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

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Right to Information on Candidates

The Supreme Court, by declaring as `unconstitutional' section 33B of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act of 2002, has taken the first step that enables citizens to know the antecedents of electoral candidates. But it is only the first step, not the end of the struggle. What remains is the more complex and difficult tasks of analysing and interpreting the data made available by the Election Commission and stimulating voters to use the information on candidates. All this calls for a proactive role by a network of civil society institutions in the country.

Corruption under the Scanner

Global Corruption Report 2001
edited by Robin Hodess et al;
Transparency International, Berlin,
pp 314, price not stated.

Corruption as Spectator Sport

While exposing individual acts of corruption is to be lauded, and the guilty deserve to be punished, we need to recognise that this is but a small part of the actions necessary for controlling corruption. We as citizens are ambivalent about corruption and, more than anyone else, politicians have sensed the mixed signals given by the people on corruption. Is it any wonder that they loudly demand the scalp of the corrupt while quietly ignoring the systemic reforms essential for controlling corruption?

Do States Have an Enabling Environment for Industrial Growth?

In order to ensure that economic reforms succeed, states must not only focus on attracting projects, but also on monitoring their implementation. Hardly any data exists on the rate of implementation of projects. This article records the progress of implementation of investment proposals in Karnataka and suggests methods for creating an enabling environment for industrial growth.

Corruption Who Will Bell the Cat

Samuel Paul Addressing the issue of corruption in the public sector, the article finds government monopoly, discretionary power it enjoys in decision-making and overall tack of accountability to be among some of the major factors contributing to corruption. The article argues that by reforming political process, reorienting government machinery, empowering citizens and creating public pressure, incentives and opportunities for corruption can be curtailed.

Urban Self-Government-Beyond Financial Devolution

Report of the State Finance Commission (Relating to Urban Local Bodies), Government of Karnataka, Bangalore, 1996.
THE relative importance of urban areas in the Indian economy is not well understood by most people. That our cities and towns account for only about 25 per cent of the population is often seen as a justification for the continued neglect of the management of the urban local bodies and their finances. Not many people realise that over two-thirds of our GNP is generated in these areas. The vast majority of our skilled and technical labour force live and work in urban areas. The productivity of the capital and labour in our urban areas is in no small measure dependent on the adequacy and efficiency of the public services available in these areas. Nevertheless, neither the central government nor most of the state governments have paid any attention to this problem and to the reform of urban local bodies and their finances. The 74th Constitutional Amendment has given a sense of urgency to this problem, though many state governments are yet to respond to the challenge. The government of Karnataka is therefore to be commended on the appointment of a Finance Commission (under the chairmanship of G Thimmaiah) with a focus on the finances of urban local bodies in the state. The report of the Commission was recently submitted to the government of Karnataka.

Public Services for Urban Poor-Report Card on Three Indian Cities

Report Card on Three Indian Cities Samuel Paul THERE is an abundance of studies on India's poverty alleviation programmes Not much is known, however, about how the poor have benefited from the public services that government has provided both in urban and rural areas.' Some of the services are infrastruciural and others entail basic civic amenities. In general, these services impact directly on the productivity of the poor and on their ability to take advantage of economic opportunities. Over the years, government has invested heavily in a variety of public service providers. The latter are usually evaluated in terms of their outlays, physical measures of output and financial returns. Whether in fact their services are actually being utilised by the poor and whether they meet felt needs adequately are not often asked by most evaluators. Consequently, the outcomes and effectiveness of public investments are not always monitored or fully known.

Bangalore s Public Services-A Report Card

A Report Card Samuel Paul Monopolistic nature of public service agencies coupled with constraints of political and adfninistrative nature and rapid expansion of urban areas in relation to slow growth of resources have resulted in unsatisfactory services. Inadequate corrective actions from the government and lack of collective actions from citizens have almost institutionalised inefficiency in these agencies.

Privatisation and Deregulation

Privatisation and Deregulation Samuel Paul THE purpose of this note is to comment on some of the arguments and conclusions of Ashok Rudra in his response (EPW, May 16-23) to Kirit Farikh's critique of Rudra's article on 'Privatisation and Deregulation'. The Srinivasan-Rudra-Parikh debate on this subject has clarified a number of conceptual issues underlying privatisation. Readers have hopefully been able to get a more balanced view of the rationale of privatisation and of its relevance in the Indian context as a result of this exchange.

Strengthening Public Accountability-Can Exit and Voice Help

Can 'Exit' and 'Voice' Help?
Samuel Paul This paper presents a theoretical framework for analysing the problem of government's accountability with special reference to public services. An important proposition derived from this framework is that effective public accountability can be sustained only when government's 'hierarchical control' over public service providers is reinforced by the public's willingness and ability to 'exit' (the presence of competition) or to exert pressure on the providers to perform (the use of 'voice'). The paper also examines the conditions under which the use of exit and voice is likely to be efficient and offers a menu of options to strengthen public accountability.

Lessons from Kerala How to Do Less with More

with More?
Samuel Paul THE state of Kerala attracted considerable international attention in the seventies with its success story in literacy and health care. The set of articles on Kerala's economic performance published in EPW (September 1-8 and 15) has provided an interesting sequel to this story, one that is bound to arouse the curiosity of all those interested in the state's progress. The analysis of economic performance and the attribution of the factors underlying the outcomes, is admittedly a daunting task. The authors of the recent EPW articles on Kerala therefore deserve to be commended for their contributions.

Cochin Stock Exchange and Kerala s Development

of this is very simple5 and I feel our tendency to reject such a theorem is essentially an emotional reaction. Since exploitation is bad we feel that nothing good, including efficiency, can come out of it. Such a feeling is wrong for two reasons. First, as is well known, an efficient outcome need not be a good outcome.6 Secondly, x can be undesirable even if one of its consequences is good.


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