DailyPost 2459

Public policy is touted as a politico-governance tool / mechanism, which has capabilities to transform nations to social, economic, scientific and technological powerhouses. The magic machine has displayed its outstanding performance in a few countries, been around average in larger number of other countries and non-performer in many more. Researches have been conducted to find the cause of these debacles, but more often than not, not led to any marked improvement in the success strike rate of public policies. The lack of understanding of public policy as objective empirical tool in the public domain leads to misconceptions which has by now become well established.

It has made the wider world believe the government works in disjointed movements of proclamations, actions and some half baked results, which they don’t seem to be bothered about, but for a few exceptions. Given the hiccups, at times controversy and the results, gives a feeling the powers that be indulge in table top public policy creation. The green horns do the job in the form of academicians, advisors, consultants or experts of choice, which curry favour with the powers that be, to create a ’suitable policy.’ It might not be in sync with the detailed requirements and even the not so blatant ones, which needs a totally different form of requirement gathering. That is certainly worth the effort as you playing with lives of millions on people.

It also becomes extremely difficult to retrace once the policy starts getting rolled out. You are forced to handle the hiccups and at times fairy insurmountable obstacles, that would come your way, if the exercise has been table top. Even for an excellent table top exercise, it would need much better subject matter experts, hard core domain experts, management and administrative magicians, resources experts, finance / expenditure experts etc just to start with. The name of the game thus is transformation of this whole exercise to an assembly line model, the famed Toyota Way. From the conception to the delivery and even change, iteration and revamp all need to be factored in.

This has to be as close as in can be to a real-life scenario, with scope for aberrations, and a component for consequent changes, if any, being made a part of the public policy plan. The whole exercise gets transformed into the detailed project plan on the assembly line mode, with milestones, evaluations all built in. Every single touchpoint with all known complexities has to be very realistically planned and despite that, all precautions need to the taken. All hiccups need to be mapped in the Public Policy Detailed Project Report and remediations taken care of. It has to an operation. This is what an assembly line is all about. It can happen with the nature of robust governance and expertise available. What is lacking is the plan and will to do, with a never day never die approach. The taste of the pudding is in the eating.

Sanjay Sahay

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