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Philosophical aspects of approach towards better Public Service Delivery: The Indian Experience

The Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPTC) organised an international conference on ‘Managing Change for Better Public Service Delivery: South and South-East Asian Experience’ on November 5 & 6, 2017 in Dhaka. Dr Satyajeet Nanda, Senior Programme Officer attended the conference to present his paper titled ‘Philosophical aspects of approach towards better Public Service Delivery: Indian Experience.

Abstract

While public service delivery would assume citizen’s voice (power) in its philosophical sense, practical experiences tend to deviate. Hence it is often thought that removing governance bottlenecks may ensure (spaces for) participation of people in policies, programmes, and implementation. Universally, this is taken that governance could be an enabler for socio-economic transformation thereby helping improve lives through the eradication of structural inequality. This makes the basis for a strong need to strengthen local governments that would be critical for ensuring empowerment, civic participation, and better service delivery. In this line, governance should be measurable; and monitored to ensure a quantifiable framework, accountability and monitoring implementation.

Against these backdrops, this paper endeavours to examine at the micro-level, whether the approach to improve citizen participation would really have an impact on public policy, governance and implementation (service delivery). It critically reviews the effectiveness of citizen’s voice towards governance quality and quantity using consecutive CRCs (Citizen Report Cards). This paper tries to employ comparative and longitudinal analysis over retrospective secondary data from consecutive CRCs on public service delivery in the context of Indian cities across different time periods. Within the broad public service context 4 different public services were analysed considering citizen governance indicators such as citizens’ expectation, satisfaction on services, staff behaviour etc. The analysis carries out multi-dimensional comparison of service components across time and service providers. The expected output of this analysis provides a comprehensive knowledge about differential in the level and nature of participation of citizens (users) by different service types and changes by time periods in a given geographical area, which has a bearing on the governance quality (including staff behaviour, champions vs poor performers etc). The synthetic framework of governance disconnects that emerges from analysis of this paper presents a situation where there is a mere illusion and fragmented (or explicit absence) umbilical linkage between the state (planning board or so) and these service agencies rather than any clear-cut structure, thus hint towards an impaired governance situation.

The full paper will be made available shortly.

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