1. Government departments need to reinvent themselves with respect to their work culture. Do you agree? Will it have any effect on delivery of public services rendered by the departments.
An organization’s culture consists of the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that employees share and use on a daily basis in their work. There is an urgent need for government departments to reinvent with respect to the work culture to make governance more citizen centric and inclusive.
Government departments needs reinvention:
Existing culture of corruption
As usual approach despite change in governance model
Ongoing digitisation and shift towards e-governance.
No inter-department coordination
How to reinvent?
Old and Outdated rules and procedures needs to be changed.
Implementation of laws like citizen charter.
Red-tapism and excessive stress on paper work must be worked.
The revolution in the field of IT, can be galvanized effectively to solve major problems of governance such as speedy grievance redressal mechanism, one stop delivery of services, providing information and getting feedback from the citizens and civil society.
An attitudinal shift of the officers is required.
Effect on public service delivery:
With improved transparency, people’s participation will increase and overall corruption will decrease thereby improving efficiency in public service delivery.
Avoiding business as usual approach and adopting technology would help smoothen the whole process.
Citizen charter if implemented effectively will help citizen get their grievances redressed.
Thus the government departments need to reinvent the work culture to make it more proactive, people friendly , effective and providing quality services.
2. Corruption is a systemic issue that starts from the bottom of the government machinery and goes up till the peak. At all these levels, changes are required to usher in transparency and accountability. Elucidate.
India’s rank in the corruption perception index of Transparency International (79/176) and the rise of collusive corruption amongst all ranks as mentioned by II ARC report has led to the fears of institutionalisation of corruption.
CORRUPTION AT VARIOUS LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT MACHINERY:
In India corruption is mainly of two types at various levels
Coercive corruption at lower level of bureaucracy – citizen is forced to give bribes for availing services( eg: Ration card, water , power connections, pensions etc.-cut system in lower bureaucracy)
Collusive corruption at higher echelons- where both bribe giver and taker are benefitted (politician bureaucratic nexus, politico-capitalist nexus, judicial corruption etc. eg: Vyapam scam, 2G allocation scam, postings, transfers, appointments etc.
Any strategy to curb corruption needs to be multipronged, systemic and long lasting.
Electoral reforms like linking Aadhar to voter ID, state funding of elections, changes in election of CEC(by a broad based committee), changes in anti-defection, disqualification, swifter judicial process can curb criminalization and corruption in politics to some extent.
Robert Klitgaard presents an understanding of corruption in a simple yet powerful formula C=M+D–A, corruption equals monopoly plus discretion, minus accountability. Wherever these conditions exist, be it the public or private sector, corruption tends to happen the solution to corruption is self-evident in the formula. If we reduce monopolies, reduce discretion and increase accountability, corruption can come down dramatically.( eg: telephone sector, e- filing of IT, refunds to a/c will reduce human discretion, increasing competition)
Adoption of Singapore model as endorsed by World Bank- higher incentives to those in lower bureaucracy, establishment of a single service (capacity building institutions based on rule of law, independent, empowering CBI, CVC, ACB, CEC further)to fight corruption pan country, mass media vigil (independent objective media), strengthening grievance redressal and swift punishments to the guilty (curbing immunity) will instil a sense of responsibility and culture of transparency based on fear in the short run.
Adherence to Public code of conduct, internalising service ethos and a sense of Patriotism will create a culture of Public service and serve as an example to future officers. Align anti-corruption measures with market, behavioural, and social forces. Adopt Integrity standards across the Government machinery( persons and processes)
Use of ICT initiatives like e- procurement, online RTI, awareness campaigns along with swift service delivery with guaranteed outcomes along with simultaneous development of human capital (literacy, skills, from being a countrymen to a citizen) will help in re-engineering the governance process to a citizen centric one and helps in curbing corruption to a large extent in the longer run.
3. Examine the utility of IT tools to curb the wasteful utilisation of public funds.
Effective e-governance (utilizing information technology to deliver government services to citizens) is seen as a panacea to curb waste of public funds. Governance, commerce, and service delivery mechanisms need to be made transparent and foolproof to avoid any leakages. Use of technology and innovative models can be of great help.
A common database connected to multiple points of service can provide transparency and competition. Eliminating the monopoly of a designated service point can itself reduce corruption. Computerisation of land records is a long-standing example of the effective use of technology. Digitisation, a central database and the ability to get an authenticated printout of ownership from multiple points have together made the process easy and corruption-free.
Corruption in schemes like MGNREGA can be minimised by using the unique identity (Aadhaar) to transfer funds to the beneficiary and to match worker and recipient.
Aadhaar could be used in the food (PDS) and other subsidy schemes to ensure minimal misuse, as also in transitioning to cash transfer of subsidies. The use of Aadhaar and creation of publicly-accessible databases will ensure transparency and, along with independent social audits, can make corruption difficult.
Digitization of service deliveries like issuing a passport, driving license, gas connection, In service deliveries like issuing or re-issuing a passport, driving license, gas connection, birth certificate, and others, digitizing processes and systems will improve the exchange between government, service providers, and citizens availing the service. The Bhoomi online management, and delivery of land records in Karnataka need to be replicated across other services with rigor.
Going human-free,Reducing human contact, especially discretionary power, can reduce wasteful utilization of funds. Using digital formats for submission of forms and renewal documents, and online tracking of applications can curb petty corrupt practices.
Preventing waste in state procurements and recruitments, E–auctions and e–procurement platforms can help in moving towards cleaner procurement systems by controlling kickbacks for government departments. With their fair bidding systems and transparent structures, these systems do away with the collusion and graft that are characteristic of public procurement.
Collusive corruption, like crony capitalism, seems pervasive and is more difficult to contain, since the parties involved are both gainers. Transparency, RTI and protection to whistle-blowers are possible safeguards.
Systemic changes, with clear procedures and minimal discretion, will also help, as will technology-based e-procurement and e-auctions. We will need to use technology for efficiency and transparency.
However, since those involved in collusion are clever, tackling such corruption will not be easy. Integrity, ethics, professionalism and social sanctions are probably the ultimate solution. Till then, we need to turn to technology.
Technology too is no magic bullet, but can provide transparency, access and efficiency, and be transformational. It can be a strategic tool to prevent corruption; plugging the leak, rather than trying to continuously bail out water. It is high time that we brought technology centre-stage in the fight against corruption.
QR code abbreviated as Quick response code is a 2 dimensional matrix type barcode capable of transmitting and storing data in encrypted format which requires smartphone or machine to access it. It was first invented in Japan for automotive industry
Applications of QR code:
Industries: To track parts and machines especially in manufacturing industries.
Marketing: Campaigning, advertisement etc.
Tickets: Either in cinema theatre or expo’s or even for examinations. Online tickets can be raised and used.
Customer relationship: Can be used for direct contact with customer and getting feedback.
Information: Storage of information and accessing it in less space like digital visiting cards etc.
Payment system: Used for financial transaction like payment apps.
Internet: For internet browsing, accessing URLs, app downloads for phones etc.
Authentications: To grant access or permission to enter secure site or even physical places like parties, clubs etc.
QR codes have replaced Barcodes in many areas because of its ability to store large information in less space and also for its alpha numerical character. With increase in technology, related crimes have also increased so proper cyber security infrastructure is needed. GOI have also launched Bharat QR code for payment systems.
5. The Whistleblower’s Protection Act is in dire need of amendment. Do you agree? Substantiate.
Recently government tried to amend whistleblower’s protection act which is in dire need of changes. The act was passed and made into law in 2014 which aimed to bring in transparency and accountability.
Need for amendments:
Anonymity: There needs to be mechanism to receive complaints without identity of whistleblower.
Government employees: It doesn’t cover state government employees.
Private: It doesn’t cover private sector but in India there are many too big to fail companies whose functions affect economy.
Powers: Limited powers of vigilance commission.
Risk: There is threat and life risk to whistleblowers in majority of the cases like NHAI, Vyapam etc.
Monetary benefits: There are no monetary benefits like Income Tax which will help many issues to come out.
Victimization: It doesn’t define them and also punishment is missing.
False charges: Framing up of charges on whistleblowers itself.
Monetary: Benefits should be included.
Anonymity: Complaints should be received without identity of blower and in any form.
Powers: more power to CVC and including even state government and many too big to fail companies at least in beginning.
Hence amendments are needed but not the way government is bringing it up. More stringent amendments are need so that the real essence of the bill can be brought out like how it is in western countries.