India to uphold high-quality regulatory standards to stimulate growth
March 27, 2015, New Delhi (India)
‘Good policymaking is about mastering the processes. It seems that our government has always jumped too quickly to Solutions, before even determining what we want or how we can get it”, said Arun Maira, Former Member of the erstwhile Planning Commission of India at a seminar organised today by CUTS International and CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC) in New Delhi on Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). The seminar is being held under a project on RIA implemented by CUTS with the support of the UK Government, following a two-day training workshop on the same subject.
Mr. Maira also emphasized that it is necessary to think about Implementation before any new policy, law or regulation is to be drafted and adopted, and not after; for such policies, laws and regulations to be successful. Those stakeholders who will be affected by the adoption and implementation of new policies, laws and regulations have to be brought together at the earliest possible, to help the government determine the problem at hand more accurately, instead of the current mechanism for stakeholder consultation which is only about getting comments on ‘paper’ regulations.
Accurate problem determination; visualizing of a wide spectrum of options as possible solutions; assessing the costs and benefits on the industry, the whole economy, the environment and the general society of each policy options; and undertaking systematic and transparent stakeholder consultation on all the options; are the various steps in a RIA exercise, a must-do nowadays for several governments world-wide, before decision is taken on whether a policy change, a new law and regulation is to be brought about.
RIA is an innovative tool to change the way governments operate and ensure that important regulatory quality standards are achieved and maintained, for policies to be able to stimulate economic growth and maximise total welfare, said Scott Jacobs, Managing Director of Jacobs, Cordova & Associates, a leading expert on RIA, at the seminar.
Citing the example of the Doing Business indicators used by the World Bank for ranking countries’ business environment, Mr. Jacobs pointed out that, instead of focusing too much on trying to reduce the number of regulatory burdens being imposed on businesses; it may be worthwhile to find out what have brought those impediments about at the first place and try to change the mind-set of those who created them, to enable good and efficient policy-making. A system which is capable of producing a bad result in the past is fully capable of making another mistake, unless the processes to arrive at such ends are audited, reviewed and reformed.
Also speaking at the event, Pramod Deo, Former Chairperson of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission related to the seminar how reforms have gone about in the energy sector in India and explained why the progressive objectives of the Electricity Law 2003 have not yet been achieved, due to regulatory failures and mistakes committed by technocrats in the system.
Other speakers at the event, including representatives of various other institutions (RBI, SEBI, CCI, etc) and the private sector, all agreed on the need and importance of adopting RIA in India, of embedding modern regulatory principles in the current decision-making processes and mechanisms, which are getting outdated, putting a heavy tax on the country’s entrepreneurs and citizens alike.