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Day 67- Ques Ans

Devolution of powers and finances up to local level remains an unfinished agenda. Do you agree? How does is hinder the realization of economic democracy? Examine.

Gandhi Ji dream and proposed DPSP to popularize the idea of grassroots democracy have not seen success as expected even after 73rd and 74th amendments. It is true in many senses as

  • Poor financial devolution- local bodies are relied on finance commission, minister of panchayat, or states for financial support for fund and do not have decentralized viable source of funding.
  • Poor authority devolution – as bureaucracy hold more power than elected members in panchayat and municipality level to make decisions.
  • Poor Human resource- elected leaders do not have expert Human resource to help in performing their task.
  • Infrastructure- starting from basic buildings, to IT enabled support system; it is rarely access to elected members at local level.

These all factors hinder the vision of economy democracy by many ways-

  • Top down approach- on majority of economic decisions and more indirectly centralization of decision making as it has now seen in MGNREGA in many states.
  • Poor people participation in decision making- like in panchayat level meetings, mahulla meetings as they control very little financial decisions.
  • Taxation- in 11th and 12th schedule 29 and 18 different work are allocated to panchayat and municipality but they cannot take because of poor fund access so question on economic democracy.
  • Policy making- even for smart village or smart city, local bodies forced to rely on bureaucracy for fund allocation and planning.

To ensure effective decentralization three tier system need to empower through capacity building and more fund decentralization. It is expected that GST regime will have scope for it.

Weak government procurement combined with export restrictions and continued stockpiling have led to worsening condition of farmers. Discuss.

Agriculture sector is farming multiple challenges and one among them is poor procurement facility and irregularity in government policy on agriculture export. It is hurting farmers interest by following ways- 1- Surplus food- because of surplus food stock and limited export food grains are rotten and same time it is distorting the internal food market so imbalance in demand and supply.

2- Biased procurement policy- government supported FCI is more concern on procurement of selected food items and do not fours on other products which causer market distortion and rise prices like in case of pulses and onions in recent time.

3- Impact on production- because of procurement policy, farmers assured to get minimum price for grains so they do not take risk to go for other crops so shortage of crops like pulses.

4 – Inconsistent export policy- it demoralize food processing units also as government frequently change its policy ex- sugar and vegetable policy.

5-   Impact on commercial farming- under Producer Company or cooperative farming even small and marginal farmers’ wants to go for commercial cash crops but because of poor export policy do not motivate to do so. Ex- Maharastra farmers grew mango for export but could not sale are right time in international market because policy failure.

To counter these challenges, there is need for reform in both aspects and Shanta Kumar committee points to reform FCI need to take in consideration on this regard. With that some consistency India need on its export policy especially for export food products.

Having the infrastructure and systems in place is no guarantee of public policy success. Do you agree? Substantiate by taking at least two examples, one from financial inclusion schemes and other from the health sector

Developed countries with sophisticated infrastructure and system fall down miserably like recession 2008 and its opposite countries like Cuba has sustained one of the best health facilities even without great resources. For public policy certainly other things are required

  • Legislative support- in welfare countries legislative and political support for moving policy forward is must. Ex- Bangalore has metro infrastructure but because of political reasons, not functional.
  • Human resource- even though we have Panchayat and municipality system and elected members but in spite of that things are not in place because of poor human resource and other reasons.
  • Leadership- Cuba like a small country has better agriculture and health system than advance country because of political ideology and leadership which is much need for policy success.
  • Bureaucratic support- they are implementer so if bureaucracy do not own the idea than even without all support policy success debatable.

That can be understand by two examples

  • Financial inclusion- with same number of staff and same institutional mechanism, we could not cover 50% of population under financial inclusion movement in last 60 years but when it has taken in mission mode by elected government, 90% households covered under Jan Dhan Yojana in less than 1 year period with same resources.
  • Health sector- in spite of primary health service centers, ANM, Aganwadi workers, schemes like Janni suraksha Yojana and NFSM, pregnant women are not able to get institutional delivery. Similar can be said for children vaccination and population control programme.

Policy success is an outcome of many factors and support of different institutions and public support.


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