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RESURGENT INDIA: Reforming Governance

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  • Published
    7th Nov, 2019
  • The avowed objectives of "Sabka Saath,Sabka Vikaas And Sabka Vishwaas" and the clarion call of achieving a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25 necessitates putting in place a whole set of initiatives towards good governance.
  • Cooperative And Competitive Federalism: A number of initiatives have been taken to foster cooperative federalism. These include: Regular interaction between Prime Minister/Cabinet Ministers with all chief ministers, meetings held by Sub-groups of chief Ministers on subjects of national importance, Sharing of best practices and policy support and capacity development of State/UT functionaries.
  • To achieve inclusive development and for narrowing inter-regional disparityAspirational Districts programme’ for development of 115 most backward districts has been launched.
  • Other reforms such as ‘Theme based extensive engagements in various sectors’,framing model laws for land leasing and agriculture marketing reforms’ and ‘Area specific interventions for North Eastern, Himalayan States, and Island development’ has been initiated.
  • A unique feature of this new strategy is to improve States'/UT' performances by encouraging healthy competition through transparent ranking in various sectors with a handholding approach.
  • Some of the indices launched include Health Index, Composite Water Management Index, SDG Index and Performance of Aspirational Districts.
  • Once districts compete amongst themselves, States would emerge stronger and when States compete amongst themselves, the nation becomes stronger. Initiatives such as ‘One District, One Product Scheme’ of the Uttar Pradesh government will further grade up competition among the districts.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer And Use Of Aadhaar: Currently about 439 schemes across 55 Ministers are covered by DBT. Cumulatively about Rs. 7.66 lakh crore has been transferred to beneficiaries through DBT mode with estimate gains of Rs. 1.42 lakh crore.
  • In 2018-19 there were 59 crore beneficiaries of DBT who got benefits in cash while more than 70 crore beneficiaries got it in kind (for instance, food and fertilizers).
  • Outcomes Based Monitoring: There has been a structural change in the budget making process with removal of Plan/Non-Plan distinction and rationalization of Centrally Sponsored and Central Sector Schemes.  A major step in this direction is introduction of Outcomes Based Budgets since Union Budget 2017-18.
  • This is a major step in improving governance as the thrust is on meeting the expectations of the people by focusing on outcomes and not merely on how much expenditure has been incurred under the respective schemes.
  • The Outcome Budget 2019-20 covers 163 major central sector schemes. Currently, a major exercise of independent evaluation of 28 Centrally Sponsored Schemes is underway in NITI Aayog.
  • E-Governance: With advancements in ICT coupled with penetration of Aadhaar and mobile phones, it has been possible to provide many public services through online modes.
  • Digital India programme being implemented by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • Besides, portals such as Centralized Public Grievance Redressal And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS), the Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) and MyGov are in place providing information to citizens seeking feedback and resolving grievances.
  • The extent of successful penetration of E-services in India can be gauged by the fact that under Electronic Transaction Aggregation and Analysis Layer (E-Taal), more than 3700 services across Central Ministries and State Governments have been integrated.
  • Administrative Reforms in Various Sectors: Reforms in civil services are a continuous process and several initiatives have been undertaken, such as introduction of a multi-stakeholder feedback performance evaluation, dispensing with interviews for lower level positions, introduction of online mechanisms for appraisals and filling of various returns by employees, implementation of e-office, and strengthening training and merit-based postings.
  • NITI Aayog has taken the initiative of inducting highly motivated Young Professionals and Consultants on contractual basis in its workforce so as to provide a fresh perspective in the way Government thinks and operates.
  • The Strategy for New India @75 documents of NITI Aayog has proposed transformative measures. These include:
    • Improving teeth to tail ratio;
    • Promoting officers oriented culture;
    • Bringing down number of civil services and allocating candidates as per competencies;
    • Encouraging lateral entries and specialization;
    • Bringing down entry age
    • Strengthening municipal cadres;
    • Training and skill assessments;
    • Institutionalization of goal setting and performance evaluation;
    • Greater suo motu disclosures;
    • Protection of civil servants;
    • E-initiatives and probity.
    • Measures have also been proposed to improve governance without compromising on the data security for citizens.
  • Improving Law and Order Though law and order is a state subject, GoI would need to continue engaging states to reform their policing. Some of the suggestions include adoption of the Model Police Act of 2015, filling up vacancies and greater representation of women, reforms in FIR system with greater usage of IT, training/sensitization of police personnel and inducting a separate cadre for cyber-crimes, cyber threats and fraud.
  • In the area of judicial reforms, there is again a significant scope for improvement especially with the use of IT. Focus needs to be more on arbitration so that most cases get resolved out of court.  The court processes all across the country need to be automated with electronic court and case management. Redundant laws need to be repealed and new laws need to be written in a simple manner. Forensics and ballistics testing need significant improvements.
  • Besides an All India Judicial Services Examination on ranking basis, an Indian legal service may also be considered. 
  • Transforming India requires clarity of vision, well thought out strategy and action plans dovetailed to achieve that larger vision. Government needs collaborative approach of all stakeholders be it judiciary, civil society, or citizens themselves.  

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