Since past few years, there has been a radical change in the public administration of India. Government now has started using technology and innovative means to properly administer the law and order. These novel technologies comfort the government in allowing experimentation and even process innovation.
Keeping this in mind, IIM Indore in association with Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie, organized a guest talk by Dr. Alok Mishra, Dy Director, LBSNAA on January 09, 2019. Dr. Mishra spoke on the topic—‘Changing Face of Public Administration in India’.
Dr. Mishra began his talk raising a query as to how the participants perceive government bureaucracy in general. The participants—consisting of students from EPGP, PGP and IPM enthusiastically took part in the discussion and noted that the government today is restricted, rigid, and opaque; and blinded by its own procedures. To this, Dr. Mishra questioned that why do we even need the government then? The participants said that government helps in upholding law and order, security, infrastructure and public policies as well.
Dr. Mishra then conversed how government policy is diverse from the private sector policy and what is expected from the government. ‘There might be a difference or a gap between what is expected from the government and the delivery. He then spoke at length about understanding state and development paradigm, public policy and the policy cycle, bureaucracy and its changing paradigm and the skills the leaders and managers need in order to become successful administrators.
Dr. Mishra also deliberated the development trajectory, and noted that the idea of development has always been a western one. He then shared his presentation which elaborated the variance between economic, political, administrative and social sectors. ‘Economically, earlier; the development was mostly dependent on agriculture or small scale/face to face transactions. However, in the modern times, it shifted to large scale corporations which led to creation of large scale impersonal transactions. Similarly, the previous political structure was fractured or personalistic, but now; the citizens control the nation-state. On the administrative front, the development has shifted from being patronage based to civil service bureaucracies’, he said.
Discussing the six broad dimensions of governance for over 200 countries and territories over the period 1996-2015, Dr. Mishra highlighted that changes in Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Laws and Control of Corruption has brought development. However, India still has a lot of challenges to overcome, he said.
Sharing facts and figures, Dr. Mishra said that state has been successful to some degree with considerable improvements in socio-economic indicators. ‘The literacy rate (% of population) has increased from 18 in the year 1950 to 78 in the year 2015. Similarly, life expectancy has jumped from 32 to 68.3; maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 per capita) has seen a shift from 1321 to 174; and per capita income ($ per year) has increased from 150 to 1750’, he said.
He said that India may be lagging behind its international comparators in some fields like HDI, Ease of Doing Business, Corruption Perception or Press Freedom, but it stands 3rd in the largest size in GDP; has a growth rate of 7.6—i.e. the fastest growing economy in the world (2015-16); has foreign reserves of $366.7 billion; urban population of 377 million (30 people move to urban areas every single minute); and has a 2nd largest road (33 Lakh km) and railway network (23 million people travel everyday) in the world.
Sharing why India has unparalleled opportunities, Dr. Mishra said, ‘Economically, we’re going to have a huge consumer market of $3.6 trillion by 2025 and our substantial GDP growth would be $20 trillion; and we will have 99% literacy rate as well—which would give us skilled workforce—and be the youngest nation with average Indian age 29 years’, he concluded.
The talk was a very interactive one, which helped the participants learn important facts and figures of the Indian Public Administration.