Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Public policy : What, Why and How -- I

“Public Policy is whatever governments choose to do or not to do"

                 —Thomas Dye

Policy Making has been considered as an art than science. It is necessary to understand the nature of policy and various dimensions of policy design and its models. This article is for various reforms in Policy making process that needs to be addressed urgently.

Policy making is a unique process common to all countries irrespective of its system of governance.

Every policy is addressed to the needs of the demand of each country. The failure of vision has been the most dangerous outcome of any policy capable of disturbing the very existence of the system of governance of a country.

The process of globalization has changed the whole operative system of governance as nothing is isolated and information is available in plenty. The problem is in designing a policy which is adaptive to various changing circumstances due to globalization. The pace with which economic
situation is changing has the need for policy to change itself. The drawback is when a policy designed at close room is implemented at the fields without proper field work. The very problem it is required to address has already changed so the policy is termed failure even before it is implemented.

The failure of policy cannot be only blamed to the institution responsible for making policy or the hierarchy it follows or the time period it takes, so there is no one particular reason for such failure.

Hence, a straight line solution to this also would not result in desired reforms.

All policies generally are addressed to an objective in implicit or explicit terms. Policies do have outcomes that may or may not have been anticipated. The public policy around itself carries the tag of legitimacy which enables an authoritative action of the public official. The decision followed while implementing a policy includes executive orders, administrative rules, or make important judicial interpretation of laws.

It is where the loop holes are formed later in the policy process. The information to arrive at a decision and later analyze its repercussions is bounded at various stages of policy making. In India there is a great pressure on government to accelerate development in various sectors. Public policy thus has a wider connotation in citizen's life cycle. The range of public policy is from vital to trivial.

The foremost issues inflicting in public lives today are Corruption at all levels, Naxalism , Terrorism, Economic destabilization, Political destabilization, Underbelly of Globalization, Hunger and Poverty, Empowerment and Environment etc. The present situation can be attributed to policy failure. The causal factor being policy design, it is where a reform can change the situation and bring about the desired result.


Abhilash Mohapatra not only thinks about India, but he is damn serious to contribute fruitfully in future. 


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  2. Wonderful way of seeing and describing the problem...appreciate your effort at "de-technicalising" the field of policy making. Policymaking is a dialectical process, with the idea traceable to atleast Socrates, and Plato (Dialogue, and Republic) rather than a technical (but surely logical!) process...and hence push-button solutions are better avoided. Policymaking must surely be re-located within the field of humanities, and social sciences even at the apparent danger of banishing corporate managerial voices. It will be a boon in the long run.