia) format but they are still very less in number. But the paradox here is that though there is more and more multimedia data available on the internet but our ability to pick up what is available is limited.

  • Electronic Publishing and Dissemination: Access to online databases,electronic resources,online information transactions and digitised services have revolutionized the way information is disseminate. Therefore there is unfettered access to reliable information to academicians,researchers,practitioners and policy makers alike from any part of the world.

  • Modelling and Simulation: This helps in developing a level of understanding of the interaction of the parts of a system, and of the system as a whole which further helps in improving systems' capacities in delivering services. Huge database are required that are managed through various ICTs and a pattern is derived based on certain parameters that give shape to models. Simulation generally refers to a computerized version of the model,which is run over time to study the implications of the defined interactions and are iterative in their development. A model is then simulated and then learnings from the same are used to revise the model and iterations continue till an adequate level of understanding is developed. ICTs have enabled the related processes to handle complex situations.

  • Online Business and Government Transactions: Land records have been made available by many state governments. Birth and Death certificates can be procured without physically visiting the government offices. Telephone bills can be paid over the internet saving crucial time in the process. Paying income tax or property tax is no longer a cumbersome process thanks to ICT.  Thus service delivery and governance is improved considerably and also generates huge resources in savings by reducing operating inefficiencies,redundant spending and excessive paperwork.

  • Electronic Conferences ( Meetings and Discussions): Meetings and Conferences provide arenas for dissemination of information and immediate presentation of new results and cutting edge research but the costs associated with it like traveling reduces its potential audience thus restricting its benefits. Also time constraints imposed by them often conflict with duties. Thus Electronic Conferences can offer many of the same features of traditional conferences that serves the purpose, which is exchange of new results. The Internet provides a robust environment for providing and presenting information,allowing extensive use of text,graphics and multimedia along with low cost and lack of travel time and other restrictions are banished like time and place on the audience that are imposed by traditional conferences and meetings.


APPLICATIONS OF ICTs:
 The various applications of ICTs that are used are:
  1. Data Base - Relational Data Base Management Systems, Knowledge Base Expert Systems;
  2. Decision Support Systems
  3. Geographic Information Systems - Data Capture, Data Integration,Data Modelling; and
  4. Management Information Systems
  • Data Base : It is a information set with a regular structure which is usually but not necessarily stored in some machine-readable format accessed by a computer. It comes in wide varieties, from simple tables stored in a single file to very large databases with millions of records stored in rooms full of disk drives or other peripheral electronic storage devices.

  • Relational Data Base Management Systems (RDBMS): Databases can be compiled using RDBMS so that it is possible to subject the database to queries for more informed decision making. It is also possible to interface such an RDBMS to a GIS of the area that will act as a front-end so that scenario analysis result can be simulated to see the options on the GIS. Such systems can also support forecasting and predictive models,especially if time series data sets are available for such areas and communities. Databases should be properly archived for specific purposes retrieval through well designed query interfaces form a very valuable resource. 

  • Knowledge Base Expert Systems: This focuses on  systems that use knowledge based techniques to support human decision-making,learning and action. The quality of support given and the manner of its presentation are important issues with such systems. Its primary goal is to make expertise available to decision makers and technicians to enable them to respond swiftly with effective and efficient solutions to problems. Computers loaded with in-depth knowledge of specific subjects can help in accessing information to solve a problem. The same can assist supervisors and managers with situation assessment and long range planning. These help in enhanced productivity of business,administration,science, engineering,military,etc. 

  • Decision Support Systems: DSS are systems that facilitate,expand or enhance a manager's ability to work with one or more kinds of knowledge. A properly designed DSS is an interactive software based system intended to help decision makers compile useful information from raw data,documents,personal knowledge,and/or models to identify and solve problems and make decisions.

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS): It is a computer system capable of integrating,storing,editing,analysing,and displaying geographically referenced information. It is a smart map tool that allows users to create interactive queries(user created searches),analyse spatial information and edit data.

  • Management Information Systems: This topic has already been covered extensively in an earlier post of this Blog. Refer - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/2012/08/techniques-of-administrative.html



ROLE OF ICT IN ENHANCEMENT OF SERVICE DELIVERY TO CITIZENS BY GOVERNMENT:
  1. Qualitative & Quantitative comprehensive information on departmental websites,especially in the local/regional languages. Internet and websites are used to disseminate information pertaining to various policies and programmes of the govt. Govt. departments host notifications and various Acts promulgated from time to time on the web to make the people aware. It has even reached out to people in the remote & disadvantaged areas where there is no access to libraries,newspapers,etc.
  2. Rural services relating to Land records are provided.
  3. Police services concerning FIR registration and lost & found matters.
  4. Social services relating to pension schemes,schemes for elderly & widowed,schemes for physically challenged, licenses, motor vehicle registration,ration cards,birth and death certificates,domicile,caste/tribe,etc.
  5. Public information regarding employment exchange registration,employment opportunities,examination results,hospital beds availability,railway time tables,airline time tables,govt. notifications,govt. forms,govt. schemes,etc.
  6. Agricultural information on seeds,pesticides,fertilisers,crop disease,weather forecast,market price,etc.
  7. Utility payments of electricity,water,telephone,etc.
  8. Commercial services pertaining to taxation and return filing
  9. Public grievance matters pertaining to civic amenities such as electricity,water,telephone,ration card,sanitation,public transport,etc.
Andhra Pradesh govt. and Delhi Govt.  is providing public services through the single window and one-stop shop namely e-seva kendras and city civic centres and Kerala govt. is providing the FRIENDS shops to the people who can visit these shops and got all public information and services mentioned above.

Thus such ICT efforts help in the Govt. and Citizens maximum interaction and also since it is all online and computerised therefore there is no delay and maximum transparency,accountability and efficiency.




Friday, May 9, 2014

The Challenge of Good Governance in India: Need for Innovative Approaches By Balmiki Prasad Singh

A GOOD READ:

The Challenge of Good Governance in India: Need for Innovative Approaches
By
Balmiki Prasad Singh (Shri B.P. Singh is a distinguished scholar, thinker and public servant. He was Union Home Secretary
(1997-99) and currently Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow.
Oxford University Press, Delhi has brought out
his latest work “Bahudhā and the post-9/11 world” this year. This paper was circulated in the secondinternational conference of the Global Network of Global Innovators organized by Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University during March 31 – April 2, 2008, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. )

Abstract
This paper makes an effort to provide a framework for good governance in India by identifying its essential featur es and shortcomings in its working and emphasizes need for innovative approaches. No theory of governance could be intelligible unless it is seen in the context of its time. India’s democratic experience of the past six decades has clearly etablished that good governance must aim at expansion of social opportunities and removal of poverty. Good governance, according to the author, means securing justice,empowerment, employment and efficient delivery of services. The paper deals with these subjects in detail and also analyses administrative and political faultlines. It identifies criminalization of politics and corruption as two major challenges. It also highlights shifts in meaning and content of national values of the freedom movement particularlythose of nationalism, democracy, secularism, non-alignment, and mixed economy and itsimpact on the nitty gritty of administrationas well as on the intellectual build up of theorgans of the Indian State.
The paper lists several areasof concern that need to beaddressed energetically and calls for synergy of efforts between government, the market and the civil society. Innovations are genera lly taking place. There are, however, two areas that need special attention by I nnovators, namely, economic empowerment of women and livelihood programmes based on local resources and upgraded skills. The need is to formulate a national strategy that accords primacy to the Gandhian principle of‘antodaya ’ without sacrificing growth and by making instruments of State accountable for good governance.
Meaning
As a student of political science, one was taught that the essential features of the State included: (i) a definite territory; (ii)population; (iii) government; and (iv)sovereignty. The government is viewed as
an agency or machinery through which the will of the State is formulated, expressed and realised. While this traditional distinction between the state and the government holds, the role of the government and nature of governance have been changing from time to time and even at a given point of time there is considerable variation when the form of government is a democracy or otherwise.
There is no accepted definition of governance. There is divergence of opinion\about the meaning of governance between the conservatives and the liberals, between socialists and the communists. The World Bank, for example, has sought to take a middle position be defining governance particularly as the traditions and the institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. This includes (i) the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced;(ii) the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and (iii) the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social communications among them.

READ ON HERE FOR THE COMPLETE PAPER: http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/cache/documents/1034/103461.pdf

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN INDIA AS A MECHANISM FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN INDIA AS A MECHANISM FOR SOCIAL CHANGE:

By Mahendra Subhash Khairnar,

Asstt. Professor, Bharati Vidyapeeth’s Yashwantrao Chavan Law College, Karad (Courtesy - http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/Public-Administration-in-India-as-a-mechanism-for-social-change-5309.asp#.UzCFQVdh71U):

"The administration of government, like a guardianship ought to be directed to the good of  those who confer, not of those who receive the trust." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

Introduction:



Public administration is "centrally concerned with the organization of government policies and programmes as well as the behavior of officials (usually non-elected) formally responsible for their conduct".



Many unelected public servants can be considered to be public administrators, including heads of city, county, regional, state and federal departments such as municipal budget directors,human resources (H.R.) administrators, city managers, census managers, state [mental health] directors, and cabinet secretaries. Public administrators are public servants working in public departments and agencies, at all levels of government.



Public administration in India plays a very important role, not only as an instrument of governance but a mechanism for social change and progress in the country. Public administration today should not only protect its citizens from internal and external damages, but take an active role in the social, political, economic and cultural development of the country.



Public Administration- The Integral and Managerial Views of Administration



According to some, ‘administration’ is the sum total or the whole complex of activities, manual, clerical, technical, and managerial which are undertaken to realize the objective in view, i.e. the implementation of of the policy or policies in a given field, while according to others ‘administration’ is not the sum-total of the activities undertaken in pursuance of a purpose but just one of them concerned with management, which unites and controls the rest of them as parts of a co-ordinated endeavour. The above two views can be categorized regarding the nature of administration as ‘the integral’ and ‘managerial’ views respectively [1].



India is unique in many respects with its diverse culture, languages and many states. People of some states enjoy good prosperity, high literacy, developed infrastructure and rule of law while many are wanting in different degrees in some or all parameters although they are all under a common union government with the same financial, legal and administrative system.



In this article the author has focus on the issue of social change due to the effective public administration system in India. How a system of democratic governance can make public life meaningful and more enjoyable. The administrative system, which initially was considered as against the Rule of Law of Dicey, and how it bring vehement change in the Indian Legal and Social system. The present study will be useful for the legal system which still lacks in several respects of public life. This article may be helpful for the government systems, bureaucrats and rulers who have not been focused on the use and effectiveness of the administration agency.



Governance vs. government



Governance and government are interchangeable in the sense the process of governing, but they differ in other senses. Government often refers to the governing body itself, whilegovernance often refers to the act of governing. So members of a government are engaged in governance[2].



Meanwhile, governance is often the better word for the administration of nongovernmental organizations (corporations, for example), while government works better in reference to the public administration of nations, states, municipalities, etc.



Governance is therefore a vital development issue that government can ill afford to neglect. Government effectiveness and stability, Rule of Law, Public administration, Public finance and outcomes were a few selected governance indicators taken by a study group for evaluating India’s standing amongst different countries. However subjective it could be, this assessment revealed that India compared favorably with many developing countries though it had a long way to go to attain the levels of developed countries[3]. The plus points in our favor are India’s vibrant democracy, unfettered press, fearless judiciary and efficient administrative service.



In the political sciences, governance has been defined as the ‘‘conscious management of regime structures with a view to enhancing the legitimacy of the public realm’’. Today Governance is distinct from Government. Governance is a way to manage power and policy, while government is an instrument to do so. Governance is seen as an alternative to conventional top-down government control, yet issues of legitimacy and accountability abound in the literature on governance.



Public Administration in India



India is a country accepted the notion of social welfare state. The complexities of modern welfare state have resulted in ever growing expansion of the functions of the state; the state today is managing almost the entire life of the community. The Constitution, supreme document of the land has emphasized the need of establishing such governance and government system which should be not only of ‘good governance’ but also of ‘Pro people good governance’. The constitution in its Part IV has laid down some of the principles which are expected to be followed by the state as fundamental in the governance of the country. These principles enunciated the ‘rights of community’, which are to be secured by the government as per its capacity. The well being of the community is becoming increasingly dependent on efficient governmental management i.e. the public administration rather than on the separate efforts of individual.



There is no accepted definition of governance. There is divergence of opinion about the meaning of governance between the conservatives and the liberals, between socialists and the communists. The World Bank, for example, has sought to take a middle position be defining governance particularly as the traditions and the institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. This includes



(i) the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced;



(ii) the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and



(iii) the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social communications among them.



In recent years the word governance has become a very fashionable term and is being used in a variety of ways and that covers a large number of organizations both in public and private domains.



Public administration is a great stabilizing force in society. Governments often change, but administration seldom experiences violent change. It provides an element of continuity between the old and the new orders.



Challenges



No theory of governance could be intelligible unless it is seen in the context of its time. India’s democratic experience of the past six decades has clearly established that good governance must aim at expansion of social opportunities and removal of poverty. Good governance, according to the author, means securing justice, empowerment, employment and efficient delivery of services.



However having several benefits one cannot overlook the problems and challenges that are facing by the Indian administrative agencies.  Criminalization of politics and corruption are two major challenges that are faced by the Indian administration. Along with this there are several areas of concern that need to be addressed energetically and calls for synergy of efforts between government, the market and the civil society.



Administration as a mechanism for social change



Though there are several defects in working and manner of exercising of decision making, law making etc. power of administration we cannot deny the significance of the administrative wing. The individual in the society is concerned with public administration at every turn of his life from the cradle to grave.



Indeed, public administration begins to interest itself in an individual even before he is born, in the shape of pre-natal care of the expectant mother, and continues till after his death, e.g. recording his death in the official papers, proving his will, taking care of his property etc. when the child is a few years old, he goes to one of the state schools for his education. After education he enters in to profession, businesses which are subject to public regulation and control of one type or of another. We are all concerned with public administration as the payers of taxes and consumers of the various goods and services it provides.



Social Change Defined



Social change refers to any significant alteration over time in behavior patterns and cultural values and norms. By “significant” alteration, sociologists mean changes yielding profound social consequences. Examples of significant social changes having long-term effects include the industrial revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the feminist movement.



SOCIAL CHANGE-



1. The structural transformation of political, social and economic systems and institutions to create a more equitable and just society.



2. Proponents target the underlying causes of critical social problems, such as homelessness, discrimination and poverty.



3. While a variety of organizing and advocacy methods are utilized, social change organizations are characterized by activism, cooperation, persistence, and dedication of their members. (Example: An association of people with developmental disabilities working collectively to address issues of discrimination by empowering its members to advocate for themselves and collectively challenging service providers, government agencies and other institutions to ensure equal access and rights for ALL developmentally disabled people.)



Public administration is a great stabilizing force in society. Governments often change, but administration seldom experiences violent changes. It provides an element of continuity between the old and the new orders. Public administration is not only a preserver of the civilized life as we know it today. But it is also the great instrument of social change and improvement. 

       

In India, the modern democracy has brought in the conception of the welfare state resulting in ever-increasing demands on public administration for more and more services. This inevitably means more of administration than before. In welfare state, the government has undertaken stupendous task of leveling down the economic inequalities, building up a socialist pattern of society free from poverty and starvation, spreading education among all, abolishing untouchability, securing of equality of status, rights and opportunities for women and effecting as all round economic and social development. The burden of carrying out these tremendous social changes in a planned and orderly way rests upon the public administration of the country. If public fails in these tasks, the dreadful alternative is violent revolution.



E-Governance-



E-Governance (Electronic Governance) is the application of information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to the processes of government functioning to accomplish simple, accountable, speedy, responsive and transparent governance. It is transforming the existing government. It integrates people, processes, information and technology for meeting goals of the government.



The aspects of public administration which are highly affected by E-Governance are the delivery of services, decision-making, knowledge management, communication, human resources and financial management and regulations.



The Government of India recognized that the objective of achieving E-governance goes far beyond mere computerization of standalone back office operations. It means fundamentally change how the government operates and this implies a new set of responsibilities for the Executive, Legislature wings and the citizenry. Government departments having maximum interaction with the public were identified for use of IT. Some of these are : electricity, water, rural services, sanitation etc.  A new group-Electronic Governance Group-exists in the Department of Information and Technology, Govt. of India, in order to accelerate the usage of information technology in all spheres of governance.



Right to Information



The growth of democracy and bureaucracy went side by side. As democracy spread, the bureaucracy enlarged its functions and the state became more powerful than before. Therefore the need was felt for making the bureaucracy accountable to the people. Enforcing the accountability of state is based on a fundamental democratic right to know.



The Right to Information Act was passed by the Indian Parliament, which came in to force in Oct. 2005. The object of the Act is to ensure that all citizens are able to seek information which is under the control of any public authority. The idea is to give transparency, accountability and openness in government administration.



Concluding remarks



India’s democracy is at the centre of governance architecture. It creates opportunities, sustains leadership and generates hope. Good governance being central to the Indian democratic experience could be seen more clearly when we look at what is happening in our part of the world. The major shifts in India’s national value system made impact both on the nitty and gritty of administration as well as the intellectual build up of the civil service, the police and the judiciary. This is not the occasion to analyze how it came in the way of India’s successes and failures in the social, economic and political domains, but whenever there is a major shift in political discourse governance gets affected both in its content and emphasis.



The major challenge is to put in place institutional arrangements for service delivery that are workable in a particular district or a region and are made to function in a manner that are intelligible to the local people and that also encourages them to participate. Such institutions would be responsive to the citizenry and reasonably efficient in the delivery of public services.



The concept and practice of good governance in a country demands that there should be constructive mechanisms and procedures that will enable the three principal actors – government, market and civil society – to play in concert and to supplement each other’s capability.



The working of all governments at the Centre and in the States has clearly revealed the existence of powerful interest groups who have a strong vested interest in preserving the status quo. This comes in the way of government becoming the effective agent of change and guarantor of social justice. The entrenched power group always resists attempts to alter the status quo and that too in favour of disadvantaged and poor. The poor are largely unorganized and cannot be mobilized easily because of their large numbers. The leadership at various levels placed in the task of striking a balance between the demands of the powerful interest groups and voiceless poor have rarely gone against the powerful.



Women are key to good governance. Their increasing representation in democratic institutions have provided stability to Indian polity. Women can bring constructive, creative and sustainable solutions to the table. Women participation in economic programmes needs to be augmented for in women we get expendable providers, educators, caretakers and leaders.



Scholars as well as administrators agree that participation of civil society in decision-making, public sector capacity building and rule of law are essential for quality and timely delivery of services.



It is being widely appreciated that good governance is dependant not merely upon good policy advises but more importantly on the processes and incentives to design and implement good policies themselves. Dysfunctional and ineffective public institutions are increasingly seen to be at the heart of the economic development challenge. Misguided resource allocations, excessive government interventions, and widespread corruption have helped in perpetuation of poverty. The weak institutions of governance make an adverse impact on service delivery.



[1] Public Adminsitration in Theory and Practice, M. P. Sharma, B. L. Sadana, Harpreet Kaur, Kitab Mahal, 47th Edn. 2011

[2] http://grammarist.com/usage/governance/

[3] (http://blogs.ivarta.com/The-good-governance-where-does-India-stand/blog-90.htm, The good governance: Where does India stand?  By: K Parthasarathi)





Mahendra Subhash Khairnar,

Asstt. Professor, Bharati Vidyapeeth’s Yashwantrao Chavan Law College, Karad

Sunday, February 2, 2014

E - Governance - Concept & Significance

The complete transformation of the processes of Governance using the implementation of Information & Communication Technology is called E-Governance. It aims at bringing in faster and transparent service delivery,accountability,information sharing and people participation in the decision making and govt. processes.
It brings in SMART Governance viz. :
S - Simple : Simplification of rules and procedures of Government making it user-friendly.
M-Moral: Infusing ethics and morals into officers again since anti-corruption and vigilance agencies improving.
A- Accountable: ICT helps set standards of performance and efficiently measures it.
R- Responsive: Efficient service delivery and government that is in tune with the people.
T - Transparent: Information confined to secrecy is out in the public domain bringing equity and rule of law in public agencies.

SMART Governance enables:
1. People participation
2. Accountability and efficiency
3. Transparency
4. User friendly government processes
5. Removal of hierarchical barriers and red tape
6. Better service delivery

DIFFERENCE between:
E-Government: The process of Govt. functioning using ICT
&
E-Governance: The overall experience and environment as a result of Governance.

STAGES OF E-GOVERNANCE:
1. Simple Information Dissemination - A one way broadcasting of information stage from Govt to the constituents.

2. Two-Way Communication - A request and response form of communication which is generally done in the manner of emails,website form filling,etc.

3. Online Service Transactions - Citizens can perform a number of online services and financial transactions on a website in a self service form.

4. Integration ( Vertical & Horizontal) - Via this method the government attempts inter & intra-governmental integration by means of ICT to remove the hierarchical barriers inducing red-tapism in service delivery and information dissemination.

5. Political Participation - Online voting,online polling,online public forums and wider interaction with the government.

Another classification of the stages of E-Governance is listed below in which the first two stages are similar but the rest are as follows:

3. Third stage - Multi purpose portals integrating various departments which are used by the people as a single entry point.

4. Fourth stage - Personalisation of portals by the users as per their customised settings where they create a user id and password on them and add the features they require.

5. Fifth stage - Government departments cluster services along common lines to accelerate delivery of shared services and common services.

6. Sixth stage - Integrating the front office and back office functions for smooth service.

MODELS OF E-GOVERNANCE:
The below mentioned are a few E-Governance models that can be used as a guide in designing and implementing E-Government initiatives depending on the local situations and governance activities expected to be performed.

1. Broadcasting Model - It is a simple model that focuses on information dissemination and broadcasting which is useful to the people pertaining to Governance via ICT and convergent media. This leads to a more informed citizenry which is better able to judge the functioning of the entire governance mechanisms and make an informed opinion about them thus empowering the public to exercise their rights and responsibilities in a prudent and objective manner. This leads to an accountable,efficient and responsive government. The use of ICT also opens up an alternate channel for people to access information as well as validate existing information from different sources to keep the Government on its toes.

2. The Critical Flow Model - It is based on disseminating information of critical value to the targeted population. The strength of this model is that it can be used advantageously anywhere and anytime to transfer critical information to the strategic user group.

3. Comparative Analysis Model - The model focuses on gathering the best practices/best way of governance in various countries all over the world and then uses them to evaluate the current governance practices being analysed. The results are then used to advocate positive changes or influence "public opinion" on the same.
The comparison could be made over a period of time in order to get the picture of the past and present situations and the effect that a particular intervention has had on it.
The strength of this model lies in the infinite capacity of digital networks to store varied information and retrieve as well as transmit it instantly across all geographical and hierarchical barriers.

4. E-Advocacy/Mobilization And Lobbying Model - This model focuses on adding the opinions and concerns expressed by virtual communities. It helps the global civil society to impact global decision-making processes. Its basis is setting up a planned,directed flow of information to build strong virtual allies in order to complement actions in the real world. Virtual communities are formed which share similar values and concerns and these communities in turn link up and network with or support real life groups/activities for concerted action. This helps mobilize and leverage human resources and information beyond geographical,institutional and bureaucratic barriers to use it for concerted action.

5. The Interactive Service Model - In this model the various services offered by the government become directly available to its citizens in an interactive manner by opening up an interactive Government to Consumer to Govt. (G2C2G) channel in various aspects of governance such as e-ballots,redressing specific grievances online,sharing of concerns and providing expertise,opinion polls on various issues,etc. Thus this model opens avenues for direct participation of individuals in governance processes and brings in greater objectivity and transparency in the decision making processes through ICT.

LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR FACILITATING ICT IN E-GOVERNANCE:
1. Information Technology Act 2000 - The objective of this Act is "to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic methods of communication commonly referred as "electronic means of communication and storage of information" to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the govt. agencies,and further to amend the IPC,Indian Evidence Act 1872 and the Banker's book Evidence Act 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

E-Governance and E-Commerce transactions are covered under the ambit of this Act which facilitates acceptance of electronic records and digital signature. It provides legal framework so that legal sanctity is accorded to all electronic records and other activities carried out by electronic means.

2. Report Of The Working Group On Convergence And E-Governance 20012-07 - This working group report proposed the need for administration to transform itself from passive information and service provider to a platform for the active involvement of citizens.
However,the main drawback of this report was it focused only on public investments and did not visualise the extent of private initiative in the convergence area or in e-commerce and other allied segments.
It advocated the need to set up a central body for taking stock of the total IT picture in the country called 'Council for E-Governance' or ad hoc 'Commission on re-engineering Administrative procedures for E-Governance'. Or a National Institute of Smart Governance could be set up.

3. Common Minimum Programme - The CMP inter-alia states that e-governance will be promoted on a massive scale and solemnly pledged to the country's people that the UPA govt. would be a corruption free,transparent and accountable government and its administration would be a one that is responsible and responsive at all times.

4. National E-Governance Plan - The National E-Governance Plan which forms the core infrastructure for effective service delivery has as its elements - Data centres, State wide Area Networks and Common Service Centres to bring about transparency and citizen centric approach in administration.

5. Expert Committee - This expert committee had been constituted for amendments in the IT Act 2000 to include the technological developments post IT Act 2000 which submitted its report in Aug 2005. Its recommendations have been displayed on the department of IT to invite public view and suggestions. The expert committee took into consideration and analyzed relevant experiences and international  best practices to recommend in its report. The twin objectives of using IT as a tool for socio-economic development and employment generation;and further consolidation of India's position as a major global player in the IT sector.

6. Right To Information Act 2005 - The Right To Information Act 2005 confers on the citizens the right to:
a) Inspect works,documents and records of the govt. and its agencies.
b) Take notes,extracts or certified copies of documents or records.
c) Take certified samples of material.
d) Obtain information in form of print outs, diskettes,floppies,tapes,video cassettes or in any other electronic mode.

This Act has facilitated a two way dialogue between the people and the govt. ensuring transparent and accountable governance to the people in order to make well informed decisions and tackle corruption as well as monitor the functioning of the government.

SIGNIFICANCE OF E-GOVERNANCE:
ICT applications have the following significance in the process of E-Governance:
a) Administrative Development
b) Effective Service Delivery

Let us discuss these.

A) Administrative Development - ICTs help in reforming administrative processes to a great extent. ICTs help in the following manners:
i) Automation of Administrative Processes - When there is minimal human intervention and everything is system driven then this leads to effective and efficient as well as timely services. Now departments are computerised and connected through network and software has been built and designed around government depts. ensuring efficiency in operations.
The departments have launched their own individual websites carrying information of their respective departments enabling online carrying of operations and file movements as well as budgeting,accounting,data flow,etc. have become easy.

ii) Paper-Work Reduction- Paperwork is reduced to a great extent with communication being enabled via electronic route and storage and retrieval of information in the electronic form. In this concept files and mails (information) are transmitted over wires to small computers at each employees desk and everything is computer managed. SO there is reduction of physical movements and consumption as well as storage of huge piles of paper.

iii) Quality Of Services - ICT facilitates Govt. to deliver services to the citizens with greater accountability,responsiveness and sensitivity since now people are able to get services efficiently and instantaneously as well as economically.
Online redressal of grievances ensures officials accountability and also sensitises them. Video tele-conferencing monitoring has further facilitated central supervision,reporting and face to face communication leading to better quality of services.

iv) Elimination Of Hierarchy - Through the introduction of Intranet and LAN there has been a reduction in procedural delays caused by hierarchical processed in organisations as it has become possible to send and receive information and data across various levels in an organisation instantaneously helping the involvement of all levels in decision making.

v) Change in Administrative Culture - With E-Governance public action has come under public glare thus inducing norms and values of accountability,openness,integrity,fairness,equity,responsibility and justice in the administrative culture freeing it from 'bureau-pathology' and becoming efficient and responsive.

B) Effective Service Delivery: The abovementioned has become possible since ICTs ensure -
i) Transparency - Via dissemination and publication of information on the web which involves detailed public scrutiny making the service delivery efficient and accountable.

ii) Economic Development - ICTs reduce transaction costs making services cheaper. To state an example - rural areas suffer on account of lack of information regarding markets,products,agriculture,health,education,weather,etc. and when all of this could be accessed online by them it would evidently lead to better and more opportunities and prosperity in such areas.

iii) Social Development - Access to information empowers citizens as they can participate and voice their concerns which could be accommodated in programme/project formulation,implementation,monitoring and service delivery. Also, web enabled participation will counter the discriminatory factors affecting our societal behavior.

iv) Strategic Information System - The competitiveness in the organisational sphere today has forced public functionaries to perform to their best ability and this is achieved only when information regarding all aspects are made available to the management at every point in order to make routine as well as strategic decisions which are done effectively via the use of ICTs.

SUGGESTIONS:
In order to harness the benefits of ICT maximally,there is a need to develop sufficient and adequate infrastructure,provide sufficient capital and investments,enable easy and wider accessibility and generate ample,skillful HR. Let us discuss these challenges in detail.

i) Infrastructure - TO strengthen the infrastructure ' The National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development' in 1998 recommended broadband connection (also known as 'the last mile') linkage for IT application Service Providers (ASPs),Internet Services Providers(ISPs) and IT promotional organisations either by fibre optics or by radio communication with the aim to ' boost efficiency and enhance market integration' through Internet/Intranet for sustainable regional development.

ii) Capital - High rate of investment in IT capital and supportive environment is necessary to achieve a digital economy. The economy is crunched on resources so the need is to generate resources from the market and private sector. PPP is a step in the right direction to achieve this.

iii) Access - Even though there are more than 10 million users of the Internet in the country, more than 75% of these users are in urban India alone which exposes the reach of the rural and disadvantaged sections. However, Gram Panchayats are being roped in to expand ICTs reach. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed a comprehensive web-based software for Panchayati Raj and rural applications viz. Andhra Pradesh which is a step in the right direction.

iv) Utility Of Information - Information which is of use should be provided in an interesting and appealing manner. A vision document has been prepared for E-Governance by the Government of India and the State Governments. Though Citizen's Charters of many departments are available on the net,further publicity of such facilities is required to enable the public to access the necessary information.

v) Human Resources Development - There exists a dearth of quality manpower in India inspite of growing rate of employment in various sectors. A gap exists between demand and supply in the IT Manpower market. To bridge this gap we need to have more technical institutes to impart quality education and training to build a pool of human resources in the field.

vi) Capacity Building - One needs to be trained in computer skills for effective service delivery. Though this training is being carried out to all the basic public functionaries,yet its effective use of ICT is yet to be seen. Also, there is a need to immediately launch a nationwide 'Tain The Teachers' Programme(3T Programme) at all levels including schools and colleges viz. combination of physical and virtual training.

vii) Changing the Mindset Of Government Functionaries - Govt. functionaries need to be reminded and made aware that they are there to serve the people as per the policies and programmes and in order to do that efficiently technological advancement is a facilitator which solves the problems faced by the people. ICT is not a solution in itself. In order to change this mindset of public functionaries there is a need to impart orientation and training programmes to them emphasising this.

viii) Language - Given the Indian social conditions,unless we develop interface in vernacular languages,it would remain out of reach of many people who are not versed in English. It may be mentioned here that this hurdle is being worked upon and organisations like CDAC has developed multilingual software for this purpose.

ix) Standardisation in Data Encoding - Multiple access points maintained in various languages at various levels need to be updated in conformity with similar standards for data-encoding and application logic for a common horizontal application and data dictionary. This is also important for finding aggregates in the national context.

x) Grievance Redressal Mechanism - Grievance redressal for various functions need to be made necessarily. For this Interactive platforms on the internet may speed up the process and be useful for this purpose.
A good example of this is the BMC-Praja Foundation's joint initiative of the Online Complaint Management System (OCMS) which is perhaps the world's first citizen-govt. partnership for resolving public grievances in municipal services. It has been in operation since April 2003 and efficiently uses IT as a tool for achieving its results.

The Central Vigilance Commission has also provided such a platform for people to register their complaints against corrupt officials.

However, such sporadic instances need to be made more broad-based and effective and more public service agencies need to get into providing such facilities.

xi) Cyber Laws - Appropriate laws need to be enacted by the govt. which are especially necessary to enable transactions over the Internet.Safety concerns regarding the use of credit cards or other modes of payment inhibits consumers from utilizing online facilities. MTNL Delhi as an example has provided the online facility for payment of telephone bills but not even one percent of its consumers avail it. Therefore, strict and robust cyber laws need to be enacted and efficiently implemented so that confidence is generated in the minds of consumers towards this system to provide online security.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Path of Decentralisation - Recommendations For An Empowered And Robust Future


This blog has already presented in a previous post before its readers the important features of the 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts for PRIs and Urban local Bodies establishment and functioning,their actual functioning and the major issues they face while carrying out their listed duties.

Now let us look forward to a few recommendations that have been listed by various studies and committees carried out in India for the same.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. The elected representatives of the Panchayats and Municipalities should exercise superintendence and control over govt. officials i.e. serving the Panchayats instead of playing a subordinate role.

2. An inter-zilla panchayat parishad should be constituted in every state with the Chief Minister as its chairman to thrash out legislative,financial and administrative matters of the Panchayats. The planning setup at the zilla level should be headed by the chairman of the zilla panchayat.

3. The requirements of financial accountability should be designed and supervised by the CAG and the power of dissolution as well as accountability of lower level panchayat units rest with the next higher levels of panchayats and not with the govt. officials in order to establish peer group accountability.

4. A Constitutional amendment for ensuring elections to cooperatives is a must because a vibrant cooperative system is important for successful Panchayati Raj.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Career Prospects After A Degree in Public Administration

Q: After completing my BA in political science next year, I want to pursue my Master's in public administration . What are the career prospects of this course? Kokila Sen
A: An MA in public administration will give you the option of going into teaching at the school or college level (for teaching in a college, you will have to clear the UGC-NET exam). You could also explore research jobs in institutions focusing in political and social issues. For eg, IDSA, CPR (Centre for Policy Research), CSSR (Centre for Social Science Research) or other think tanks such as USI or NGOs like NFI (National Foundation of India), among others. Public administration, as it is popularly called, is a common favourite for the UPSC Civil Services Exam (in combination with geography law, sociology , etc). If you make it to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), you can put your theoretical knowledge of the subject into practice.

Content Courtesy: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-10/news/33735786_1_fashion-design-footwear-design-graphic-design

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Policy Analysis - A Detailed Understanding

It is imperative for every Public Administration scholar,practitioner,researcher and enthusiast to understand the core of this discipline,which in its true essence is Policy Analysis.
It is also immensely needed to be understood by social workers,Politicians and all those involved in any subject within the realm of Social studies so that we have better policy formulations,implementations and evaluations in the present and the future by all the stakeholders involved in policy decisions as well as those who are impacted/benefited by the same.

So, let us begin.

DEFINITION:
Jacob B. Ukeles observes Policy Analysis as the systematic investigation of alternative policy options. He opines that Policy Analysis is:
"The systematic investigation of alternative policy options and the assembly and integration of the evidence for and against each option. It involves a problem solving approach,the collection and interpretation of information and some attempt to predict the consequences of alternative courses of action."

TYPES OF POLICY ANALYSIS:
1. EMPIRICAL,EVALUATIVE OR NORMATIVE POLICY ANALYSIS - This approach poses questions about past policies and analyses its causes and effects  in order to find solutions to future issues in the same or future policies.

It also evaluates the worth and value of a policy option so that future courses of actions can be recommended.


2. RETROSPECTIVE/PROSPECTIVE POLICY ANALYSIS - It does a historical analysis and interpretation of past policies in order to ascertain solutions to or infact prevention of such repetition of mistakes/miscalculations in future and future policies.

The prospective part of this approach to policy analysis focuses on the future outcomes of a proposed policy. It is anticipatory in essence.

Retrospective policy analysis approach is more beneficial than the prospective one as in the former's case there is decisive info and analysis to carve future courses of action but in the latter's case there is uncertainty to a certain level and also prone to manipulations.


3. PREDICTIVE/PRESCRIPTIVE/DESCRIPTIVE POLICY ANALYSIS-  It refers to the forecasting of future state of affairs arising from the implementation of a particular policy alternative. It recommends actions that could result in a particular outcome. When one is is unsure regarding the nature of a resolution to an issue and there is no precedent for the same then one refers to the prescriptive policy analysis.
However, this can be influenced by the policy maker's personal approach.

Descriptive part of this approach refers to historical or retrospective analysis of past policies and also evaluates a new policy as and when it is being implemented. The primary approach in this is to understand the problem rather than its resolution. It is however incorporated into prospective policy analysis frequently so that there is a detailed evaluation and also solutions found expeditiously to mend the current policy as it is being implemented.


PROCESS OF POLICY ANALYSIS:

1. Verify,define and detail the problem.

2. Establish Evaluation Criteria.

3. Identify alternative policies.

4. Evaluate alternative polices.

5. Display and distinguish among alternative policies.

6. Monitor the implemented policy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

'Time spent on the study table matters the most' - UPSC Civil Services Preparation Guidance

At least a dozen candidates from Odisha have qualified for the civil services. Three of them - Anupam Saha, Manish Agarwal and Rashi Dogra - share their motivation and secret for success of cracking the prestigious exam with Ashok Pradhan. While one was attracted by the dream of pursuing the 'top most career' in the government sector, another rued the lack of 'proper coaching' in Odisha. The biggest motivator for the third was the desire to work for society in an efficient way. They, however, agree that at the end of the day it is one's own hard work and perseverance that is responsible for success.
Anupam Saha of Kesinga (Kalahandi), rank 35
Q-How did you prepare?
A-It is a three-stage examination, i.e., prelims, mains and interview and this was my third attempt. For the prelims, I studied extensively from the syllabus and emphasized on current affairs. Clarity of concept is the key to success in the preliminary test. Intensive study, answer writing practice with emphasis on presentation is of utmost importance in the mains. At the interview, what I feel is the board tries to assess the aptitude of the candidate for a career in civil services by asking questions from diverse fields.
Q-How was your interview?
A-My interview lasted for 25 to 30 minutes. I was interviewed by Alka Sirohi's board. The questions asked were on contempt of court, knowledge economy of India and its scope and challenges, questions on challenges in higher education in India, difference of demographic problems between developed and developing world, Malthusian theory and its relevance in current era, National Sample Survey Organization and its scope and significance, whether the state government was justified in releasing the alleged Maoists from jail, why I left my previous job and to elaborate "not taking a decision itself is a very good decision."
Q-Can someone get into IAS without attending a coaching?
A-Coaching makes the preparation time-bound and keeps the competition spirit high. But it is the time one spends on his/her own study table that matters in the examination hall. I consistently studied for seven to eight hours everyday. I did take coaching. But many cleared the examination without going for coaching. So joining a coaching or not is a personal call.
Q- What are the problems for preparing for the civil services in Odisha?
A-I did my entire preparation in Delhi. I am not exactly aware about the problems faced by candidates who are preparing in Odisha. But I feel we lack an atmosphere for preparation here.
Q-What will be your advice for aspirants?
A-Plan well and work hard. Have confidence in yourself, success will be yours.
Q-What is the importance of college teaching in civil services?
A-I did my graduation in electrical engineering, but I opted for geography and public administration as optionals. I had an inherent interest in geography right from my school days and I thought public administration will be useful for me in my career. Apart from that, these subjects are high scoring and there is no dearth of study material and guidance. Good academic background is definitely helpful. But there is a big gulf between the academic curriculum followed by universities and the demand of the UPSC examination.
Q-What is your education background?
A-I did my initial schooling from Saraswati Sishu Mandir, Kesinga. I passed my matriculation from Kesinga Vidyapitha. I studied in vernacular medium till Class X. Then I studied +2 science from BJB college Bhubaneswar. After that, I joined the prestigious National Institute of Technology, Rourkela.

Q-What was the motivation to prepare for civil services?
A-It is the top most career in India in the government sector. Job satisfaction is of the highest order. It gives the opportunity to be part of the nation building process.
Q-What can be done by the government to improve state's performance in the exam?
A-The government should start thinking of promoting candidates preparing for the civil services as done by various other state governments. The state government can infuse enthusiasm into the civil services aspirants by providing financial assistance to the needy and deserving people. Such steps have paid rich dividends in some states and there has been a substantial improvement in the number of people selected from these states in the last 3 to 5 years.

Article courtesy - http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-05-11/bhubaneswar/31670135_1_civil-services-odisha-coaching
 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Human Resource: Audit

AUDIT - To make an official examination/review of the working practices & activities(a particular department/process,etc.)of a business/organisation for its effectiveness and adherence to mandates.

Audit is a pivotal and indispensable tool for the efficient,effective & accountable functioning of any organisation which would in turn also lead to the ultimate goal of building a responsive and integrated economic as well as social fabric of society.

HR Audit is an important aspect of Human Resource Management and is receiving a great deal of attention in the discipline and practice. It is an overall quality control check on HR  activities in a public/private organisation and an evaluation of how these activities support overall organisational strategy,thus, helping clarify organisational and management goals even further. It also helps crafting of new policies and emergence of new solutions or replacement/persistence of old policies in order to achieve efficiency and economy.

AREAS OF HR AUDIT:
1) Recruitment & Selection
2) Training & Development
3) Promotion,Transfer and Career development
4) Performance appraisal and Job Evaluation
5) Morale and Discipline
6) Salary,rewards & benefits
7) Personnel policies,procedures and programmes
8) Employer-Employee relations
9) Research

DESIGNING INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR AN HR AUDIT:

The steps are:

1) Collecting data for the audit
2) Asking questions of the data collected
3) Interpreting the data
4) Stimulating remedial action

APPROACHES TO HR AUDIT:
1) Comparative approach
2) Consultant Approach
3) Statistical approach
4) Compliance approach
5) Management by objectives Approach - Refer:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management_by_objectives

COMPONENTS OF THE HR AUDIT REPORT:
1) Table of contents
2) Introduction giving statement of objectives,scope,research methodology and techniques of the audit.
3) Summary of conclusions and recommendations
4) Main report with analysis of data of each section/department concerned.
5) Summary which is general comprehensive in nature and more in comparison to the brief prepared at the beginning of the HR audit report
6) Appendix containing  supporting data.

HR AUDIT CHECKLIST:
The following rating is used while auditing a particular section of a department or a whole department,etc.-
VERY GOOD(complete,current and done well) - 3 points
ADEQUATE(needs only some updating) - 2 points
WEAK(needs major improvements/changes) - 1 point
BASICALLY NONEXISTENT - 0 points

SCORING INTERPRETATION:
60-70 points - HR activities are complete,effective and probably meeting most legal compliance requirements.

45-59 points - HR activities are being performed adequately,but they are not as complete or effective as they should be. Also,it is likely that some potential legal risks exist.

30-44 points - Major HR problems exist,and significant attention needs to be devoted to adding and changing the HR activities in the organisation.

Below 30 points - Serious potential legal liabilities exist,and it is likely that significant HR problems are not being addressed.