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SYNOPSIS [30th April,2021] Day 95: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. Is it the duty of the state to provide free vaccination to the population? Comment in the light of the ongoing debate over COVID vaccines.
Candidates are expected to write about vaccination, analyse whether state must provide free vaccinations. Also comment on ongoing debate over COVID vaccine.
The Prime Minister of India said that India is entering a decisive phase of vaccination in the fight against COVID-19, with the approval of two made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines. The PM has also said that two vaccines are more cost-effective than any other in the world and that India’s vaccine production & delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.
Duty of state to provide free vaccination –
- In the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, vaccines are likely to be entirely free and administered publicly. However, given the tight fiscal situation, the Indian government faces the dilemma of whether to finance vaccinations publicly or privately.
- The government provided free vaccines to most prioritised beneficiaries including 1 crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers, in the first phase of covid-19 vaccination.
- Vaccinating everyone above 18 in the phase III of the inoculation drive will cost only about 0.36 per cent of the GDP, ratings agency India Ratings and Research said.
- In a move to boost the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme in the country, Finance Minister announced that Rs 35,000 crore (4.7 billion USD) will be provided towards the vaccines. However, it is unclear whether the vaccines will be provided free of cost to all citizens.
- The vaccine is being offered for free in order to encourage the community to take the vaccine and remove any financial impediment. Given the vaccine’s huge impact on public health, it is reasonable to expect that the government makes it available free for all.
- While a free vaccine sounds appealing and should indeed be a government’s prerogative in a pandemic, there are other responsibilities that also need to be taken care of India is staring at a zero or even negative growth rate through 2020.
- Lockdowns and slew of social distancing measures have also accelerated job losses, with CMIE reporting a loss of over 6 million jobs. Another fiscal stimulus is warranted and even recommended by IMF, with a focus on support for vulnerable groups, and support for businesses.
- While the option of doling out a free vaccine remains with the government, this promise cannot be made in a silo. Enough doses of any vaccine will not be immediately available and vaccination would require prioritisation of recipients.
- Last mile delivery of vaccines has to be assured and will require investment. Post-market monitoring of vaccine performance has to be designed to quickly respond to any adverse events.
Current scenario –
- The Centre during the first three phases procured the entire quantity of vaccines from the manufacturers Covishield and Covaxin and distributed it to states. During the initial three phases, healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those above the age of 45 were vaccinated.
- Now India is all set to begin its third phase of vaccination drive from May 1, including everyone aged 18 and older. The fourth phase, however, will incorporate several changes in vaccine policy. The many state government has decided to give Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to all those aged 18 and above in government centres.
Vaccine manufacturers have to be incentivised to ramp up vaccine supply to stay apace with vaccine demand. A free vaccine promise by itself is futile, unless accompanied by a transparent and evidence-based vaccine deployment plan. Therefore, instead of playing on people’s fears, we need a transparent vaccination strategy, continued insistence on social distancing measures and monetary support for those vulnerable.
2. Why do state led services falter in quality and efficiency? Critically analyse.
Candidate can give reasons why the state led service delivery is poor in quality and efficiency. In the second half measures to tackle the same can be given with suitable examples.
Governing bodies often refuse to listen the voice of those they govern and take refusing to take accountability for their actions leads to bad governance. By ignoring the voice of those being governed, their opinions are no longer heard or taking into consideration by the governing body. This top down approach is reflected in poor service delivery and bad governance.
Why state led services are bad in quality and efficiency?
- Democratic governments focus on accountability as a method to ensure the public understands what´s happening and provides them a way to proceed when things go wrong. Weak accountability in turn causes a distrust between the two parties and government is no longer accountable to people to whom they are catering.
- This distrust and uncertainty creates an unfavourable relationship between the parties. As there is no incentive for the state to provide better services in absence of accountability quality of services is compromised.
- Bad Governance, is often considered to come hand in hand with corruption. Corruption occurs in many sectors ranging from political to economic environments. The existence of corruption within a governing body causes bad governance as the officials places their personal gains over others.
- Corruption creates a monopoly of few over others. As a result welfare schemes and services and the benefits coming out of it are exploited by few.
- In India security of tenure to government employees give them no incentive to perform better and get rewarded. The hierarchy of bureaucracy and the rigid steel frame put civil servants in a category where they are usually detached from ground reality.
- As opposed to private sector where constant feedback mechanism, continuous improvement on better service delivery, large pool of talented working professionals continuously work for improving quality and efficiency of service delivery over other players in the market. For state, there is no competitor and hence no motivation to improve.
What can be done?
- For better service delivery, Accountability, transparency, responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, equitability, participation, consensus-oriented, inclusiveness and rule of law should be stressed on.
- Right to Information Act, 2005 marked a significant shift in Indian democracy. Besides providing legal access to the information to citizens it also improved the responsiveness of the government to community needs.
- Citizen’s Charter is a document which represents a systematic effort to focus on the commitment of the Organisation towards its Citizens in respects of Standard of Services, Information, Choice and Consultation, Non-discrimination and Accessibility, Grievance Redress, Courtesy and Value for Money.
- To ensure this Sevottam model was proposed by the 2nd ARC (Administrative Reforms Commission) which provides a quality management framework applicable to public service delivery organisations and in all its departments.
- To make all government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs, the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) has been initiated by the Government of India.
- The public service delivery reforms should be complemented by Police & legal reforms, financial inclusion, improvement in social infrastructure, etc.
State is a biggest machinery to bring development and to reduce the inequality. So when government fails to deliver on the delivery of services, it is the poor who suffers the most. Continuous reforms and constant update in the model of service delivery with transparency and accountability will ensure the better and efficient service delivery.
3. Transparency is the key to restore people’s faith in the appropriate utilization of public funds. Substantiate.
Since the question is asking you to substantiate, it requires you to substantiate already proven point and not debating between the various points.
Transparency is an attribute of corporate culture that’s revealed through the behaviours of an organization’s leaders, employees, and stakeholders. It’s how values are embodied and demonstrated on a day-to-day basis. It shows in the degree of openness of meetings, events, and interactions within the organization.
TRANSPARENCY IS THE KEY TO RESTORE PEOPLE’S FAITH IN THE APPROPRIATE UTILIZATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS –
- Transparency is one of the four principles underpinning trust in public finances.
- Effective public financial management requires that decision-makers, citizens and other stakeholders, are able to ‘follow the money’ to see how taxes were raised, why decisions to spend it were made, how the money was actually spent and what was bought.
- Effective public financial management demands that people and organisations are held accountable for their action.
- True accountability demands transparency, especially with respect to how the resources are raised, managed and used or how those responsible for governance evaluate performance and, if necessary, sanction individuals who fall short of standards.
- For the public to believe that public officials will do the right thing, a range of controls to promote integrity and ethical behaviour and to tackle fraud and corruption which require transparency are required.
- Strong public financial management requires transparency in how resources are raised, managed and used, together with accountability to install confidence and promote continuous improvement.
With the public sector making up nearly half of the global economy, effective public financial management is a critical factor in the economic success of each and every country. Building trust about public money is about putting in place comprehensive mechanisms to demonstrate to citizens that it is being spent for the public good. Transparency is the need of the hour to ensure government has the capability to undertake the financial management of large public bodies in a complex stakeholder environment.
4. How does corruption aggravate the challenge of poverty? Illustrate.
Question is straight forward in its approach students are expected to write how corruption aggravates the challenge of poverty, also it is important to explain points using appropriate examples.
Corruption in the public sector — the misuse of public office for private gain — is often viewed as exacerbating conditions of poverty (low income, poor health and education status, vulnerability to shocks and other characteristics) in countries already struggling with the strains of economic growth and democratic transition. Alternatively, countries experiencing chronic poverty are seen as natural breeding grounds for systemic corruption due to social and income inequalities and perverse economic incentives.
How corruption aggravates poverty –
- The Economic Model postulates that corruption affects poverty by first impacting economic growth factors, which, in turn, impact poverty levels. Economic theory and empirical evidence both demonstrate that there is a direct causal link between corruption and economic growth.
- Corruption impedes economic growth by discouraging foreign and domestic investment, taxing and dampening entrepreneurship, lowering the quality of public infrastructure, decreasing tax revenues, diverting public talent into rent-seeking, and distorting the composition of public expenditure.
- In addition to limiting economic growth, there is evidence that corruption also exacerbates income inequality; regression analysis has shown a positive correlation between corruption and income inequality. Explanations for this link are that corruption distorts the economy and the legal and policy frameworks allowing some to benefit more than others; there is unfair distribution of government resources and services; corruption reduces the progressivity of the tax system; corruption increases the inequality of factor ownership; and lower income households (and businesses) pay a higher proportion of their income in bribes than do middle or Upper-income households.
- The Governance Model asserts that corruption affects poverty by influencing governance factors, which, in turn, impact poverty levels. First, corruption reduces governance capacity, that is, it weakens political institutions and citizen participation and leads to lower quality government services and infrastructure. The poor suffer disproportionately from reduced public services. When health and basic education expenditures are given lower priority, for example, in favour of capital intensive programs that offer more opportunities for high-level rent taking, lower income groups lose services on which they depend. Corruption is consistently correlated with higher school dropout rates and high levels of infant mortality. Secondly, impaired governance increases poverty by restricting economic growth and, coming full circle, by its inability to control corruption. Thirdly, corruption that reduces governance capacity also may inflict critical collateral damage: reduced public trust in government institutions.
- As trust — an important element of social capital — declines, research has shown that vulnerability of the poor increases as their economic productivity is affected. When people perceive that the social system is untrustworthy and inequitable, their incentive to engage in productive economic activities declines.
- In 1985, on a visit to drought-affected Kalahandi district in Odisha, Rajiv Gandhi had said that of every rupee spent by the government, only 15 paise reached the intended beneficiary. In its 157-page judgement, the apex court said Aadhaar can take care of malaise of duplicate beneficiaries reaping the fruits of welfare schemes meant for the genuine deprived class.
“In human society to much wealth or too much poverty is a great impediment to the higher development of the soul. It is from the middle classes that the great ones of the world come. Here the forces very equality adjusted and balanced.” – Vivekanda
Popular belief suggests that corruption and poverty are closely related to developing country. Corruption has been a constant obstacle for countries trying to bring out the political, economic and social changes desired for their development. Across different country contexts, corruption has been a cause and consequence of poverty.
5. How does participation of the private sector lead to better outcomes in public projects? Discuss.
A simple and straightforward question where in the candidate needs to discuss how participation of the private sector leads to better outcomes in public projects, where proper and relevant substantiation needs to be provided.
The private sector is a key stakeholder in both urban and economic development, being a major contributor to national income and the principal job creator and employer. The private sector provides around 90% of employment in the developing world, delivers critical goods and services and contributes to tax revenues and the efficient flow of capital.
Private partnerships allow large-scale government projects, such as roads, bridges, or hospitals, to be completed with private funding. Economists note that when private sector technology and innovation combine with public sector incentives to complete work on time and within budget. Private sector leads to better outcomes in public projects, as is evident from the following points –
- Private participation in public projects is a natural extension of mixed economic systems. Governments are increasingly aware of their own inefficiencies, and many run into budgeting or financing problems when executing projects.
- Partnerships between private companies and the government provide advantages to both parties. Private-sector technology and innovation, for example, can help provide better public services through improved operational efficiency.
- The public sector, for its part, provides incentives for the private sector to deliver projects on time and within budget. In addition, creating economic diversification makes the country more competitive in facilitating its infrastructure base and boosting associated construction, equipment, support services, and other businesses.
- Public-private partnerships in India have integrated public infrastructure with the superior financing and maintenance provided by private enterprises. The synergistic collaborations between the public sector and private firms and companies have led to the generation of resources and knowledge transfer.
- Joint ventures and partnerships between the leading companies and the government have been very successful in generating jobs as well as growth in key economic sectors.
- Innovation and excellence characterize the public-private partnerships that have emerged across the years in India. These ventures are ensuring the effective utilization of state assets in a manner that is productive as well as profitable.
However, economists are mixed as to the net benefit of private participation in public projects on economic growth. Historically, public-private partnerships have been contractual or memorandum-driven agreements between public offices and private enterprises.
- Some analysts contend that by diverting resources (money and labour) from market-driven ends to politically driven ends, Private participation harm growth.
- Critics of public-private alliances say that public goods could be provided much more effectively by the private sector alone if it weren’t for the crowding-out effect of public distortions in the capital markets.
- Further, there are risks for private enterprise as well, which include cost overruns, technical defects, and an inability to meet quality standards.
Combining the professionalism of the corporate sector with the welfare objectives of the state has resulted in projects such as the Mumbai airport which are known for their world class facilities and advanced amenities.
India has one of the fastest growing populations in the world. Using the finances of the private firms to complete the Public ventures has led to conservation of national and governmental resources and have also contributed towards the growth and development of the Indian economy in multiple ways.