The session on Bureaucrats’ Reflections on Public Policy was taken by Dr. Nivedita P. Haran who is the Former Additional Chief Secretary, of the Government of Kerala. She began with the definition of Public Policy as what actually Public Policy means. It refers to the systems in place be they economic, political, or social and the information and data available with the same. Further, it includes the mindset of the government and the governed as it looks into the prioritization aspect as well in the financial sector to promote the public sector or private sector that ensures efficiency and effectiveness in the bureaucracy. The policy is considered the bedrock of the governance which comprises vision, mission, policy, programs, and projects.
Public policy is a practical exercise that is performed at several institutions and systems. Several features are taken into consideration while drafting a policy such as physical aspects be it in terms of climate change, geographical area, social factors such as background, history, beliefs, etc have to be taken into consideration, political as well as economic factors are also important with respect to GDP, level of development, etc.
Furthermore, data and information provide the base for policy formulation and become crucial with respect to the nature of information, its relevance, reliability, usability, and acceptability. While drafting a policy few things are taken into consideration taking the interests of both parties i.e. the government and the governed as how serious the government is with the policy-making along with its commitment and dedication. From the governed perspective their awareness of the issue, socio-economic condition, and involvement is taken care of.
While formulating policies the state has to face several financial constraints, so policy-making comes into existence by making the most effective and efficient use of resources by prioritizing the needs, commitments, and restraints associated with lobby and interest groups, as well as delving into various sources of finance from non-state factors.
The most important part is the implementation of the policy which includes a commitment of elected representatives, and professionalism of bureaucrats by ensuring efficiency and effectiveness along with maintaining the quality standards. Since policymaking has to deal with people on the ground it also looks into the awareness of the beneficiaries and their accountability in its proper and smooth implementation.
Moving ahead she in detailed explained the process of policy formulation as how it is done in real-life scenarios. She further highlighted some of the issues associated with policy making such as lack of awareness, exposure, and self-confidence among the beneficiaries along with more attitude and quality of bureaucrats while implementing the policy. She concluded by giving some recommendations readings for good-quality policy-making some of them were The Constitution of India, Agarwal, and Chaturvedi, Project Management for Beginners, Conduct Rules for Civil Servants, etc.
At last Prof Mukul Asher highlighted the importance of understanding ground reality while formulating policies that have been neglected in recent policy-making processes.
The enthusiastic participants asked several mind-boggling questions related to the implications of public policy in real-life scenarios, the role of various stakeholders such as media, industrialists, the common public, and the government at large for ensuring the smooth implementation of policies, and then tools required to access and monitor the outcomes of public policy.
After a question and answer session, the program was concluded with closing remarks by Prof Mukul Asher, who thanked and praised the team at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute for hosting a successful web policy learning course and for ensuring the smooth functioning of the event. The event was concluded with a final vote of thanks by Ms Fiza Mahajan on behalf of IMPRI, New Delhi.
Acknowledgement: Bhanvi is a Visiting Researcher at IMPRI.
Teaser Youtube Video of Fundamentals in Public Policy Programme: https://youtube.com/shorts/mf-BjX1_C0c?si=sxDNu1yXzpmexPyc.
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