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SYNOPSIS [30th August,2021] Day 166: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. How do lack of inter ministerial coordination and sluggish information sharing impede governance? Analyse.
Mention in general terms what is meant by coordination and inter ministerial coordination particularly in introduction .In next part mention what are the issues which arise due to lack of coordination and then give some solutions to complement the problems.At last end on the positive nite with recent reforms under taken in governance.
Coordination is the mechanism through which policies, strategies, plans, peoples, systems, and tools are brought together to achieve a particular goal. Government services are often cross-sectional, interlinked and complementary particularly in the areas of agriculture, education, trade, and mining. Thus lack of inter ministerial coordination may create policy logjams or different set of rules for same service.For examples: The different policy directions from ministry of Health and family welfare and ministry of AYUSH for symptomatic and preventive care of COVID-19.
Governance is a collaborative effort that requires interconnectedness between the government and various institutions of civil society, as well as within the various departments of the government. Absence of the latter has plagued administration for a long time. The penchant of departments to work in silos, and the absence of a holistic outlook has led to failure in regularly sharing information between different arms of the government. This can cause the following problems:
- Delay in decision making leading to a reactive rather than proactive government. For example cross border attacks despite credible information warning but as the information is not shared proactively between agencies and other departments of ministries often this leads to delayed response to security threats as seen in the case of 26/11 Mumbai attacks .
- Duplication of effort (multiple department and govt schemes working on same lines, For example: Ministry of health is responsible for overall health in the country but it it has to depend on petroleum minimise for actions related to controlling price of drugs Further recently there was issues between regulation of foreign rights and ministry of social justice on the issues of rights of communities .
- These government initiatives are costly where the blame of problem is put on another department. Such attitude leads to loss of faith in governance and ineffective policy management for benefits of people.For example : Approval for neutrino observatory at Theni was long delayed due to lack of environmental clearances from ministry of environment.
- Wastage of resources (multiple agencies, middle heavy bureaucracy) .For example: For many years lakhs of tons of food was being wasted in the godowns of food corporation of India but on the other hand government said it didn’t have resources to feed the needy.
- Failure to institutionalise expertise (Investigative agencies deal with different crimes and doesn’t share info, opposition to National Counter Terrorism Centre etc)
- Capacity building efforts are often duplicated and/or inconsistently applied across ministries. One state employee may receive two or three similar training while another employee receives none.This was highlighted by the second ARC report.
- Delay in delivery: There is overlapping of procedures like clearances, approvals etc. which takes time and delays delivery of services. Confusion regarding jurisdiction is considered an important bottleneck in enforcement agencies.For example: The inland water transportation has been unutilised potential as for years this project is lacking the inter state and ministerial coordination, similar issue is with mission Gange.
Information sharing mechanisms, that ensure two way communication as a matter of routine rather than the norm are required. This will greatly help governance as
- It will ensure more transparency as information will be accessible from any point.
- it will bring more participative governance where every advice from various ministry would be looked after.
- sharing of information reduces delay in implementation of projects.
- it will reduce red tapism and corruption.
- it will lead to more effective implementation of government initiatives
- it will ensure a sense of team work and co-operation among ministries
- Problems today are multidimensional in nature (Eg swach bharat has MoRD, MoWR and MoUD involved) that require collaboration to succeed.
Recommendations to solve the problems:
- Establish an online software system with multiple entries from different ministries: The first option of establishing an interactive online IT system is innovative to this context. The system would connect both the technical and high-level decision-makers at the capital and provinces of a particular ministry with their counterparts from another ministry. Such a system would also harmonise the efforts of different departments within one ministry by allowing policymakers to develop policies jointly through interactive tools. This system would accumulate all necessary and relevant documents, guidelines and procedures for the effective operation of government affairs. The system would automatically send emails and text message reminders about upcoming events and deadlines for completing a particular task. The system would be a coordination and cooperation hub across government ministries. All current initiatives and past programmes would be listed in the system to avoid future duplication.
- Establish a coordinating ministry tasked solely with managing inter-ministerial relations: The second option of establishing a coordinating ministry is also promising since the government body would coordinate plans, policies, programmes, and activities between the ministries. This new organization would monitor the work of all ministries. Singapore has an experience of having a separate ministry dedicated to coordination and it could serve as the model for policy design.
- Establish a regulatory framework to promote inter-ministerial coordination in the existing context: The third option is to establish a regulatory framework designed to enhance coordination among government bodies. A legislative regulation to improve coordination would be drafted and passed, and all ministries would be tasked with its implementation for coordination purposes. This regulation would target the areas where lapses or duplications occur and would encourage ministries to work together.
Poor coordination is a major obstacle to the effective administration of government services. Therefore the recent steps taken by the present government to give emphasis to digital governance with various apps like Umang, m aadhar bringing various services at the finger tip of the citizens.The Parivesh portal through which faster approval can be taken regarding environmental clearances with specific sms and timings.All these steps have increased India’s ranking in ease of doing business as well as governance index.
2. The governance mantra in contemporary free market economy is that the government has no business to be in business. In a politico-economic milieu like this, how are labour rights protected? Are there proactive and powerful pressure groups for the furtherance of labour interests in India? Discuss.
Define what is free market and contextualise to the demand of question that is labour rights and pressure groups.In next part write how the changing economy is affecting labours and why there is a need for pressure groups in such times.In next part mention recent achievements of Indian labour groups.In conclusion write what is the current scenario and what type of labour groups can fulfil the vacuum.
A free market economy is a type of economy that promotes the production and sale of goods and services, with little to no control or involvement from any central government agency. The economic system is primarily based on supply and demand. Order and power in a free market are decentralised, with individuals making all of their own voluntary economic choices.But often this could lead to ignorance towards the labour rights as the balance gets tilled toward capital in market economy.This makes it essential to have well organised and institutionalised labour pressure groups which will promote and lobby for labour rights.
Features of Free market
- In a free market economy, firms and households act in their own self-interest to determine how resources get allocated, what goods get produced, and who buys the goods. A free market economy is functions in an opposite manner as a command economy works, where the central government gets to keep the profits and choose how to use them.
- The government’s role in the economy is limited (e.g. to preventing monopolies, allowing fair and equal access to markets for all, protecting the nation and its markets through military means).
- As India’s Prime Minister has said recently, Government’s job is that of a facilitator to create new opportunities and in the government system, the fewer the laws the less suffocated businesses feel.
- A free market protects the rights of workers by allowing the workers to decide what’s best for themselves.
But in this extreme focus on business may lead to harm towards worker’s rights, including right to protest, fare wages, lack of social security.Further when government is taking a step back then there arises a need for a body which will promote labour rights and their concerns.Thus this function in India is performed by various trade unions.
Objectives and Need of pressure groups.
- Wages and salaries-Wages and salaries and the most important subjects of Trade Unions. In the organised industry, wages and benefits are determined through processes such as collective bargaining, wage boards, conciliation, and adjudication. Working of all these processes deserves systematic inquiry. Union power and objective facts hopefully influence the wage scene through these forums.
- Working conditions-Another major objective of the Trade Unions is to insure the safety of workers. While working every worker must be provided with basic facilities like. Drinking water, minimum working hours, paid holidays, social security, safety equipments, lights and others.
- Personnel policies-Any personal policy of the employer with respect to promotion, transfer and training may be challenge by Trade Unions if arbitrary.
- Discipline-Trade Unions also protect the workers from arbitrary discipline action taken by management against any worker. No worker should be victimised by management in the form of arbitrary transfer or suspension.
- Welfare-The main objective of the Trade Union is to work for the welfare of the workers. This includes welfare of the family members or children of the worker.
- Employee and Employer Relations-for an industrial peace there must be harmony between employer and employee. But due to superior power of the management sometimes conflict arises in this situation Trade Union represent the whole group of workers and continue negotiations with management.
- Negotiating Machinery-Trade Unions may also put proposals before management, as this policy is based on the principle of Give and Take• Trade Unions protect the interest of workers through collective bargaining.
- Safeguarding Organisational Health and the Interest of the Industry- Trade Unions also help in achieving employee satisfaction. Trade unions also help in better industrial relation by creating procedure to resolve the industrial dispute.
- Alone workers feel weak. Trade Union provides him a platform to join others to achieve social objectives.
Recent examples where powerful pressure groups were able to influence the decisions of government:
- In midst of lock down there were strikes by defence factory unions against the move for corporatisation of the PSUs.This led to fear of job losses which led to a strike.Thus the strike accomplished a negotiated settlement on the workers receiving their dues.
- India declined to join the RCEP trade agreement due to fear in MSME and diary sectors.This opposition was led by Bhartiya Mazdoir sangh, Bhartiya Kisan union and All India Trade union Congress.Thus India backed out at the last stage as it might have harmed the informal sector heavily.
- All India bank association has been organising workers movement against rapid privatisation and consequent job losses in banking sector.
- Similarly BAMCEF was a powerful pressure group in 1980s to provide relief to all the group C and D workers.
The current times where there is rapid transformation of economy from physical to digital medium, industry 4.0 and government policies such as labour codes to make investment and trade more friction free, there will be need for labour pressure groups to innovate and reinvent themselves into the modern tech savvy pressure groups who can talk the language of common people, act on social media and provide empirical evidence on labour issues rather than emotional appeals.This labour pressure groups are an important part of modern economy to promote workers welfare as mentioned in directive principles of state policy of Indian constitution.
3. What are the impediments that affect quick decision making in the government? Analyse the root cause of this conundrum. Can you suggest some measures to expedite decision making?
Define what is governance and add the context of the question on decision making.In next part mention the issues which are hampering decisions and what steps needs to be taken for removing these obstacles.In conclusion mention the recent steps taken by government and end on positive note.
“Governance” means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). So, in order to deliver Good Governance to people, Quick decision making is an essential factor to be considered. The lack of quick decision making can lead to loss of resources, critical opportunities, escalation in project costs and hamper the innovative spirits of young minds.
Impediments that affect quick decision making in the government:
Lack of Data for making decisions:
- Information plays vital role in decision making. A decision is made in the interest of self, organisation or society. For this the effect of a decision on various stakeholders must be known to optimise the benefit and for the decision to have integrity and be objective and inclusive.
- Eg. Hydro power project in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh got clearance initially but was cancelled later. The environment assessment did not consider the impact of the project on the vulnerable black-necked crane as the bird was not mentioned in people biodiversity register of the region
Issue of finance:
- Decision can’t be made in free hand, if there is a insufficiency of funds. Even if there are sufficient funds, either there is a delay in their release or misuse of funds.
- Further if the funds pass trough a long chain of middlemen then there are chances of leakages at various points.This was highlighted by Ex prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi when he said that when government spends 1 rupee only 15 paise reaches to the intended beneficiaries.
- Further a developing nation like India need to make allocation to different sectors in rational manner due to resource constraints.
- Bureaucracy in India suffer from issues like Red tapism, corruption and lethargy which delay the decision making process.
- Further the colonial attitude of many officers treat citizens as subjects which hampers effective decision making.
- Accountability might act as a deterrent, as acknowledged by ARC reports. The fear of consequences might lead to inactivity from decision makers.
- Conflicting aspirations and demands of various section of society.
- Delay in arriving at a consensus due to engrained difference among various community and failure of government to arrive at a compromise.
- Many have raised the concern that Government laws like RTI stifles decision making as it makes the officials stay cautious and averse to take risk. It prevents bureaucrats from taking bold decisions because of the fear of getting questioned and public criticism. This results in policy paralysis.
Others factors :
- Pressure groups like tribal NGOs opposing projects
- Insufficient Devolution of powers Eg. Panchayats
- Political interests of various parties and individuals, litigations and stays, resources scarcity and population pressure are some of the other reasons which also leads to delays.
Measures to expedite decision making:As recommended by ARC reports, measures like :
- Rewards and prizes should be instated for good performance and bad performance.The recent step to compulsory retire the inefficient officers is in right direction.
- Performance reviews to be conducted and their use in deciding promotions etc. The new Karmayogi portal will work in this direction.
- Govt initiative like mygov.in and PRAGATi portal should be extensively used this incentivise people participation and also quick decisions by bringing state government and centre government on single platforms.
- Usage of Big Data in Decision making saves lot of time and cost, and further it can lead to targeted delivery of services which in turn can increase funds for other social services.
- Fixing timeline of projects e.g Bogibeel bridge in Assam was completed in its desired time.
- Strengthen the Panchayati Raj bodies especially Gramsabha to ensure equitable and inclusive growth.
- Encouraging the Single window system of approvals helps in streamlining the decisions and projects and cuts time.
- Promoting Social audits and EIA.The social audits build an accountability mechanism.
- Cutting red tapism and codification of procedures can help in enhancing accountability in decision making.
- Even though RTI does results into cautiousness. Officials should see it less as a fear factor and more as a motivating factor.
India needs to accelerate its development. For which Faster decision making is going to be crucial for the socio-economic upliftment of people and in providing Good governance.Recent measures taken by government with reorganisation of ministries and bringing technocrats for specific roles will help in this direction.Further the various indices developed by NITI aayog promotes cooperative competition to perform well.This has fast tracked decisions making l