ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Policy and Decision-Making in Government

Vol VII, No 22 MAY 27, 1972

Policy and Decision-Making in Government

V A Pai Panandikar

The real and pertinent question is: what is the policy and decision-making process in actual practice?

With very little hesitation one can say that there is today hardly any “policy anticipation” in the government. Even in the most organised agencies of the government, there are no mechanisms and no personnel designed for or capable of handling such a task. Indeed the function itself does not exist and whenever an anticipatory question is raised, the normal reaction is: why bother about a problem until it has arrived? Nor is there an understanding that for “anticipation” to function in policy-making, the government needs to examine a series of developments on a national plane, both institutional and behavioural. This would inevitably imply the use of research technology. But the role of research in articulating policy needs is nearly absent in India and almost ironically the only organised attempts to collect data on the citizen clientele and their preferences seem to be made by the soap and cigarette manufacturers and distributors.

In the absence of such policy planning work, the development of alternatives of policy choices in the government is based on the “knowns” which necessarily confines our policy horizons to the beaten tracks and to a few and limited alternatives. In fact it means that here is really no hope for new alternatives to be developed. How can they be developed unless we have better facts and new interpretations, and we are willing to look at national and international experience for developing our policy options?


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Updated On : 28th May, 2022
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