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Bureaucracy, Laws & Public Policy – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

Basics of PIL

Session Report
Narayani Bhatnagar

LPPYF Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship is an Online National Summer School Program, a Two- Month Online Immersive Legal Awareness & Action Research Certificate Training Course and Internship Program, from June-August 2023 by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute. An informative and interactive panel discussion on “Bureaucracy, Laws & Public Policy” was held on the 21st of June, 2023 by Dr Nivedita P Haran, IAS (Retd), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala.

The chairperson for the programme is Professor Vibhuti Patel, who is a distinguished visiting professor at IMPRI, and Panel expert Dr Nivedita P Haran. 

The opening remarks were made my Professor Vibhuti Patel, who provided a brief outline of the discussions taken place so far about the overlaps between law and public policy in previous sessions, before opening the floor for Dr Nivedita P Haran to share her insights.

She expressed her gratitude for joining us today. Her lecture addressed Public Policy, how it came to be, and what happened to it after that. Public policy is influenced by the many systems in existence in the country. 

The country’s systems are based on five factors: political, social, and economic. Second, data on information is available. Third, there is the attitude of both the government and the ruled. Fourth, the country’s financial status, and fifth, the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector bureaucracy.  These five requirements serve as the foundation for any public policy, as well as its whole existence. 

What is the purpose of public policy?

It is the foundation of any government. The government’s vision and objective translate into public policy. Many policies result in programmes, which in turn result in projects and laws,

The Systems and Institutions of the State has following features to it, physical, social, political and economic features that influence the public policy of the state.

The Physical characteristics include the state’s climate, citizens, and the country’s geographical position. The Social factors include the nation’s anthropological foundation, history, beliefs, and cultural practices.

Political characteristics include the form of governance and government in the state’s past, present, and future. Political personalities’ awareness and engagement with their people and the nation’s ground realities. How dynamic and active are the political institutions and organs of government, and how well do they accomplish their tasks and hold themselves accountable to the people.

Economic factors include GDP, level of development, level of poverty, and resources available in the country to support its population.

She stated that when it comes to Information and Data, it all comes down to the nature of information: data availability and accessibility.

How relevant it is in the particular situation and whether it would be adequate and suitable in its use. If the data offers a balanced viewpoint on the subject at hand.

If its reliability and credibility do not generate any concerns or inquiries. As recent or dated the data is in terms of usability and believability, and finally, whether or not the responses are acceptable.

Elected governments’ manifesto points become policies. Pressure groups/interest groups, lobbyists, and their agendas may all influence policy.

Once the policy is established, there are petitions and social media coverage of the subject. Now, the departments or interdepartmental committees that are connected with the policy create it, and it is sent to the committee of secretaries with their comments and other parties who are even somewhat concerned with it.

After being finalised by secretaries, it is outsourced to people who are not government employees. The policy is sent to the states and the relevant departments after receiving objections and comments. 

It needs to earn ministerial approval. There could be political underpinnings, entrenched interests, negotiating leverage by political and social groupings, and a level of corruption during cabinet approval.

Legislation and Public Policy

Dr, Haran shared that these Acts are composed of rules and regulations that are based on guidelines or government instructions. The directives may differ based on the level of authority that issued them, such as the Centre, the State, or bothand therefore the people they govern.

It is critical to understand how these laws or regulations are being implemented and if there are current structures and procedures in place to support them. Who it concerns, whether it is simply one department or numerous departments,and whether they have sufficient administrative and financial resources to carry it out smoothly.

Whether or whether it reaches the intended audience, and whether or not they have received it and are reaping the rewards.

Some Concerns

The beneficiaries, who are citizens of the state. If they are aware of and exposed to the implications of these laws and policies for them, and if they have the confidence to interact and interpret with them to their benefit.

Whether these interpretations can be observed to affect and enhance the current physical, political, social, and economic aspects, as well as the accessible information and data.  Most crucially, whether it enhances the country’s GDP and GNH.

If the policy and its implementation, bridges the gaps between Politics and Administration; Researchers and Field Workers; Thinkers and Doers. And whether it increases bureaucratic quality and attitude towards their citizens and work.

Dr. Haran completed her presentation by discussing some significant advancements and improvements in public policy and the Public Interest Litigation sphere that have benefited citizens of our nation.

Every lecture was followed by an interactive question and answer session which facilitated a more nuanced understanding of the topics covered and cultivated a critical understanding among the participants about the discourse of Law and Public Policy. 

The session ended with Swetha Shanker, researcher at IMPRI, thanking the panel members for their insightful sessions and the program ended with a vote of thanks.

Narayani is a research intern at IMPRI.

Youtube Video of Inaugural session for Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship Programme: https://youtu.be/fT0XLKGJ6LY

Read more session reports for Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship:

Basics of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India

Law, Economics and Public Policy

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