Friday, August 28, 2009

Administrative Reforms Under New Public Management

The following article talks about administrative development around the world.Readers are advised note the highlighted part which can be incorporated in the answer writing - especially for the first chapter in the upsc public administration syllabus - evolution of public administration.

By the mid of 1980s, most of the western countries and their administrative structures felt the impact of reform agenda of New Public Management. The circumstances for new reforms were ripe as they needed public sector cut-backs, limiting public expenditure, and improving productivity, efficiency and economy. The reforms were implemented in various western countries mainly, the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, Australia etc.
In the U.K. a fundamental transformation of administrative system was initiated since 1979 under the Thatcher government. Through a mechanism called 'Prior option Review' the activities of various departments were examined in terms of their efficiency, viability or utility. The major administrative reforms in the U.K. include:

  1. Under the Financial Management Initiative, measures were taken for financial delegation through cost-analysis.In tune with the requirement of multiple service agencies, new executive agencies called Next Step Agencies were established for discharge of a specific set of activities in a business like manner.

  2. In 1991, the scheme of 'Citizens' Charter' was introduced which insisted on public agencies to frame, publish and achieve clearly defined service standards.
  3. Contracting out of certain public services such as street cleaning, garbage collection was introduced in 1992.
In the USA, the reform agenda of New Public Management was introduced on the basis of AI-Gore Report 1993 under National Performance Review, NPM. The Report, which included the basic principles of Entrepreneurial government, advocated by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, was entitled as "From Red Tap Results: Creating Government that works better and costs less." The purpose of these reforms was to evolve an administration culture and practice which was performance based, customer-oriented with due emphasis on cost-effectiveness.
In brief the major reforms in the U.S. included:

(1) Cutting Red Tape through decentralisation, doing away with unnecessary rules and streamlining budgetary process;
(2) Customer-orientation through dismantling government monopolies, adopting marketing mechanism and empowering customers to hear their voice;
(3) Empowering Employees for getting better results through training, responsibility and better work environment; and
(4) Returning to the basics or core activities of the government, which should be performed in a cost-effective manner. Government would eliminate unnecessary tasks and activities."
In Australia the purpose and direction of New Public Management Reforms was to reduce the activities of State and adoption of market mechanism for provision of public services.
In New Zealand, the major reforms initiated under New Public Management i
nclude corporatization of government commercial enterprises, contractual relation ship between the government and public servants to ensure better accountability, performance-orientation and customer service-orientation. 
Though economic and social conditions in India were different from those prevailing in Western countries, it could not escape the impact of globalization, liberalization and privatization. Accordingly some of the reform measures of New Public Management were initiated in India after 1991 in order to bring efficiency and responsiveness in government activities.
Thus, the economy was deregulated and liberalized in selective manner, private agencies were encouraged in certain activities, measures were taken to cut unnecessary government expenditure, use of information and technology was encouraged in public administration,
Right to Information Act was passed in 2005 to bring transparency and responsiveness, participation of citizens groups and non-governmental organizations in administrative process was initiated in certain State governments; devolution of authority was implemented through revamped local - 'self government institutions and in some states or departments, the instrument of citizens charter' was also enforced.

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