National Knowledge Commission (NKC)

The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) was constituted by the Prime Minister in 2005. The Commission has one Chairperson and seven other members. It was established with the mandate that it would work as an integral part of an intellectual group to advise the office of Prime Minister on the various policy related issues. Some of the important areas in which this Commission was mandated to concentrate included education sector, especially thorough reforms in research institutions to inculcate competitive spirit in the country's economy to emerge as a knowledge economy hub in the Asian region.

Its mandate was as follows:-

(i) Build excellence in the educational system to meet the knowledge challenges of the 21st century and increase India's competitive advantage in fields of knowledge.

(ii) Promote creation of knowledge in Science and Technology laboratories.

(iii) Promote knowledge applications in Agriculture and Industry.

(iv) Promote the use of knowledge capabilities in making government an effective, transparent and accountable service provider to the citizens and promote widespread sharing of knowledge to maximize public benefit.

Public policies programmes and scheme

Introduction

Public Policy is a guide to action to be taken by the administration with regard to a series of matters consistent with law and institutional customs. It constitutes a system consisting of

(i) a course of action,

(ii) regulatory measures,

(iii) laws of the state and society's norms,

(iv) funding priorities relating to certain topic(s) executed by the governmental officials.

It embodies the rules emanating from the Constitution, legislative acts and judicial decisions. As an academic discipline, its elements are taken from social sciences such as economics, sociology, political science, ethics. It also involves policy analysis, programmed evaluation and public management. Robert Stone defines public policy as the relationship of government to its environment.'

"Thomas R. Dye holds the view, 'public policy is whatever government chooses to do or not to do'. Richard Rose says, 'public policy is not a decision but is a course or pattern of activity.' In Friedrich's opinion, public policy is a proposed course of action of a person, group or government within a given environment providing opportunities amid obstacles to realize an objective or purpose. "Thus, it is clear that public policies are governmental decisions, and activities through which the government attains certain goals and objectives. We may add that the formulation and implementation of public policy involves a well planned pattern, requiring a thoroughly close-knit interaction between the important governmental agencies viz., the political executive, legislature, bureaucracy and judiciary. The major features of public policies are:

(a) "They are goal-oriented'formulated and implemented to attain certain objectives;

(b) "They are the outcome of government's collective action for executing certain programmes;

(c) A policy is what the government actually decides or chooses to do.

(d) Public policy is a positive concept in the sense that it depicts the concern of the government which involves its action to a particular problem(s).

Public policy is not a decision, for decisions taken are not to be described as matters of policy'policy is a strategy and a means while the decision is an end in itself, decisions lead to the formulation of polices; decision are what policies aim at or hope to achieve; policies are only instruments to specific goals; they lead to decisions. Public policies are described as substantive, regulatory, distributive, redistributive, capitalistive.

Policies are stated to substantive when they deal with general welfare, development; programmes such as the provisions for education, employment, law and order; they are regulatory when they deal with the regulation of trade, business, safety measures, public utilities. In India, we have Life Insurance Corporation, Reserve Bank of India, Hindustan Steel, State Electricity Boards, State Transport Corporation and the like which usually perform regulative work; they are stated to be distributive when they are concerned with specific segments of society, which include public assistance and welfare programmes; such as adult education programme, food relief social insurance, vaccination camps etc. etc; they redistributive when they deal with the rearrangement of policies which aim at social and economic changes, especially when welfare services are disproportionately distributed among certain sections of society or when the attempts are made to rectify the wrong; they are capitalistive because they provide financial subsidies to the states or local units of governments.

Public policy passes through various stages:

The first stage is policy formulation. It is the stage when the demand of the system gets converted into policies. The next stage is policy education, when the government attempts to make the masses aware of the formulated policies. The next stage is implementation, when policies are systematically executed by different administrative agencies at the central, state and local levels. The Policy evaluation is the final stage of policy process. It is the stage when the systematic and effective policy 134'Indian Polity and Governance evaluation seeks to determine the success or failure of a policy, a stage with proper policy monitoring, effective implementation and functioning.

Public policy making, in India, has its basic objectives as enshrined in the Constitution of India itself (see the Preamble, the Fundamental Rights, the Directive Principles of State Policies, and the other provisions of the Constitution). It is in this context, that the policies have been framed and formulated. Some of these objectives, among others, include :

(i) elimination of poverty and

(ii) initiation of social justice measures;

(iii) reduction of disparities in income and wealth,

(iv) bringing about the distribution of economic power,

(v) assistance to the weaker sections of society,

(vi) resisting inflationary measures; and utilization of all types of resources to their fullest,

(vii) boosting industrial productivity,

(viii) attaining self-sufficiency in basic needs of shelter, clothing and health for all,

(ix) selfreliance in economy and technology,

(x) promoting policies for controlling the growth of population, and finally, seeking over-all development.

The government's institutions such as the Parliament and the state assemblies, the executive such as the whole governmental machinery both at the central level and the state level, and the judiciary play an important role in policy making and policy implementation. The non-governmental agencies like the political parties, the pressure groups, the civil society organizations, and the citizens also contribute in policy making. No government can afford to ignore values such as those relating to individual freedom, order, justice, equality, and the like when the policies are framed. The role of mass media and social movements in the formulation of public policies is, indeed, important.

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