Friday, June 24, 2016

Successful UPSC IAS and NET top rankers attributing their feat to this BLOG's guidance.

Successful UPSC - IAS and NET top rankers attributing their feat to this BLOG's guidance.

Their heartfelt praises & gratitude are heartwarming, which further motivates to carry on the same with even more vigor and sincerity.

The links to the interviews: 1) http://www.insightsonindia.com/2016/06/01/public-administration-strategy-mukul-kumar-gupta-rank-87-cse-2015/
&
neostencil.com/public-administration-strategy-for-civil-services

2)http://www.insightsonindia.com/2016/06/01/public-administration-strategy-devayani-rank-576-marks-245-2015-241-2014/





Monday, May 30, 2016

ANOTHER ACADEMIC MILESTONE FOR THIS BLOG

THIS PAGE'S BLOG - http://publicadministrationtheone.blogspot.in/ HAS BEEN RECENTLY REFERRED TO AND RECOMMENDED BY ANOTHER BRILLIANT ACADEMIC PUBLICATION " Foundations of Comparative Politics - Third Edition. Here is the link for reference:
http://www.cambridge.org/…/foundations-comparative-politics…
&
https://books.google.co.in/books…
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Along with that here are the links of a number of ACADEMIC PAPERS of reputed organisations as well as Delhi University's (DU) students e-learning platform that has referred to the blog mentioned above:
Delhi University ( DU) students e-learning platform link:http://vle.du.ac.in/mod/book/print.php…
Keep your best wishes coming, keep reading & learning! All the best!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

DEVOLUTION OF POWER AND PARTICIPATION AT PANCHAYAT RAJ INSTITUTIONS: A SPECIAL REFERENCE TO SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR COMMITTEE REPORT BY RAJNI KUMARI



Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in India have been given the Constitutional status under the 73rd amendment to the Constitution in 1992. Since then better functioning of this institution is one of the most important consequences for this mechanism of democratic devolution of the powers which this institution was made for. Under this imperative, the Government of India has established number of specialised committees to submit recommendations for proper functioning of PRIs in the country. One of such efforts is the formation of the Mani Shankar Aiyar Committee. This article reviews the recommendations made by the Committee for better functioning of the PRIs in India. Since the article has been written with special reference to the committee, it does not carry much wider survey of the literature. The Committee has done an intensive study containing four volumes, about various aspects of the PRIs. This article, however, analyses only one aspect, i.e., the section on devolution of powers in PRIs.

 INTRODUCTION
THE EXPERIENCE of Panchayat Raj Institutions even twenty years after having constitutional status through 73rd amendment suggests that they have not emerged as genuine institutions for decentralised local selfgovernance. The Government of India is trying to find out its drawbacks through a number of committees, workshops and seminars, etc., to ensure better functioning by adequate funds, proper power devolution mechanism and increased participation of the people, etc. One of such efforts, was the constitution of an expert committee under the chairmanship of Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar in the Ministry of Panchayat Raj on August 27, 2012, which has submitted its report on April 24, 2013 entitled Towards Holistic Panchayat Raj. The day was the eve of the 20th anniversary year of the constitutional provision of Part IX of the Panchayat Raj and its notification in the Gazette of India on April 24, 1993. Although the Expert Committee was notified in the Gazette of India on August 27, 2012, it took the Chairman a few weeks, as a Member of Parliament, to secure from the Joint Committee on Offices of Profit, the required clearance to take up his duties as Chairman. The basic objective of the committee was to examine how the PRIs might be leveraged to secure more efficient delivery of public goods and services. In its four-volume report, the Committee has reviewed the status of Panchayat Raj, its present state, devolution of power to PRIs by the Central and state governments and collateral measures.
Further, it has examined the provisions of decentralised planning through PRIs and District Planning Committees, Training, Competency Building and Capacity Development. Moreover, the committee has also taken the issues of women, weaker sections and backward regions in PRIs in poverty alleviation and livelihood programmes, productive sectors of the rural economy, rural infrastructure, education, skill development, culture and sports, health and family welfare, nutrition and food security schemes etc., for the weaker sections and backward regions. The report entitled Towards Holistic Panchayat Raj discusses collateral measures to be acted on simultaneously to enforce all dimensions of local self-governance. This will ensure the devolution of powers, authority and responsibility for economic development and social justice as intended by the Constitution, rather than becoming the vehicle for the devolution of corruption (Aiyar, et al. 2013: xv-14). The Committee begins with the issues related to the actual empowerment of the PRIs. It says that although 99 per cent of the mandatory provisions of Panchayat Raj have been implemented by the state governments, but the actual empowerment of these institutions has not been taken place. Therefore, it focuses on the mechanisms for effective allocation of resources to deliver the goods and services of the Centre. Moreover, the Central Government releases Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) for the development plan of the villages. This includes two-thirds to three-quarters of all the funds and programmes that go to the villages. However, these village development plans are not implemented by Panchayats, but by the government officials who are accountable to their superiors, not to beneficiaries, that is, people of the villages.
That not only breeds corruption but also siphons off the funds (Tehelka Magazine, 2013. Vol.10, Issues 20, May 18, 2013). The CSSs tend to bypass PRIs by setting up committees that not only impaired the functioning of village Panchayats but also provided overlapping membership of several committees that isolate them from accountability to the local communities. The Committee stresses that only local institutions of self-government can be held statutorily responsible to Gram/Ward Sabhas. Accordingly, a fundamental principle of grassroots governance must be there for all schemes falling within the domain of the Eleventh Schedule, any committee (by whatever name) must be either embedded in the PRI system or established with an organic link to PRIs, particularly the Village Panchayat, which, in turn, will be responsible and accountable to the community as a whole in the Gram Sabha/Ward. In this light, the Committee recommended that PRIs, particularly Village Panchayats, be empowered through CSS guidelines to network (Aiyar, et al. 2013: 58). The functionaries of the PRIs need training and capacity building measures for its representatives, bureaucrats and technocracy to reorient their attitude towards political governance. This will overcome the excuses for not devolving functions and funds to PRIs because of the lack of administrative skill and restoring the parallel bodies which are not accountable to PRIs or Gram Sabhas. And they owe their loyalty and responsiveness to the line departments who have created them.
Moreover, orientation programmes will make the officials conscious that they are servants, not masters, of the elected grassroots institutions. Above all, it should be made obligatory for line department officials to hold frequent and regular interactive sessions with elected PRI representatives at each level of the Panchayat Raj system to intensively brief them about the line department work (Ibid: 70). This would be the most practical and sustained way of capacity-building for PRIs and training for PRI representatives. Because, without civil service support under their overall political direction, Central and State Ministers would be quite lost as PRI representatives tend to be. Rotation of Reserved Seats As the Constitution provides reservation of seats for women, SCs and STs, however, it does not require rotation of reserved seats to take place at every successive round of elections. This could be constitutionally extended to three terms or more, even as rotation of reserved seats in the Central and State legislatures, but this has been taking place only once in three decades or so, thereby giving SC/ST representatives tremendous opportunity for “learning on the job.” Longer tenures for women, especially SC and ST women, and SCs/STs in general will ensure both efficient performance and effective empowerment of them. It will also reduce the practice of ‘sarpanch patis’ especially under 50 per cent reservation for women. 180 / INDIAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 180 / VOL. LXI, NO. 1, JANUARY-MARCH 2015 Institutional Recommendations The Expert Committee strongly recommends the constitution of a single Ministry of Panchayats and Nagarpalikas, howsoever named, to jointly promote the elaboration and implementation of the 73rd and 74th amendments together. This will adhere to the constitutional ideal of local self-government into a single constitutional amendment, so that the artificial distinction between urban and rural local self-government that prevent looking at the district as an integrated unit for interlocking rural-urban economic progress is removed (lbid:96). Ministry for
Local Self-government at the Centre would encourage the establishment of similar departments in the states. The institution like District Planning Committee (under Article 243 ZD) could undertake the function of buckling the urban centres of each district to their respective rural hinterland. It will be possible only if state governments voluntarily bring the DPC under the District Panchayat, as the Ministry of Rural Development stated to integrate the District Rural Development Administration (DRDA) with the District Panchayats. This institutional amelioration will ensure rural development, especially in those villages which are in transition from Panchayat to Municipality status are, often, the worst affected by reclassification. Further, the Committee proposes the establishment of a statutory National Commission on Panchayat Raj (with state level Commissions wherever state governments agree to setting up such Commissions) on the pattern of the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Minorities, etc. for the implementation of the provisions of Part IX (and Part IXA) of the Constitution. These Constitutional provisions need to be continuously overseen by a National Commission on Panchayat Raj, and its state branches. Such a statutory National Commission would ensure rights-based entitlements to PRIs and individual citizens, as has been so successfully demonstrated with regard to Rights-based Information and Rights-based Women and Child Rights. The ambit of Public Interest Litigation and the Right to Information Act might be taken into account by the proposed National Commission on Panchayat Raj in addressing citizen and civil society grievances of PRIs (and against PRIs) in the light of the relevant mandatory and recommendatory constitutional provisions read with the provisions of the relevant State legislation, as also relevant government orders. Collateral Measures at State Level/ Devolution of Power at State Level Besides, the Committee has broadly outlined the measures for the devolution of power at the state level for better functioning of PRIs as it is enlisted in the State subject of Part VII of the Constitution. Accordingly, the states should also devolve by law the powers and responsibilities to the Panchayats to let them function as units of “local self-government” (Aslam, 2011:7).
Devolution to local government essentially has three components: devolution of appropriate functions with authority to make related expenditure decisions, fiscal devolution for availability of funds to perform devolved functions, and administrative devolution of putting in place functionaries. There could be several reasons for such a failure of which the important ones are: Lack of political will to devolve power to lower level elected governments, lack of administrative will to bestow authority by the bureaucracy, state’s inability to create required posts in Panchayats and reluctance by State employees to work under the Panchayats, departmental opposition to part with their budgetary allocation in favour of the Panchayats which have been devolved to the Panchayats, which is partly due to the compulsion of bearing the share of Centrally Sponsored Scheme out of their own budget. Local governments are still considered subordinate entities to States largely entrusted with agency functions, predominantly funded by tied revenue transfers from above, and critically dependent upon deputed State government staff with little accountability to the Panchayats for implementation of their schemes (Aiyar, et al., 2013:79). Moreover, Panchayats are subordinated or bypassed by other State institutions, in which the bulk of local governance responsibilities are entrusted. Such faulty design of devolution, practised so far in most States, is the main reason for the weakness in the present Panchayat system. Without correcting these systemic defects, the Panchayats cannot be leveraged to improve delivery of local goods and services, comparable to a local government. In view of the above factors, the Aiyar Committee has analysed the means to strengthen the local self-government by the state governments. Keeping in mind the existing framework of functioning of the Panchayats, its deficiencies and inconsistencies, the Commmitte suggests corrective measures to overcome these and make the Panchayat Raj system a vibrant local government. The following are the main points: Devolution of Functions The better functioning of PRIs is based on the assignment of clearly defined roles to efficient delivery of services as also for people to hold them accountable for their performance. Because the ordinary people have little understanding of the delivery system and view themselves as beneficiaries to receive benefits rather than as right-bearers who can demand service. In such a situation, Panchayats need to function effectively. 182 / INDIAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 182 / VOL. LXI, NO. 1, JANUARY-MARCH 2015 Activity mapping should be done by all States, as a prior exercise for devolution for the major areas of service delivery, such as health, education, nutrition, water supply, sanitation, various other civic services, employment generation, poverty alleviation and local economic development, livelihoods, agriculture and allied sectors, social security and disaster management, etc. Activity mapping should also clearly state where the function is a devolved core function, where the Panchayats function as agencies, and where they have a mediating role. Besides the constitutional provisions, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) should come out with incentives for the States to take up the process and facilitate the same by organising professional support (Ibid: 98).
Activity mapping should be linked to budget envelopes with a separate statement of funds allocated to PRIs in an annexure to the budget. Mediating Role for Delivery of Goods and Services Panchayats are also ideally positioned to improve delivery of goods and services by higher tiers of the government, public utilities and even private providers by mediating with the providers of goods and services at higher level on behalf of local residents as being a representative body. Any Panchayat could take cognisance of failure of such delivery of its own without any public resentment/complaint and can mediate with appropriate government/public authority for rectifying such failures. Fiscal Decentralisation The Constitution has made adequate provisions for financial availability of PRIs that includes Central and State grants to the Panchayat as well as their own sources of revenues. Under Central grants, the Committee has recommended two separate incentivisation grants, first a grant to incentivise States to devolve more powers and authorities to the PRIs and second a grant to incentivise PRIs to be more transparent and accountable in their economic affairs (lbid:90). Panchayat transactions should be more transparent and to be more alert in demanding accountability from the elected representatives and officialdom in the Gram Sabha. Further, in raising their own resources it stresses for independence of action, transparency of transactions and accountability towards community. Having full right for appropriation of taxation and revenues will enable them to explain their respective communities that taxes are raised to meet the specific needs of the communities. This will help PRIs to acquire the political strength and political will to act as fiscal authorities for both raising and spending community revenues. Moreover, technological support for availability of data regarding taxable properties will help to generate more taxes and will be more up-to-date in maintaining records over several years and in having their accounts duly audited.
Under its constitutional responsibilities the Central Government gives as “The Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF)” whose appropriation is a subject of scrutiny and supervision of Gram Sabha under integrated planning. Accordingly, the CSS should provide necessary guidelines for the vast sum of money that is being sent for rural development and poverty alleviation. Another CSS scheme known as Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), a provision of cash to beneficiaries, such as pensions and scholarships, etc., cannot be a substitute for Panchayat Raj. It also suggests that Gram Panchayats should be appointed as business correspondents for banks (in addition to individuals) and provided with mini-ATMs for the dispersal of cash benefits, including MNREGA wages, to beneficiaries, preferably in the presence of Gram Sabhas, especially where PRIs are not located conveniently near a bank branch. Own revenue of the PRIs are elaborated in the Constitution; accordingly local government has to collect these. However, these are very limited and most of these taxes are less elastic and not capable of generating significant quantum of own revenue. Further, the full potential for taxation remains untapped due to outdated tax estimation systems, discretionary power with tax estimation and lack of collection agencies, or disregarding existing norms, low ceiling limits on taxes that can be collected, or legislative abolition of local taxes, non-revision of taxes at regular intervals according to the law, poor coverage of taxable properties, inability to take action against big defaulters, lack of well-trained staff, etc. Provisions which raise the tax revenues of Panchayats include: assignment of tax and non-tax revenue and its collection powers to Pachayats, capacity building of Panchayat in tax administration, incentive for collection, data collection and analysis, etc. Further, in order to facilitate the funding of PRIs from higher levels of governments, in the long run, should only be provided as topping up grants, on the presumption that local revenue are deemed to have been collected. These must be untied, as only then will local planning and prioritisations have any real meaning. To strengthen the Accounting and Auditing of PRIs accounting classification may be adopted forthwith by all the states. Besides, a separate classification in the budget books of both the state and the Central government will need to be adopted for devolved funds. Such heads of account may be describe as “devolved” Heads of Account and further classified into “revenue” or “capital” heads. The revenue head would have a separate subhead to deal with transfer of funds to meet the salary requirement of deputed staff. Devolution of Functionaries Strong administrative set-up of Panchayats includes having adequate number of qualified employees with relevant expertise, clear accountability of the elected body, laying well-defined administrative rules and regulations and putting in place a system for monitoring their performance and enforcing compliance to rules and regulations in their functioning. In most States, there is neither adequate number of employees having due capacity to perform their tasks, nor is there clear accountability of those employees to the Panchayats. In addition to that, the rules and regulations are not always clearly defined; there is poor oversight function to check if the existing rules are being violated.
Administrative experience and education level of the elected functionaries in Panchayats, particularly in the GPs, are not always adequate to comprehend the bureaucratic processes and they rather look forward to the employees for guidance (lbid: 106). To ensure the proper devolution of functionaries the committee has made the recommendation for creation of Panchayat cadres of employees at the block, district, and State level, surplus number of staff in one department, procedure for convergence and cross-departmental movement particularly of Group D and Group C levels, who are non-technical in nature, such as assistants, superintendents and office staff, etc.. A Panchayat Service Commission may be established in each State for recruitment of various cadres of Panchayat employees, unless the State Public Service Commission is entrusted with that responsibility. There must be an emphasis on recruitment of women to the posts of Secretaries of Gram Panchayats. Government of India should provide support for creation of posts and other related issues for the permanent employees of the Panchayat, where the State should have such freedom to create posts at Gram and Intermediate Panchayats depending on their population coverage for proper utilisation of those personnel. Physical infrastructures of Panchayats are also necessary. Free and Fair Election State Election Commissions (SECs) should be authorised to decide the date of elections, the number of phases required, security law and order, financial independence, and control over election staff, as is the case with the Central Election Commission, as also authorised to undertake delimitation and operationalisation of the Task Force, etc. Further, preparation of a common voters list for Parliament, Assembly and Panchayat elections, innovations such as e-voting, use of mobiles for rear time transmission of information relating to disruption of free and fair elections, etc., should be under the domain of SECs. Moreover, after anyone is elected to an office, s/he should be allowed to continue in office without disqualifying the person on flimsy grounds. The power to disqualify any elected representative should, therefore, not remain with anyone who is a part of the State government and ideally should rest with the SECs. Also, once any member is disqualified and the seat falls vacant, the legal process of disposal of the charges against the member must be completed fast enough so that, if the member is acquitted from the charge leading to his/her disposal, he/she gets the opportunity to contest again in the election to be held for filling the post. The process of removal and resignation of different elected officials should be well-defined and safeguarded that there is no arbitrariness or scope for manipulation or coercion.
The State Election Commission should be empowered to conduct Panchayat elections as these are fought at very grassroots level where issues of social stratification such as class and caste are very intense; there is higher voter turnout there and ruling party influence is very likely. Longer cycle of delimitation will be appropriate for free and fair election as well as healthy governance at Panchayat rather than having delimitation in every five years. Several funding streams for Panchayats now prescribe the constitution of elected Panchayats at all three levels as a pre-condition for the release of funds. Deepening Decentralisation and Participation Regular meeting of Gram Sabha is necessary because the body of voters are living in the village and are supposed to review all development programmes of the village, selection of beneficiaries for different programmes are transferred to the PRIs and preparing plans for local development, including minimum needs, welfare and production-oriented programmes. Meeting of Gram Sabha could be inclusive and participative if the date, time and location for the Gram Sabha meetings should be convenient for all to participate. There should be enough publicity for Gram Sabha meetings through the local media and local communication methods. In meetings, freedom of expression should be encouraged so that no single group dominates the proceedings. NGOs may be encouraged to promote awareness and people’s participation and common interest groups, such as Self-Help Groups (SHGs), etc. should also be incorporated. To sustain interest in Gram Sabha meetings, agendas must be circulated in advance and full disclosures of budgets and resources available for planning and implementation should be provided. Video recording of the proceedings of the Gram Sabha will be helpful. Large-size Panchayats may have meeting of the voters constituency-wise or at the neighbourhood level. That helps in better participation of the people and those bodies become quite important in providing inputs for village-specific development plans for being included in the GP plans.

In large States, Village/habitation level committees will be helpful to deal with the specific issues of the people. Effective social audit of Gram Panchayat, may require voluntary council of experts and eminent citizens ideally constituted by the Gram Sabhas. The practice of various community-based organisations such as Watershed Development Committees, Village Water Supply and Sanitation Committees, Village Education Committees, Joint Forest Management Committees, etc., should submit their reports before the Gram Sabha and this must be promoted. This will also greatly aid in their eventual integration into the Panchayats. Selection of beneficiaries such as below poverty line people, (BPL), etc., requires surveys data with names and faces that can be conducted through multipurpose household survey under the supervision of the GP. Collegiate Functioning of the PRIs Besides, vertical decentralisation, it is necessary to have horizontal decentralisation of responsibilities among the different elected members of each body. This can be done by formation of subject-specific Standing Committees (SC). However, detailed guidelines are required for the functioning of these committees. There must be arrangements for preserving all resolutions, budget documents and published literature in any designated public library and giving soft copies of the same to the Common Service Centres. Each tier of Panchayat will have one public library earmarked for that purpose. Panchayats, NGOs and CBOs Functioning of NGOs and CBOs at village level should be collaborative to PRIs rather than undermining the Constitutional authority of PRIs. NGOs can play many roles like building voter awareness, use of Right to Information Act, capacity building of Panchayats through training, exchange programmes, visits to successful Panchayats, building networks and lobby bodies and information sharing, etc. NGOs can assist District Planning Committees to take up evaluation studies on Panchayat performance and educate people periodically so that they can better hold their Panchayats account, etc. They can also take up difficulties faced by Panchayats because of various constraints beyond their control with higher tiers of government and drawing attention of the civil society at large for removing the constraints faced by the PRIs. Other Collateral Measures The appellate authorities for the Panchayat are mainly two: the Intermediate Panchayat and Zila Parishad (ZP), and finally the District Magistrate and the state.
While setting up an appellate tribunal system, like Kerala, would be adequate to hear appeals from the exercise of regulatory powers by the Panchayats. And an Ombudsman system to investigate against law breakers and mal-administration in the field of administrative activity will be appropriate. This will take care of the citizen’s grievances relating to due process being disregarded in rendering a service or deciding on a claim. This will provide a strong system of checks and balances required to make the system work with greater efficiency that will be different from Lokayukta which is much focused on corruption and punishment. The body could be headed by a judicial officer of the rank of a High Court Judge and other Ombudsmen could be selected from a panel of judicial officers of the rank of District Judges and administrative officers of the rank of Secretary to the State government. The Ombudsman can act on complaints from elected members or citizens or on reference by audit authorities of government or initiate proceedings suo motu (lbid:132). Accountability Mechanism Like GP at village level, there is a need of such authorities at intermediate and District levels. These bodies at district and the intermediate Panchayat levels may be called Zilla Sansad and the Block Sansad, respectively. Apart from elected bodies who are members of the ZP, all chairpersons of intermediate Panchayats along with vice-chairpersons/ chairpersons of intermediate Panchayat may be made members of the Zilla Sansad. Officials from the State level may remain present as invitees. Important officials of district and block levels may also be invitees to attend the meetings without having any voting right. The Block Sansad may consist of all members of the intermediate Panchayats, the ZP members from within the block area, the Pradhans and members of all the SCs at the GP level. Important officials at block and GP level may also attend as invited members.
Such Sansads should be held at least twice a year and there should be certain norms and rules of functioning. Examination of Accounts related to devolved fund to be arranged at the district level Panchayats should provide a simple Utilisation Certificate (UC) that fund has been received and utilised, following all norms. A District Public Accounts Committee (DPAC) should be constituted at each Zila Parishad (ZP). The DPAC may be constituted under the chairmanship of the Leader of the Opposition of the ZP, with proportionate representation from all political parties represented in the ZP. It may be given the authority for checking compliance to rules in respect of all expenditure made by any Panchayat within the district. An Accountant General should prepare a status report on Panchayat Accounts, which should be laid before Legislative Assembly which will also examine all expenditure being made by the Panchayats of the district, irrespective of whether fund available is out of own resources or devolved fund or any fund transferred to execute any specific work (lbid:134). Forum for Discussion on Devolution Establishment of a common forum on which the State and the Panchayats can participate is desirable which would cover important matters such as the inter-governmental fiscal and administrative architecture and a mechanism to resolve disputes that may arise between levels of government. Some States have provided for a State Development Council or a Panchayat Council as such a forum. Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) may take necessary advocacy and facilitation.
The Panchayat Directorate, district Panchayat office and the block level Panchayat Unit (Panchayat Development Officer, Audit Officer, etc.), are to be strengthened appropriately for functioning of the Panchayats and provide necessary support to the Panchayats when needed. The State Government should prepare a format for self-assessment by Panchayats and prescribe that they will give their self-appraisals within a given time every year to analyse the strength and weaknesses of the Panchayats for appropriate correction and facilitation. This will help each tier for improving their performances (lbid:135). The State government must disclose the analysis on various aspects of functioning of the Panchayats in the public domain for information of the Panchayats as well as for people for their better understanding about the Panchayats. It should also encourage every Panchayat to assess and improve their performance. The Panchayat Directorate should measure and monitor institutional aspects of functioning of Panchayats on a regular basis, possibly once in a quarter at block and district level. There should be legal professionals available at district Panchayat office for assisting all Panchayats on legal issues in the course of their functionings. To fulfill the pre-requisites of good political leadership for smooth functioning of Panchayats the committee suggests forming a Panchayat Cell within political parties to supervise activities of their members as functionaries of Panchayats and ensure accountability towards Panchayat, rather than their political higher-ups. The cell may have at least 10 per cent or more share of the total elected posts. Constitutional Amendment for Strengthening Devolution The Committee has made several suggestions for Constitutional amendments.

However, the Part IX of the Constitution is an elaborate one, but it should be implemented in letter and spirit. The Committee that in fullness of term and time and when political conditions permit, an amendment can be done in Article 243-1 to strengthen the Fiscal Devolution Framework, to ensure smooth functioning of the State Finance Commissions in terms of acceptance of its recommendation, to remove inordinate delays in placing action taken reports before the State legislature for the smooth flow of Central revenue shares to Panchayats. In view of increasing urbanisation, a District Council may be formed by constitutional provision but not as an alternative to the Zila Parishad (District Panchayat). The Council will comprise constituencies from both urban and rural areas and will thus have jurisdiction over both areas of the district. A unified local government at the district level, will take care of all district sector activities of department (e.g., education, health, drinking water supply, etc.) irrespective of rural or urban areas, and provide better rural-urban convergence and ensure similar standards of living for both rural and urban population (lbid:138). Implementation of the above mentioned provisions will deliberately speed up the fulfilment of the aims and objects of the constitutional provisions of democratic decentralisation. This would also propel such significant leveraging of PRIs as to ensure exponential improvement in efficiency in the delivery of public goods and services, thus bringing social equity in line with the growth of the economy for “Faster, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth” the overarching goal of the 12th FiveYear Plan (2102-07) (lbid:75).

CONCLUSION While submitting its report, the Committee expressed its hope that Government will find it possible to place this report before a follow-up Conference of Chief Ministers. The Committee recommended, that as, the National Development Council (NDC) is the most important forum that brings the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers together on a common platform, the Planning Commission be required to inscribe Panchayat Raj as a permanent item on the NDC agenda, so that progress is kept under continuous review for the national priority of “Inclusive Growth” to be promoted through “Inclusive Governance.” The report is neither yet approved by the Government nor has it been placed before the Chief Ministers' Conference or a NDC meeting as suggested by the Committee. Therefore, strong and firm political commitments are required to implement it and to realise the Gandhian notion of Gram Swaraj by devolving the powers to the Panchayats.

Courtesy: http://www.iipa.org.in/upload/full%20journal%20for%20mail.pdf

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

DECISION-MAKING AS A FACTOR IN POLITICO-ADMINISTRATIVE CULTURE BY ASHOK RANJAN BASU


Sociologists have long debated whether nature or nurture is the key to what people are and how they act. Administrative culture, in its broadest sense is understood as the modal pattern of values, beliefs, attitudes, and predispositions that characterise and identify any given administrative system. The administrative culture of any part of the globe reflects the distinctiveness and complexity of various regional, national, and local realities; their unique historical experiences, their forms of insertion. Such cultures are historical products, where past experiences, myths, and traditions have shaped modal psychological orientations. Any administrative culture is also conditioned by existing structural and conjunctional circumstances and challenges. Decision making is one of the most important aspects of administration and is greatly influenced by the prevailing politico- administrative culture of the organisation. The interdisciplinary framework of decisionmaking is one of the important aspects for any administrator for arriving at a decision. Though efforts are made to nurture the personnel system to form a homogeneous group, still the internalised behaviour pattern and the nature do continue. Besides these, the psychological factors also play a great role on the individual behaviour which affects the decision making process. The article examines the decision making process as a factor of politico-administrative culture.

THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL concept of culture, covers all facets of humans in society: knowledge, behaviour, beliefs, art, morals, law, customs, etc. (Singer, 1968). Despite some differences of emphasis, anthropologists agree that a culture is the way of life of a given society. Sociologists have long debated whether nature (our biological inheritance) or nurture (our social inheritance) is the key to what people are and how they act. Most sociologists hold that both are vital in determining individual personality and behaviour. Taylor (1913) defined culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, customs, and many other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. Thus, Taylor’s definition contains three critical components: (i) that complex whole; (ii) acquired by man; and (iii) as a member of society. Thus, the inter-connectedness of characteristics that, together, form a culture. Political culture is defined by the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences as “the set of attitudes, beliefs and sentiments that give order and meaning to a political process and which provide the underlying assumptions and rules that govern behaviour in the political system”. It encompasses both the political ideals and operating norms of a polity. Political culture is thus the manifestation in aggregate form of the psychological and subjective dimensions of politics. A political culture is the product of both the collective history of a political system and the life histories of the members of the system and thus it is rooted equally in public events and private experience”

Administrative culture, in its broadest sense is understood as the modal pattern of values, beliefs, attitudes, and predispositions that characterise and identify any given administrative system. In this inclusive definition both the private and public spheres of the managerial ethos are covered, for societies in general possess certain specific ways of “getting things done”, which transcend the official sphere. The construction of an administrative mind-set presents significant difficulties. Yet, it is possible to configure clusters of cultural matrices that have important heuristic value in understanding the relationship among contexts, structures, behaviours, and effects (Dwivedi and Nef, 1998).

Two main perspectives may assist us in understanding the politicoadministrative culture of an organisation. First, the government administration in all nations happens to be larger and more complex than any single organisation, being composed of many departments, agencies, and corporation and so on. Second, policies and administrative decisions get implemented through the state apparatus, state financial and other resources are distributed, and the entire society is affected in many ways by attending administrative culture. The behaviour of the state apparatus depends on the kind of political and administrative culture prevailing in a country. No administrative culture is monolithic; instead it is part of wider culture of a society including its constituent parts such as political, economic, social, religious, corporate, and civil society cultures. Nevertheless, it is the political culture that influences the administrative culture most because it brings its political values to modulate the behaviour of state employees. A composite administrative culture reflects the values of all constituent parts.

The administrative culture, like all cultures, is not uniform but does differ (Dwivedi and Nef, 1998). The administrative culture of any part of the globe reflects the distinctiveness and complexity of various regional, national, and local realities; their unique historical experiences, their forms of insertion. Such cultures are historical products, where past experiences, myths, and traditions have shaped modal psychological orientations. Any administrative culture is also conditioned by existing structural and conjunctional circumstances and challenges. The administrative culture is a part of a larger attitudinal matrix, containing values, practices, and orientations toward the physical environment, the economy, the social system, the polity, and cultures itself. Administrative cultures, like all cultures, are dynamic and subject to change. Syncretism, continuities, and discontinuities are part and parcel of their fabric and texture. An administrative culture is the result of a process of immersion, acculturation and socialisation, whose structural drivers are implicit as well as induced and explicit. Administrative cultures are influenced by global and regional trends. In the lesser –developed regions of the world, they are particularly derivative, reflecting a center-priphery mode of international political economy.

Riggs (1961) has drawn upon the structural–functional approach that has gained considerable currency in political science in recent times. According to this approach all societies perform an array of functions such as administrative functions, religious functions, and economic functions and so on. Societies usually have a variety of structures that perform the different functions. In traditional societies, one encounters a few structures, as a family or a leader that would be performing a whole host of functions like rule making, rule adjudication, economic allocation even medical and health administration. As society grows and develops, more and more specialised structures appear, each one of which becomes engaged in specific functions. So, differentiation of structures may be looked at as the essence of development. Using an analogy, Riggs pictures the process of differentiation as sunlight passing through a thunderstorm and appearing as a rainbow. Most traditional societies are like sunlight in its natural condition. The mixed state of structures is like pure white light-fused, according to the science of optics. These structures in the traditional societies must be torn apart to make room for more and more specialised functions in the wake of modernisation. To extend the original analogy, the thunderstorm acts as a prism to change the pure white light into a multi-coloured rainbow. As Riggs put it, traditional agricultural and folk societies, (Agraria), approximate the fused model and modern industrial societies (Industria) approach the refracted model. The former is functionally diffused, the latter functionally specific. Intermediate between these polar extremes is the prismatic model so called because of the prism through which fused light passes to become refracted.

There are numerous definitions of “culture” taken from different academic disciplines. These definitions show large similarities between them. Creating a new public administration system, reforming the remnants of the colonial civil service, and defining a new public policy agenda can be an overwhelming task for any independent country. While, in India, the colonial civil service (ICS) was externally imposed (by the former colonial power), the newly created national civil service (IAS) has to be the expression of domestic conditions, societal cultures, and national expectations. The local milieu, also, is an important factor for public policy formulation and execution. The relationship between the professional civil service and elected politicians is crucial for the definition of the political regime and the efficiency of the civil service. Although there are claims that some civil service systems are, by definition, apolitical, the politicisation of the Public Administration is difficult to avoid.

Culture and Politico-Administrative Models Despite the perception of the civil service as a monolith structure, its characteristics, texture and operating principles and procedures may vary significantly from one country to another. The nature of the politician-civil servant relationship may change due to changes in the dominant political ideology of the time or major changes in the political leadership. A brief cross-country comparison shows that two adverse processes are at work. In some countries, there is increasing political control over public administration to ensure that the bureaucracy adopts the new political signals; while in others, there appears to be a relaxation of political control in order to enable the public administration to adapt to external changes by virtue of its organisational capacities. There is also a trend of the increasing influence of civil society on the overall political system in a country.

Models of the Civil Service Theoretically the civil service systems can be classified into five groups (Peters, 1984; 1988). In the first model, the clear separation between politicians and administration exists, in which the civil servants are ready to unquestioningly follow the orders of the political appointees. The second model (called “village life”) assumes that civil servants and politicians are both part of a unified state elite and that they should not be in conflict over power within the government structure itself. The third model (called “functional village life”) assumes some degree of integration in civil service and political careers. The fourth model (named “adverse model”) assumes a significant separation between the two groups (politicians and bureaucrats), but also there is no clear resolution in their struggle for power. The fifth model assumes the clear separation between policy-makers and administration, where, however, civil servants are the dominant force (see Wilson, 1975). All these models are rather theoretical, and practice by itself shows different patterns of interaction between politicians and civil service. Models, however, represent a stylized illustration of inter-active behaviour (see Giddens, 1971). Every particular civil service system is primarily “nationally coloured” (Sevic, 1997), and the “ethos-generated” characteristics cannot be neglected or avoided.

The relationship between politicians and the civil servants is regulated by law, although in countries with long traditions of an independent civil service, informal rules play an important role. In recent years, political culture and attitudes have been given importance when analysing the politico-administrative relationship.

Heady (1996) developed a model which in many ways complements the already mentioned Peters’ model. He studies the relationship of the civil service with the political regime, finding that the civil service can be ruler responsive, single party responsive, majority party responsive and military responsive. The socio-economic context, also, influences the relationship. The civil service can operate in traditional, pluralist, competitive, mixed, corporatist and centrally planned socio-economic environments.

Focusing on personnel management, he concluded that different civil service systems can apply the following models: chief executive, independent agency, divided and ministry-by-ministry. Determining the quality of the entrance requirements, the civil service system can promote any of the following: patrimony, party loyalty, party patronage, professional performance, and bureaucratic determination. Being a social organisation the civil service must have a sense of mission which is shared within the service and can be: compliance, cooperation, policy responsiveness, constitutional responsiveness and guidance. Using the model and taking into account all policy variables enable us to determine the nature of the politico-administrative relationship in different civil service systems.
Morgan developed another model, classifying the states into three categories: integral, patrimonial, and custodial. In an integral state, the civil service is supposed to behave as a secular, rational policy instrument in the delivery of ‘development’ through government agencies or state owned enterprises (Morgan, 1996: 230). The patrimonial state is, in fact, a less effective integral state caught in the trap of a ‘clientele effect’ (clan, ethnic, religious, territorial and other segregation and/or favouritism). In the custodial state, the civil service has been seen as a protector of the very idea of state as a social institution and provides eternal stability in fairly unstable political conditions. Morgan also analysed the level of institutionalisation of nation-state, assuming that the civil service can be anti-state, pro-state, institutional- state and inchoate- state. Analysing the degree of professionalism, he related value of process and value of outcomes with professionalism and political responsiveness. Combining all these, one gets four quadrants which should cover all the existing civil service systems. According to Morgan, the first quadrant is the pragmatic field, the second is the patrimonial field, while the third is the positivist field and finally, the fourth is the absolutist field.

With this theoretical input the author examines the impact of decisionmaking as a factor in the existing politico-administrative culture in India.

The 21st Century has witnessed tremendous changes in India, as in the world in general. There have been regular attempts at administrative reforms and innovation, both at the Centre and in the states, including starting of new institutions and systems in India since 1947. Further, besides persistence of problems of administration with increasing severity, we have also witnessed in succeeding decades acceleration in the process of degeneration in our socio-economic, political and administrative scenario. There are many other burning issues also, such as lack of propriety in the exercise of administrative discretion; paralysis of political will and capacity for decision making; mounting administrative corruption and political venality, leading to erosion in the credibility and effectiveness of democratic institutions.

Decision making is one of the most important aspects of administration and is greatly influenced by the prevailing politico- administrative culture of the organisation. There are various factors which influence the process of decision making. The interdisciplinary framework of decision making is one of the important aspects for any administrator for arriving at a decision.

The decisions affect and are affected by political, economic, social and the cultural factors prevailing in the environment. Therefore, the decision making must be suited to the environment. A continuing situation of necessary interaction between an organisation and its environment introduces an element of environmental control into the organisation. Therefore, it is useful to consult the people interested in the decisions such as interest groups and pressure groups. As problems and issues become more complex, tools for analysis and decision making will have even greater impact. Experience tells us that higher the state of economic development, the greater is the need for managers equipped with tools and techniques useful in decision making. Rising income will permit expanded consumption and this will lead to higher standard of living. We will become more organised society and will depend more upon complex organisations to accomplish our goals. The social idea of democratic participation, the rise of individualism and individual freedom and increasing self actualisation will become a more central part of our lives, both as consumers and as an organised society. 

Organisations will make increasing use of formal techniques modelling in an attempt to describe their environments and develop intelligent rules to cope with environmental problems. There can be three decision environments, together with a scale of decision difficulty. Certainty is the condition where the outcome is specified; risk is the condition where the possible outcomes can be specified by a probability distribution; uncertainty indicates no knowledge of the likelihood of the various outcomes. Decision makers have to function in three types of environments. In each of these environments, knowledge of the state of affairs differs.

Decision making under conditions of certainty: In this environment, only one state of nature exists, that is, there is complete certainty about the future. Although this environment sometimes exists, it is usually associated with very routine decisions involving fairly inconsequential issues; even here it is impossible to guarantee complete certainty about the future. The techniques of Cost Benefit Analysis, Marginal Analysis, and Net work analysis are useful in decision making process.

Decision making under the conditions of uncertainty: Here more than one state of nature exists, but the decision maker has no knowledge about the various states, not even sufficient knowledge to permit the assignment of probabilities to the state of nature. The Utility theory, Preference theory, Decision trees, etc. are useful in decision making process.

Decision making under the conditions of risk: In this situation, more than one state of nature exists, but the decision maker has information which will support the assignment of probability values to each of the possible states. The techniques of O.R. are useful in decision making process.

Having explained the concept of culture, and the process of decisionmaking, it is now important to study about the personnel who are involved in the decision making process.

Personnel System– The Environmental Context Environment is one of the most important aspects in any study of social situations. When we consider administration, “environment “is not this physical environment but it comprises the numerous non-physical relationships which man has created for himself. Therefore, the term “environment” has a different connotation and distinctive characteristics. In nature, environment is an integral part and is unchangeable; in the context of administration, environment is man’s own creation. Even the man made environment may be unchangeable for many purposes. In certain circumstances, it may acquire some of the characteristics of the natural environment itself.

Personnel System is the instrument of public administration of the State. This system comes in contact with the individual citizen through individuals who are members of the system itself. It is here the “environment” and the “institutionalised form of the State” interacts and influences each other. For understanding the nature of the interaction, it will be necessary to trace the succession of linkages from “individual” to “environment“on the one hand and from the” individual” to the “system” on the other. This is a circular chain which may be roughly represented as follows:
“Individual” ---- “environmental context”--- “organised state”---- “personnel system”---- “individual”
Any change at any point will influence the entire chain, the intensity at any point depending on the strength of the change element.

The first concrete manifestation of the environmental context is the “time spirit” prevailing in the society which represents the sum total of the social phenomenon or the prevailing ethos in the community assimilating within itself the social, cultural and religious heritage. “Time spirit” is the first stage in approaching the personnel system from the environment end. If we proceed further, we reach the socio-economic situation in the second stage; thereafter there is the political system and finally, the administrative system. Thus we have the successive linkages as in the following sequence:
Environment --- time spirit--- socio-economic situation---political system--- personnel

The scope of socio-economic situation is narrower. The political system can be said to be part of the socio-economic situation, but the two, in some respects and to some extent, are independent as well. Political system, to a large extent, depends on the socio-economic matrix of community but the political system, in turn, influences the socio-economic situation itself. Similar mutual relationship can also be seen between the political system and administrative system. In this chain of elements, when change takes place at any point, it manifests itself in all other elements depending on the strength of casual links.

Personnel System Let us now proceed in other direction to trace the stages from the “personnel” system end to the “individual” with reference to whom all processes have to be finally interpreted. We find two elements, viz. (i) personnel structure and (ii) human element. These two elements are further connected by another element “personnel technique”. The characteristics of human element are determined by the group of individuals who man the personnel system. When we study the personnel system in the context of environment, we are really studying the interaction of this sub group with the larger society of which it is a sub group. The above three elements in the personnel system and individual chain are mutually related and influence each other. Personnel techniques are devised with reference to the personnel structure. Similarly, the personnel techniques themselves, in their turn, influence the personnel structure (Sharma, 1976).

Let us further consider the inter-relationship between the human element and personnel techniques. The method of recruitment and the qualifications prescribed are two important factors of personnel techniques. Minimum qualifications determine the sub group from which the human element can be drawn. Let us now understand the process of interaction between the environments and the personnel system. We have noted that the personnel system itself is determined by the administrative system. In fact, personnel structure is a function of administrative system. On the other hand, the administrative system itself will be influenced by the personnel structure. The administrative system, in a way, is midpoint between the environment and the human element. Perhaps, the administrative system goes to determine environmental conditions for the personnel system. Thus, we find a continuing relationship starting from the environmental context through the personnel system to the human element. From the environmental context end, we first come to the time spirit, then we reach socio-economic matrix, political system, administrative system, personnel structure, personnel techniques and finally the human element (Fig.1). In the final analysis we want to study the interaction between this sub group comprising the human element and the environment or the prevailing ethos in the society. In fact we arrive at different groups of individuals and our problem is reduced to the study of relationship between a smaller group as defined by personnel system and the larger community within which it operates.

Internalised Behaviour Pattern– Its Significance It is the time spirit that determines the value system of an individual and, therefore, influences his internalised behaviour pattern without any reference to the role imposed by the membership of an organisation. Another important determinant of the quality of interaction between the environment and the personnel system is the role perspective of the individual himself. Sometimes, normative behaviour patterns for members of different groups are also informally defined. However, unlike the internalised value system, the roles are externally determined and superimposed on the individual. Sometimes, we may find clash between one’s value system and the prescribed role. In real world situation, every individual member, subject to some constrains, become a central figure in the interaction game. Man’s relationship with man, his value system, role perception of each individual, prescribed formal roles, etc. are important elements which determine the quality of interaction.

To understand the character of the composition of personnel system we will have to consider two aspects, viz. initial recruitment and turnover which are important in relation to the interaction between the personnel system and the community. Internalised value system, which determines the quality of interaction, depends to a large extent on the initial constitution of the service and its turnover. Initial recruitment defines the cross-section of the community from which the group is drawn. Extent of uniformity and continuity in a civil servant's career determines his capacity of objective perception to different life situations. If the turnover in civil service is small, the continuing influence on individual members as the part of the larger social system is minimal. If the turnover is fast, service traditions will tend to be weak. Individual members of the group and, therefore the group itself, continue to renew their contact with the larger society. The internalised value system of each member is continuously affected by what is happening outside. In India, where there is little turnover, we find the element of renewing contact with the society, which is an advantage of quicker turnover, is sought to be built into it brought other devices (Sharma,1976). Personnel system or bureaucracy is a groups which a collection of persons perceived to form a coherent unit to some degree. Groups influence their members in many ways, but such effects are often produced through roles, status, norms and cohesiveness.

Psychologically, the decision making process depends on the: (i) personality, (ii) motivation, (iii) attitude and (iv) environment. The decision making capacity of an individual is greatly influenced by his level of achievement (achievement oriented), level of affiliation (affiliation oriented), his need to seek power (power oriented) and his need to stay in group (gregarious oriented). Those who are high in level of achievement or power are Type A personality whereas others are Type B personality.
The next important aspect is the level of motivation of an individual. An individual takes a decision depending on his level of motivation and type of motivation. Motivation is the process by which activities are started, directed and sustained so that physical and psychological needs are fulfilled. Extrinsic type of motivation is in which a person performs an action because it leads to an outcome that is separate from or external to the person. Motivation depends on his external motivation (rewards/perks) or internal motivation (satisfaction).

Personality is the unique way by virtue of which individuals think, feel and act. It is different from character and temperament but includes those aspects. The four perspectives of personality are the psychoanalytic, behaviouristic (including social cognitive theory) humanistic and trait perspectives
Attitudes are evaluations of any aspect of the social world. The attitude can be positive, negative or ambivalent. Attitudes are often acquired from other persons through social learning. Such learning can involve classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning or observational learning. Attitudes are also formed on the basis of social comparison– our tendency to compare ourselves with others to determine whether our view of social reality is or is not correct. Studies conducted with identical twins suggest that attitudes may also be influenced by genetic factor, although the magnitude of such effects varies greatly for different attitudes.

Social influence is the efforts by one or more persons to change the attitudes or behaviour of one or more other – is also a common part of life. Most people behave in accordance with social norms most of the time; in other words they show strong tendencies of conformity. Many factors determine whether and to what extent, conformity occurs. These include cohesiveness- the degree of attraction felt by an individual towards some group–group size and type of social norm operating in that situation– descriptive or injunctive. We are most likely to behave in ways consistent with norms when they are relevant to us. Although pressure towards conformity is strong, many persons resist them, at least part of the time. This resistance seems to stem from two strong motives; the desire to retain one’s individuality, and then to desire to exert control over one’s own life. The last is the environment which can be either harmonious or stressful. All these, have direct impact in the decision making ability of the individuals who constitute the personnel system.

Stratification within the Personnel System The personnel system or the civil service is not a single homogeneous entity. The system is divided both by vertical as well as horizontal lines and there are numerous groups within it. The composition of different sub groups within the same personnel system in terms of their social background may be entirely different. Each group will have its own value systems, its own aspirations and, therefore, would have qualitatively an entirely different response to any situation. Each group would, therefore, require different consideration. We can identify broadly three types:

Type-A: The entire civil service is drawn from a wide social spectrum. The area of informal contact is universal and co-extensive with the system itself. The civil services in the urban, particularly metropolitan areas approximate to this type.

Type-B: A part of the civil service (or higher sub group) is drawn from higher strata in the society. It has a limited turnover. Other subgroups are drawn from a wider cross section and the turnover is large. In this case the area of informal contact of the civil service system with the society is larger than A.

Type-C: The whole civil service is drawn from a limited cross section of society and there is limited turnover after initial recruitment. Or, the initial recruitment may be from a wider spectrum but afterwards there is purposive insulation. There is practically no area of informal contact between the personnel system and the society.

If we move from this highly urbanised environment to the general environmental context, i.e. to small towns, etc.(Type B) we find the personnel structure up to particular level may have a representative cross section of the community except for the lowest sub groups.
In the extreme backward area (Type C) the personnel structure is largely alien to the local community and in a way may be a replica of the old colonial and feudal system. Even the lowest member of the personnel system may consider himself superior to the highest in the local community and take pride in not belonging to it.

Thus we see that neither the environments nor the personnel system is homogeneous. The personnel system which is drawn for the country as a whole comprises of diverse culture, religion, caste, tribes and social background. Though efforts are made to bring some sort of homogeneity depending on minimum educational qualifications and training which Riggs refers to improvement, it seems that the social, regional, religious background have still a great say in their “nurturing”, attitude and behaviour which greatly influences the decision making capability in various ethnic groups. Having explained the interaction/relationship between the personnel system and the citizen/community and the problems there to, in the decision making process, it is necessary to consider some other barriers to decision making process.

Social Stratification and its Implications In India, as in many other third world countries, the environment is also not uniform. We have advanced regions, where the prevailing ethos may be equalitarian and democratic. On the other extreme, there may be some regions where the old feudalistic or colonial traditions may be holding ground. This difference may persist notwithstanding the prevalence of a uniform political and administrative system throughout. We have already noted that the personnel system itself is heterogeneous in terms of the social background of its numerous sub groups. Thus the interaction between the personnel system which has been devised for the country as a whole and the environment which differs from place to place is not the same (Basu, 1985).

In urban metropolitan centres the civil service sub group is not placed at the top of the socio-economic system and is almost indistinguishable from the general population. It is the political, industrial or commercial groups which occupy the top position. If we move from this highly urbanised environment to the general environmental context, i.e. to small towns, etc. (Type B) we find the personnel structure up to particular level may have a representative cross-section of the community except for the lowest sub groups.

Other barriers to decision making process: (i) Perceptual Blocks: This exists when one is unable to clearly perceive a problem or the information needed to solve it effectively. They include: (a) seeing only what one expects to see; (b) Stereotyping; (c) Not recognising problems; (d) Not seeing the problem in perspective; and (e) Mistaking cause and effect.

(ii) Emotional Blocks: Emotional blocks exist when one perceive a threat to one’s emotional needs. These include: (a) Fear of making mistakes; (b) Impatience; (c) Avoiding anxiety; (d) Fear of taking risks; (e) Need for order; and (f) lack of challenge.

(iii) Intellectual Blocks: Intellectual blocks exist when one does not have necessary thinking skills to find successful solutions or is unable to use them effectively. They include: (a) lack of knowledge or skill in the problem solving process; (b) lack of creative thinking; (c) inflexible thinking; (d) not being methodical; (e) lack of knowledge or skill in using the “language” of the problem; and (f) using inadequate information.

(iv) Expressive Blocks: Expressive blocks arise when one is unable to communicate in the way required to produce an effective solution. They include: (a) using the wrong language; (b) unfamiliarity with a particular application of a language; (c) a passive management style; and (d) a dominant management style.

(v) Environmental Blocks: Environmental blocks are caused by external obstacles in the social or psychological environment, which prevents one from solving a problem effectively. Environmental blocks, which exist when the social or physical environment hinders our problem solving, include: (i) management style; (ii) distractions; (iii) physical discomfort; (iv) lack of support; (v) stress; (vi) lack of communication; (vii) monotonous work; and (viii) Expectations of others.

(vi) Cultural Blocks: Cultural blocks result from our conditioning to accept what is expected or normal in a given situation. Cultural blocks exist when our problem solving is hindered by accepting that some things are good or right and are done, while others are bad or wrong and are not done. So that we become bound by custom. They include: (i) unquestioning acceptance of the status quo; (ii) dislike of change; (iii) Fantasy and humour are not productive; (iv) Feelings, intuition and subjective judgements are unreliable; (v) over-emphasis on competition or cooperation; and (vi) taboos.

Decision making, however, is not a matter of mere formal system. It is also a matter of attitude of people who work in the system. If they are motivated by will to achieve, desire to deliver the goods, to show results, if they have a sense of urgency, a sense of function and commitment, then they will look at everything positively and try to make decisions rather than delay them. If on the other hand, they are lazy, sluggish and indolent, if they only wish to play safe, to shirk responsibility and pass on the buck to others, then they will make references which are not needed which results in delay and loss of public interest (Dubhashi- 1976).

In the workforce today, organisations are now structured in a way that almost everyone has some level of decision making ability. Whether the decisions are big or small, they have a direct impact on how successful, efficient and effective individuals are on the job. As a result, it is becoming more and more important for employees to focus on and improve their decision making abilities.

This may seem as simple as learning from our mistakes, but it really starts at a much deeper level. Making better decisions starts with understanding one’s own Emotional Quotient (EQ).While it is often misunderstood as Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient is different because instead of measuring one's general intelligence, it measures one's emotional intelligence. Emotional Quotient is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity

Social Intelligence Quotient (SQ) The social intelligence quotient or SQ is a statistical abstraction similar to the ‘standard score’ approach used in IQ tests with a mean of 100. Unlike the standard IQ test, it is not a fixed model. It leans more to Jean Piaget’s theory that intelligence is not a fixed attribute but a complex hierarchy of information-processing skills underlying an adaptive equilibrium between the individual and the environment. Therefore, an individual can change their SQ by altering their attitudes and behaviour in response to their complex social environment

Differences from Intelligence Professor Nicholas Humphrey points to a difference between intelligence and social intelligence. Some autistic children are extremely intelligent because they are very good at observing and memorising information, but they have low social intelligence. Similarly, chimpanzees are very adept at observation and memorisation, sometimes better than humans, but are inept at handling interpersonal relationships. What they lack is a theory of other people’s minds. Both Nicholas Humphrey and Ross Honeywell believe that it is social intelligence, or the richness of our qualitative life, rather than our quantitative intelligence, that makes humans what they are; for example what it is like to be a human being living at the centre of the conscious present, surrounded by smells and tastes and feels and the sense of being an extraordinary metaphysical entity with properties which hardly seem to belong to the physical world. This is social intelligence.

Let us now examine how the processes of training, human resource development or capacity building or improvements are made to overcome these shortcomings discussed above. The main aim of training is to develop skills, i.e. professional skills, behavioural skills and conceptual skills. Training helps the entrants by inculcating occupational skill and knowledge, making him familiar with the objective of the department to which he belongs. The process of training adjusts the employee to his new environment. Training makes up for any deficiency of the recruits. It helps the employees to keep themselves aware of the latest development.

The influence of training in overcoming the impediment caused by the social, economic and cultural background of the officers is of great relevance. For this purpose the elite group of officers in Himachal Pradesh has been taken as a sample, interviewed and efforts have been made to analyse their behaviour and decision making skills in different administrative and social environment.
There are a total of 103 officers out of whom 88 (85%) are males and 15(15%) are females. There are three(2.9%) Muslim (male) officers. The number of Scheduled Caste Officers is nine and the number of ST Officers is 11, respectively. Out of the 103 officers there are 12 Ph.Ds, five M.Tech.s, three L.L.M.s, 11 M.B.A.s, 34 M.A.s, eight M.Sc.s, one M.Com, one M.B.B.S, 18 B.E.s, 20 L.L.B.s, and rest are graduates. It revealed that at present the officers of IAS have to undergo five phases of compulsory training. After undergoing training at the Academy at Mussoorie, they are sent for District Training at the state of allotment during the 1st phase of training. Thereafter they go back to the academy for the second phase of training. After completion of nine years of service they again undergo third phase of training at the Academy. The fourth phase of training is after the completion of 15 years of service and the 5th phase is after 25 years of service. However, besides these, the officers are sent for various trainings both within and outside the country

During the study it was revealed that most of the officers (85%) were of the view that training is necessary and it keeps them aware of the latest thinking and techniques of administration. They were of the view that it improves their thinking and professional skills as well. However, the majority (72%) were of the view that it had not been possible to use the various techniques in their day-to-day decision making process. The reason for the same were many and varied as the general set up was not conducive for application of the managerial decision making process. However, an interesting view was provided by one very senior officer who expressed his doubt about the efficacy of training in the decision making process. He was of the view that though in the Academy and during service career the officers are exposed to various training courses, the subsequent use of these techniques are largely individual based depending on their qualifications, background, attitudes, etc. Another important fact revealed was that the relatively junior officers were more interested in training compared to their senior colleagues. However, there was a majority (65%) feeling that the existing training is more oriented towards professional skill development and conceptual development as compared to the behavioural development aspect. There is no conscious effort to make the personnel system more homogeneous. It was reported that it is automatically developed by becoming a member of the common service, same cadre, and postings in different areas and by common training, etc. There are not many exposures to the cultures, norms, mores values and to the exposures to the background of other religious/ethnic groups. It is well to bear in mind that the ultimate success of training rests upon a wise recruitment policy, for training cannot rectify the original error. Nor can training endow its recipient with the flair for administration, which is something inborn. This flair may be stipulated, but it cannot be artificially acquired.

Relationship between Civil Servants and Politicians The study conducted by Kothari and Roy (1969), though dated, is relevant even now and furnishes some penetrating insights into the existing relationships between politicians and the administrators at the district level. Even though the administrators would like to use their better judgements to meet the demand of the local situations, they have a propensity to give precedence to the bureaucratic rules, regulation and procedures. They try to preserve the bureaucratic autonomy and hierarchy from the pressures of the political leaders. They do seek support of the political leaders and try to establish good relations with them but their effort in this direction is much less than that of political leaders. Administrators do not perceive it as their role to modify the policy decisions on the advice of the political leaders, nor do they allow the different socio-economic interests to influence bureaucratic decisions. The adverse evaluation of each other by the political leaders and the administrators appears to arise from the insufficient understanding and appreciation of each other’s role.

We have discussed the various psychological and sociological factors/ barriers that influence the attitudes, behaviour and other aspects of the personnel system. Similarly, the knowledge, skill, political and socioeconomic system of the prevailing environment also have a great impact on the decision making process. The politico-administrative culture has a great role in influencing the decision making process. The administrative environment in this country is not uniform. The society is also heterogeneous consisting of various linguistic, religious and ethnic groups each having their own ethos, norms, mores and values which influences the public values in their own way. The diverse political parties have their own agenda and aspirations and influence the decision-making process to suit their own goals. The personnel sub groups drawn from the society also bring with them their traditions, attitudes and aspirations. Though efforts are made to nurture them to form a homogeneous group, still the internalised behaviour pattern and the nature do continue. Besides these the psychological factors also play a great role on the individual behaviour which affects the decision making process. The public values, citizen administration relationships, administrator - political relationship influences the decision making process. Though there are various models for improving the services and the decision making process, the existing culture, aspirations of the public, public values, internalised behaviour pattern of the bureaucracy, politicoadministrative relationship are of prime importance in the decision making process. The more efficient and effective use of the existing personnel system, wise recruitment policy, clearing up of relationship between the political appointees and the professional civil servants and improving their capacity building is of crucial importance.


Courtesy: http://www.iipa.org.in/upload/full%20journal%20for%20mail.pdf

Saturday, February 6, 2016

CONCEPT OF RAJDHARMA IN ADI-KAVYA: RAMAYANA AND MAHABHARATA BY SHRI PRAKASH SINGH - IIPA

CONCEPT OF RAJDHARMA IN ADI-KAVYA: RAMAYANA AND MAHABHARATA

SHRI PRAKASH SINGH


Rajdharma as a concept constitutes the judicious duties of the King towards his subjects. The basic concern of the rajdharma is welfare of the people. The King and Kingship is associated with the concept and concern of the prajapalanah. In ancient Indian classics the spirit of rajdharma was to ensure peace, justice and prosperity to the people. Rajdharma is described as an essential element of state even in saptanga theory but it was expected from the King to perform his duties in such a righteous manner so that the state should be called as dharmarajya and King as the dharmrajah. Practice of Dharma and maintaining impartiality are the only means through which rajdharma may be practiced and dharmarajya or Ramrajya is achieved. The concept of rajdharma as enunciated in the past still holds value as orderly, peaceful and prosperous life for society and good ethical conduct in polity. Society has changed much even then the tenor or norms of political life require the basic principle of rajdharma for better governance of the society. Unethical, unprincipled politics is reality of the political life to regulate the affairs of the governance and justice. It is essential to observe the rajdharma.

STUDY OF political traditions and civilisational values reveal an unbroken continuity of Indian culture and civilisational practices. C. Rajgopalachari rightly philosophised in very lucid words: “There is no country which can be governed more easily than India. You have only to appeal to traditions. All the great old kings of the past, Janaka and Shri Rama are still alive and governing our hearts. I am not the Governor General, Shri Rama is”.1 Political tradition of India has been referred to as one of the most ancient and most extensive and varied one. The keynote of Indian political culture is its eternal values and Sanatana Dharma.

However, the beginning of India’s civilisation is traced so long back in time that often it appears to be lost in the twilight of history, yet retaining CONCEPT OF RAJDHARMA IN ADI-KAVYA / 133 PRAKASH SINGH much of its basic identity. Dr. Arnold Toynbee, after surveying the history of the entire mankind in his book; A Study of History observed, “it is already becoming clear that a chapter which has a western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not the end in the self-destruction of the human race..... At this supremely dangerous moment in human history, the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way, emperor Ashoka’s and Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non-violence and Sri Ramakrishna’s testimony to the harmony of religions. Here we have an attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family and, in the Atomic Age, this is the only alternative, to destroy ourselves.”2 Here Toynbee was actually echoing the idea placed before the mankind by India’s ancient Rishis – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - “The World is one Family3 .” This Indian way has come to us in unbroken continuity through Vedas, Upanishadas, Puranas, Smrities, Dharma-Sutras, Dharma-Sastras, NitiSastras, Epics, Arthasastras, Rishies, Maharishies and Brahmarishies from the ages. Moreover, India’s culture is primarily concerned with spiritual development and is of special significance in our age which is marked by the materialistic civilisation. In the words of Sri Aurobindo: “India of the ages is not dead, nor has she spoken her last creative word, She lives and has still something to do for herself and the human race”.

There are a number of authoritative treatises on ancient Indian culture, civilisation and heritage. The literature is quite voluminous and is extensively used. However, the time has come to outline the foundations of classical Indian philosophical and political essence. The aim of this article is to explore the underlying essence of rajdharma in popular traditional treatise or often referred to as Adi-Kavya: Ramayana and Mahabharata with a view to set an inextricable linkage between the past and present.

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two great epics are replete with sound political and economic theories. Today’s most resonating term 'good governance’ and its veracities had sufficient traces in these two texts in varied forms. Both the epics deal with the deeds of kings and heroes, descriptions of wars and practical philosophy. “The epics alone are a good answer to those tall-talkers, pseudo-intellectuals and pseudo-secularists who make some sweeping and negational statements that the Indian political theory has not so far been constructed even in rudimentary form”.5 In fact, both the great epics are of perennial interest for understanding, ancient Indian social and political life and thought”.

The Ramayana, which is the earlier of the two epics, contains references to principles of good governance, diplomacy, war and peace. It contains prescriptions regarding the manner in which the king should consult his ministers, learned men, and the chief officer of the army in formulating the policies of the state on various issues and matters.7 The Ramayana of Maharishi Valmiki gives multi-sided picture of a perfect life. Valmiki’s main theme is inner perfection, virtuous actions, overcoming evils and transforming the evildoers. In this epic, stress is laid everywhere on the importance of moral values.

 Notwithstanding the Ramayana, a sacred text teaching righteousness, is also regarded as Dharma-Shastra. Besides, it expounds the principles of eternal law and presents the ideals of good conduct, which is one of the bases of Dharma. The Ramayana of Valmiki is a text of ethics which deals with polity, administration, diplomacy, war and other statecraft related issues, which fall within the domain of politics, justice and governance. The Ramayana has perennial influence on the minds and attitudes of men and women in India down the centuries. Even today the teachings of Ramayana as moral values obedience, simple living, high thinking, sacrifices, devotion, dedication, commitment, charity and humanity, etc. are highly significant in changing modern societies. Being a society having religious bent, these texts bear great importance for its social as well as political life. Ramrajya/ Dharmrajya, contrary to its meaning often misconstrued, is equivalent to present day's well-ordered political society, good governance, su-rajya and swarajya as its driving principles. However, this appears to be still a distinct dream. It is pertinent to argue that Ramrajya is not associated with any kind of worship method, but it advocates ethical governance with principles of morality, justice to all, peace, prosperity and Lok-kalyana (welfare). The benefits of good government and democracy are exemplified in the RamaRajya. According to Mahatma Gandhi, Ram-Rajya means a return of the ultimate Indian values of Dharma, upheld since time immemorial. The pictures drawn in the Ramayana, of happiness, harmony and understanding in domestic and social spheres are ideal. It provides detailed guidelines for rulers, for statesmen, for policy-makers and for the persons belonging to the four stages (Ashramas) of life.

During the Gupta period (320 A.D.—413 A.D.), Rama was considered as a great king of the past also as God. Harivansa, a Sanskrit classic of 2nd and 3rd A.D., held the reign of Rama as the most righteous time on earth. Vayupurana, 5th century A.D., says that there was all-round prosperity, peace and dharma at the time of Rama and Ramayana. In Ramayanamanjari, Kashmiri Poet Kshemendra described that during Rama’s time the whole earth became like heaven and all the people performed well their proper duties, following strictly the path of Dharma. Ramacharitamansa written in 16th Century by Tulsidasa has been extremely popular and it comprises some of the most poetic verses, deeply embedded in the cultural realm of the Indian society.

There is no language in India in which the Ramayana is not translated. Kamban Ramayana in Tamil 9th and 10l Century A.D., Ranganath Ramayana, 12th Century A.D., Telugu, Madhya Kandali’s Ramayana in Assamia 14th Century A.D., Jagmohan Ramayana, Bala Ramadasa Ramayana in Oriya in 15th Century A.D. are the forms of Ramayana in different languages. All these texts have profound impact on the minds of men and women in India. Not only in India, the Ramayana has left undying influence in the countries abroad. In Java the entire story of Ramayana was carved on stone. Such deep influence is also found in Cambodia, South Annam and Malaya. The Rama tradition is very much alive in these countries.

The Ramayana believes in the divine origin of the King, but does not concede that a king can do whatever he likes; he has to follow the dictates of dharma. His powers are limited. He can be deposed, disobeyed or killed if he does not follow the dharma. In Ramayana, “Rajnam manusam prahardevatav samato bhanf 9 ” it is clearly narrated that blemishes kill a king who does not protect his people. In Balkanda of Valmiki Ramayana we learn from the epic that a king who went astray from the path of Dharma could be openly accused, scolded, imprisoned, banished or even killed. In Uttarakanda “Ramasya Dushkartam10” the Brahmana! whose son died young, accused Rama openly of having done some unrighteous deed.

The sages of Dandakarnya spoke to Rama of not being provided protection even after extracting 1/6 part of earning of the subjects in the form of Bali (Tax). In Ayodhyakanda the younger brother of King Rama, Shatrughana proclaimed that a King who took the unrighteous path should be imprisoned after considering his case on merit. The king in the epic has been addressed as Nardeva, Dharmapala, Lokpala.11 The Ramayana allots a very high place to personal righteousness and conduct of the king and his men. The State is regarded in the epic Ramayana as an essentially beneficial institution for the efficient protection of human life and for the better realisation of the higher ideals. The duties of the people described in Ramayana are to obey the king who rightly performs his dharma. According to Ramayana the king first took upon himself the duty to provide complete protection to all the people from all sorts of fear (bhaya) and that the people agreed to pay him one sixth of their earnings and share with him the merit of their good deeds allowing one fourth of it for the King. Though the king was the fountain-head of all the activities of the state, the Ramayana does not conceive of him as an autocrat.

The epic Ramayana tells us very little about the life and personality of Valmiki, but he has been referred in the Dronaparva and in the Shantiparva of Mahabharata. There can be no doubt that the Mahabharata is acquainted with the Valmiki of the Ramayana. The Adi-Kavya Ramayana of Valmiki essentially differs from the Mahabharata of Vyasa in many respects. The 136 / INDIAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 136 / VOL. LXI, NO. 1, JANUARY-MARCH 2015 Ramayana of Valmiki (24000 slokas) is much shorther than the Mahabharata of one lakh slokas.

 Like the Ramayana, the Mahabharata also has been the source of spiritual strength to the people of India. The authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to Vedvyasa. According to Vedvyasa (200 B.C. -200 A.D.) the epic is intended to be a treatise on life itself, including Dharma and ethics, polity and government, philosophy and the pursuit of salvations. In the Mahabharata among all the parva, Shantiparva is more relevant to our present study because this parva deals with the duties of the king and the obligations of the subject, which is known as Raj dharma. It provides a theory of state which is remarkable for the age as it deals with such fundamental questions as the importance of the state and science of politics, the origin of state, the functions of the government, welfare state, obligation, etc. This section of the Mahabharata contains the most profound body of political ideas in our ancient literature. For example, we can refer these texts (slokas) from Shantiparva

 Sarve Dharma rajyadharmpradhanah, sarve varnah palyamana bhavanti \ Sarvstayago rajdharmeshu rajasyatyagandharmechaurgr ayapuranam \\

The king is vested with the authority and power of governance, the true sovereignty belongs to dharma, not to King. The Mahabharata states it again and again that in all the acts of the governance, the goal of the king, or the state is the protection of the people. Protection supports the world, protected people prosper, prospering they endow the king in turn.

The text (sloka) says: Dharmo Yat raja rakshati prajah Bhutanam hiyatha dharmo rakshanamparma daya13\\

In other words, protecting of all living beings with kindness towards them is the highest Dharma. In Shantiparva, Bhishma said to Yudhishtira, “He is the best of kings in whose dominations men live fearlessly like sons in the house of their sire”. If the king did not exercise the duty of protection, the strong would forcibly appropriate the possessions of the weak, and if the latter refused to surrender them with ease, their very lives would be taken. Wives, sons, food and other kinds of property would not then exist.

The text (sloka) says: Putra eevpitugrahe vishyeyasya manvah Nirbhaya vicharishyanti sa raja rajasattam14 \\
In Shantiparva like other Indian classics danda is also described as a means rajdharma because the fear of punishment is the basis of governance; and the purpose of governance is to secure the people’s freedom from fear.

The text (sloka) says:  Dandah shasti prajah, sarva danda evami rakshati \ Dandah sapteshu jagarti dandam dharm vidurvdha I5||
Accroding to Yudhisthir, rajadharmas are the refuse of all creatures; and not only the threefold end of life, but salvation itself depends upon them.16 The Mahabharata contrary to the Arthasastra postulations, categorically declares the fulfillment of righteousness to be bounden duty of the king.17 Dharma is the fundamental principle of human conduct. The King upholding dharma is the very epitome of ethical conduct. The creatures are grounded in the King. The King who rightly upholds dharma is indeed a King.

The text (sloka) says: Dharme tishthanti bhutani dharmo raajani tishthanti \ Tarn raja sadhuyah shasti sa raja prithvipatiah18 \\
It is clearly stated in Shantiparva “Dharme vardhanti vardhanti sarvbhutani sarvada”.

 In reference to it we can say that the royal power should obtain power through dharma because it nourishes and enhances. The prosperity that comes through dharma neither decreases nor dies; all living beings have dharma as the foundation of their existence, and dharma exists over and above the King. Only he remains the King, who lives and governs in accordance with dharma. When dharma prospers, all living beings prosper. Scores of references can be cited from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to establish the practices of rajdharma at the time of Rama and Krishna.

Rajdharma as explained above suggests that it contains some universal principles of governance. It means a body of principles such as providing security and safety to the its subjects displacing the law of jungle (matsyanyaya) by equitable law and justice in society. Rajdharma is not limited to the safety and security alone rather it is extended to secure material prosperity and peace to the people as text (sloka) says that praja kite hetang rajyah, praja sukhe sukhah rajyah. In other words, happiness of the king lies in the happiness his people and their welfare lies in his welfare. This reflects the ideals of rajdharma.

Both the texts,the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, provide a theory of the state which is remarkable for this age. It deals with every fundamental question as the importance of dharma, importance of governance and art of politics. Both the texts are focused on welfare of the people and clearly define the obligations of the king towards his subjects. It is important to recognise a new conception of rajdharma which is required for present day politics where moral crisis is writ on every facet of our social and political life. In this context an honest evaluation of Indian classics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata can be more meaningful.

Courtesy : http://www.iipa.org.in/upload/full%20journal%20for%20mail.pdf