Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN INDIA AS A MECHANISM FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN INDIA AS A MECHANISM FOR SOCIAL CHANGE:

By Mahendra Subhash Khairnar,

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

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

 

Introduction:



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



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



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



Public Administration- The Integral and Managerial Views of Administration



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



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



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



Governance vs. government



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



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



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



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



Public Administration in India



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



Challenges



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



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



Administration as a mechanism for social change



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



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



Social Change Defined



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



SOCIAL CHANGE-



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



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



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



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

       

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



E-Governance-



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



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



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



Right to Information



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



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



Concluding remarks



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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





Mahendra Subhash Khairnar,

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

Sunday, February 2, 2014

E - Governance - Concept & Significance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us discuss these.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 1, 2013

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


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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS:

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 18, 2013

Career Prospects After A Degree in Public Administration

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

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Policy Analysis - A Detailed Understanding

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

So, let us begin.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


PROCESS OF POLICY ANALYSIS:

1. Verify,define and detail the problem.

2. Establish Evaluation Criteria.

3. Identify alternative policies.

4. Evaluate alternative polices.

5. Display and distinguish among alternative policies.

6. Monitor the implemented policy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

Human Resource: Audit

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

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

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

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

DESIGNING INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR AN HR AUDIT:

The steps are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Human Resource Management: Discipline

DISCIPLINE:
Discipline in a more progressive,positive and inclusive sense refers to the state of employee self control,character,orderliness and effectiveness at work and overall smooth environment and coordination at work.
 In its negative aspect discipline implies punishment. However, satisfactory results cnannot be obtained if discipline is perceived only in terms of control and punishment.

Discipline may be corrective or pre-emptive.

PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE METHODS:
1. Oral reprimand
2. Written reprimand
3. Second written warning
4. Temporary suspension
5. Dismissal or Discharge

REQUIREMENTS OF EFFECTIVE DISCIPLINE:
1. Should be constructive viz. it should emphasise on work efficiency and not mere compliance of rules and regulations.
2. Should not be initiated unless there is imperative need for it and there are not other alternatives.
3. Not to be administered unthinkingly and specifics of each case to be taken into account completely.
4. All facts regarding a case to be collected for a proper appreciation of the same.
5. Employee should be given fair chance to explain his/her side of story and know the worker's perception and admission of mistake should be encouraged.
6. Emplyee should not be disciplined in the presence of his or her colleagues/subordinates.
7. Right timing of action is important.
8. Corrective measure should be adequately served in order to be effective.
9. Consistency in disciplinary action.
10. After disciplinary action is taken, the normal behaviour should be resumed towards the offening emplyees by other workers of the organisation.
11. Auditing of the disciplinary action should be done regularly to gauge and judge its efficacy.


REASONS OF INDISCIPLINE:
1. Non-cordial or manipulative and stressful working conditions,company policies or behaviour of co-workers/superiors.
2. Social,Economical,personal background and illiteract of the worker.
3, Corrupt practices being allowed to carry on in the organisation.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Human Resource Management: Capacity Building - Organisational and Human

CAPACITY BUILDING DEFINITION (UNDP):
  • Individual level - Community capacity-building on an individual level requires the development of conditions that allow individual participants to build and enhance existing knowledge and skills. It also calls for the establishment of conditions that will allow individuals to engage in the "process of learning and adapting to change."
  • Institutional level - Community capacity building on an institutional level should involve aiding pre-existing institutions in developing countries. It should not involve creating new institutions, rather modernizing existing institutions and supporting them in forming sound policies, organizational structures, and effective methods of management and revenue control. 
  • Societal level - Community capacity building at the societal level should support the establishment of a more "interactive public administration that learns equally from its actions and from feedback it receives from the population at large." Community capacity building must be used to develop public administrators that are responsive and accountable.

 OBJECTIVES OF CAPACITY BUILDING:
National AHEC Leadership Conference in 2003 declared the objectives of Capacity Building as follows:
1. Prioritising the areas for improvement
2. Developing specific outcomes to achieve along with strategies and tactics
3. Identifying resources required to achieve identified outcomes
4. Implementing
5. Evaluating what worked and what did not and what was learnt in the process
6. Beginning again including suitable modifications

SIGNIFICANCE OF CAPACITY BUILDING:
1. Optimum utilisation of resources through consistent application of Research and Development
2. Preparation of the organisation to face the future through assessment of prevailing logistics and the wherewithal of augmenting the same
3. Helping the organisation acquire competitive advantage in identified fields
4. Facilitating long term decisions in the organisation
5. Providing training and guidance to facilitate development of individual careers
6. Developing a database to measure and evaluate the current working capacity of the organisation


PROCESS OF CAPACITY BUILDING:
1. Preparing information material to promote the organisation's work
2. Developing and implementing job descriptions
3. Developing a formal organisational chart
4. Preparing and maintaining a core operating budget
5. Developing a routine for strategic planning and work plan management
6. Developing fund raising strategies and building a donor database
7. Developing a database to measure,trend and evaluate working activities

STEPS IN CAPACITY BUILDING:
a) Promoting overall Human Capacity Building:
1. Human capacity building within overall social and economic development strategy,recognising the critical importance of human capital by developing more integrated approaches to capacity building
2. Develop relevant programmes to enhance entrepreneurial and management skills,particularly among small and medium enterprises to meet the new demands from globalisation and new economy
3. Develop policies to provide needed incentives for business sector to participate in the development of human capacity building such as providing facilities and infrastructure ensuring that access is maintained for the development of e-commerce,etc.
4. Facilitate mutual recognition of professional qualifications in respective countries, which should be based on standard of achievement and outcomes that are mutually agreed between economies
5. Enhance industry-academic partnership between businesses as end users of the workforce as well as providers of financial resources and universities,educational institutions, and vocational training institutions as suppliers of workforces so that they produce an IT workforce that is readily available to high-tech businesses.
6. Establish mutual linkages between sectoral networks including business,education,training sectors and govt. to draw out synergy effect to the human capacity building
7. Encourage trade unions to develop and implement relevant training programmes and motivate and mobilise workers to undertake life long learning
8. Setting up life long education and learning society

STRATEGIES OF CAPACITY BUILDING:
The Agenda 21 of the UNDP Capacity 21 Trust Fund states he following strategies:
1. Participation of all stakeholders in programme development,implementation,monitoring and learning
2. Integration of economic,social and environmental priorities within national and local policies plans and programmes.
3. Information about sustainable development to help people make better decisions.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Human Resources Management - Employee Benefits

DEFINITION:
Employee benefits and  benefits in kind (also called fringe benefits, perquisites,perks,etc.) are various non-wage compensations provided to employees in addition to their normal wages or salaries.

It helps in keeping the employees contended,well balanced and physically,mentally,socially as well as at times spiritually happy as well, and all this is essential for success both on the organisational as well as individual level.

 BENEFITS OF EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PROGRAMS:
1. Efficiency in administration.
2. Commitment among employees.
3. Promotes productivity
4. Happy families
5. Harmonious relationships at the work place

EXAMPLES OF EMPLOYEE BENEFITS:
1. Legally Required Payments:-
a) Old age, survivors,disability and health insurance/social security
b) Workers compensation
c) Unemployment compensation

2. Contingent and Deferred Benefits:-
a) Pension plans
b) Group life Insurance
c) Group health insurance ( viz. Medical expense for hospitalization and surgical & Disability income for short term and long term)
d) Guaranteed annual wage
e) Prepaid legal plans
f) Military leave and pay
g) Jury duty and bereavement paid leave
h) Maternity leave
i) Child care leave
j) Sick leave
k) Dental benefits
l) Tuition aid benefits
m) Suggestion awards
n) Service awards
o) Severance pay

3. Payments for Time Not Worked:-
a) Vacations
b) Holidays
c) Voting pay allowances

4. Other benefits:-
 a) Travel allowances
b) Company cars and subsidies
c) Moving expenses
d) Uniform and tool expenses
e) Employee meal allowances
f) Discounts on employer's goods and services
g) Child care facilities


PURPOSE OF EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
1) identification and development of personal interest with the interest of the organisation.
2) Achieving integration in organisational functioning
3) Creating will and determination among members of the services for work improvement and innovation.
4) Mobilising the available manpower for productive and useful activities in the organisations
5) Keeping members of the organisation informed of latest developments in sphere of employee benefits
6) Organising informal clubs of youth,women, to serve as centers of discussion and expression of innovative ideas.
7) Providing an open forum for employees to discuss problems and find indigenous solutions which may be efficient and economical for the organisations.
8) Encourage the employee to adopt modern changes which can accelerate the efficiency of the organisation.
9) Arranging extra curricular activities t generate social awareness through publicity.