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Economic decision making: The way ahead

By The Assam Tribune
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Dr Trailokya Deka

The role of administrators and the quality of MPs/MLAs have become a question of discussion: How deep can they think of a particular problem and offer quality solutions? How much quality orders the ministers normally give to the bureaucrats? How much the ministers understand a particular problem?

Good decision making and good governance are the two leading factors of economic development. Both the factors are practically based on the qualities of the public representatives (MPs and MLAs) and the bureaucrats. Most of the time the bureaucrats just become signatories. The Constitution of India is almost silent on the academics of public representatives who practically look after the qualities of administration and the entire decision-making process. Besides citizenship and age limits, nothing special is mentioned regarding academic qualifications to become a public representative in the country. No one can become even a caretaker without education but everybody can become an MP/MLA without any formal education. Even the minimum literate public representatives can give strict order to the (highly) literate or experienced government officials. Hence, there is a need to discuss the integrated framework of quality administration, decision or policy making and respective development or underdevelopment of a country.

We all know that illiteracy is the main reason for poverty, technological backwardness and economic underdevelopment of a country. If it is so, what is the future if comparatively illiterate people make decisions, lead departments or general administration of a country? Development academicians noted that without education on the part of the stakeholders, nothing significant can happen. Not only the recipients but also the senders should have the basic academics in their own field of work.

Economic development is a systematic long-run process. Looking into the scarcity of resources, it is accepted that sustainable economic development is the need of the hour. We recognized the need to achieve the type of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission, 1987). In order to explore the future opportunities, current development should be sustainable in nature. Sustainable development is the precondition for policy formulation. Without sustainable development, nothing significant should happen. But in reality unsustainable development continues apace.

People agree that the present democratic system somewhere failed to adequately manage and deliver sustainable economic development. The reasons include policy incoherence, the inertia of democratic structure and distrust of common people over the political process. Most of the political leaders are found futile to take lead on sustainable economic development with no critical mass for change along with the lack of ability to cope with the environmental limits. Failure in socio-economic development policies brings underdevelopment, poverty or misery. Poverty and unemployment situations are still grim in India. Is it not disgraceful after the 70 years of independence? India still looks for structural reformulation and creation of foundation for economic development. Questions arise regarding structural deficiency or inherent lacking in the decision-making process.

The big monetary jerk in Indian economy, i.e., demonetization (2016), as it was explained by the economists, is purely unsustainable. Several big incidents occurred. The direct positive economic impact of demonetization was a zero. Business houses were affected terribly. After the years of implementation, may we now generalize that demonetization was not a sustainable way to control the problem of black money or terrorist funding in India? May we now conclude that the entire exercise was just a failure of the decision-making process? Or was it implemented to achieve the narrow political gain? If we see the history of GST implementation in India, the party that was in the opposition opposed it a lot in Parliament. But later, the same party after coming to power implemented the GST in a big way. Is it not that the politicians simply work towards their respective party’s interests? There is no significant change in the ‘processes’ of general day-to-day administration. The country as a whole is running in a surprising way of administration. Everywhere we find politicization of the decision-making process. Party politics has become the ultimate means of every decision-making process in India.

The role of administrators and the quality of MPs/MLAs have become a question of discussion: How deep can they think of a particular problem and offer quality solutions? How much quality orders the ministers normally give to the bureaucrats? How much the ministers understand a particular problem? All these questions are interrelated and the answer lies in ‘basic education’. The future development of our country practically lies in the hands of those decision-makers or politicians. Non-matriculate members have occupied the rank of Cabinet ministers in India. We can imagine how decision making for development or sustainable development is going on in India.

We the common people elect the representatives. The ministers, MP/MLAs become empowered from the process (as they are public representatives) and give orders here and there for at least five years. Dirty politicians can only make dirty decisions. In the Indian decision-making process, only a few problems are solved with the motive of sustainability of development. The problems are normally solved either temporarily or partially keeping in mind the future political gain. It happens mainly because of lack of academic knowledge on the part of the most of the decision-makers.

The repeated occurrence of a problem in the same socio-economic set-up is harmful and shameful. Sometimes failure or mistakes may come up but the will must be there to solve a problem in a sustainable way. Problems must not repeatedly come up in an economy at least in a short time period. Lessons should be learnt from past experiences. This will reduce repetition of problems and appropriately help the economy to grow. Without any improvement of the decision-making process, any step/s to tackle a problem is meaningless. If the process gets improved, the problem is solved automatically. Public representatives must understand the grassroots and accordingly offer solutions. The tradition of giving solutions keeping in mind future elections must be stopped. At least the final decision regarding sustainable way of production, consumption, investment, exchange and distribution should be bestowed over a class or group of people who are non-political and excellent in the scientific way of thinking and experience. The politicians should understand why they are sitting in the decision-making process. They need to understand the people’s feelings and aspirations. Sustainable development must always be the centre-point of all forms of policymaking in India.

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