Degree of Trust in Public Institutions across different castes

Synopsis:

The India Human Development Survey (IHDS) tries to ascertain the degree of trust that people across different castes hold in public institutions. A thorough analysis of the data calls for strengthening trust, especially among the vulnerable sections.

Background:
  • The IHDS categorizes public institutions into state government, judiciary, and police. Caste categories are divided into General, OBCs, SCs, and STs.
  • The survey asks a question on the degree of confidence that people have over public institutions. 
  • This confidence indicates their trust in them and people can choose from – a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, and hardly any confidence.
Findings of IHDS:
  • Household Level:
    • Judiciary is most trusted followed by state governments and police in public institutions.
  • Across different Castes:
    • Maximum general category people have low confidence in public institutions.
    • A high proportion of OBCs displays great confidence in public institutions. A similar level of confidence is shown by STs.
    • SCs display the highest level of confidence in public institutions. Only a small proportion choose the ‘hardly any confidence’ option.
Analysing the Findings:
  • Firstly, SCs display a very high degree of confidence in state governments. They largely depend on affirmative actions and state support. The government gives quotas to SCs, STs, and OBCs in education and public sector employment.
  • Secondly, STs, on the other hand, display slightly less confidence than SCs due to their isolationist nature. It has devoid them of various social security nets.
  • Thirdly, the trust over the judiciary is quite high in comparison to state governments across all the castes. Eg- three-fourths of STs reported a great deal of confidence. This is surprising given the judicial overload of cases and prolonged delays.
  • Fourthly, the overall confidence over police is also low with only 13-18% showing great confidence. Further SCs and STs have very little confidence in them due to the rampant corruption and discrimination against lower castes.
Need for strengthening Trust:
  1. Positive Correlation: There exists a positive relationship between trust and quality of governance or any other outcome.
    • For instance, greater trust results in better functioning of financial markets as the higher the trust, the higher is the credibility of debtors.
    • Similarly, greater trust manifests higher levels of cooperative relations between labour and management. It results in better functioning of labour markets. 
      • Eg. – Firms that have trade unions are better able to adapt to new management methods, and show better productivity.
  2. Declining Trust: The trust in institutions rose from 2005 to 2012. However, it is now showing a downward trend due to:
    • Non-inclusive policies of the government
    • Substandard judicial verdicts that compromise on autonomy and fairness
    • Also, due to,  action of Police that undermines rights of citizens

We need to transition to a policy environment that is inclusive and transparent. It is a challenging task that could be facilitated with growing awareness among the citizens.

Source: The Hindu


7 PM Editorial |Sustainable Economic Recovery by Instilling Confidence in Stakeholders|3rd August 2020

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