UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (23-11-2022) - GS 2

UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing

Questions

Q1. While policies are important because they play a key role in development, the defining feature of Indian governance is the lack of coordination between institutions that oversee implementation of policies. Critically evaluate. (150 words) 10 marks

Q2. “A paradigm shift in the nature of civil service is required to cope up with the emerging demands and the changes in society and economy; for it is not feasible for India to progress through the 21st century with 19th century administrative systems.” Comment. (150 words)  10 marks


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Model Solutions

Q1. While policies are important because they play a key role in development, the defining feature of Indian governance is the lack of coordination between institutions that oversee implementation of policies. Critically evaluate. (150 words) 10 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • Policy formulation at higher levels of administration and policy implementation at ground level are two key elements of any developmental initiative.
  • Policies lay down various objectives, institutions involved and mechanisms to achieve those objectives.

Main Body:

  • Based on the Indian experience, scholars have pointed out lack of coordination between institutions as a major bottleneck in delivering intended benefits of the policies to the people.
    • Coordination issues among departments and ministries: Lead to policy confusion, which can create panic in the economy, policy blind-spots, and issues of redundancy.
      • The traditional ministry-wise separation of functions is not useful for complex issues such as bio-safety.
      • For example: Implementation of biosafety guidelines is the responsibility of the Science and Technology Ministry and the Environment Ministry. However, labs dealing with biological research are set up under the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, which are under the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, respectively.
    • Coordination issues between center and states: Recently seen in pandemic related crisis on supply of medical oxygen.
      • Issues of fiscal decentralization are a major point of contention in center-state coordination.
    • Coordination issues among states: Migrant crisis during the general lockdown on account of COVID-19 pandemic.
      • Another example is the issue of inter-state river-water disputes.
    • Coordination between different arms of the State: Lack of coordination between legislature and executive often leads to a situation of dysfunctional parliamentary control.
      • Issues of judicial overreach sometimes create hindrances in implementation of policies.
  • Apart from lack of co-ordination, other challenges also undermine development initiatives like:
    • Sometimes policies are found to be overambitious, when they are framed without giving due consideration to ground realities.
    • Institutions often lack capacity (finances, trained staff, technology) for effective co-ordination.
      • For example: Local self-governance institutions.
    • Politicization also hinders implementation of policies.
      • For example: Implementation of Ayushman Bharat in West Bengal.

Conclusion:

  • Innovative solutions of co-operation such as the GST council or a coordinating body should be explored to improve governance.
  • New challenges have also necessitated the need of re-engineering government processes and increase use of technology for creating linkages between various ministries, departments and agencies for better coordination.

Q2. “A paradigm shift in the nature of civil service is required to cope up with the emerging demands and the changes in society and economy; for it is not feasible for India to progress through the 21st century with 19th century administrative systems.” Comment. (150 words) 10 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

Civil services play a key role not just in administration but also in ensuring the welfare of the society through policy making and implementation.

Main Body:

  • Due to the different nature of problems and social set up in the 21st century than 19th century, civil services need a paradigm shift in its functioning and administrative set up.
    • The changes in society in terms of increase in the level of literacy, awareness of rights, proactive demand for transparency, accountability and better service delivery.
    • In the sphere of economy, the changes started with the LPG reforms, end to license permit raj, role of state changed from regulator to facilitator.
    • Due to the complex nature of social as well as economic problems, there is a need for specialists over generalists.
      • For instance, during the management of covid, specialist advice was neglected by generalist bureaucrats leading to mismanagement at times.
  • A paradigm shift in the nature of civil service is required to cope up with the emerging demands and the changes in society and economy; this shift can be brought about with the following steps:
    • Capacity building: The civil servants need to be equipped for emerging and unexpected challenges (like pandemic).
      • Mission Karmayogi could play a crucial role here.
    • Domain knowledge: Domain knowledge would complement the role of general administration in civil services.
      • Eight such domains have been recommended by the Surinder Nath Committee Report (2003).
    • Dealing with bureaucratic inertia: Performance based incentive and penalty for nonperformance need to be induced in bureaucracy (Surinder Nath Committee).
    • Tech-upgradation: Hota committee recommended e-governance initiatives to make government more accessible, effective and accountable.
    • Equal importance to all civil services: Dominance of services like IAS, IPS must be replaced with equal recognition of all civil services for a collaborative approach.
    • Insulating civil servants from unjust political interference and pressures.
      • Example: The political interference seen from the recent tussle between Centre and state over the transfer of West Bengal chief secretary.

Conclusion:

  • The need is to take an integrated and holistic approach in synchronizing the emerging demands and changes with congruent and pragmatic long-term solutions.
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