June 14, 2019, New Delhi
In context of the Union Budget 2019-20, the Finance Minister of India held prebudget consultations with social sector representatives earlier today. Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) highlighted the need for economic reforms to ensure efficient design and delivery of social sector services.
This can help individuals adapt to changing market conditions, acquire advanced skills, and fit into available income generating opportunities. It also called for regulatory and competition reforms to enable job creation. CUTS International highlighted that several policies restrict effective competition between private and public sector. This has resulted in reduction in choice and quality of services and increased cost of access for users across sectors, including social sector.
“Adoption of National Competition Policy of India can weed out competition distortionary policies thereby enabling public and private sector to operate on same field, generate investment and foster growth”, highlighted Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International.
There is a need to ensure that all actions of the government are targeted towards job creation. Institutionalisation of a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) framework can help government get a clear picture of nature and number of jobs/ income generating opportunities its policies and practices are likely to create. A periodic review can help ascertain if its actions are on the right track and design course correction.
CUTS also suggested building capacity of local governments to judicially use citizens’ data for innovation and customisation in design and delivery of social services, which can help ensure sustainable uptake of such services. The third tier of governance would also need to be empowered to partner with private sector to benefit from its technology and data analytics expertise, for delivery of public services.
Building of high quality and reliable infrastructure was also highlighted, to enhance citizens’ trust in technology enabled services. It must be ensured that no intended beneficiary is denied services on account of technological glitches.
Finally, Mr Chatterjee emphasised on the importance of timely and effective implementation of policies and government programmes. Incentivising good performance and dis-incentivising non-performance will be the key. Merit based promotion and ensuing later entry and exit will create adequate competition in the administrative services.