HERE IS A growing recognition that for effective economic
and social management aimed at improving quality of everyday life, the respective
roles of public and the private sectors should be regarded as essentially complementary.
This is particularly the case in India where relatively poor social and
physical infrastructure, and inefficiencies in delivery of basic public
services are currently a major constraint in transiting from 6 to 8 percent to percent annual growth on a sustained
globalization, these complementarities are evident not just within the nation
state but also internationally. As a result, there has been substantial
widening of public-private interactions and partnerships. The complexity of
formulating and implementing public policies has increased. Such complexity has
also led to increasing requirements for conflict management and resolution
skills by all the stakeholders.
sector and the public sector organizations in India which have been exposed to competition
and which have been given appropriate organizational incentives have responded
by initiating significant efficiency enhancing measures. The general
governmental services however have so far not been subjected to much
competition or to changes in human resource policies, and to altering of organizational
incentive structures. In addition to bureaucracy, the other stakeholders in the
system such as the elected officials and politicians, judiciary, media the
educated and the opinion making classes have also not always approached public
policy issues with the requisite expertise or with problem solving mindset.
Indeed to quote
the Indian Prime Minister, there is a strong tendency on the part of the public
policy stakeholders in India to “… adopt political postures that are based in the past, indeed in the
distant past and are out of line with our current interests as an increasingly
globalized and globally integrated economy”.
In a democracy,
it is essential that consensus for growth enhancing policies, with equity given
due recognition, be developed. Future economic well-being, national security, and
social cohesion are dependent on sustaining high trend rate of growth over a
It is in the
above context that the role of public policy education should be viewed in India. The primary task of professional public
policy education in India should be to bring about a mind-set
change from ruling to governing, and to improve public policy processes and
transactions costs; addressing moral hazard, adverse selection and asymmetric
information issues; recognition of the importance of social capital;
maintenance of financial stability; managing pervasive agency problems; and the
importance of competition as a spur to economic efficiency are currently
inadequately reflected in public policy and programmes.Public policy education is essential to
overcome this inadequacy.
education should include all stakeholders, including politicians, civil
servants at all levels of government, legislative and judiciary staffs, media,
security personnel, academicians, researchers, and others. Near exclusive focus
on providing such education to personnel from All India Services, including
Indian Administrative Service, should be avoided.
policy education to have the desired impact it is essential that governments in
India, particularly at the Centre,
demonstrate willingness to accept basic principles of good governance and
management. This will require far reaching administrative and civil service
reform. As a part of such reform, shift from cadre and seniority based
organization of the civil service to a functional and merit-based organization.It does appear that congruence between
educational and professional experience of civil servant on the one hand and
responsibilities assigned is much less in India than in countries which are comparable
in size, complexity, and growth potential.
Public Policy Education in India
IN RECENT YEARS,
public policy education has witnessed strong growth internationally,
particularly in Asia. China, Japan, and Korea have established highly visible,
well-funded public policy Schools. Singapore’s Public Policy School is also well-funded
and has a diverse range of international collaborations, student body, and
faculty. Much of the inspiration for public policy schools appears to be
derived from the well-established public policy schools in the United States.
So far, the
public policy educations initiatives in India have been modest. Three management
institutes (Indian Institute of Management at Bangalore and Ahmedabad, and
Management Development Institute in Guragaon) have really small programmes
(each having a class size of between 25 and 35 students), with students drawn
exclusively from the All India Services. The Energy Research Institute (TERI),
a deemed University also has a similar programme. All these Programmes have a
tie-up with different U.S. based public policy schools, with six
to eight week attachment with them. Such an attachment can be potentially
useful in exposing students to more outcome-oriented and accountable public
services of the United States.
Programmes currently involve officers from All India Services. This may fulfill
the mandate of the Central Government’s Department of Personnel and Training
(DOPT). It however does not meet the needs of the country for several reasons.
team work is essential for desired outcomes, training should not be confined to
certain segments of the central government.
current programmes do not appear to be aligned with the training provided to
these officials at the time of induction. It is during the induction training
that long-lasting mind-sets and practices appear to be formed. Limited
provisions for lateral entry and specialization in the civil service also limit
absorption of new ideas and techniques.
widespread opportunities for public policy education at the earlier stages of
the career of the officials may be more effective. Indeed, many civil servants
have observed that during the first ten years of service, analytical and
managerial skills would have had beneficial impact on their performance.The habit of empirical-evidence based public
policies needs to be cultivated among the officials from the beginning.
Fourth, much of
the governmental services are provided at the state and municipal levels. The
civil service training institutes at the state level, and many training
institutes at the Centre (such as the National Social Security Training
Institute) have exhibited pronounced tendency to train administrators who are
overly respectful of the past practices and paradigms and not public policy
managers who are enthused by the vision of rising India. Professionalizing such
training institutes, and using their existing physical assets more
strategically and productively is essential to widen the opportunities for
public policy education and to broaden revenue sources.
Fifth, the model
adopted for these programmes have inherent limitations in being able to
increase access and supply of public policy education. For example, the
programme at Bangalore is residential, with 31 apartments specifically
built for the participants. This not only requires upfront capital, but it
limits enrollment. Economies of scale and scope therefore cannot be achieved;
while possibly reducing flexibility in the choice of institutions.
Sixth, there is
a practice by the Central government to send large number of officers abroad,
without always ensuring that large investments in their training are reflected
in benefits to the country. There is also a tendency on the part of the
government organizations to pay a large premium on branding when through
greater strategic vision, the same outcome can be achieved with less resources.
The efficient allocation of the training budget therefore requires
Seventh, a good
quality public policy education requires access to strong disciplinary
expertise in economics, management, science and technology, law, environment,
and other areas. The student body also must be diverse, including foreign
students. The faculty must include academics and practitioners from diverse
backgrounds and experience.
suggests that public policy education should be an integral part of the wider
reform of higher education in India. Separation of graduate from
undergraduate education, and of research from teaching has not proved to be
effective. Innovative approaches are therefore needed. But further analysis of
this topic is beyond the scope of the paper.
IT IS ESSENTIAL that
the dynamics of public policy education and evolving international trends be
incorporated in public policy education in India. The governance structure should
therefore have focused responsibilities and accountability for the outcomes. A
separate governing board responsible for public policy programs in the
institution should be encouraged. The institution should also set up an
advisory committee of national and international prominent and knowledgeable
individuals who provide international benchmarking of the curriculum and enable
new developments to be reflected in the public policy curriculum. These could
be honorary positions with only the expenses met. The key will be to select the
persons who are advancing public policy education in India.
Leaders with vision such as Mr. Narayan
Murthy of Infosys, and Mr. Bimal Jalan are examples of the appropriate persons
to be on the governing board.
The board and
the advisory committee should also be encouraged to help in networking and
raising resources to enable appropriate facilities and compensation structures,
as well as research facilities to be developed.
India should also aim to export its public
policy education by making it attractive for the foreign participants to come
to its institutions. Serious consideration could be given to establishing a new
world class public policy School with public-private partnership, where foreign
participation on a fee-paying basis will be encouraged.
CONSIDERATION SHOULD be given to setting up an association of all educational
institutions providing public policy education in India along the lines of Association of
Public Policy Schools (APPAM) in the United States. It is suggested that there should be
an annual conference jointly organized by these schools. It could rotate
between Delhi and some other city. There should be a
small permanent secretariat to be based in Delhi.
There should be
an Indian Journal of Public Policy which should try to establish itself as a
world class public policy journal, but affordable by the Indian institutions.
Participating institutions should include institutes such as Leadership Institute setup by Mr. Murthy in
Mysore; E-governments Foundation in Bangalore, National Institute for Smart
Governance in Hyderabad, PROOF (Public Record of Operations & Finance)and ICMA (Indian City Mangers Association )
in Ahmedabad. This will enable wider participation and pooling of resources and
expertise can be achieved.
DURATION executive courses fulfill many objectives. First, they permit public
policy education to be made available to a much larger number of participants.
Second, more specialized topics can be covered in such courses and third,
executive education is an integral part of any professional school. Indeed in
some public policy schools, executive education programs are an important way
to showcase the school’s capabilities and to generate additional revenues for
development of physical facilities and remunerate faculty while using physical
infrastructure more intensively. There should be a specialized person in charge
of the executive program with clear accountability for the outcomes.
India is developing strategic partnerships
with many countries. These should be leveraged to provide exposure and increase
networking with the relevant countries. This will require much greater effort on
the part of the DOPT. The vision however should be spread the public policy
education in India as rapidly as possible, with a view to
improving governments and management.
The Business Sector Stake
several reasons why the business sector has a vital stake in more professional
and extensive public policy education in India.
professional and competent public sector organizations can be expected to lead
to better public policies. These in turn could greatly increase the competitiveness
of Indian businesses, and enable the country to attain higher rate of growth
and livelihood creation.
effectiveness of public-private partnership will also be enhanced by better
understanding of the developmental tasks facing India by all the stakeholders. It is now
recognized that public sector alone simply does not have the capacity and
competence to meet infrastructure and social sector needs. Public-private
partnerships both within the domestic sphere and in the international sphere
are essential.This also applies to
economic diplomacy and to enhancing India’s soft power globally.
operates in a social context. This is particularly relevant in a heterogeneous
country such as India, with widely differing levels of readiness
for meeting modernization and globalization challenges. Indeed, it is presumed
greater willingness of domestic businesses to shoulder social responsibilities
that constitutes an important argument for encouraging domestic ownership of
companies. Public policy education can assist all stakeholders to better
appreciate the balance needed between the needs of business and those of the
society. An initiation by the Bangalore-based businesses, mainly in the IT
sector, to assist in revamping municipal accounting and budget management
systems illustrates the type of tasks being performed by India’s domestic business sector.
sector must increasingly manage complex and extensive regulation. The number of
regulatory agencies has increased considerably in India since the early 1990s; and so have the
impact of India’s increasingly globally integrated
economy of regulation by public and private bodies abroad. Thus, new accounting
rules requiring contingent pension and health liabilities to be reflected in
company accounts; and Basel II bank capital adequacy requirements have
significantly impacted on businesses. Poor regulation and implementation can
make otherwise well intentioned public policies dysfunctional and perverse.
India’s Prime Minister recently argued that the
outmoded governmental institutions and mind-set have been responsible for the
eagerness of Indian businesses to invest abroad, and for the low level of exposure
of global Indian entrepreneurs to manufacturing operations in India. The Prime Minister’s concern stems from the
fact that in 2005-06, India’s outward FDI exceeded inward FDI; and that Indian
controlled Mittal Steel with 100 million tonnes of annual output has negligible
manufacturing operations in India.
the case for developing quality and widely accessible public policy programmes
in India is quite strong. Indeed, India’s aspiration to become an important
global player depends on the extent to which such an initiative is implemented.
As in other areas, India’s policymakers and educators require
focus and determination to urgently address this need. Financial and other
resources are not the primary constraint. Willingness to shift mind-set from
ruling to governing is.