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SYNOPSIS [4th DECEMBER,2020] Day 47: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. The future depends on what we do in the present. Examine the relevance of this quote by Mahatma Gandhi in public life.
It expects students to explain quote given by Mahatma Gandhi by giving some examples. Show how it is relevant in today’s public life.
Public life is the aspects of social life which are happening in public, in the open, as opposed to more private social interaction within families, private clubs etc.
- The above quote by Mahatma Gandhi is very relevant in today’s situation in public life. Because decisions that we take today will have long-term effect on future generations.
- Saint Kabir has rightly said, ” Kal Kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab, pal me parlay hoyegi, bahuri karega kab” (we don’t know what the future holds for us, hence we must do the things now only). This couplet shows the importance of present and thus it is rightly said that what we do in present determines our future.
- Presently, people waste water and do not understand importance of saving water. Today, they do not undertake any activity like rooftop harvesting, drip irrigation etc. at a large scale, because of these actions in present time, the future of India as well as world seems bleak and that is scarcity.
- Unplanned and haphazard construction, encroachment of wetland etc. in present times will ultimately bring havocs in major cities around world. Picture of floods in Uttarakhand in June 2013, Mumbai Flood are still fresh in everybody’s minds.
- King Ashoka also propagated dhamma so that people can do good work in present, so that their future will be good and sustainable.
- Renewable energy subsidies, formation of International Solar Agency, electrical vehicles, afforestation funds etc. successful implementation at present times will ensure India achieve its nationally determined target and SDG’s, Paris Agreement in future.
One can never change its past but he can change future by working in present. So one should work hard for the global community wellbeing.
2. How does work culture impact organisational efficiency in governments? Illustrate.
As the directive here is illustrate it is necessary to support the arguments with examples. In the introduction in simple terms explain work culture. In the main body part explain the relation between work culture and organisational efficiency in governments. Support your arguments either with real life or hypothetical examples. Candidate can conclude by showing importance of work culture to improve organisational efficiency in brief.
While doing work, every organisation believes in specific ways of interaction, behaviour and functioning which is called as work culture of an organisation. For instance, in government organisations it is mandatory to address everyone in the higher levels of hierarchy as Sir whereas in software firms it is encouraged to call other persons by their name.
Work cultures impact on organisational efficiency:
- Work cultures impact on organisational efficiency is directly proportional. As good work culture contributes to better organisational efficiency, whereas bad work culture contributes to weak performance of organisational efficiency.
- Healthy work culture promotes transparency, innovation and discipline in an organisation. For instance, the kind of work culture followed through SAARTHI programme in Pune which facilitates better e-governance. It has increased the organisational efficiency of government.
- Debate, dissent and discussion are the important constituents of a healthy democracy. A good work culture promotes effective communication and helps in reducing conflicts among individuals/team during work. It thereby increases the efficiency of organisation. For instance, Team meetings are a way of promoting ideas and finding solutions. Hence, a district collector chairing a meeting with Tehsildars and promoting the culture of debate, dissent and discussion is bound to get good results.
- Self-organisation is the key to improve organisational efficiency of any organisation. For instance, Transparency, responsibility, unbiased are underpinnings of good work culture. These will enable individuals and teams to become self-organized which in turn improves quality and productivity.
- Good work culture promotes peer respect, recognition of hard work, and freedom to bring new ideas (innovation) it thereby increases the efficiency of organisation. For instance, Netflix doesn’t makes it mandatory for their employees to maintain basic etiquettes of dressing. They not even made it mandatory to come in office at time. Still Netflix has expanded its viewership in multi-fold ways.
- To improve organisational efficiency a good vertical as well as horizontal communication is necessary. Improved communication reduces errors and increases the quality of the outcome. Thereby it increases organisational efficiency.
- Suppose work culture is bad, which shows partiality, favoritism, nepotism etc. as it was in earlier days for tender allocations at times, partiality in writing of ACRs sometimes it demotivates talented and hard-working people. Thereby it reduces organisational efficiency. For instance, recent Vyapam scam.
- A gender bias, caste bias, religion bias in an organisation is also a sign of bad work culture. These kind of biases not only hamper the organisational efficiency but also promote the social divide. For instance, recent incidences in government schools where women belonging to backward sections of society were not allowed to cook food for students.
After realising the importance of work culture, Government of India came up with innovative initiatives to promote good work culture.
- For instance, ‘Perform or Perish’ is the new Mantra of the government, which aims to eliminate the insensitive work culture promoted by ‘Babu’s’ of India.
- External tools such as Right to Information Act, Postal Life insurance, change in conduct rules are initiated by the government.
- Constitution of Sevottam Awards for best practising civil servants is one such an affirmative step.
It is general perception that government organisation have a bad work culture and healthy work culture is associated with private organisations. However, efforts like RTI, e-governance, strict laws etc are improving the situation. Having a healthy work culture can change the perception in the eyes of public thereby improving the efficiency of government organisation.
3. How do digital technologies aid in the efficient utilisation of public funds? Examine.
Approach – It expects students to briefly explain how efficient utilization of public funds is important in introduction and how digital technologies aid in efficient utilization of public funds.
Efficient utilisation of public funds is necessary for judicious use of financial resources to satisfy the needs of the present society in such a way that it doesn’t compromise the capability of societies of future generations to meet their own needs. Digitalization is starting to reshape this informational core of the way tax and spending policies are designed and carried out. It offers tools not only to improve the effectiveness of existing policies but also to introduce entirely new ones.
Four principles for efficient utilisation of the public fund:
- Transparency −accurate records that show where money is raised and spent.
- Assurance − figures and processes are checked by independent experts.
- Accountability −decision makers are clearly identified and subject to strict rules and review of performance and outcomes.
- Objectivity − policies are based on accurate information and rigorous analysis.
Digital technologies aids in the efficient utilisation of public funds –
- Biometrics: Technology that monitors and records biometric characteristics, such as fingerprints and iris scans, allows more accurate and cheaper authentication of an individual’s identity, ensuring that benefits reach only the intended recipients helping in efficient utilisation of public funds.
- JAM Trinity for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT): The combination of 32.94 crore Jandhan bank Accounts, 121 Crore mobile phones and digital identity through 122 crore Aadhaar is helping the poor receive the benefits directly into their bank account leading to a saving of Rs. 90,000 crore.
- RuPay: In order to facilitate usage of newly-opened PMJDY bank accounts, customers were issued with RuPay debit cards to allow for ATM withdrawals and POS (point of sale) payments.
- The Public Finance Management System (PFMS): PFMS was conceived as an online transaction system that not only helps the government manage its funds but at any point of time also provides a comprehensive view of the flow of funds across different wings of the government. The system enables the successful delivery of payment from government treasuries and program agencies directly into beneficiaries’ accounts.
- E-Way Bill: The e-Way Bill mechanism ensures goods are transported in accordance with GST laws and that taxes are paid for the supply of goods. Through the e-Way Bill, taxpayers, transporters, and tax officers all rely on a unified system. The implementation of the e-Way Bill has helped boost GST revenue collections, abolished post-dated checks, and increased tax compliance.
- Government e Marketplace (GeM): It facilitates online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organisations / PSUs. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value for their money and manage public fund efficiently.
Challenges of digital technology –
- Privacy and Security: A critical obstacle is the privacy and security of an individual’s personal data that he/she provides to obtain government services. With the implementation of e-government projects, some effective measures must be taken to protect the sensitive personal information of the people.
- Authentication: It is very important to know the right user of the services or it may be misused by private competitors. Meanwhile, the digital signature plays major role in providing authenticity.
- Interoperability: Interoperability is the ability of systems and organizations of different qualities to work together. The e-governance applications must have this characteristic so that the newly developed and existing applications can be implemented together.
- Accessibility in India, there is still gap arising between users and nonusers; it is because of language barrier, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas, etc.
- Infrastructure: It is essentially required for implementation of digital technology as much as possible in India. Electricity, internet and poor adaptability of technology will retard the progress of digital technology.
- Digital Divide: Digital divide inside any country refers to inequalities mainly among individuals and households. The digital divide can exist between those living in rural areas and those living in urban areas, between the educated and uneducated, between economic classes, and on a global scale between more and less industrially developed nations.
- Cost: In developing countries like India, cost is one of the most important obstacles in the path of implementation of digital technologies where major part of the population is living below poverty line. These costs must be low enough so that to guarantee a good cost/benefit ratio.
To reap the full dividends of the digital revolution, India must focus on solutions that address their most pressing priorities. India struggling to identify and help vulnerable populations may for instance benefit most from biometrics, information systems, electronic payment systems and mobile technology to reduce leakages and implement social programs. But all will need to take steps to avoid the pitfalls digital exclusion, cyberattacks, fraud, privacy infringement.
4. What are the different components of quality service delivery? Discuss. How do
citizen charters help in this?
Students are expected to write about the different components of quality service delivery in first part, and discuss how do citizen charters help in quality service delivery in second part.
Quality service delivery ensures the service quality should match with the expectation of the stakeholder. It expects the commitment of organisations or public service providers to provide quality and high-standard services. Citizen’s Charters were introduced in India in the 1990s which represents a systematic effort to focus on the commitment of the public organisation towards its Citizens in respect of Standard of Services, Information, Choice and Consultation, Accessibility and Grievance Redress.
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” – Peter Drucker.
Standard principles of quality service delivery:
- Choice: To attain better standards in service delivery, service provider must work on the no of choices available to the customer at single place. The easier the access of services to the customer the better the implementation would be. Example – The mobile seva by Indian govt in which govt provides multiple services through mobile such as Banking, Passport, Aadhaar etc.
- Standards: The rapid change in the technology landscape, we see an emerging need for the Governments to review, rationalise and enhance the existing e‐Services, besides creating a new breed of services with a high speed‐to‐market. It helps to maintain the standard of the services.
- Value: Many times, the govt might correctly perceive the need of the citizens but it can only be work better if the service provided is in line with the expectations of the customer. Then the value of the service increases. Example: the PHC system reached in the remote area of the nation but timely availability of doctors is more important than the infrastructure.
- Accountability: As in an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in the public sector as this is the relationship between the both sides individuals. Examples – Public service guaranty act of Madhya Pradesh, which gives citizens Legal right to public services.
- Transparency: Transparency is the principle of allowing those affected by administrative decisions to know about results and about the process that led to decisions. Transparent governance means that government officials act openly, with citizens’ knowledge of the decisions the officials are making.
- Assurance: Assurance is one of the major parts in it which guaranty to the citizens that govt won’t let them down in certain unexpected situations that may occur and would be unavoidable. Example- PMKisan scheme gives assurance of Rs. 6000/- to the farmers.
- Responsiveness: In order to make continuous improvement in the service response of the customer through feedback is much more important. Improvisation in the quality of the service can be done through the continuous feedback mechanism.
Importance of citizen charter.
- For Information and openness: A key attribute of citizen charter is the availability of relevant and concise information to the users at the right time and at the right place.
- To Choice and consultation: The Charter provide choice of services to users wherever practicable.
- For Courtesy and helpfulness: The Charter helps embed a culture of courteous and helpful service from public servants. In addition, small initiatives such as ‘name badges’, ‘May I help you’ counters etc. can go a long way in building customer confidence.
- For Grievance redressal and complaints handling: There is a strong link between the provision of quality service and effective handling of complaints. Firstly, by facilitating and responding to complaints, the causes for complaint can be reduced. Secondly, by identifying ‘trends’ in complaints, the service provider can resolve systemic and recurring problems.
- To improve customer service: Making administration accountable, transparent and citizen friendly it helps in adopt a stakeholder approach and save time of both Administration and the citizen.
For example, sevottam model for citizen charter was proposed by the second Administrative Reforms Commission for improving the Public Service Delivery and adopted by many government offices.
Challenges pertaining to quality public service delivery:
- Lack of public participation
- Red tapism
- Inadequate political will
- Policy paralysis
- Bureaucratic attitude
Quality service delivery is an important component of good governance. It requires a number of reforms such as efficient utilisation of public funds, decentralisation of power, plugging legislative loopholes, strengthening the public Institutions like CVC and RTI, enhancing administrative accountability and making society more democratic. These reforms could improve public service delivery more efficiently in the long run.
5. How can institutional reforms address the challenges of corruption?
It expects students to write about – in first part write about various Institutional factors behind corruption in India – in second part write how can institutional reforms address the challenges of corruption – while in third part you can write solution or way forward.
Corruption refers to the act of misuse and abuse of power especially by those in the government for personal gains either pecuniary or a favour. It promotes illegality, unethicality, subjectivity, inequity, injustice, waste, inefficiency and inconsistency in administrative conduct and behaviour.
Institutional factors behind corruption in India:
- Cumbersome administrative process leads to delay which encourages the growth of dishonest practices such as giving speed money to dishonest officials.
- The system of governance which lacks transparency; accountability; grievance redressed mechanisms.
- Weak institutions. Example: CBI suffers from lack of autonomy and is termed as ‘Caged Parrot’ by Supreme Court.
- Discretionary powers available to public servants.
- Lack of proper education and training of civil servants.
- Low salaries.
- Inadequate and insufficient supervision.
- Political patronage of officials.
- Poor public opinion.
- Unwillingness of people to complain against the corrupt.
Institutional reforms can address the challenges of corruption by:
- Accountability institutions and security agencies are highly politicized. Institutional reforms can have made a huge impact which could be results in the arrest of a large number of high-profile perpetrators. Such reforms can reduce bribery and corruption to a major extent.
- Introduction of technological tools during the institutional reforms. The services providers can be modernized and professionalized in many areas of priority to better serve the public needs and eliminate inefficiencies in the system.
- Several applications and websites can be launch to implement public policies and programs. These tools can highly contribute to e-governance; they will not only be helpful in planning and decision making but also assure coordination among different agencies, public and private organizations, local and international donors with no exception to international monitoring agencies.
- Accountability institutions and security agencies can be authorized with more power and resources to let them feel more confident in catching high profile outlaws. Local governments can be given power and resources to further transfer it down to the village level.
- These initiatives can be taken to ensure the real devolution at the grass-root levels to provide them more authority and funding. Authority patterns with shared power are necessary for mutual interests and sustainable governance. Through governance, authority and power can incorporated to develop confidence, transparency and accountability mechanisms.
2nd ARC recommendations:
- Strengthen PCA, 1988 : Sanction for prosecution automatic for those caught red-handed expedite for other cases; Recognize and punish collusive bribery.
- Liability of corrupt officials: they must make good the loss caused and, in addition, be liable for damages
- Protection of Whistle-blowers: criminalize harassment, victimization of, or retaliation against whistle-blowers.
- Appointment of independent ombudsman.
- Strengthen Right to Information Act.
There is ample evidence to show that corruption has slowed down economic progress and poverty alleviation initiatives in India. It has adversely affected the national security system, too. The most affected by corruption are the poorest and the most vulnerable groups. We need sustained efforts to address this menace by strengthening institutions, laws, improving governance.