This opinion is based on a policy webinar held by Sanjaya Baru and ISPP (The Indian School of Public Policy) on 16th May 2020. Sanjaya Baru is a personality who doesn’t require any introduction. And of course, how can we forget the movie which is actually based on his book entitled “The Accidental Prime Minister”? Some key takeaways from this webinar are worth knowing and shared below as a part of this opinion.

India is a democratic country and hence it requires cooperative governance. Now a question might arise,

What is governance?

Governance refers to how government decisions affect people of the nation. It means how a ruling authority formulates policy and how does it affect society. Today, some of the principles and elements of “Good Government” also has become an integral part of governance.


3 Fulcra of Policy formulation

The fulcra of policy formulation at different levels consist of three major components of the governing machinery.

a.) At Centre, the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is the head of the government and along with the Council of Ministers, is responsible to the House of People (Lok Sabha), the lower house of the Parliament, for his/her key decisions on behalf of the ruling central government. He is also the center of attraction for citizens of the Republic of India.

b.) At State, the Chief Minister

The Chief Minister is the head of the government in his/her respective state and is responsible, along with the Council of Ministers of State, to the State Legislative Assembly for his/her key decisions on behalf of the ruling state government.

c.) At District level, the D.M. & D.C. (District Magistrate & District Collector)

District Magistrate & District Collector is a post of Indian Administrative Service and he/she is a cornerstone for policy formulation in his/her respective districts. These three positions are the foci for policy formulation in their respective domains.

What is “Geopolitics”?

Geopolitics is a political power linked to geographical space. It is a deep study on the effect caused by Earth’s geography on International Relations and Political aspects & effects of various geographical features like mountains, rivers, plains, etc., on migrants.

Geopolitics and Diplomacy have a correlation with each other. Hence, it has a great effect on diplomatic relations between the two nations.


From State List subject to Concurrent List subject

According to Down To Earth, the High-Level Group (HLG) formed by the 15th Finance Commission for the health sector has recommended that the subject of “Health” which is currently in the State List (7th Schedule of the Constitution of India) should be transferred to the Concurrent List. The Panel also stated that subjects such as “Family Planning” and “Medical Education” fall under the Concurrent List and hence it is the need of the hour to transfer the “Health” from State List subject to Concurrent List subject.

Bigger Policy Issue

Migrant Labourers and not the Pandemic

Currently, the bigger policy issue is that of Migrant Labourers and not the current pandemic situation. Today, “Migrant Labourers” is the most affected section of our society. There is no doubt in the fact that the government has given a green signal for deporting laborers through various modes of transportation and one of its examples is “Shramik Special Trains” announced by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry on Saturday (16 May 2020).

It is a responsibility of the government at both levels (i.e at Centre & State), to take care of these migrant laborers and formulate policies in their favor.

(Photo: The Indian Express)

An issue in Governance

Different governments at State & Central level

An uncertainty occurs in decision making when there are different governments at the Centre and State level. Psychology says that between two different groups or persons, there will be a difference of opinion. But if these groups or persons are working as a team, they should find a way out of this for formulating good policies. “Public Policy-Making” becomes better with the better cooperation of governments at both levels. It is a myth that COVID-19 is an urgent issue of “Public Health Importance” but the fact is, it is an urgent issue of improving the “Public Policy-Making”. Today the condition is such that, the leaders are stronger than the states. It means we have strong political leadership at the center with the full majority and potential to bring positive changes. But on the contrary, some states are being ruled by the opposite political parties and so they oppose the decisions of the central government.

Hence, there forms a black hole in decision making and the issue of ” Bad Communication” between the Centre and State emerges. Though some states even after having the opposite political party on the chair, are in favor of this decision for migrant laborers and one such example is Telangana.

In a nutshell, a word laboratory can be used for India as it is the best place for carrying out all the Public Policy experiments. If all political parties keep their personal motto aside and think of developing the nation, the “Machinery of Governance” will work smoothly and in actual sense, India can achieve its vision of being a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025.

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