DU SOL BA 3rd Year Administration and Public Policy Notes Chapter 5 Public Policy

DU SOL BA 3rd Year Administration and Public Policy Notes Chapter 5 Public Policy

Question 1.
What do you mean by Public Policy ? What are the factors involved in policy formulation ? Discuss.
‘The process of policy-formation is one of the central processes of government’. Discuss. What are the important policy-making or organs in India
Discuss the meaning, significance, and process in the policy formation in India. How the Public policy is evaluated in India ?
Meaning Of Public Policy –
The term is often rather loosely : it is confused with rule, custom and decision. While it is true that a rule is a guide in as much as is prescribes the does and don’ts, but. rules unlike policies are specific and rigid. A custom has been defined as ‘a habitual course of action’. It is the way in which’ work is dually done. A custom just grows while a policy may be the result of deliberate action. However, customs and policies need not always coincide. A decision is usually taken within the framework of policy, that is policy may involve a series of decions.

Similarly, a distinction should be made between policy and method or procedure. Policy is concerned with basic issue while method deals with the way of effectuating a policy. In the words of Terry, “A policy is verbal, written implied basic guide to action that is adopted and followed by a manager”. Dimock defines policies as “The consciously acknowledged rules of conduct that guide administrative decisions”. Policy should be distinguished from the goal or the objective, on the one hand and the operative steps, on the other. Thus making every person in the country educated is an objective; compulsory primary education is policy: designed to realize the goal; and the opening of the schools and training of teachers etc. are the steps necessary to cany’ out the policy.

Factors Involved In Policy Formulation –

Making policy is sot a simple process but a difficult and complex one. In a complex system such as government a number of social, political and administrative forces influence a policy choice. According to one view, most of the decisions are political motivated. Electoral commitments are to be honoured try the party which comes in power. The other view hold, that most decisions are taken by the technical experts or the civil servants who play very significant in policy formulation as the political heads are new to their jobs and lack the necessary technical expertise to frame policies themselves. The civil servants know their jobs arid are best at it privy chalk out the policy within the constraints laid down by the’ minister. The management scientists believe that specialist inputs are essential in the formulation of policy as it requires a systematic study in assessing alternatives and making a policy choice.

There are so many factors – both internal as well as external of an organization—which go into the making or formulation of a policy. These are as follows :

Internal Factors

(a) Departmental Information. Policy must be based on factual data and accurate and latest information. For this purpose each department has a centre which receives regular inflow of periodic reports, statements arid other in formative material from various field establishments. These are studied and recorded for the use of the department. In the Government of India several ministries have employed the services of special agencies for the collection of statistics and relevant data for policy formulation. Sonic special organisations like the central statistical organisation, the National Sample Survey, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Directorate of Industrial Statistics etc. are established for the purpose of collection of statistical information. The dale collected from all sources is then studied processed and analysed to form a comprehensive report usefull in policy formulation,

(b) Special Investigation: For special investigations, commissions and committees are appointed to enquire into a particular problem and find out the relevant facts to the problem Such fact finding Investigations are extremely useful in the process of policy formulation as they provide the necessary thought and research into particular fields of activity, example can be cited of the Hoover Commission (USA), the Royal Commission (UK) and in. India. It is the Central Pay Commission the University Grants Commission, the Finance Commission, the Central board of Secondary Education, the Press Commission, etc.

These Commissions have specific terms of reference and a time limit to submit its report They examine witnesses both official and non-official and obtain facts and figures after, intensive study and, submit a comprehensive report to the government in the form of recommendations. These recommendations form tire basis for policy formulation mid effecting reforms in the country. The practice of deciding on public issues through Committee! and Commissions is followed extensively by the government mid contributes much in policy formulation.

(c) Special Study and Research. This type of .special study and analysis may be organised by official and non-official agencies to make rational judgement. Administrative research work is assigned to such bodies as the Division of Administrative Management in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the USA, Organisation and Methods (O&M) in the British Treasury, Organisation and Methods Division in die Cabinet Secretariat with its affiliated cells in other departments in India.

Besides, official bodies, there are several non-official bodies who are engaged in a similar function like the Brooklings Institution in USA, the British Institute of Public Administration, the Indian Institute’ of Public Administration, the Staff Administrative College, etc. which help a lot in policy formulation. It is in fact a feedback to the government projecting new demands and failures of past policies which should not be repeated in new policies.

Technical study and research is also conducted by technical institutions set up for the purpose, like the Geological, Botanical and Zoological Survey’s of India, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission. These bodies are a mine of constructive information to the government It helps the government to take drastic policy decisions based on the infra-structure available for it’ implementation.

(d) Judicial Decisions. Judicial, decisions and advisory opinion given to the Preside.it when asked for can also effect major changes in policy formulation. USA had a long* history of social segregation, in schools. This act was declared unconstitutional with directions that schools should be integrated With all deliberate speed” and the government had to reverse its policy into no segregation in schools”. In India the Golaknath case also changed the nature and content of fundamental right in India. Is recent times, wife the advent of judicial activism, judicial decisions have become a major source of and factor in policy formulation.

(e) National Perspectives On Development All policy decisions are economic in essence and depend much upon the economic analysis done by the Ministry of Finance and, its departments and subdepartments. A policy decision in India is made in consolation with the Finance Ministry, the Planning Commission, the National Development Council, the Political Motivation of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and Cabinet Secretarial.

The national perspectives on development by the political party in power forms the ideological base for the policy on development planning in the economic, industrial and social areas. After the general elections in 1984, the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said that industrial development could be achieved with a speedy system* of industrial approvals, modernization, technology upgradation, early detection of industrial sickness, development of backward areas and promotion of small scale sector.

External Factors –

Besides the above mentioned factors within the Public Administration there are various external factors which policy makers must take in cognizance of policy formulation.

(a) Interest Groups. Merest groups serve as intermediaries between citizens and policy makers. To the citizen’s they offer information about substantive matters and procedures of policy making. To policy makers they offer political and other support. These groups influence the legislature as well as the executive branch through various means. They also hire lobbyists who see and watch proposed policies, that may affect the interests of the group. Courts also, feel the impact of interest groups who hire attorneys to represent their case.

In fact, all people official, non-official and private are affected by interest groups. In the opinion of Edwards and Sharkansky, “the extent of official reliance on support from interest groups is reflected in attempts to create interest groups where none exist”. In India; the government tries to know the essence of public opinion through various parties, labour unions, chambers of commerce and other professional associations. Before the Five-Year Plan is approved and adopted, a draft outline is thrown opes for discussion to various bodies throughout the country. The suggestions are-received, duly considered and incorporated in ‘ foe plan. In short, various interest groups form an important source of, arid factor the formulation of policies.

(b) Political Parties. Political parties try to capture power through the electoral process and are agents of change in society through their policies & programmes. At the time of election each party presents its programmes to the public in foe form of Party Manifesto. The party that wins the election implements its party programmes through policy formulation. The governing party is responsible and accountable for the performance of the government, i.e, how far foe government has been able to deliver the goods to the people. This can be studied through the method of policy evaluation. If one party does not perform well, the people have recourse to other alternatives. The voters threat tan certainly influence policy making and make the party’ work overtime.

(c) Public Opinion. In most democratic countries policy makers would make public opinion as the basis for public policy. In India in the 1991 general elections voting was on the basis of issues like stability, mandir, mandal and performance. Most of the voters form their opinion on the basis of local or national issues, alternative choices of premiership, pubic opinion polls, and many other issues.

The government would hose its .r decisions on the mandate of the people, indicating preferences of the majority – for a desired goal. Mrs. Indira Gandhi overwhelmingly won foe mid term elections in 1971 on the basis of Ganbi Hatao, and with a massive mandate of electorate. She immediately nationalised banks and abolished privy purses. In India, the public at large may not have policy preferences and whatever the opinions they hold are often weak and fluctuating. But the public opinion formed by few percolate down to the masses and become the general opinion which the government must heed to.

(d) The Mass Media. It plays an important role in forming public opinion and at times gives a new dimension to foe political issues like in U.S.A. the Watergate, irongate, atrocities in Vietnam, excess Pentagon spending on public relations, Gulf War, etc. Britain the folklands and in India the Bofors Gun deal. The media also serves as a conduit for policy makers and interest groups who wish to highlight the problems of the common man like terrorism in J & K, bride burning, dowry deaths, abuse of child labour, impact of drugs and alcohol on individuals and their families etc. It also educates the people politically.

Thus, the media helps in forming political culture in a given society which explains foe voting patterns in different general elections in India. The mass media helps a long way in J the process of decision-making and policy formulation by foe government and public administrators.

(e) The Bureaucrats. Policy formulation also depends much upon the presentation of facts, correct and timely information, due emphasis on the magnitude of the problems, right choice and rationality in the decision of alternatives. Bureaucrats must be honest and give the right advice at the right time and not become sycophans, for much of the policy formulation is done at their end. For example, in America President Johnson was ill-informed on the Vietnam war, India on Blue Star Operation in Punjab.

Carter’s Irangate affair and the belief foal the Japanese could not attack Pearl Harbour or the Chinese would never attack India as it did In 1962, are the examples of which the consequences could not be visualised earlier. It was a complete shock and a complete failure of Krishna Menon’s defence policy from which Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru could never recover and died in 1964. So the role of bureaucrats in formulation of right or wrong policy can not be minimised.

(f) World Crists. If an extent is widely viewed as a crists the immediate attention of officials and citizens is to form new policies with immediate effect. Fc r example the Gulf War (1991) necessitated price rise and rationing of petrol and diesel in India. The Arab oil embargo in .1973 increased prices of petroleum products and also helped in the formation of OPEC to control the international price of petrol.

(g) Policies to be Constitutional Every policy must be in consonance with the provisions of the constitution, as interpreted by the law1 courts. And laws made by the Parliament as well as International Law and World Opinion have to be taken into consideration in formulation of policies.

(h) Customs. Every policy to be framed has to take into account the prevailing customs, traditions, norms and conventions of the people. They influence policy formulation to a great extent. Every policy must-be acceptable, to the people otherwise it becomes a dead letter like the Sharda Act against dowry which was passed by the. Indian Parliament in 1955.

Thus policy formulation has to take into consideration the several factors both internal and external. The above mentioned, factors play an important role in formulation of the policies.

Question 2.
Write short note on “Policy Formulation” in India.
Policy Formulation In India –
While the formulation of public policies under the system of government in India is concentrated in the Executive, the various processes of policy- making are diffused over the entire system. The following are some of the important policy making organs:

1. Constitution. All policies must be in conformity with the constitutional framework. The Preamble declares the objectives while the Directive Principles lay down some of them. basic policies.

2. Legislature. Its role is primarily that of vetoing, regulation and influence. It only helps in the determination of the final form of some of the policies. The occasions for exercising parliamentary control over policies are many and varied-law-making President’s address, general discussion on the Budget, voting of grants, interpolations, adjournment motions and resolutions. There are, however, limits ‘to this control :

  • not every public policy requires legislative enactment, and
  • the legislatures do not generally take initiative in sponsoring legislation.

3. The Cabinet. The formulation of public policy rests primarily here. It is the overall directing and controlling body, and all important problems of policy are, as a rule, considered by the cabinet. The policies for each Ministry are initiated and formulated by the Minister in charge. Within the cabinet, the Prime Minister is tire focus of policy-making.

4. Planning Commission. Though, legally a mere advisory organ, it has come to exercise significant influence over the formulation of public policies even in matters other, than those of planning and development Its advisory role extends over the entire administration.

5. The National Development Council. Consisting, as it does, of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers of States, is the highest policy making body in the field of planning

6. Public Services. The role of public services in matters of policy- formulations is three fold –

  1. thinking out policy for the execution of a particular objective laid down by the Executive and ensuring that it correctly interprets that objective.
  2. putting the policy into legislative forms; and
  3. translating the policy into action. They also advise and assist in policy, making.

7. Judiciary. It influences public policies in the two ways, namely (i) T the power of judicial reviews, and ii) the advisory power the Supreme Court.

8. Advisory Bodies and Consultative Committees. e.g., Standing : Labour Committee, indian Labour Conference, Import and Export Advisory Committee, and the Central Advisory Board of Education.

9 Pressure Groups. Like trade unions, chambers of commerce, students unions and women’s conference.

10. Political Parties: Political parties declare their policies through election manifestoes and strive to capture power with a view to implementing them.

11. Professional Associations: like Bar Associations, all Indian Medical Council, Teacher’s Associations, etc.

12. The Mass Media: The role of the mass media in creating, moulding and expressing public opinion is well known. it can very well bring to bear heav\ pressure of policy making.

Question 2.
Write a short note on the “Evaluation of public Policy”.
Evaluation Of Public Policy –
In India the evaluation process is in built in the structure of government and carried on as a routine work in a variety of ways. They are as follows:

1. Evaluation Through the Legislative Process: The main function of the Parliament is to make laws and evaluate their application, administration and execution through the method of (a) questions and debates: (b) call, attention, no-confidence and adjournment motions; (c) screening through select and standing committees; (d) Investigation

Committees; (e) budgetary process. The legislators can make judgements on the policy preferences of the government and the performance. These methods can hold the government responsible for particular policy decisions and their suitable implementation.

2. The Audit Process. In India the audit is an important operation through which the government regulates the finances of government agencies and holds them accountable for expenditure done by them. In the Parliament there are two committees, the public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee which are empowered for effecting parliamentary control over / government expenditure. They see to the appropriate expenditure and oroper utilization of budgetary appropriations in the most economic way and also undertake a detailed examination of the annual budget estimates to suggest economy in government expenditures.

The Audit and Account Department is headed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. He is assisted by a Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General. He’ prepares a comprehensive annual report showing the annual receipts and disagreement of finances to the Centre and the States; ‘ and submit an annual Financial Statement to the President, incorporating a summary of the accounts of the Union and of all the States for the preceding financial year with their particular balances and liabilities. He. also prepares a comprehensive report in Union and State expenditure and their functioning. There, reports are placed before the House of parliament for discussion.

3. The Finance Ministry. All government departments prepare their evaluation and performance reports which are studied very carefully by the sub-departments of the Finance Ministry. The Department of Economic Affairs is responsible for policies pertaining to foreign exchange currency bankings corporations and mobilizes resources for the execution of plans v and development projects. The Budget Division prepares the Annual Budget and Supplementary Grants. It takes care of small saving schemes and sees to the implementations of the recommendations of the Finance Commission.
All policies originate from here after exhaustive analyses are carried out.

4. The Commissions. The government appoints various Commissions like the Planning Commission, the Administrative Reforms Commission, the Finance Commission, the Union Public Service Commission, the University Grants Commission to study, evaluate and suggest administrative reforms through a system of performance evaluation of governmental policies and their socio-economic impact on society.

5. The Organisation and Management Techniques. The Organisation and Management analyst performs his duty of continuous and persistent improvement in organisation, work procedures, work simplification, automation, forms control and filing system methods. It is initiated with the purpose of identifying problems, determining causes and developing solutions. It attempts to improve public administration in the planning implementation and evaluation of the plans and policies of the government.

Question 3.
Define Public Policy and discuss its relevance to Public Administration.
Why Should Public-Administration study Public Policy – making ?
Defining Public Policy –
There is really no universally accepted precise definition of ‘Public Policy’. Nor is it a term which can really be defined very precisely. We would consider a couple of definitions given by scholars and then figure out a working definition which can clarify concepts as well as possible.

Robert Eyestone has broadly defined public policy as “the relationship of a Government Unit to its environment”. This definition is so broad as to include almost anything. It can not facilitate any meaningful study of public policy.

Thomas R. Dye states that “public policy is whatever Government choose “to do or not to do’ This definition is an improvement in that it includes the choice of not to do’. But it suffers from some defects such as:

  • The definition does not distinguish between what the Government
    chooses to do and what it actually does. There may be and there often is a divergence between the two.
  • It includes all the activities of the Government and makes, it synonymous with every action of the Government. But, it is now generally understood that routine actions of the Government should not form part of public policy.

As stated earlier the wort, policy applies not only to the Government but private sector. We would, therefore, attempt a definition of ‘Public Policy’ by splitting the term into two components ‘public’ and ‘policy’. We would first take up ‘policy’ and then add the meaning of public to it.

Richard Rose has tried to define policy as “a long series of more or less related activities” and their consequences for those concerned rather than a particular decision.

Card Friedrich defined public policy as “a proposed course of action. of a person, group or Government within a given environment providing obstacles and opportunities which the policy was supposed to toiles and overcome in ait effort to reach a goal or realise an objective or a purpose”.

Rose’s definition clarifies that policy is a course of action or pattern of activity arid not simply a decision to do something. Friedrich’s definition adds the motion of a goal or a purpose or objective to-wards the achievement of which the policy is directed.

On the basis of the above discussion we, can now frame a working definition of policy which can help clarify concepts. “A policy is a purposive course of action followed by an actor or a set of actions in dealing with 4 a problem of matter of concern”.

This definition given by James E Anderson has file following essential elements of policy, viz.,

  1. A policy is a course of action, which is
  2. directed towards a goal or objective, which
  3. relates to a problem or matter of concern.

Moving from this definition of policy to ‘public policy’ we may say that “public policies are those policies which are developed by Governmental bodies and personal”. Combining the two definitions we may say that “A public policy is a purposive course of action followed by a Governmental body of official in dealing with a problem of public concern”.

This definition of public policy has the following important elements:

(i) Public policies are framed by “authorities” in the political system recognised by most members of the system as having responsibility for these matters These are accepted as binding by most members most of the time.

(ii) Public policy comprises a course of action or series of actions which form a pattern with reference to tire purpose to be achieved. It is the actual course of action that matters and not the one merely intended to Ire followed. Moreover, it is a course of action that we are talking about and it is different from a single action or decision.

(iii) Public policy may take a positive or negative form. It means that the Government may take concrete positive actions to achieve some goals. Negatively speaking, the Government may follow a policy of inaction or non-interference or laisez-faire.

(iv) Public policy is a goal-oriented action. It is not a chance behaviour, but deliberate action born out of deliberate action.

(v) Public policy, in its positive form, is based on law and is authoritative.

Reliance To Public Administration –

Basically public policy-making is a political process. Why should then a public administrations study public policy-making ?

Anderson las giver, three sets of reasons why public policy-making should be studied. ‘
(i) Scientific Remans. Public policy can be studied to gain knowledge about its origin and about its consequences to tire society. It may be studied as a dependent variable based on independent variable like political and environment factors. It may also be studied as an independent variable to explain its effect on political and social systems.

(ii) Professional Reasons. Apart from die scientific approach mentioned above, public policy can be studied from professional angle i.e., application of scientific knowledge to the solution of practical problems. If we know the origins and consequences of public policies, it should be possible to say which policies should be followed under which circumstances.

(iii) Political Reasons. Some political scientists do not believe that they should refrain from prescribing policy goals. They want to move public policy into desirable directions even though there may be considerable disagreement in die society about what is desirable.

In any case there is now a general agreement on the question that public policy should be subjected to scientific analysis. According to Professor Dye policy analysis should have three main considerations :

  • The emphasis should be an analysis, to study and explain the pehnomena rather than making prescriptions for policy formulation.
  • A rigorous search should be launched for the causes and consequences of public policy. And rigorous scientific methods should be applied for this purpose.
  • An attempt should be made to develop general propositions which may be applicable to different situations i.e., to different governments and to different policy areas.

Relevance: Policy analysis can be both scientific and relevant to the socio-political problems of different countries. This may be the foundation of a ‘policy science’ which may help die academicians and practitions’s alike to look for answers to societal problem.

We now turn to die question of the relevance of policy studies and policy analysis to the field of public administration. Although policy-making is basically the job of the political executive, the role of public administration in the process can hot be minimized. In fact, the role of the latter is growing in recent times. The Hydraulic Theory of democratic process is often used to explain the process of policy formation in the Madisonian pluralist paradigm. It is contended dial the interest of the people in a democracy are articulated and protected by the interest groups. This model of policy-formation is explained in the next chapter.

But a very brief description is called for here to explain the role bureaucracy and technocracy and consequently the interest of the public administrations in the process of policy formation. In short, different interest groups press fin the claims of their clients and put pressure oh the system for the adoption of policies favourable to them. The Governmental agencies act as referees to balance their claims and adopt policies which should best serve the interests of the society in general. The Governmental agency test qualified for the mediation job appears to be the legislature which is said to represent the will of the people. But, the working of this model assumes the following ;

  • The interest, groups and their clients fully understand the implications of how foe proposed policy is going to affect them. Urey folly understood foe policy questions and are fully competent to project their rase.
  • Even if the interest groups are initially aware of foe implications of foe proposed policy, they can soon find out.
  • The legislators have a through understanding of all foe implications of all the policy questions that are thrown up for their consideration from time to time.

Probably these assumptions were true earlier- when life, was not so complicated and policy questions be settled by tire Government were also simple. The role of bureaucracy, at that time was also limited. But, now the burgeoning bureaucracy throws a veil of secrecy on many questions that may be of interest to tire people in projecting their claims before the polity. Many of foe weaker interest groups, who need maximum protection of the Government policies, may not be eves aware of their implications of foe proposed policies. Many of them, specially in developing countries, do not even have any institutional forum to project their interest. The first assumption that the interest groups are fully aware of foe implications of proposed policies is, therefore, no longer correct.

The second assumption, that even if initially unaware foe interest groups will soon find out, is also not valid today. The newly developing complicated technologies do not permit the implications of tire policies to be easily understood by the interest groups.

Several terms such as ’Technology”, ‘Politics of expertise’. Tyranny of bureaucracy have teen used to indicate the process of policy formation have become too complex to be understood by common citizens or the interest groups which claim to represent them. It is not possible for them to get at all the facts even if they wish to do so.

Similar situation prevails in respect of foe referees i.e legislators who are supposed to mediate foe conflicting claims of foe various interest groups by framing realistic policies after considering all foe relevant information. Most of them do not have the time for inclination or expertise to gather all the facts, analyze them and come to conclusions which could balance the conflicting claims. The higher political executive, viz., the ministers have a lot of political functions to perform and are unable to devote detailed attention required by these policy questions. They have, therefore, to depend on the public administrators to perform this job for them.

They have, of course, to provide the political input of judging the public reaction to the public policies. This they often do on the basis of their continuous contact with people and their quit feeling rather than on the basis of any detailed analysis of events am! complicated data. The public administrators and bureaucracy have, therefore, come to occupy a significant place in the policy making functions of the Government.

While studying the process of the policy formation it would be noticed that there are two more significant factors responsible for the expanded role of bureaucracy in the process of course for die same reasons as mentioned above.

One of the important factors is that the process of getting a question on the policy agenda and then its detailed consideration has also become quite complicated. The legislature requires concrete proposals in detail from the executive. These proposals have necessarily to be worked out by the bureaucracy. They have to gather facts, analyse them and present viable alternatives to the political to be ultimately presented to the legislature. No wonder that the process gives them a very important role in formulation of the policies. Sometimes even the initiatives for the new policies comes from the practical problems faced by the administrators in implementing the policies.

Another significant factor, after the policy decision has been taken is the task of filling in the details. Someone has to draft the Act and someone has to draft the detailed instructions to carry out the policies. These also have some influence on the ultimate shape of the policy.

The bureaucracy and public administrators thus have a stake in learning the techniques of policy formation.

Question 4.
How is the public policy adopted and implemented ?
Critically examine the process of &mp!eineiitatioa.af public policy. What are the problems which are encountered in the implementation of a public policy ?
Adoption Of Public Policies –
The adoption of public policy comprises the following steps :

(i) The policy alternatives are first presented to the policy maker. The policy maker has to decide as to which of the policy alternatives should be selected for adoption. This process may also involve discussions and deliberations at various levels. The analysis conducted at the level of formulation of alternative policies may be very helpful in deciding about the final selection. In addition, the policy maker may have to consider other variables like the political acceptability. He has to See whether he can win the necessary support from the legislature’ etc., for the implementation of the alternative he wishes to select.

(ii) After selecting the best policy alternative, the policy maker has to get it adopted by the lawful authority. It may be necessary to obtain a legislation passed by the legislature to authorise the implementation of the policy. Or, the policy may have to be authorised by an executive body, like, the Council of Ministers or a particular departmental Minister, etc.
The policy formulation procedure is completed only after the policy has been adopted by the appropriate authority.

Implementation Of Public Policy –

The process of goal achievement begins with policy formulation, but does not end there. The policy formulated has to be implemented to achieve the goals set by the administration. Before we take up the problems and, suggestions for successful policy implementation; we must discuss the crucial j issue of who implements public policy.

In modem political system, public policy is implemented primarily by a complex system of administrative agencies. However, many other agencies 1 are also involved in the implementation of public policy. They may be either directly involved in policy implementation or act to influence administrative agencies or both. These agencies include the legislature, the courts, pressure groups and community organisations.

The legislature may affect policy implementation in a variety of ways. They more detailed the legislation passed, the less discretion administrative agencies have. The Committee system of Parliament in India and the Congressional Committees in the U. S. also influence implementation of policy.

The Courts also influence policy implementation. Some laws, especially criminal laws, are enforced primarily through judicial sanctions; Also, courts influence the implementation of policy through their interpretation of status and administrative rules and regulations, as well as their review of administrative decisions brought before them.

Pressure groups of various kinds also influence administration of policy given the discretion the administrative agencies have in implementation of policy. Representing various interests, they try to influence the implementation of public policy to suit their own ends.

Similarly, community organisations at the local level also try to influence the implementation of public policy, especially if they are involved in the administration of government programmes. This feature comes to the fore as democratic decentralization progresses. Apart from these, political parties also get involved In influencing the administration of public policy.

The Implementation Process –

The policy implementation process is basically a control process. The original mandate, legislative, bureaucratic or judical is a sort of blueprint for a machine that has to turn out the products of the policy like better educated children, ammunition for the army, etc. The machine has to be assembled from scratch or by overhauling or remoulding of an existing one. Putting the machine together and making it run is the ‘Implementation Process’.

The nature and type of this machine will differ from programme to programme and also depend on the extent of the area of operation involved.

For example, the machinery Tor the implementation of the policy for ‘ compulsory primary’ education of children will be different from the machinery for the implementation of public health policy. Similarly, the machinery for the running of a particular programme on a nationwide basis will be different from that required for a district programme. However, there are some common features of the vichinery which we propose to discuss here. But as a part of this discussion we will also include the initial process of, breaking down a policy into manageable units.

1. Policy – Programmes and Projects. Before undertaking the actual implementation of the policy it is to be taken down into management units [ of programmes and projects. The programmes are basic units of policy c which cover broad areas of government functions. The programmes are further sub-divided into a number of specific projects. To give one example, removal of poverty may be termed as a policy of the Government.

To implement this policy, a number of programmes may be designed, such as / the Integrated Rural Development Programme, National Rural Employment. Programme, Rural Employment Guarantee Programme etc. Further in the Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, we may have a number of specific projects for road development, construction of dams, irrigation projects, etc.

This type of division and sub-division is essential, to keep the programmes in manageable limits. This also ensures proper control over their * implementation.

2. Decision about the Administrative Responsibility. After a policy has been broken into manageable programmes, and projects, the next step is to decide the agency .responsible for the implementation of each of these programmes and projects. If entirely new programmes are initiated, a new machinery may have to be created for the purpose. For example, when the Government of India to undertaken buffer stocking operation, a new undertaking, viz., Food Corporation of India had to be created- for the purpose.

However, for each programme it is not necessary to create a new machinery. It may be possible to entrust the new programme to one of the existing institutions. For example, the new programme of Rural Employment Guarantee Was entrusted to the District Rural Development Agencies which were already existing in the districts.

3. Financial Arrangements. Any government institution, to which a programme has’ been entrusted for implementation will require necessary financial resources. Care has to be taken to ensure1 that all the formalities like making a Budget provision etc., are taken for the timely availability of financial resources to the institutions. What is often forgotten is to create – the necessary accounting mechanism to ensure that the funds are utilised for the purpose for which they have been allocated. New budget heads may have to be created or new accounting procjjures may have to be adopted. If this is not done in time, a lot of problems may result.

4. Participation of Beneficiaries. -The implementation process must take care to provide for the willing, participation of the beneficiaries and clients. This may be in the nature of Advisory Boards on which the administrators as well as the beneficiaries may be represented. This may give a sense of involvement to the beneficiaries and provide the administrators with the necessary feedback about the impact of their projects and programmes.

5. Invoivement of other Interests. Steps have also to be taken to private providers of goods and services, progessional services, workers, developers, land holders, etc., in the implementation process. Their involvement is essential from the point of view of smooth functioning of the programmes and projects. Any one of these interests are capable of booking the implementation if not properly, tackled.

6. Clearances. It should be clearly brought out in the project as to which parts require any clearances or permits by regulatory agencies. A proper time schedule has to be drawn up on that such clearances, sanctions or permits are available in proper time.

7. Innovations. The machinery developed for the implementations of the policies and programmes should also encourage innovating in the realm of programme conception and design and procedures and methods of working etc. No programmes can serve the, needs of the people efficiently all the time. As the condition change, new programme for projects and policies are required. Arrangements should exist .within the system to ensure such innovation.

8. Political Support. Every programme for its successful implementation requires the necessary support and assistance of the political system. Without such political support, the programme may die out due to the on slaught of personal interests.

9. Trouble Shooters. This aspect of the machinery for implementation process is very often missed. The programmes need trouble shooters who iron out the difficulties and assist in coordinating the more routine activities of the assembly process. Without such trouble shooters the orogrammes may be embroiled in the machinations of different competing interest.

10. Implementation Features. The list of the features and the requirements of the machinery for the implementation process mentioned above is only illustrative and not exhaustive. There may be ‘many more features which may be required for the implementation of specific policies and programmes. However, in this connection two points may be noted.

  • The main point is that the implementation process involves assembling of numerous and diverse programme elements.
  • These elements are in hands of many different parties who are by and large independent of each other. They can be made to work for the success of the poHey only through persuasion and bargaining. This may be called implementation polities which is a special kind of policies.

11. Implementation as Pressure Politics. Some kind of bargaining and manoeuvering goes in policy implementation process as in die policy making process. Many diehard opponents who were over-ruled at the time of policy making do not easily give up their position. They try to put obstacles in the process of implementation even though they could not succeed in blocking die process of policy formulation. Similarly, many others extend their private gain or to gain control over the implementation process. Such persons also obstruct the realization of the objectives for which the policy was formulated.

The system of pressure and counter-pressures continues during die whole process. The programme gets implemented if the positive pressure continues and is great enough to overcome the adverse effects of the negative pressure. The conceptual problem then becomes of delineating the system and its road vulnerable pressure points. For example, the poverty programmes are often not properly implemented because the poor cannot organise themselves to put sufficient pressure. Lip service is paid to the programmes and policies meant for the poor whereas the real beneficiaries are those who are comparatively better off.

The problem starts with the identification when influential people in the rural areas get themselves classified as poor people with the connivance of political and administrative machine^. They obtain all the benefits in the name of the poor whose lot does not improve. On the other hand, the programmes for the benefit of Scheduled Castes and Tribes are implemented a shade better. This happens because there are a number of legislators belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes who are able to exert pressure* on the impleraentatipn machinery. However, even in these cases, die Government machinery and the local influential people often find ways of circumventing this pressure.

This approach to the implementations of policy, however, lays under emphasis on the ‘catch all’ term pressure. Even if the clientele cannot organise themselves into pressure groups, there are others, like philanthropic institutions, professional todies, etc., who can come forward and influence the process in favour of the people.

12. Implementation as an Administrative Control Process. This is k what is called ‘bureaucratic problem’ of implementation. Every organisation has a hierarchy for implementing its programmes. The instructions for implementation of the programmes have to come down the ladder of the hierarchy te reach the actual implementation in the field. In the process it k passes through successive layers of hierarchy.

Often it happens that the leakage of authority’ occurs in sending the instructions down to the next level of authority. Since this process occurs at several levels, the final outcome of instructions at the level of implementation is very much different from that intended by the originator of the programme. This happens because the goals of people at. various levels of organisation are different from those of their higher levels as well as those of the organisation. Some of the reasons for the leakage of authority are :

  • Lower officials are very often more conservative-probably because they are not exposed to the wider horizons of the world.
  • The management’s failure of control also causes leakage. Every organisation has some mechanism to control the. various levels of organisation. In case of failure of these controls, the leakage of authority is but natural.
  • Very often the lower echelons of administration have autonomous bases of power. It is difficult for the higher levels to enforce their instructions on them. The oft-quoted example in this respect is that of the hade unions. They are able to successfully resist the various policies with regard to adtninisaitive reforms.

Bureaucratic focus is, however, a narrow focus in the process of implementation. There are other actors in the drama like clients, contractors, professional associations etc. Many of Item are very articulate and can influence the process of implementation. They can .also influence tire bureaucratic process by bringing pressure at all levels.

13. Implementation as Inter-Governmental Bargaining. This has a bearing on the federal Systran of the Government There are a number of programmes which the Central Government wants to be carried out but Las to act through die State Governments for want of its own. machinery or on account of constitutional/legal implications. Similarly, the State Government may like to implement several programmes for which it may .require financial assistance from the Central Government.

Similar situations may arise with reference to the State Governments and die local Governments as in a leral system, all the levels of the Government are independent of each other. It is, therefore, a situation of interdependence when each Government, seeking the assistance from the other, has to depend on preseason and negotiations rather than coercion.

Derthic stated this phenomenon and came to the conclusion that there should be limits to the concentration of power in the Central Government He felt that although this system of interdependency created delays in implementation, this was the only method possible in a federal system. This kind of interaction may develop into some sort of a cooperative federalism. The Central Government and the State Governments tend to develop certain working relationships in spite of differences/ in their perceptions about various programmes and policies;

Ultimately, implementation process is characterised by tire manoeuvering of a large number of semi-autonomous actors each of whom tries to gain access to programme elements not under its control while at the same time trying to extract better from other actors seeking access to elements it does – control. In the case of inter-governmental bargaining, it manifests itself in the State Governments trying to obtain funds for a particular purpose and applying them from a different purpose.

Similarly, the Central Government may try to course or cajole the State Governments for implementing the programmes which the latter does not find of much use. A synthesis of these two can be beneficial for the people. The Central Government has foe advantage of better expertise and a better perspective as they can observe things from a distance. The State Government on the other hand are better suited to implement foe programmes on account of better local knowledge. As already mentioned, often some sad of working relationships develop and help in sorting out these problems of coordinations.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year Administration and Public Policy Notes

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