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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

UPSC aspirants to receive Rs 10,000 per month

In order to encourage people to appear for the prestigious UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) civil services examination, the Maharashtra government has decided to provide Rs 10,000 scholarship to the aspirants. This decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on January 12, which was chaired by Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis.
According to newspaper reports, the state government has six coaching centres in Mumbai, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nashik, where 600 students are going to be trained. The scholarship will be provided monthly. Rs 23.46 crore will be spent by the government for this initiative, which includes cost of training at reputed institutes in Delhi. UPSC conducts several written examinations as well as interviews for selecting eligible and talented candidates at various posts.
The exam is conducted annually in three stages namely, preliminary, main and interview round to short list candidates. The scholarship will be given for all the three aforementioned stages. Every year, roughly 15,000 from the Maharashtra state take the exam but only 80 to100 students clear it. The cabinet meeting was held at Mantralaya and it was also decided that the ordinance for appointment of experts on Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) all over the state, should be re-introduced.
As per an official, this is being done as the legislation on this issue could not be passed in the winter session of state legislature in Nagpur, last month. The authorities also feel that this step will enhance the quantum of successful students from the state in these examinations.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How MPA Programs Can Help Build Town and Gowns: US Perspective

Courtesy : http://patimes.org/mpa-programs-build-town-gowns/
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.
By William Hatcher
November 10, 2015
Colleges and universities are key economic, social and political assets for communities. The relationship between communities and institutions of higher learning, what has been termed town and gown, is vital to local public administration. However, many communities struggle to build and maintain effective town-and-gown partnerships.
university-417845_640Previously, I have discussed the reasons why town-and-gown partnerships are difficult to sustain.Conflicts arising due to taxation issues, land-use decisions and traffic congestion are just a few reasons. In the area of economic development, local communities often do not partner with their colleges or universities, which in many areas are the largest employers. In a recent ICMA survey of local economic developers, a majority of communities reported having a college or university in their jurisdiction. However, only 25 percent of the communities claimed to have a partnership with an institution of higher learning. This shocking percentage needs to be changed for local governance.
Public administration should be concerned with fostering strong town and gowns because the partnerships have the potential to strengthen the local economy and administrative decisions. Members of the local college or university can offer their expertise to local economic and political decisions, which can mean policy will be based more on evidence. By helping communities make sound administrative decisions, town-and-gown relationships build local policy capacity. Given this, public administration as a field should help foster effective town-and-gown partnerships.
Master of public administration (MPA) programs are well-suited to take a leading role in helping cultivate town and gowns in our communities. They have expertise from their faculty and can also access students, who can be incorporated into meaningful service learning projects in the community.
MPA faculty can offer local communities a wealth of administrative expertise. First, faculty members can build local capacity and strengthen town-and-gown partnerships by conducting meaningful applied research for local communities.
Second, faculty members can construct beneficial service learning projects for their students to work with local partners. Past work on fostering town and gowns has discussed the effectiveness of meaningful service learning projects.Here are just a few examples of potential project areas:
  • Faculty and students can help communities construct effective local budgets by offering training seminars to officials and citizens.
  • Faculty and students can help communities construct performance measures and implement those strategies.
  • Faculty and students can help communities conduct comprehensive planning by coordinating public participation meetings that build a local vision for development. 
Finally, MPA faculty can serve as formal and informal advisors to local officials. By being “go to” advisors, MPA faculty can help build the reputation of their programs in the community, which in turn helps students obtain internships and employment.
In other words, MPA programs can help strengthen town-and-gown relationships by helping build local administrative capacity by linking their institutions with the organizations in the community, in particular local governments and nonprofits.
The literature on MPA programs shows this may be difficult. For instance, Wodicka, Swatz and Peaslee detailed the successes and challenges of partnering with local governments on service learning projects. Turnover in local government can affect service learning. When there are changes in leadership on both sides, it is difficult to maintain such partnerships.Nonprofits, at times, may be more willing to involve students in service learning projects.
Organizations outside the community can also help build local town-and-gown partnerships. In these cases, MPA programs can play a role by working with regional and national associations to promote town-and-gown relationships. For instance, the International Town & Gown Association (ITGA) has helped local governments realize the importance of collaborating with institutions of higher learning. Here are a few examples:
  • The City of Fairfax, Va., and George Mason University are working together to build a sustainable downtown.
  • The City of Greensboro, S.C., is working with its local colleges and universities to draft effective transportation policies.
  • Lastly, many communities and universities are partnering to address the problem of binge drinking on college campuses. 
The literature on public administration has paid little attention to the topic of town and gowns. Nevertheless, as discussed, there is a wealth of literature on how to build local administrative capacity. We need to use this knowledge to help our local communities and universities build closer ties.
By doing so, we help strengthen local capacity. We serve our students. We demonstrate our worth to not just our home institutions but also our local communities.

Author: William Hatcher, Ph.D. is an associate professor and director of the Master of Public Administration program at Georgia Regents University (soon to be renamed Augusta University). He can be reached atwihatcher@gru.edu.  (His opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent those of his employer.)

Courtesy : http://patimes.org/mpa-programs-build-town-gowns/

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How we helped women become agents of change for urban development in India

Article courtesy - How we helped women become agents of change for urban development in India - See more at: http://blogs.adb.org/blog/how-we-helped-women-become-agents-change-urban-development-india#sthash.cNRhJzNq.dpuf


By Prabhjot R. Khan on Fri, 16 October 2015
A female community leader in Bhopal, India.
A female community leader in Bhopal, India.
Sixty-year-old Iqbal Bano heaved a sigh of relief when her slum was finally upgraded after 30 years in the sprawling Indian city of Bhopal.

Iqbal is one of several women who decided to defy their traditional role as water and garbage collectors and became involved as community leaders in an ADB-supported urban development project covering four large cities (Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, and Jabalpurin) in Madhya Pradesh, one of the country’s poorest states.
The 10-year project rehabilitated and expanded the water supply systems, and improved wastewater collection and treatment systems so for instance women would have more time to perform tasks other than just fetching water. It also included a number of special features that helped mobilize women’s participation in the development and upgrading of their own communities:
  • We developed guides for mainstreaming gender in the project, including an overall gender mainstreaming strategy that was drafted in collaboration with the Water for Asian Cities Program of UN Habitat, a gender action plan to ensure responsiveness to women’s needs, and a gender field manual that spells out how to integrate gender in the Municipal Action Plan for Poverty Reduction.
  • Community mobilization focused on women with assistance from NGOs, and community group committees—73% of whose members are women—were trained in pro-poor governance and collecting baseline information for planning and preparation of project reports.
  • The project converged with other slum improvement platforms such as the Madhya Pradesh Urban Services for the Poor Program by giving priority to the slum areas it covered.
  • We secured a commitment from the municipal government to implement the gender action plan by mainstreaming gender across project initiatives and providing community organizers and sociologists with gender expertise.
Participating in the urban development project, we learned from the beneficiaries, helped women like Iqbal build their self-esteem and self-determination in the face of challenges from their husbands, and other men in their communities.

“Initially we faced a lot resistance from men, who told us to better stay at home,” recalled Nai Basti-Ranjhi, another community leader. “But we were determined because we were the ones facing the hardships in that we had to leave our small children every day without care and hence risk their lives to collect water.”

The efforts of the women—and collaborating men—paid off. Since women were the ones that really knew what the community needed and which solutions would work, project implementers were able to incorporate their feedback into the design, and soon water, sanitation practices and environmental conditions, as well as in hygiene practices at the household and community levels, all improved.

Better access to reliable and quality water services has significantly reduced the workloads of women, who now have more time to attend to other tasks. Safety and health risks stemming from practices such as bathing, washing clothes and defecating far away from home have also been reduced, if not eliminated.

Likewise, participation in the project transformed the role of women from just beneficiaries to becoming true agents of change to help increased understanding of gender issues in water and sanitation, and strengthened institutional capacity in ensuring that men and women could benefit equally from water and sanitation investments.
- See more at: http://blogs.adb.org/blog/how-we-helped-women-become-agents-change-urban-development-india#sthash.cNRhJzNq.dpuf

Saturday, September 26, 2015

CHILD BEGGING IN INDIA – CAUSES, CURRENT SITUATION AND SUGGESTED REFORMS

Poverty is not an accident. Like Slavery and Apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. ~ NELSON MANDELA

CHILD BEGGING IN INDIA – CAUSES, CURRENT SITUATION AND SUGGESTED REFORMS:
Children comprise 50% of the earth’s population currently. Extremely vulnerable children can be seen begging on the streets and this is a glaring reality in every corner of our country. Even Norway, which is considered as one of the richest countries in the world is not free of this evil business. Every country has laid down laws to tackle this issue but success has been minimal. Though our Constitution expresses concern for upbringing children in safe, secure and healthy manner through various provisions but on the ground, all of those are still a long shot looking at the current state of affairs. There are not many studies on child beggars in India, however, with the limited ones available, let us explore the reasons and possible solutions for this in detail:

CAUSES OF CHILD BEGGING:
1.       Abject Poverty leads adults of families into begging and they also coerce their children into this business.
2.       Orphaned & abandoned children and the ones who run away from their native places due to poverty or any other reasons.
3.       Refugees.
4.       Religious sanctions provided by Indian culture & religion, where people believe feeding beggars outside religious places or the ones carrying a God’s picture in a steel bowl with oil is an act of good karma and wards off evil.
5.       Malnutrition.
6.       Juvenile Delinquency & Drug addiction.
7.       Manipulated and exploited by Adults.
8.       Organised Gangs/Begging mafia working who kidnap, buy & sell children (Human Trafficking) and maim them for this purpose.
9.       Psychological & Physical coercion.
10.   Easy money with no labour.
11.   Cross generation begging since no education prevails in many generations of beggars.
12.   No knowledge of their rights and rehabilitation provisions and afraid of their gang-lords.
13.   Nexus between organised gangs and law enforcers.
14.   Failure of Govt. schools to retain children.
15.   Failure of Governance to implement policies for such children effectively.

 INTERNATIONAL, CONSTITUTIONAL & LEGAL PROVISIONS (INDIA) FOR CHILDREN BEGGING:
 1924: The League of Nations adopted the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which established children’s rights as means for material, moral and spiritual development; special help when hungry, sick, disabled or orphaned; first call on relief when in distress; freedom from economic exploitation; and an upbringing that instills a sense of social responsibility.
1948: The UN General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which referred in article 25 to childhood as “entitled to special care and assistance.” In 1959 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which recognized rights such as freedom from discrimination and the right to a name and a nationality. It also specifically enshrined children’s rights to education, health, care and special protection. 1979 was declared as the International Year of the Child.
1989: The UN General Assembly unanimously approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which entered into force the following year.
1990: The World Summit for Children was held in New York. The leaders signed the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children as well as a Plan of Action for implementing the Declaration, setting goals to be achieved by the year 2000.
1999: The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour was adopted.
2000: The UN Millennium Development Goals incorporate specific targets related to children, including reducing sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
2002: The UN General Assembly held a Special Session on Children, meeting for the first time to specifically discuss children’s issues.

INDIAN CONSTITUTION:
Article 15 (3) enables the state to make special provisions for children.
Article 24 explicitly prohibits child labour and hazardous employment of children.
Article 39(f) further directs the state in its policy towards the well-being of the children.
Article 39 ( c ) provides that children of tender age should not be subject to abuse and should be given opportunities to develop in a healthy manner.
Article 45 makes provision for free and compulsory education for children.
Article 47 states that it is the duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living and to improve public health. The courts in India have stated that a child cannot be treated as an inanimate object or like a property by the parents.
Exposure and abandonment of children by parents or others is a crime under section 317 of IPC. Kidnapping is a crime under sections 360, 361, 384, 363, 363 A (kidnapping for begging), 366, 367, 369 of IPC.
There are certain crimes against children which are punishable under special and local laws such as immoral traffic prevention act. The child labour act banned child labour in hotels, restaurants and as domestic servants. The Government of India passed the Children Act 1960 to introduce uniformity and to establish separate child welfare boards to handle cases relating to neglected children.
In 1974 the government adopted a National Policy for Children. The Indian legislature has enacted several legislations to improve and protect lives of children. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 and its amendment in 2006, and Right to Education Act 2009 are significant in this regard.
Bombay Prevention of Begging Act in 1959 made begging a crime, and extended to other States including Delhi.

CURRENT SITUATION IN INDIA:
In India, by official statistics, roughly 60000 children (the real number is estimated to be much higher) disappear every year and an estimated 300000 child beggars in India. Even some people of the medical fraternity are also involved with the mafia gangs to help maim the children for a huge sum. In spite of a number of policies and laws set up for these purposes of helping such children, the govt. has been a big failure in curbing this due to lack of political will.  Apart from that, the unholy nexus between the begging gangs/mafia and the law enforcers is a big impediment in removing this social evil. Also, there is no coordination at all between the policy makers, bureaucrats and law enforcers as well as civil society and the lack of public awareness in this matter has led to an even more deteriorated situation than before.

REFORMS NEEDED:
· Compulsory schooling for all children which has already been laid down in Law via the RTE Act but the implementation and awareness needs to be spruced up in a major way and also the corruption involved in it need to be checked by a stringent body/mechanism in place.
· Sympathetic teachers and child friendly environment in schools because govt. & MCD schools lack these and that is the reason that the children dropout or abandon studies completely for life. A routine report and regular inspections/meetings need to be carried out for this purpose.
· No alms drive to educate the public.
· Adult guardians as well as those who criminally (mafia/gangs/traffickers) coerce children in to this trade need to be caught upon information gathered, and punished to make an example of to the others in this dirty business.
· Strict and speedy sentences meted out to the criminals as a punishment for kidnapping and maiming of children.
· Welfare policies for child beggars and their families such as monetary help, health and residence etc. 
· Good and more number of orphanage/ shelter homes for children without close relatives and advertise this everywhere for awareness.
· Railways should become more watchful as most of beggars are trafficked through this route and one can see a huge amount of beggars on the railway stations.
· Help to lower income/ poor including temporary emergency assistance and long term skill development for stable income and occupation.
· Increasing awareness of the general public of child helpline numbers and NGOs and Govt. Homes and Laws to help such children.
· Providing an incentive to parents along with counselling to send their wards to schools.

· In depth and a lot more studies and research into this issue to understand it in totality and issues with current schemes & policies. Increased coordination between the civil society, policy makers and implementers/law enforcers to bring their experience and authority to the table and work out a detailed and holistic plan to tackle this menace and eradicate it completely.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A MUST BUY READ : PUBLIC POLICY - PERSPECTIVES & CHOICES - 5th EDITION

Public Policy: Perspectives and Choices, 5th edition

Charles L. Cochran and Eloise F. Malone


      Click here to read this book's introduction.  
"A serious-minded assessment that does not shy from hot political issues ... highly recommended."—Library Bookwatch

"Offers an excellent mix of policymaking theory and policy case studies, with a solid understanding of the US policy process. Few other textbooks provide such a mix."—Frank C. Thames, Texas Tech University

https://www.rienner.com/title/Public_Policy_Perspectives_and_Choices_5th_edition

DESCRIPTION

Drones. "Obamacare." Immigration. The economy. Gun control. Topics in the news on a daily basis, all the subject of heated policy debates. This new edition of Public Policy: Perspectives and Choices—thoroughly revised to reflect a half-decade of significant changes in the policy environment—is designed to give students the tools that they need to analyze and assess the nation’s public policies for years to come.

The authors combine a clear explanation of the basic concepts and methods of the policymaking process with a keen focus on how values influence policy choices. They then apply this foundation to a range of policy areas.

The fully updated text:
• Presents complicated ideas in an accessible way
• Engages with controversies, bringing the study of public policy alive
• Draws on a wealth of “real world” examples
• Provides balanced consideration of liberal and conservative policy positions
• Emphasizes the relationship between individual and national interests

The result is an ideal combination of theory and practice for effectively teaching public policy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles L. Cochran and Eloise F. Malone are professors of political science at the US Naval Academy.

CONTENTS


  • Why Study Public Policy.
  • Tools for Policy Analysis.
  • Polarized Politics: The Policy Context.
  • Political Economy: The Basis of Public Policy.
  • Funding Public Policy: From Theory to Practice.
  • The Politics and Economics of Inequality.
  • Education: A Troubled Federal-State Relationship.
  • Criminal Justice: Responding to Evolving Concerns.
  • Health Care: Diagnosing a Chronic Problem.
  • Housing: Public Policy and the "American Dream."
  • The Environment: Issues on a Global Scale.
  • Rethinking National Security Policy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Public Administration in India as a mechanism for social change

Article Courtesy: http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/Public-Administration-in-India-as-a-mechanism-for-social-change-5309.asp#.Va6gmPmqqko


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

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

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

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

Public Administration- The Integral and Managerial Views of Administration

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

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

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

Governance vs. government

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

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

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

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

Public Administration in India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges

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

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

Administration as a mechanism for social change

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

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

Social Change Defined

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

SOCIAL CHANGE-

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

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

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

Public administration is a great stabilizing force in society. Governments often change, but administration seldom experiences violent changes. It provides an element of continuity between the old and the new orders. Public administration is not only a preserver of the civilized life as we know it today. But it is also the great instrument of social change and improvement.  
        
In India, the modern democracy has brought in the conception of the welfare state resulting in ever-increasing demands on public administration for more and more services. This inevitably means more of administration than before. In welfare state, the government has undertaken stupendous task of leveling down the economic inequalities, building up a socialist pattern of society free from poverty and starvation, spreading education among all, abolishing untouchability, securing of equality of status, rights and opportunities for women and effecting as all round economic and social development. The burden of carrying out these tremendous social changes in a planned and orderly way rests upon the public administration of the country. If public fails in these tasks, the dreadful alternative is violent revolution.

E-Governance-

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

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

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

Right to Information

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

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

Concluding remarks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Public Adminsitration in Theory and Practice, M. P. Sharma, B. L. Sadana, Harpreet Kaur, Kitab Mahal, 47th Edn. 2011
[2] http://grammarist.com/usage/governance/
[3] (http://blogs.ivarta.com/The-good-governance-where-does-India-stand/blog-90.htm, The good governance: Where does India stand?  By: K Parthasarathi)

- Mahendra Subhash Khairnar,
Asstt. Professor, Bharati Vidyapeeth’s Yashwantrao Chavan Law College, Karad


Article Courtesy: http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/Public-Administration-in-India-as-a-mechanism-for-social-change-5309.asp#.Va6gmPmqqko