Friday, December 19, 2014

Traditional Public Administration and New Public Management Question Writing

Ques.12. How did traditional Public Administration “resolve a fundamentally irresolvable problem – creating an administration strong enough to be effective but not so strong enough to endanger accountability? (CSM 2013)

Ans. Some important characteristics of Traditional Public Administration are as follows –

#Public service to be an exclusive Government function.
#Politics Administration Dichotomy. 
#Centralized administration
#A political and accountable civil services. 
#Authoritative approach, rigid, rule bound and hierarchical model.
#Secrecy in Government work.
#Structure oriented.
#Permanence and stability.
#Rationality in decision making process. 
#Process accountability 

TPA is centralized in its work model and functions so whatever order comes from top has to be obeyed by the lower level employee. The lower level employee cannot work according to his whims and fancies and this type of arrangement is specially helpful in multicultural society like India where biased mindset is a common trait. Separation of policy formulation and policy implementation reduces unnecessary encroachment leading to effective administration. 

As public services is an exclusive Government Job it is performed without any business and commercial interest thereby focusing more on people’s needs and requirements leading to improved administration provided the civil services are active and honest.

However centralization in TPA does not necessarily leads to unaccountability. Concept of process accountability is present in TPA. Policy implementers i.e. civil servants are answerable to the political bosses for their actions. Concept of rationality in decision making process is present which will make decision makers answerable and accountable for decisions made by them in their personal capacity.

Thus we can see that administration is strengthened without endangering accountability.

Ques.13. “New public management may have neither been the saviour its enthusiasts promised nor the devil its critics worried it would be”. Discuss (CSM 2013) 

Ans. “New Public Management” term was coined by Christopher Hood and this concept came out as an outcome of IInd Minnowbrook Conference of 1988. It focused on the 3 E’s i.e. economy, efficiency and effectiveness. It supports the principles of Liberalization Privatization and Globalization in order to mobilize more and more resources in order to meet the ever growing demands of the society.

NPM was successful in its objectives but there were flip points also. Increased decentralization led to a decrease in power of Government control. Less Government control led to increased autonomy of private enterprises which led them to adopt improper business practices which ultimately led to the Great Recession of 2008 in the US which bankrupted thousands of people all over the World. Greater autonomy and business oriented approach often led enterprises to ignore ecological and environmental concerns leading to aggravated climate and health concerns. Global private companies in order to increase their profits use illegal methods to bypass their payable taxes by flouting the loop holes of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. Many more illegal economic activities like Money Laundering, Hawala transactions etc. can be attributed to the business friendly globalised practices of NPM. So looking at these practices we can easily say that the desirability of NPM has not always led to positive results. Many a times they have been negative. 

But there have been many positive effects of NPM also. Advent of NPM has reduced wasteful expenditure upto a large extent thereby bringing in economy in the practice of administration.

Increased professionalization in business practices have streamlined the previous cumbersome Standard operating procedure resulting in increased efficiency and effectiveness.

Increased globalization has led to foreign companies entering India and setting up their business here bringing with them state of the art technology and also giving employment to the native population. The critiques of NPM also said that his liberal concept is going to make the wealthier more wealthy and poor more poor. They were fearful of the fact that wealth accumulated would remain in hands of the top elite and it will not percolate down to the poor strata of society but the very application of NPM has shown that in all those countries where Government has played the role of an efficient regulator the practices of NPM has benefited all classes of people i.e. upper, middle and lower.

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