Here is an essay on ‘Policy-Making in India’ for class 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Policy-Making in India’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay # 1. Introduction to Policy-Making:
One of the essential functions of government is policy-formation. In the words of Dr.Appleby, the essence of public administration is policy making. Without policy, government and administration are rudderless. Policy is prior to every action. It is pre-requisite to all management.
It is the policy which sets the task for administration. It provides the framework within which all actions for the accomplishment of an objective are to be activated.Policy is in fact planning for action; it is getting reading for setting the sails to reach the desired destination.
Ever since Wilson wrote his essay on “The Study of Administration” published in 1887, politics-administration dichotomy school of thought tended to regard policy as outside the scope of administration.
In the words of Wilson: “The field of administration is a field of business. It is removed from the hurry and strife of politics.” Wilson was followed by Good now and as late as 1926, L.D. White drew a distinction between administration and politics.
It is now being increasingly realized that politics-administration dichotomy cannot work and that administration cannot be completely divorced from policy-making. Luther Gulick was one of the first advocates of this view.
To quote Dr. Appleby:
“Administrators are continually laying down rules for the future, and administrators are continually determining what the law is, what it means in terms of action, what the rights of parties are with respect both to transactions in process and transactions in prospect…….. Administrators also participate in another way in the making of policy for the future; they formulate recommendations for legislation, and this is a part of the function of policy-making.”
Public officials are associated with policy-formation in three important ways:
First, they have to supply facts, data, and criticism as to the workability of policy to the ministers or to the legislature if the initiative for policy-making comes from them. The members of the legislature or the ministers are amateurs who have risen to positions because of the popular will and not because of administrative talent and as such, they have to give due weight to the suggestions of the officials.
Second, in many cases the initiative for policy or legislation emanates from the administration. This is because of the fact that it is the administration which is in constant touch with the general public and is in a better position to understand the difficulties that arise in the execution of legislation.
It has, therefore, to make suggestions and formulate proposals for removing those difficulties and in the process, it may have to, if need be, ask for amendments in the existing law or even for more laws. In such cases policy proposals emanate from the administration and legislature only puts its seal of approval on them.
Third, on account of lack of time and knowledge, the legislature passes skeleton Acts and leaves the details to the administration. It is here that administration is most supreme in policy-making.
In order to execute these Acts, the administration frames rules, regulations and bye-laws which is a major contribution to policy-making. It may, therefore, he said that there are two main types of policy-political policy and administrative policy.
Political policy is the policy made by the government. It is the general policy set out by the Parliament and political executive in pursuance of the promises made at the time of election by the party in power. Administrative policy is the form in which the minister, administrator or Board carries the will of the government into effect.
In the words of Dr. M.P. Sharma “…administrative policy is largely concerned with the determination and establishment of appropriate machinery and procedure for the implementation of legislative policies, setting the time-table or work programme of activities for guidance of its own staff through rules, regulations or orders, and taking precedent-making decisions on specific novel issues which may arise in the course of day-to-day administration.”
Essay # 2. Basis of Policy-Making:
Policy, from whatever source-legislature or administration-it may emanate, must be based on factual data and accurate information. to the legislature, it is the administration which supplies the necessary information but wherefrom the administration obtains that information?
Broadly speaking, there are four ways through which administration collects the necessary information:
1. Internal Sources:
Every department is a centre to which flow periodic reports, returns, statements, accounts and various other materials from various field establishments. These reports and other material are recorded by the department for future use whenever the need arises.
Some departments employ special agencies for the collection of data in certain special fields. Several Ministries in India have made special arrangements and established special machinery for the collection of statistics and data helpful for policy-making.
The Central Statistical Organisation, the National Sample Survey, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Directorate of Industrial Statistics and various other organisations are working for the collection of information and statistics. The data so collected is properly processed, organized and interpreted to reveal certain facts essential for policy-making.
2. External Sources:
To supplement the internal data which may be insufficient, the administration takes to collecting information from external sources. It establishes contacts with private bodies, unions, associations, chambers, etc., in order to get a true picture of facts.
Internal information is likely to be biased and hence inaccurate and unreliable because it travels through the official channels and the agency reporting it may not like to reveal all that is fact. In our country, the government does consult and tries to know the essence of public opinion through various labour unions, chambers of commerce, and other professional associations.
Before the Five Year Plan is actually approved, the draft outline is thrown open for discussion to various bodies all over the country. The suggestions received are duly considered and incorporated, where approved, in working out the final Plan.
3. Special Investigations:
Special investigations may be conducted by the appointment of Commissions and Committees of enquiry for finding facts in respect of a particular matter of field. Such investigations are very useful for policy-making as they provide the maximum thought in a particular field. Examples of such Commissions/Committees are numerous both in our country and abroad.
The Royal Commissions appointed from time to time in England, the Hoover Commission, in U.S.A., the Central Pay Commissions, the Universities Radhakrishnan Commission, the Local Finance Enquiry Commission, the Secondary Education Commission, the Press Commission, the Taxation Commission, the Monopolies Commission, the Administrative Reforms Commission, etc., in India are the examples of special investigating bodies.
These Commissions have specific terms of reference; they examine witnesses, both official and non-official and obtain facts and views which they convey to the government in the form of recommendations. These recommendations serve as the basis for policy-making and effecting reforms.
4. Research and Study:
Research and studies may be organized by the Government and non-official agencies to discover certain facts and views. Administrative research may be conducted by such bodies like Division of Administrative Management in the Bureau of Budget in U.S.A., O & M in the British Treasury and in various other departments.
Organization and Methods Division in the Cabinet Secretariat with its cells in other departments in India. Similarly, non-official bodies like Brookings Institution, the Public Administration Clearing House in U.S.A., the British Institute of Public Administration and the Indian Institute of Public Administration also conduct researches and provide facts for policy formulations set up for the purpose.
The Geological, Botanical, Zoological Surveys of India, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, various laboratories devoted to research in building techniques, drugs, food, technology, electro-chemicals, metallurgy, mining, salt, etc., the Atomic Energy Commission, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, etc., are some of the examples of institutions engaged in research.
Every modern government, anxious as it is to make improvements, has to depend on these research bodies for the mine of information and facts they supply. Every new policy must take cognizance of the new research and material provided by these bodies.
Essay # 3. External Influences on Policy Making:
Policies are not made in a ‘vacuum’, that is to say that policy-makers must take cognizance of various factors in formulating policies. They cannot act arbitrarily, more so in a democratic country.
First, every policy must be in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution as interpreted by the law courts and the laws made by the legislature.
Second, every policy must take into account the prevailing customs, traditions and conventions of the people. That is to say that a policy must not be against established ways of life of the people unless it is extremely desirable to frame one for banning a social evil.
Third, a policy must consider the international law and the world opinion for no country can live an isolated life. International law is constantly becoming important and every member living in the family of nations must play the game according to rules.
Fourth, if a policy of a department affects the policy of some other department or organization, the department framing the policy must have prior consultations with the department affected. Such a clearance is very important for the homogeneity of administration.
Finally, a policy must be framed after due consultation with the persons or groups of persons, their unions and associations and other interests likely to be affected by policy for this helps the policy-maker to analyze the difficulties likely to be faced in the execution of the policy.
Thus policies have to take into consideration several factors. In the words of Seckler- Hudson “Policies are arrived at, then, in all sorts of ways, conditioned by all sorts of matters.”
The various organizations that participate indirectly or directly in policy-formulation are the legislature, the executive, the judiciary through interpretations and judge-made-laws, top administrators, political parties, pressure groups, people, etc. Policy-making is a continuous process.
There must be periodical review of the usefulness of a policy. A policy is useful only under certain circumstances. These circumstances change with time and a policy once very useful may become obsolete. The policy may be changed accordingly or a new policy must be developed. Nehruvian socialism is now being liberalized under the changed economic scenario of the country.
Although policy may seem to be a decision of a particular body or department, in practice, however, the process is widespread all through the organization and the particular body announcing it is the last link “of a long chain of previous history of the matter.” It is, therefore, a collective activity, a cooperative endeavour and an effort in which many people participate.
Gladden’ distinguishes four different levels in policy-making:
(a) Political or general policy framed by the Parliament;
(b) Executive policy framed by the Cabinet,
(c) Administrative policy, that is, the form in which the administrator works out the will of the government, and
(d) Technical policy, that is, the day-to-day policy adopted by the officials in carrying out the administrative policy.
The process of policy formulation consists of the following steps:
(i) Understanding and analyzing of the present environment, both external and internal;
(ii) Identification of policy alternatives to achieve the goals in the anticipated environment;
(iii) Examination of the alternatives;
(iv) Elaboration of the consequences of various alternatives;
(v) Effect of alternatives and consequences on preferred values and norms;
(vi) Selection of policies.
Herein, it may also be mentioned that some American writers like David Easton, Lasswall and Drox have pleaded for the evolution of ‘policy science as a separate discipline which will accelerate the development of policy knowledge and contribute to better policy-making. This idea, however, it still in infancy stage.
Essay # 4. Organs that Participate in Policy-Making:
Policy-making is a collective activity in which many organs participate.
In our country, some of the important organs are:
Constitution is the supreme law of the land and every policy that is framed must be in consonance with constitutional framework. Being a very comprehensive document, it clearly lays down how the machinery of the government shall work, what shall be its objectives and what shall be its limitations.
The Preamble to the Constitution declares the objectives while Directive Principles lay down the principles according to which the machinery of the state shall frame policies.
Legislative assemblies enact laws to give effect to the policies laid down in the Constitution. Legislation is the declared will of the sovereign state and an expression of the popular opinion of the people.
The role of legislature is primarily that of vetoing and controlling policies because it itself rarely takes the initiative in sponsoring legislation. It influences and moulds policies through general discussions, adjournment motions, interpellations and resolutions, etc.
3. The Cabinet:
The cabinet is the chief source of policies in our country. It is the most important body and its meetings make every one await its decisions. It is the overall directing and controlling body headed by the Prime Minister. All important policies are approved by it. It works through several subject-matter sub-committees which report to it on specific matters.
4. Planning Commission:
Although it is a staff agency and hence an advisory organ to the Government of India, it exercises important influence over the formulation of policies relating to the entire field of administration.
5. National Development Council:
National Development Council, consisting of the Prime Minister, a few Central Ministers and Chief Ministers of all States, is also the supreme policy-making organ. It is said to have acquired a role of ‘supra-cabinet’.
6. Public Services:
Public Services, though mainly concerned with the execution of policies, participate in policy making in so far as they advise and supply the necessary data to the Ministers for policy-making, give legislative form to the policies and lay down administrative rules and regulations for giving effect to the approved policies.
Through its power of judicial review and advisory power, the Supreme Court exercises influence on public policies.
8. Professional Associations:
Professional Associations, like the Bar Association, All India Medical Council, and Teachers’ Association also play a prominent role in formulation of policy in India.
9. Political Parties:
Through election manifestoes the political parties display their respective policies and make an effort to win the elections for implementing these policies. Besides the above organs, there are several other bodies which influence policy-making.
Mention may be made of the Advisory bodies such as Standing Labour Committee, Indian Labour Conference, Import and Export Advisory Committee, Central Advisory Board of Education, University Grants Commission, Pressure groups such as trade unions and chambers of commerce.
All these bodies advise, suggest and sometimes protest and demand correctives in regard to a particular policy. Under the impact of information technology, mass media is playing an important role in building pressure on policy-making.