eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Strengthen Public Sector Accountability; World Bank

Posted by egovindia on July 26, 2006

Strengthen Public Sector Accountability; World Bank
New Delhi | July 26, 2006 5:33:06 PM IST

The World Bank’s flagship Report for India released here today calls for strengthening Public Sector accountability and outlines an agenda for maintaining robust growth, which includes improving the state of the infrastructure, containing fiscal deficit and labour reforms.

The Report, which focusses on spreading the benefits of development to all areas and across all sections of people, outlines steps for reforming the financial services and enhancing productivity growth in agriculture.

The Report, ‘India, its Development Policy Review (DPR) 2006’ has its theme ‘Inclusive growth and Service Delivery; building on India’s success’ was released by Mr Michael Carter, World Bank’s, Country Director For India.

The DPR is one of the core analytical tools or instruments by which the Bank seeks to assist partner countries frame some of their key development challenges.

“We very much hope this report will advance the debate on what we believe is India’s key development challenge: how to build on India’s emerging economic success, make it truly inclusive for a quarter of the country’s citizens who still live below the poverty line, and improve the effectiveness of public spending for core public services to ordinary citizens,” Mr Carter said.

For India to continue on its trajectory of rapid growth and expand this growth across regions, sectors, and people, the report offers some suggestions.

— Remove key binding constraints of poor infrastructure and high fiscal deficits; –Focus on equalising accelerators: reforms that both improve economic efficiency and spread the benefits of growth such as changing labour regulations to spur job creation and reforming the financial sector –Raise agricultural productivity by greater investment in technology and infrastructure; –Improve the climate for growth in lagging states and regions by reducing the regulatory burden, ensuring law and order, and expanding rural infrastructure to increase connectivity; –Empower the poor through pro-active policies and programmes that assist them to take part in the market on fair and equitable terms; It gives a clarion call for strengthening the ‘systems of public sector accountability’.

The Report stresses the need for India’s rapidly growing economy to improve the delivery of core public services such as healthcare, education, power and water supply for all India’s citizens.

It underlines the importance of ensuring that public money is well spent through institutional reform of the public sector that creates effective systems of accountability.

The DPR states that while India has been very successful on a number of fronts such as reducing absolute poverty by more than half, dramatically reducing illiteracy, and vastly improving health conditions, these achievements have created new challenges for the country.

Commenting on the report, Dr Lant Pritchett, Lead Socio-Economist in the Social Development unit for South Asia and also a lead author of the Report, says: “For India to improve the delivery of core public services such as water and power supply, healthcare, education, and transportation, systems of accountability have to be strengthened. And this is possible only through institutional reforms.” The DPR outlines four avenues for reform that can promote effective systems of public sector accountability: internal reform of public sector agencies; producing regular and reliable information for citizens; strengthening local governments and decentralising responsibilities; and expanding the role of non-state providers.

It, however, cautions that planned reform alone cannot bring about the desired changes – “ultimately implementation is everything.” UNI GS VJ KN1627


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