Q) An effective strategy to deal with the grave crisis due to the COVID 19 pandemic demands citizen centric governance. Discuss.
Why this Question?
Issue of current importance.
Key demand of the Question
Explain the growing need for a new governance model that is citizens centric to combat COVID crisis and other such crises in the future.
Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.
Start by briefly giving a context about the question.
In the first part, explain why a new model of governance focusing on citizens becomes a necessity to tackle new challenges like the pandemic.
In the next part, discuss the importance of designing a smart government and suggest measures that can be taken.
Conclude with a way forward.
There is an urgent need to ensure citizen-focused governance in the 21st century, where problems facing humanity are grave and unprecedented. The current century is likely to hurl evermore menacing challenges from super cyclones to mutating viruses. Smart governance is then the need of the hour.
Citizen-focused governance in times of pandemic should have the following features:
- Expert decision making in crisis situations
- Decentralisation and facilitation to minimise chaos during times of crisis
- Cooperative federalism to prevent tug of war between Centre and states.
- Constant communication drives us to inform the public and prevent panic.
- Fixing accountability with less bureaucratic control and red tape for a better-targeted, focussed and efficient system, in which responsibility and accountability can be fixed.
Need of the hour
- Cash transfers to the labouring poor to shield them from slipping deeper into hunger and joblessness and also spur growth. The ‘multiplier’ effects of this public expenditure would have been much higher than if spent on infrastructure projects.
- The state needs to urgently take a range of measures that prioritise the right to life, which also remains the surest way of initiating assured (and equitable) economic recovery today.
- Among them are enabling expanded production and central procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, and distribution to States for free immunisation to all.
- Universal access to free food grains of 5 kg/ month to those who require it for the next six months; cash transfers of ₹7,000/ household for at least 3 months to those without formal employment.
- Increased resources to the ICDS to enable revival and expansion of their programmes; making the MGNREGS purely demand-driven, with no ceilings on the number of days or the number of beneficiaries per household; and covering urban India with a parallel scheme to cater the educated unemployed.
A smart government is humble and lean, works with evidence-based data, is focussed on citizens’ lives and livelihoods and works in partnership with citizens at every level, with a bottom-up rather than top-down approach.