Saturday, September 26, 2015


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

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:

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.

 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.

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.

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.

· 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


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


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.


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


  • 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:

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

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.


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.


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 (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
[3] (, 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:

Thursday, June 18, 2015



Courtesy: Asian Development Blog- See more at:

By Vinod Thomas on Mon, 01 September 2014
Asian countries are increasingly turning to investing in dedicated development programs rather than relying entirely on economic growth to deliver better social outcomes. Evaluations of their actual impact have not always accompanied such decision making, but where they have, it has made a key difference.
Impact evaluations can  guide policy and investments based on evidence instead of them being driven mostly by special interests.
Evaluations and policy choices intersect in three respects. First, conducting assessments of policies or investments—for example, a social protection initiative—allows them to be expanded on the basis of the results obtained. Second, they bring out the crucial complementary factors that are necessary for development success—for example, road projects can improve inclusion if they are linked with programs addressing education and health care in the same area. Third, there are emerging avenues of action—for example in climate change, where past experience may not provide a sufficient guide for the future.
Careful evaluations in some social areas have given policymakers grounds to expand or wind down a program. For example, assessments of conditional cash transfers have provided a basis to expand these programs in Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, and elsewhere. 
An impact evaluation of the Philippines’ conditional cash transfer program, which started with 6,000 households in 2008, showed gains in reducing stunting in children, increases in school enrollment and attendance, and increased ante- and post-natal care for women—well worth the program costs. As a result, the program was massively expanded to cover more than 3 million households in 2013.
Impact evaluation initially focused on social programs, where information on beneficiaries, and others before and after a program, is relatively easier to obtain. But it is now expanding into other areas of policy, such as transport, energy, and the environment. All these areas present challenges for analysis, such as separating cause and effect, attribution, and assessing the validity of the outcomes across various locations, beneficiary groups, or policy instruments.
Evaluations have often also highlighted the importance of complementary factors. In many instances, while the intervention did produce results, the gains were limited and full impact was not achieved. Impact evaluations help identify the barriers to achieving better outcomes, or the inadequacies in program design.
One consistent theme has been the limits of poverty-oriented efforts to reach the very poor. An impact evaluation of microfinance in Pakistan and Viet Nam found that there were trade-offs between program impact and targeting of the poor. Pakistan’s program was able to target and include the poor, but the program had very little impact on their welfare. On the other hand, Viet Nam’s mostly non-poor clients enjoyed positive direct impact on income and enterprise employment.
A study on Bangladesh pointed to the gains from rural roads maintenance, but again the benefits missed the very poor. In these and other instances, the presence or investment in related areas such as education, health, and financial literacy proved critical. Rural electrification will not only light communities, but can transform lives if education and income opportunities are promoted.
Among emerging issues, biodiversity and the environment have received relatively little attention from impact evaluation. But where they have been considered, the results have been noteworthy.
An evaluation of forest protection worldwide found that establishing protected areas is effective in reducing the loss of forest cover. But the impact of protected regimes—
rates of deforestation before and after intervention—were sharper in areas closer to communities and economic activities than in settings far from economic activities. 
Studies in Latin America found a strong correlation between forest protection and indigenous land tenure and property rights. While protecting pristine forests is equally important, protection of land competing with other economic uses can have relatively high payoffs too.
The application of lessons to new challenges remains difficult as there are limits to what can be inferred from historic data. Using an impact evaluation based on past experience to guide future action presents a tough challenge when the problems are new. Climate change is a case in point where climate models yield various projections with varying probabilities.
These are some of the challenges of applying impact evaluation to guide policy. These and many others are to be discussed at an international conference on 5-6 September cosponsored by 3IE, the Government of the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank, that will review the growing body of evaluative work directed at policy.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Disaster Management Cycle

It is imperative to understand the Disaster Management Cycle in order to have a holistic & comprehensive policy for it.
Earlier Disaster Management was viewed as a short term relief endeavour that lasted till some time after a disaster,but now it has become both pre & post Disaster citing the benefits & lesser losses caused by preventing a disaster or mitigating it through proper policy. That saved expenditure can be then further used for development programmes & policies for the country.


1) Before the Disaster: To reduce the potential for human,material or environmental losses caused by hazards & to ensure that these losses are minimised when the disaster strikes.

2) During the Disaster: To ensure that the needs & provisions of victims are met to alleviate & minimise suffering.

3) After the disaster: To achieve rapid & durable recovery which does not reproduce the original vulnerable conditions.


1) The Disaster Event/Impact: The real time event of a hazard occurring and affecting the elements at risk.

2) Disaster Response: This entails restoring physical facilities rehabilitation of affected population, restoration of lost livelihoods & reconstruction efforts to restore the infrastructure lost or damaged. One can gauge flaws in the efforts pertaining to policy and planning with respect to location and type of infrastructure and social schemes to improve the social positioning of underprivileged.
Disaster losses can be mitigated to a large extent by effective response on the part of govt. & civil society.

3) Disaster Recovery: Recovery phase involves implementation of actions to promote sustainable redevelopment including reconstruction & rehabilitation following a disaster. It is a long term measure.

4) Development: Once the above is done then the development works begins once again, by development it is meant sustainable development.


1) Central Response ( Prime Minister, Cabinet Committees, Home Affairs & Agriculture Minister)

2) Administrative Response ( Operational requirements & provision of Central assistance as per existing policy)

3) Energising the local govt. to strengthen administrative preparedness for disaster response.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Disaster Management

The recent Uttarakhand & Kashmir floods and its uncontrollable aftermath have once again brought up the overarching importance of Disaster Management , understanding and predicting a hazard and taking preventive action for it as well as corrective and remedying action post a disaster.

Now, before proceeding further it is imperative for one to understand the fragile yet important relation between a Hazard & Disaster.

A) HAZARD: A potentially damaging physical event,phenomenon or human activity that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation. They can be natural or man made and single,sequential or combined in their origin and effects.

When a Hazard turns into reality it is termed as a Disaster. It proceeds by cause-effect due to endogenous (inherent) & exogenous (external) factors that combine to excite the phenomenon into a large scale destructive event. Disaster Management is an attempt to inquire into the process of a hazard turning to a disaster and identify the causes and rectify the same through public policy.

Under the chairmanship of J.C. Pant, a High Powered Committee was constituted in Aug '99 grouped disasters into the following five categories,based on generic consideration:

1) Water & Climate: Floods,cyclones,tornadoes,hailstorms,cloudbursts,heat/cold wave,snow avalanches,drought,sea erosion,thunder/lightning.

2) Geological: Landslides,mudflows,earthquakes,large fires,dam failures and bursts,mine fires.

3) Biological: Epidemics,pest attacks,cattle epidemics,food poisoning.

4) Chemical, Industrial & Nuclear: Chemical and Industrial disasters, nuclear disasters.

5) Accidental: Forest fires, urban fires, mine flooding, oil spills, major building collapse, serial bomb blasts, festival related disasters, electrical disasters and fires, air and road and rail accidents, boat capsizing, village fire.


Air Accidents
Ministry of Civil Aviation
Civil Strife
Ministry of Home Affairs
Major breakdown of any of the Essential Services posing widespread problem
Concerned Ministries
Chemical Disasters
Ministry Of Environment
Biological Disaster
Ministry of Health
Nuclear Accident inside/outside the country which poses health or other hazards to people of India.
Department of Atomic Energy

But there are still many that are missing like heat waves & migrant issues. Also it is being increasingly realized that many natural disasters are also due to man made causes, reason being policy disasters rather than as a result of nature's vagaries or designs of fate.

Experience of floods in India has proven that more deaths are caused due to epidemic outbreaks following vector proliferation in accumulated waters rather than the flood itself which proves the system failure.

The lack of timely decision making & action after droughts by the govt. leads to multiple deaths of farmers.

Earthquakes are majorly increased in today's times due to abuse of natural resources by man alongwith bad policy decisions.

Disasters also lead to major economic damage and diversion of financial resources to non plan expenditures instead of plan development expenditures.

1) Coastal states particularly on the East Coast & Gujarat are vulnerable to cyclones.

2) 4 crore hectare landmass is vulnerable to floods.

3) 68% of net sown area is prone to droughts.

4) 55% of total area is in seismic zones III - V, hence prone to earthquakes.

5) Sub-Himalayan sector & Western Ghats are prone to landslides.


1) Road/Traffic accidents
2) Nuclear, Chemical & Biological threats
3) International terrorism
4) Communal riots
6) Food insecurity, poverty, worsening health care,dirty water & sanitation, uncontrolled urbanisation & common disease.
7) Civil war & International wars

These are just a few to name, the list goes on. The few actions taken are that now Disaster Management has become a part of plan commitments thus getting it  more priority and more resource allocations. Retrofitting & Earthquake resistant structures et al are being undertaken too.

The agenda now according to the 10th Plan for disaster management is development of capacity at local levels through effective decentralisation, improvement in law and order administration, through modernisation & training, urban development with a perspective of disaster mitigation planning involving all stakeholders.


All this calls for a thorough vulnerability( threat) profiling of India to remedy the above.

Following steps are imperative for the vulnerability assessment and preparedness in high risk zones:

1) Identification of various hazard prone areas. Preparation of detailed vulnerability profiles, mapping food insecurity, aviation hazard, landslide hazard, etc.

2) Vulnerability & Risk assessment of buildings.

3) Developing disaster damage scenarios.

4) Developing technical guidelines for hazard resistant construction.

5) Upgrading of hazard resistance of existing housing stock by retrofitting.

6) Crafting techno-legal regime to be adopted for infrastructure development.


1) Global warming & Extreme climate: This leads to El Nino & La Nina having increased impacts leading to disasters. Entire water system is being disrupted by melting of Himalayan glaciers. A large number of deaths are caused due to heat and cold waves from northern and coastal states.

2) Agro Forestry: Large scale deforestation across the globe coupled with faulty management practices have resulted in all kinds of environmental degradations such as wind and water erosion, physical & chemical degradation of soil, water & biodiversity, global warming, floods,droughts & desertifications.

Agro forestry is the solution to all these issues.

Agro Forestry: Agroforestry or agro-sylviculture is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems. ( source - Wikipedia)

Lets summarise the benefits of Agro - Forestry:

a) Control of soil degradation
b) Control of desertification
c) Flood control
d) Drought Moderation
e) Reduction in groundwater pollution caused by high inputs of fertilisers
f) Increasing biodiversity in farming and watershed scale.
g) Increasing food security and reducing pressure on land
h) Checking deforestation and its impact on environment
i) Reducing pressure on forests though on farm supply of fuel wood,fodder and other forest products
j) Reduction in build up of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases
k) Disaster prevention,rehabilitation & reconstruction

3) Urban Risks: Rapid urbanisation is increasing at unprecedented levels. High density areas with poorly built and maintained infrastructure are subjected to natural hazards, environmental degradation,fires,flooding & earthquakes.


Development should never come at the cost of environment. We all have seen the effects of commercialisation & development activities in Uttarakhand & Delhi and other states. Therefore, what is required are proper eco-friendly and environment friendly development policies. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014


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

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

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

The solution to this issue is - ICT implementation.


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

2) Paucity of funds with the public bodies.

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

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

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

2) Communicate formally and informally

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

4) Acknowledge the unknowns

5) Surface rumours and Fill in the blanks

6) Practice what you preach

7) Acknowledge and build on what employees value

8) Re frame resistance

9) Employees resist coercion, not change

10) Empathise

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roles And Applications of ICT ( Information & Communication Technology)

Significance Of ICT in Governance:

1) Enhances the quality and delivery of Public services

2) Enhances the quality of citizen-government interface

3) Enables people's participation in governance, and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Management Information Systems: This topic has already been covered extensively in an earlier post of this Blog. Refer -

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

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