[Answered] “With democratic governance slipping into ineffectual log-jams, India needs to strengthen institutions between the public and the government .” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Need and various measures to strengthen institutions between government and public.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Governance institutions in India must work efficiently for India to succeed, as the strength of institutions makes or breaks a nation. While several developed countries have embarked on the path of governance reform to provide their citizens low-cost, high-quality public services by putting citizens at the centre of governance, India is yet to take concrete steps in this direction.

Need to strengthen institutions between government and public:

  1. As the government institutions are the vehicles for public service delivery, they need to be robust in order to deliver the services effectively. The capacities of institutions to deliver services efficiently and effectively have eroded over a period of time and need an overhaul.
  2. The considerable reduction in the efficiency of public service delivery lead to wastage of public funds. Thus there is need for re-structuring of public service delivery organisations.
  3. In addition structural rigidities in the system and the lack of accountability has led to low levels of motivation on the part of employees working in public service organizations.
  4. The problem of corruption is prevalent in governance institutions which is leading to the poor governance.
  5. As a result of inefficiencies, citizens do not have access to even basic services and organisations that provide such services with some degree of effectiveness are showcased as best practices.
  6. Further lack of accountability in the public service organisations to deliver services effectively has led into inefficiencies. Also public servants feel tied down by rules which constrain their freedom to act innovatively and deliver services desired by people. There is clearly a mismatch between accountability systems, organisational capacity and the needs of the people.
  7. This mismatch between accountability systems and the needs of the people is compounded by the lack of effective mechanisms for the expression of the citizens’ voice.

How to strengthen governance institutions?

  1. The role of these institutions and their objectives should be clearly defined and must be reflected in citizen charter.
  2. These institutions must be made result orientated rather than output or input oriented. Incentives should be given on timely achievement of results.
  3. The role of policy formulation, it’s  implementation and regulation must be separated and delegated within these institution.
  4. Further a greater degree of autonomy to these public service organisations and their functionaries should be granted.
  5. Results based performance monitoring and evaluation systems should be established to gauge their performance.
  6. Effective decentralisation through devolution of functions, funds and functionaries to local governments is important.
  7. Accountability in governance should be improved through measures like performance auditing and social auditing.

Since public service organizations in India have not kept pace with changes in management practices and processes in other countries, the quality of services provided by public organizations is often perceived to be far inferior. They need to be strengthened and reformed to deliver effective public services.

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