ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Corruption and the Poor

In the article, “Anna Hazare, Liberalisation and the Careers of Corruption in Modern India: 1974-2011” (EPW, 16 August 2014), Matthew Jenkins presents a useful historical account of how the discourse on corruption and the movements to counter corruption have evolved in India over the past several...

Fighting Corruption

The growing distrust of government and widespread public rage against corruption are driven by what citizens experience in their day-to-day interactions with a variety of public agencies. The solution to this problem lies in the reform of the public service design and delivery at all levels of government. Transparency in public governance can go a long way in reducing the scope for corruption. That discretionary decision-making under the shadow of non-transparency is tailor-made to breed corruption is borne out by numerous recent cases.

Internationalisation of Higher Education: Strategic Implications

India's strategy with regard to internationalisation of higher education should be based on its potential to be an effective aid to the mitigation of the basic problems facing this sector. So far, the liberalisation policies have induced foreign providers to focus only on certain technical and professional fields of study that can earn them good market returns. In contrast to these modes, it is better to design a strategy that taps foreign universities and institutes of acceptable quality to work together with Indian universities/institutes to improve both access and quality. Augmenting and strengthening the capacity to produce more faculty in selected fields through such partnerships will help public universities play a more effective role in higher education.

Alternative Path

You have hit the nail on the head in your editorial when you say that the CPI(M) has failed to present an alternative path (‘Bereft of an Alternative Path’, April 12). What is not clear, however, is whether this reflects a poverty of ideas or a failure to develop a strategic consensus on an...

India's Citizen's Charters: In Search of a Champion

This paper presents an assessment of the progress and effectiveness over the past decade of the citizen's charter initiative that is an effort to make public service providers more open, citizen-friendly and accountable. This reform has failed to deliver on its promise. Though the underlying model has much relevance to the Indian context, the lack of a sound strategy and the absence of champions at the central and state levels to see it through have contributed significantly to this outcome.

Employment Guarantee: Why Progress Is Patchy?

Letters Employment Guarantee: Why Progress Is Patchy? I t is encouraging that both scholars and activists have begun to report on the progress of the national rural employment guarantee programme (NREGP) in different states. Though it is too early to discern overall trends, it is clear that...

Public Spending, Outcomes and Accountability

The government's failure to effectively monitor the outcomes of public expenditure is a major reason for corruption and the low level of accountability in the country. There are genuine problems of observation, measurement and incentives behind this failure. In respect of public services, it is possible to substantially compensate for this failure by seeking "user feedback" on services. This paper presents the findings of a civil society initiative in Bangalore that produced "citizen report cards" on the city's services, based on user feedback and stimulated public agencies over a period of a decade to improve service outcomes. While citizen monitoring may be the only option when a government is indifferent to outcomes, there is no reason why the latter should not seek user feedback and benchmark its services when its internal monitoring is weak or incomplete. The citizen report cards of Bangalore offer a replicable approach that has now been tried out in other cities both in India and abroad, and even in rural areas. Whether the advocacy that follows the report card will improve service outcomes in all contexts is difficult to say as the responses from public agencies may vary. But even when a government and its agencies are indifferent, citizen report cards can be used to nudge them to pay more attention to service outcomes and public accountability.

Bangalore Agenda Task Force

it covered, its strategy for action, deci sions, etc, before proceeding to assess its worth and adequacy. Bangalore Agenda Task Force A Private-Public Partnership? Faulty Analysis SAMUEL PAUL In her article,

Holding a Mirror to the New Lok Sabha

Following a Supreme Court directive, the 2004 parliamentary elections saw the submission of affidavits by contesting candidates for the first time, providing information on their education, assets, criminal cases, borrowings from public financial institutions and dues to the government. This paper presents the findings obtained by an analysis of affidavits submitted by elected candidates. While they point to the increasing number of younger (age group 36-55) and educated (graduates) MPs, other instances also confirm the correlation between money power and criminal cases. The clear dominance of the better-off in the electoral arena calls for a reform of electoral laws. Not only is greater transparency and accountability required, but also a debate on whether elections need to be publicly financed, so as to enable the creation of a level playing field for all aspiring candidates.

State of India's Public Services

This paper assesses the state of public services in India from a user perspective and offers a set of benchmarks for future comparisons. Five services, namely, drinking water, health care, PDS, public transport and primary education are covered by the study. Each service is assessed in terms of four dimensions, viz, access, use, reliability and user satisfaction. State level data are used to compare the performance of different states with reference to these attributes. The paper also examines the experience of poor households and the less developed states with these services.

Right to Information in Elections

The Election Commission guidelines for the disclosure of information pertaining to candidates' antecedents will remain toothless unless they are properly complied with and the information is disseminated to voters. A quick assessment of how the guidelines were implemented in two municipal elections in Karnataka.

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