The Gist of Yojana: March 2013

The Gist of Yojana: March 2013

Contents

  • Good Governance at Glance

  • Governance and Development

  • Conceptual Framework of Good Governance

  • Anti – Corruption measures in India

  • Evolution of Bank Regulation in India

  • Strengthening and Restructuring of ICDS Scheme

  • Census Info India Software Launched

  • Rural Business Hub Scheme

GOOD GOVERNANCE AT GLANCE

No theory of governance would be intelligible unless it is
seen in the context of its time. In the beginning of the 21st century, it has
become evident that those who want minimal government are having an upper hand
against the advocates of the paternalist welfare state. An efficient, effective
and democratic government is the best guarantor of social justice as well as an
orderly society. Similarly, there is also emphasis on the fact that the
administrative system has to be country specific and area specific taking in
view not only the institutions of governance and its legal and regulatory
mechanisms but also its market, its civil society and cultural values of the
people. The principal response of the state, therefore, would be to facilitate,
to enable, and to coordinate. Neither the market nor the civil society can
perform this role as effectively as the government and thus they cannot become
substitutes for the government. India is not excluded from this global debate or
transition from socialist order to capitalist growth models. Fortunately, the
Indian State does not have the monopoly of the public sphere. The civil society
is increasingly more concerned with public sphere issues and government
intervention is considered necessary to provide welfare schemes to cover social
safety needs, upgrade health-care to protect children, and help provide
opportunities for women and the minorities.

India’s political leadership, policy makers and business
brains are actuated by a strong desire to make the country an economic
superpower in the 21st Century. The imperatives of democracy, however, are
forcing Indian political leadership to look deeper into the causes of poverty,
inequality and suffering of the common man.

Good Governance

Citizens all the world over look up to the nation-state and
its organs for high quality performance. It is necessary that citizens are
allowed to participate freely, openly and fully in the political process. Good
governance is associated with accountable political leadership, enlightened
policy-making and a civil service imbued with a professional ethos. The presence
of a strong civil society including a free press and independent judiciary are
pre-conditions for good governance.

What is ‘good’ governance in the Indian context? The central
challenge before good governance relates to social development. In his famous
‘tryst with destiny’ speech on 14 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru articulated this
challenge as ‘the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of
opportunities’. Good governance must aim at expansion in social opportunities
and removal of poverty. In short, good governance, as I perceive it, means
securing justice, empowerment, employment and efficient delivery of services.

Securing Justice

There are several inter-related aspects of securing justice including
security of life and property, access to justice, and rule of law.

Threats to Peace

The most important public good is the ensurance of security
especially security of life and property. The Indian nation-state is aware of
complexities of the situation and the need is to show greater determination and
be relentless in support to its instruments of law and forces of democracy and
social cohesion to defeat the elements of terror, insurgency and naxalite
violence.

Access to Justice

Access to justice is based upon the basic principle that
people should be able to rely upon the correct application of law. In actual
practice there are several countervailing factors. Some citizens do not know
their rights and cannot afford legal aid to advocate on their behalf. The most
severe challenge relates to complexity of adjudication as legal proceedings are
lengthy and costly and the judiciary lacks personnel and logistics to deal with
these matters. Systematic solutions are, therefore, needed for strengthening
access to justice. At the same time ad hoc measures are required to provide
immediate assistance to the needy citizens.

Rule of Law

The concept of good governance is undoubtedly linked with the citizens’ right
of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This could be secured in a democracy
only through the rule of law.

The rule of law is expressed through the axiom that no one is
above the law. One has to clearly understand that the rule ‘of’ law is different
from the rule ‘by’ law. Under the rule ‘by’ law, law is an instrument of the
government and the government is above the law while under the rule ‘of’ law no
one is above the law not even the government. It is under this framework that
rule of law not only guarantees the liberty of the citizens but it also limits
the arbitrariness of the government and thereby it makes government more
articulate in decision-making. The rule of law as Dicey postulated is equality
before law. This is secured through formal and procedural justice which makes
independent judiciary a very vital instrument of governance.

In our constitutional system, every person is entitled to
equality before law and equal protection under the law. No person can be
deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure
established by law. Thus the state is bound to protect the life and liberty of
every human being. The courts have the final authority to test any
administrative action on the standard of legality. The administrative or
executive action that does not meet the standard of legality will be set aside
if the aggrieved person brings an appropriate petition in the competent court.

A necessary corollary of this phenomenon is called ‘judicial
activism’. A large number of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) are filed in
High Courts and the Supreme Court against the apathy of the executive. This has
served us admirably but it has also highlighted the need for circumspection and
self-restraint on the part of the judges in performance of this task. Another
matter of significance in the context of good governance relates to the fact
that there are virtues of ‘judicial creativity’ but this phenomenon must not
stifle ‘executive creativity’ particularly of officials working at grassroots
level for they are in day-to-day contact with citizens and interact with them in
myriad ways.

Empowerment

An empowering approach to poverty reduction needs to be based
on the conviction that poor people have to be both the object of development
programmes and principal agency for development.
Our Constitution is committed to two different set of principles that have a
decisive bearing on equality. First, is the principle of equal opportunities to
all and the second, the principle of redress of educational and social
backwardness. The question is, not only of the extent to which reservation in
Government employment can really change things for the better, but how it could
be used, in order to benefit the socially, educationally and economically
backward ones.

In providing protectionist regulations in government
employment, no special care was taken for the poor students since the
Constitution only recognized “educational and social backwardness” and not
economic backwardness as a norm to be applied in formulation of preferential
policies in government employment.

The Supreme Court in a landmark Judgment (Indira Sawhney &
Others Vs. Union of India and Others) delivered on 16.11.1992, while upholding
the reservation of 27 percent of vacancies in the civil posts and services in
the Government of India in favour of other backward classes (OBCs), provided for
exclusion of socially advanced persons/sections among them commonly known as
“the creamy layer”. The Supreme Court further directed the Government of India
to specify socio-economic criteria for exclusion of “the creamy layer” from the
OBCs. Subsequently, the children of persons holding eminent positions in
Government and also of rich farming families were made ineligible from
reservation in services. Recently, the Government of India has stipulated that
sons and daughters of persons having gross annual income of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per
annum and above would be excluded from reservation of services.

Today India has 3.3 million elected representatives in
Panchayats in nearly half a million villages out of whom over one million are
women. Direct elections have also brought into the village national life and
consciousness about strengths of democracy and the need for democratic behaviour
in terms of the Constitution of India. The print and electronic media in
particular have strengthened this process.

Employment

Generation of gainful employment for the youth is the most
challenging task facing India’s political economy.

The need is to prepare the youth with such education that
would help them acquire vocational skills and mastery over new technology,
including internet. This would make the youth employable in the job-market and
also help those who want to work on their own. In addition, there is an
imperative requirement to pay special attention to generation of employment
opportunities in agriculture, expand area of coverage of rural employment
guarantee schemes, and accelerate the pace of implementation of Bharat Nirman
schemes and several other programmes. Similarly, it would be essential to
encourage private sector partnership and support movement of self-help groups
and micro-financing institutions.

Capacity Building

Capacity building at all levels of an organization is widely
perceived as the most important approach to achieve quality of services and
customer’s satisfaction.

In a federal democracy, decentralization of power is viewed
as necessary to empower people in rural and urban areas to improve their lot.
The empowerment of the local levels of administration would foster confidence
and enable more individuals even outside the bureaucracy to come forward to
handle community needs and enhance public good effectively without hesitancy or
the need of approval by higher level authorities.
The most crucial element in capacity building is leadership. Good leadership
aimed at improvement of organizational culture is integral to capacity building.
Capacity building demands staff to behave responsibly and produce desired and
agreed upon results. It means a collegiate effort in which an individual or an
organization could be made accountable and responsible for any action that they
take. Access to information, participation, innovation and accountability are
needed to build an environment for capacity building.

Other Major Challenges to Good Governance

At the obvious risk of generalization, I would like to refer
to criminalization of politics and corruption as major challenges to good
governance.

Criminalisation of Politics

The criminalisation of the political process and the unholy
nexus between politicians, civil servants, and business houses are having a
baneful influence on public policy formulation and governance. Political class
as such is losing respect. It is true that public is not a mute spectator to
this phenomenon nor is the media. The process of judicial accountability has
succeeded in sending several legislators and ministers to jail. But new methods
have also been devised to fiddle away with the processes of law. Criminals
facing prosecution get out on bail and even go scot-free. It is necessary to
debar criminals from contesting elections. It is imperative, therefore, to amend
Section 8 of the Representation of the People’s Act 1951 to disqualify a person
against whom the competent judicial authority has framed charges that relate to
grave and heinous offences and corruption.

Do you Know?

What are Non Performing Assets?

Non Performing Assets (NPAs) are the debts for which the bank
has not received any interest or principal repayment for an extended period of
time. Since no income accrues to the lending institution from these debts, these
are classified as NPAs. We can say that NPA refers to loans that are in jeopardy
of default.

If a loan instalment is not paid to a bank or financial
institution for three months continuously, it is considered NPA and the bank
records it as NPA in its book of accounts. NPAs create burden on the financial
institutions and hence they are often good indicators of the health of a
financial institution.

What is Digital Signature?

The digital counterpart of the handwritten signature is
Digital Signature. Just as a paper document is authenticated with handwritten
signature, digital signature authenticates the identity of the owner of the
document in the digital world. It gives the assurance about the sender of the
document as also the fact that the document has not been altered. Digital
Signature is a kind of stamp which is very difficult to duplicate and forge. The
Information Technology Act, 2000 requires the use of Digital Signatures to
ensure security and authenticity of all electronically filed documents.

Digital Signature certificates (DSC) can be purchased from
Certification Agencies (CAs) approved by the Controller of Certifying
Authorities. Currently MTNL CA, TCS, IDBRT, Safetycrypt (Sat yam), nCode
Solutions, NIC, and e-Mudhra are the authorised Certification Agencies for
individuals in India. The Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) generally have a
validity of one year or two years and are legally admissible in a court of law.

What does the PAN Number represent?

Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a ten digit Alpha-numeric
number issued by the Income Tax department. The purpose of allotting PAN is to
link financial transactions of an individual or firm with the Income Tax
department. PAN facilitates linking of the various documents such as Income Tax
Return, Tax Deduction at Source (TDS), Tax Arrears and Refund to an individual
and acts as an identifier. It is an important mechanism to check tax evasion and
to broaden the tax base.

However, the ten Alpha-numeric digits of the PAN have a
specific meaning. We can take a sample PAN and find out what various digits and
numbers stand for-First three characters- Alphabetic series running from AAA to
ZZZ which is randomly allocated.; Fourth Character- Status of the PAN-holder.
Here, P stands for Individual, F stands for Firm, C stands for Company, H stands
for HUF, T stands for Trust etc.; Fifth Character- It is the first letter of the
surname of the PAN holder. If a person changes the surname after marriage or for
any other reason, the PAN does not change.; Sixth to ninth Character- These are
sequential numbers running from 0001 to 9999. This is also allocated randomly.;
Tenth Character- It is the alphabetic check digit which is generated by applying
a formula to the preceding nine numbers and digits.

What is Cheque Truncation & How it works?

Cheque Truncation System (CTS) is used by the banks to stop
the movement of a physical cheque from the bank where it is presented to the
bank which had issued it. Under this system, an electronic image of the cheque
is transmitted to the drawee branch along with the necessary information inputs
like Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) code, date of presentation and
details of the bank presenting the cheque.
The new system of Cheque Truncation will cut the time that was earlier consumed
in the physical movement of cheques from presenting branch to the drawee branch.
At present, the outstation cheques take around seven days to get cleared. Once
the system is in force in the whole country, it will take one or two days to
clear a cheque. The settlement cycles of the bank will also be drastically
reduced. There will be no fear of loss or damage to the cheque in physical
transfer. Alteration in cheque is not accepted in this system.

Governance and Development

  • As the State withdraws from direct delivery governance
    would need to establish a regulatory framework for the functioning of the
    economic and social sectors; and also lay down the institutional framework,
    the incentive and disincentive mechanisms and fiscal structures for civil
    society institutions to function, like decentralised, local institutions of
    Government, Cooperatives, NGO’s and newer ‘mixed’ forms of similar
    organisations.

  • Non-renewable resource scarcities will be far more severe
    particularly of resources, like water, quality land, and energy and
    sustainability concerns will be acute.

  • There will be a much greater emphasis on the rights of
    individuals and groups, including participatory forms of decision making.
    This in turn will demand greater fairness and self-restraint in the use of
    Government Power. Related to it will be demands on transparency and right to
    information .

  • There will be the demand for protecting vulnerable
    groups, either the historically underprivileged, or the victims of
    marketisation, oncerns for human rights and particularly of specific groups
    such as women, children, the minorities, the adivasis, the mentally and
    physically challenged.

  • On the flip side modern technology will be seen as
    providing cutting edge knowledge based solutions to emerging scarcities or
    problems, and therefore greater use of information technology,
    biotechnology, systems networking, the new materials and strategic
    management responses.

  • Thoughtful groups will see security concerns becoming
    more acute, arising from socio-economic political dichotomies and resultant
    tensions as also the more basic issues of energy security, food and water
    security and institutional dimenrions of addressing these.

Constitutional and Legal Perspectives: Human Rights and
Environmental Law

The Constitutional and legal dimensions of Public
administration determine the powers, functions and accountability of the
government. A major change in the evolution of civil services in India occurred
with the adoption of a democratic constitution incorporating the ideas of rule
of law, guaranteed rights and parliamentary government. The 73rd and 74th
Constitutional amendments envisage a further change in the same direction.
Services under the Union and the States find a prominent place in the
constitution itself. An autonomous Commission with vast powers for recruitment
to the services is another important aspect which emphasises its role in
constitutional governance.

Looked at in the above context we need to understand the
significance of rule of law and the concept of limited government under a
written federal-type Constitution. The values of the constitution written into
Preamble, Fundamental rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles have
to become part of the system. As an instrument of governance the provisions of
the Constitution and its interpretation by courts constitute a point of
reference to all government action. These are subject to judicial review which
is the foundation of rule of law under a scheme of constitutional government.

The primary agency of the government to protect human rights,
more particularly of weaker sections of society is the bureaucracy because they
are the enforcers of the law. The Court steps in only if the executive fails to
implement the laws or implement it contrary to law and selectively.

A constitution which proclaims secularism and social justice
based on equal protection of the laws puts a heavy burden on government, both at
the central and state level. Hence the importance of constitutional perspective.

Another dimension which conditions the functioning of civil society in modem
times is the profusion of laws, national and international relating to economy,
ecology, technology and international treaty obligations. The change in the
concept of property from something tangible to forms which are intellectual and
intangible brought almost a revolution in the laws of trade and commerce.

Intellectual property law and trade related intellectual
property rights have become critical in economic governance globally. Added to
this is the revolution in information and communication technology which threw
up a new legal framework for doing business within and outside government.
Globalisation is happening not only in relation to market but in respect of all
conceivable aspects of organised life to the fast changing legal climate in all
these matters influencing both policy development and administration.

Yet another legal dimension impinging public governance at
all levels is the jurisprudence of sustainable development. There are today
legal parameters in the use of administration which have to be accommodated
within sustainable limits. These are some of the significant legal perspectives
which are critical for civil society in the future.

E-Governance: Need for a bottom-up approach

On its journey to Improve services for citizens, the
government has undertaken several successful e-governance initiatives such as
MCA21 (to improve the speed and certainty in the delivery of the services of
Ministry of Company Affairs), online submission of income tax returns, Passport
Seva Kendra (PSK), etc. Also, to roll out all the planned 1,100 e-governance
services by 2014, the government is making huge investment – up to Rs 40,000
crore. This investment will cover the cost of all kinds of hardware and software
that will be required for capacity building.

‘At your service’ or Mee Seva is Government of Andhra
Pradesh’s window to its citizens. Nearly 6,000 Mee Seva Counters are servicing
over 50,000 requests ‘per day, which are geared to handle 100,000 transactions a
day. It has converged all National e-Governance Programme (NeGP) initiatives in
rendering G2C services in a fast and secure way thus ended the “tyranny of ink
signatures”. Back-end applications interact with database and pull out
information and front-end application receives the citizen’s request and
communicates with departmental application – therefore gives a single view of
the citizen. It involves departments like revenue, registration, municipal
administration, education and other service delivery channels. Reduction in
cost, increase in storage, flexibility, information access from anywhere and no
worries about keeping software up to date are but few considerations that
encouraged Government of Maharashtra to pioneer a MahaGov Cloud.

Implemented in State Data Centre, it is being used by
departments for website and application hosting. Out of 42 government
departments, 25 are already on the cloud that hosts 70 different applications.
Using feature of thin provision of storage and memory, resources are efficiently
utilized and allocated as per the requirement and performance. It is helping the
SDC team to manage planned maintenance without requiring any downtime of the
application, thus has increased procedural efficiencies.

Application of e-governance for (Inclusive Development)

The Fig. shows how a transition is feasible from ‘open doors
to open hearts’ , with the application of ICT. The application of e-governance
can create an open door administration and transparent government. To describe
the designing message for rural development through e-governance, it is
considered that it should have citizen-centric services and dependable. In this
system, the selection of appropriate (dependable, maintainable and
cost-effective) technologies for rural connectivity and information processing
solutions should focus on the betterment of society. However, we should keep in
mind that the inequity of economic condition of rural masses should not create
any hindrance to access their required information, which is considered one of
the basic constraints in any participatory development.

Rural e-government Initiatives

It aimed at facilitating the District Rural Development
Agency (DRDA) in the monitoring of exercise of poverty alleviation programmes
through Computer based Information System. Till date your version of CRISP
application software packages have been developed. Rural soft 2000 allows online
monitoring of processes right from the desktop of monitoring agencies at Centre
and State and enables a common man to access information using a browser based
interface.

National E-Governance Action Plan (2003): National
E-Governance Action Plan suggested a list of core policies: (1) Overall vision,
mission strategy approach. (2) E-Governance technology architecture, framework
and guidelines. (3) Human Resource Strategy. (4) Policy for front end
facilitation counters, kiosks, integrated service centres. (5) Policy on
back-end department automation.

State Wide Network Area Project (SWAN): This project aims at
providing high speed, high connectivity network connecting offices at block
level for faster access to Governance serivices.

Corruption, Participatory Development and Good Governance

Corruption is one of the most serious consequences of poor
governance. A country with widespread corruption invariably has low investment
rates, poor economic growth and limited human development. There are few
countries in the world, like as Indonesia, Kenya, Angola, Madagascar, Paraguay,
Nigeria, Bangladesh, and India – where it pervades every comer of public life.
The public will find the cost of delivering this service inordinately high.
Corruption has no positive effects. It hits the poor hardest, it makes a mockery
of financial systems and it actively works against the legitimacy of the state.
Poverty, development, growth and investment – all suffers at the hands of
corruption. Its effects are extremely damaging, far reaching and all pervasive.
For India, the world’s largest democracy, it is a painful irony that despite a
good foundation of democratic institutions, she has a score of only 2.7 out of 1
0 in 2002, was ranked 71st out of 102 countries for corruption. As per
Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (2005), India scored
2.9 out of 10. Since then, her ranking has kept falling. A survey conducted by
Transparency International cites India as far worse than China and refers to her
as a country where bribery and corruption are among the worst in the world. In a
developing country, resources are always scares and demand greater than supply.
The recipients of public services are mostly the poor, illiterate, ignorant and
weak. Thus it is the ordinary men who suffer most from misgovernment and
corruption. In India, even the highly educated lack the power to protest. There
is no accountability or transparency among public servants. It is difficult to
define corruption. There is no consensus on the definition of corruption,
because what is perceived to be a corrupt activity is based on a society’s
acceptance and level of tolerance. Corruption is generally defined as a kind of
illegitimate favor for immediate or future personal gain for doing an official
work which one is supposed to do free of charge and objectivity. In most of the
developing countries, corruption is like a virus. It has infected almost every
social and economic activity.

Conceptual Framework of Good Governance

The philosophy of good governance has its origin dated back
to the early days of human civilization. The description of Indus Valley and
Vedic civilizations bear the details of the concept. Today the term ‘Governance’
has come to occupy a central place in the development discourse. Among the
several development strategies governance is considered as an important element.
There are many means of achieving good result in governance. Traditional texts
such as Upanishads and in later period Kautilya’s ‘Arthashatra’ delinate many
methods of achieving the good results with has gained new momentum after the
collapse of the totalitarian states in East European countries and the cry for
democracy in several developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The term government and governance appear synonymous in
dictionary. Government refers to formal and institutional processes which
operate at the level of nation state to maintain public order and facilitate
collective action. It is a formal institution of the state with their monopoly
of legitimacy, coercive power. It refers to various forms of political system or
the manner in which state exercises its power in utilizing socio- economic
resources. Governance signifies new process of governing or changed condition of
ordered rule of new method by which society is governed. Rhodes defined
governance in eight ways. They are minimal state, governance according to
private enterprise model, new public management, good governance, a social
cybernetic system and a series of self organized social network. The Commission
on Global Governance defines governance as “governance is the sum of many ways
individuals and institutions, public and private manage their common affairs. It
is a continuing process through which conflicting and diverse interests may be
accommodated and cooperative action taken. Governance is the creation of
structure or an order, which cannot be extremely imposed but is the result of
the interaction of multiplicity of governing and each others influencing
actors.” The Human Development Report, 2002 has given a new perspective to
governance by terming it as democratic governances, which is essential for
better human development.

Anti – Corruption measures in India

Indian democracy has taken various measures for anti –
corruption in public life. Government of India set up Special Police
Establishment (SPE) in 1941, to investigate cases of bribery and corruption. On
April, 1963, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up. The CBI plays
a supplementary rule to the states police forces. The cases which essentially
and substantially involve central government employees or their officers, or
certain state government employees are referred to the CBI. CBI can also take up
cases against employees of statutory bodies or public undertakings established
and financed by the government in India.
Two types of vigilance organizations at the department level exist: a) the
Administrative Vigilance Division of Home Affairs and b) the Vigilance Units in
the respective ministers and department and their counterparts in the public
sector undertakings.

The Administrative Vigilance Division was established in
1955. It assumed the overall responsibility and provided the necessary drive,
direction and coordination to ensure sustained and vigorous action by individual
ministers and departments. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) consists of
three directorates, viz, Directorate of general compliant and redness, the
Central Police organization and the Directorate of Vigilance. It undertake an
enquiry into any transaction in which a public servant is suspected or alleged
to have acted for an improper purpose or in a corrupt manner. It also
investigates into any complaint against a public servant who has exercised or
refrained from exercising his powers for improper or corrupt purposes. Apart
from this Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) there is a State Vigilance
Commission (SVC) in each state. The state vigilance commission deals with
matters within executive powers of the state concerned. At the Divisional level,
a Divisional Vigilance Board has been set up. At the District level, District
vigilance Officer heads the vigilance organizations. The Administrative Reforms
Commission recommended in 1966 the adaption of the Ombudsman type of institution
in India. The Congress government under Mrs. Indira Gandhi proposed to set up
the institution of ‘Lokpal ‘at the central level, but the bill lapsed in 1971.
This bill introduced in Parliament in many times in 1977, 1985, 1989, 1998, 2001
and in a strong form in 2011. Government of India drafted the bill and tabled in
Lok Sabha in 2011. But this bill even today is hung due to the unwillingness of
our parliamentarians. The government of India introduced Public Procurement Bill
in Lok Sabha to check corruption and ensure transparency in public procurement.
The bill seeks to regulates award of government contracts of over Rs. 50 lakh
with the object of ensuring ‘transparency, accountability and probity’.

The bill of objects and reasons will codify the basic norms
to regulate public procurement and provide for deferring bidders found engaged
in corrupt practices. The bill also provide for Jail term ranging from six month
to five years for public servants found guilty of demanding and accepting bribes
from bidders of government contracts.

Features of Good Governance

  • Good education facilities offered by the government
    having greater employability,

  • Development of basic infrastructures like roads, bridges,
    power, telecom, airport, irrigation and transport

  • Creating new employment opportunities in the government
    and private sectors,

  • Effectiveness and efficiency of working of government and
    its staffs,

  • Good business environment with free-market economy,

  • Reducing inequalities in the society through positive
    discrimination in favour of poorest of the poor

  • Providing total freedom of speech, of religion, of work
    and attitude of non-interference by government.

  • Provision of more concessions to citizens and free from
    bias,

  • Good business environment and

  • Citizen centric services.

Major Initiatives

Recently two major initiatives have been taken up in India
for empowering common man and effective functioning of governance which include
Right to Information and E-Governance.

Right to Information

The Right to Information Act has been enacted on 12th
October, 2005 which marks a significant shift in the Indian democracy and
ushered a new era of empowerment of common man in India. Through this act one
can examine, audit, review and assess the government works and decisions to
ensure that these are consistent with the principles of public interest,
integrity and justice. The greater the access of the citizen to the information,
the greater would be the responsiveness of the government to community needs.
Right to information therefore promotes openness, transparency and
accountability in administration by making the government more open to public
scrutiny. Without information, the common man cannot adequately exercise his
rights and responsibilities or make informed choices. So Right to Information is
the most effective instrument to check corruption where the citizen has the
right to take the initiatives to seek information from the state and thereby
enforce transparency and accountability.

Challenges to Good Governance in India

While evaluating India’s stand amongst other countries of the
world, it is revealed that India is compared favourably with many developing
countries though it has long way to go to attain the level of developed
countries. The criminalization of politics and corruption are two major
challenges of good governance in India which need to be addressed on urgent
basis.

The corruption has virtually spread in almost all aspects of
public life. The person lying on the street is left to struggle incessantly with
corruption throughout his life. Corruption is relatively inherent in terms of
client public puzzle, harassed by opaque rules and procedures, excessive delay
in disposal of public matters. It not only averts the benefits of globalization
to reach the common men but also denies transparency, accessibility and
accountability, confuses rules and procedures, proliferate mindless control and
poor commitments at all levels. Hence, there is foremost need to check
corruption at all levels through raising public consciousness and strong
commitments not to make dishonest compromises which would put down the moral
values and ethics of life.

India being the largest democratic country in the world is
struggling hard to emerge as world class leader in the fields of social and
economic development. However, the nexus of crime and politics is so strong that
the common citizens of the country have no stand to say or exert their rights.
In order to prevent such misuses on May 2, 2002, the Supreme Court of India has
given a historic judgement following the public interest litigation (PIL) led by
an NGO that, every candidate contesting an election to Parliament, State
Legislatures or Municipal Corporations has to give true declarations of
candidate’s educational qualifications, criminal charges and financial records.
Though, many commissions and committees have been framed to bring improvement in
the situation, these reformative measures are just a drop in the ocean. So a new
beginning is necessary to ameliorate criminalisation from politics and the
seriousness of matter should be properly worked out. The educated youngsters
should be encouraged to enter into Indian politics and these young leaders
should be properly nourished by the patriotic commitments and abide by the core
principles of democratice governance.

Evolution of Bank Regulation in India

A robust regulatory framework prerequisite for the
development of banking system. Prior to 1949, the banking companies, along with
other companies, were governed by the Indian Companies Act, 1913. This Act,
however, contained very few provisions specifically applicable to banks. There
were also a few ad hoc enactments, such as the Banking Companies (Inspection)
Ordinance, 1946, and the Banking Companies (Restriction of Branches) Act, 1946,
covering specific regulatory aspects. There was no separate legislative
framework for regulation of the banking system.

In March 1949, a special legislation, called the Banking
Companies Act, 1949, applicable exclusively to the banking companies, was
passed. This Act was renamed as the Banking Regulation Act in March 1966. The
Act vested in the Reserve Bank, the responsibility relating to licensing of
banks, branch expansion, liquidity of their assets, management and methods of
working, amalgamation, reconstruction and liquidation. Various amendments in
several provisions of the Act were made from time to time addressing the
evolving imperatives of the banking sector developments.

The overarching philosophy underlying banking regulation in
India has been to ensure that the growth of the financial sector remains in
alignment with the growth of real sector and that there is a harmonized
development of real and financial sectors. While recognizing the significance of
innovation for efficient allocation of resources and increased competition, the
regulation adopted a measured appraoch, striking a balancebetween costs of
misadventures and denefits of growth. In recognition of Indian regulatory
approach, RBI was awarded the 2012 Dufrenoy Prize for facilitating responsible
innovation in finance.

Strengthening and Restructuring of ICDS Scheme

The integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), scheme run
by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is all set for a major
strengthening and restructuring with an accent on convergence of the scheme with
nodal ministries and Panchayati raj Institutions. There were various reasons why
the need for strengthening and restructuring was felt. The rapid
universalisation did not match the human and financial resource. There were also
several programmatic gaps absence of building and facilities at the Aanganwadi
level shortage of quality human resource. There was also an inadequate focus on
children under the age of three and early childhood education. The A WCs were
perceived as merely feeding centres. There was inadequate convergence and low
involvement of states in programme planning.

There were also several operational gaps like insufficient
accountability, irregularity in the functioning of A WCs and fund transfer
mechanism marked with delays, weak concurrent monitoring and a single Aanganwadi
worker at each AWC burdened with non-ICDS functions.

The ICDS is going to be set in a mission mode with
institutional mechanisms at the central state, district and block level as well
as adequate human and financial resources being linked to accountability and
outcomes. It will be in mission mode as is the case with other flagship
programmes like National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

A senior official in the ministry said that they were putting
up the entire thing in the public domain. There would be programmatic change,
managerial intervention and institutional changes. The reforms have been planned
on these lines and they would give a certain flexibility to the state so that
they submit their annual plan based on their local needs. The state could
suggest any innovation or funding or any pilot to be done.

One of the major weakness of ICDS was that there wasn’t any
support for the functioning of Aanganwadi Centres (AWCs). This is going to be
addressed through the restructuring. A strong convergence with other programmes
like NREGA and NRHM and is being envisaged. For instance water and sanitation
problems will be solved by convergence with the water and sanitation department.
The official added that over the next five years, they had a target to fill up
the maximum gaps. They were experimenting for setting up A WC cum day-care
centres. About 70,000 A WCs are going to be converted into creche day care
centres. The focus is hence going to be redefined, the official added.
Additional workers will be sent into nearly 200 districts, which would be
high-burden districts. For instance, if a district had burdened with under
nutrition, it would get more workers. On a cluster of three to four A WCs would
be a link worker. There would be a decentralized approach, states would be left
free to devise their own strategies.

The focus will be on making ICDS a vibrant institution. The
accent would be on pre-school non formal education, the age group of 3-6 years.
The ministry is taking steps for policy finalization, quality and standards.
This, coupled with training and capacity building of workers, would improve the
situation. There would be an interface with parents and elders for focus on
early childhood education. The ICDS has come under fire for siphoning off of
funds and not letting them reach the concerned beneficiaries. The official
asserted that they had a social audit in place to check this. The effort was
being made to take measures to stop this corrupt practice. There would be
vigorous monitoring and more community mobilization. The infrastructure would be
developed to make the services more child-friendly. More space would be provided
and play facilities would be enhanced for the children. Even the curriculum
would be revised to make it more child friendly.

There is a plan to roll out Strengthened and Restructured
ICDS in three years beginning with 200 High Burden districts in the first year
2012-13; additional 200 districts in second year (2013-14) including districts
from special category States namely Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and
Uttarakhand and North East Region and remaining 243 districts in the third year
(2014-15) of the 12th Five Year Plan. The financial implications during 12lh
Five Year Plan is estimated at Rs. 1,23,580 crore. Programmatic, management and
institutional reforms will be initiated with widened and revised package of
services to focus on under-3 children, maternal care, and Early Childhood Care
Education (ECCE) as per the broad framework for implementation with necessary
changes in financial norms/allocations and outcomes along with flexibility to
the States with scope for innovations. There will be continued implementation of
ICDS Scheme in 12th Five Year Plan and ICDS in Mission mode.

For greater focus and reaching children under three and
pregnant and lactating mothers, a package of six services has been redesigned
with new components. There will be new childcare and nutrition counselling
services. There will be increased investment in infrastructure and childcare
facilities. To enhance nutritional impact additional nutrition counselor will be
added to the AWCs. States will be given flexibility to provide community based
care to moderately and severely undernourished children. The mission mode will
allow improved growth monitoring and community participation through use of
joint Mother and Child Protection Cards. It ensures a better health care by
ensuring a continuum of care from family to A WC to community to health sub-centres
and so on.lt will strive to improve the quality of early leaning through a
comprehensive training and curriculum framework. The objectives of the ICDS
mission would be to institutionalize essential services and strengthen.
structures at all levels. It will also enhance capacities at all levels. Other
objectives include ensuring proper inter-sectoral response, raising public
awareness and participation, and creating a data base and knowledge base of
child development services.

ICDS introduced in 1975, has been universalised mainly after
2005-06 and finally in 2008-09 through 7076 approved Projects and 14 lakh A WCs
across the country. The universalisation, however, did not match with the
concomitant human and financial resources as a result of which programmatic,
management and institutional gaps have crept in. This necessitated the
strengthen and restructuring of ICDS.

CensusInfo India Software Launched

The CensusInfo India Software has been launched by Dr. C.
Chandramouli, Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India.

The specially developed CensusInfo India Software is an
innovative and flexible database technology used for the dissemination of
Population and Housing Census results.

The software has been developed by the United Nations
Statistics Division, in partnership with UNICEF and UNFPA, to help countries
disseminate their census results at any relevant geographical level, on CD-ROM
and also on the web. CensusInfo India on Houses, Household Amenities and Assets
based on Census 2011 data provides access to the dataset on a number of
indicators at State and District level.

The user is able to extract information quite easily and
generate charts and maps depicting the data. This powerful data dissemination
tool would not only reduce the burden of statistical drudgery, but at the same
time would make using census data an enjoyable experience.

Rural Business Hub Scheme

The Rural Business Hubs (RBH) Scheme aims at synergistically
linking the strengths of rural areas/producers with industry and marketing
organizations so that rural products reach wider market and benefits of value
addition are shared.

Click Here
to Download Full Free e-Book

<<
Go Back To Main Page

Leave a Reply