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

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The Future of Public Institutions in India


It is needless to mention that the word “future” hinges on the conditions of public institutions that exist in the present time. Arguably, public institutions, particularly in the Indian context, do not seem to be in a good condition, having a bearing on efficiency and efficacy. Public institutions such as Parliament, judiciary, bureaucracy, policy, and most significantly, institutions related to education, seem to have been subjected to the ever-growing process of erosion. One way of understanding institutional erosion is to look at the underlying substance of the essence that seems to be fast depleting.

The essence, which is shaped by effective institutional interventions to create more opportunities, both material (positional) and intellectual, does acquire both a normative and utilitarian or instrumental character. The institutional model driven by a utilitarian thrust would try and locate its essence in efficiency and merit. Institutions are the source of producing human capital in terms of merit that gets produced through competition. Institutions have the reason to at least minimally protect their utilitarian essence. Such protection is necessary, as it ensures these institutions the advantage of both legitimacy and efficacy. In this regard, it is interesting to note that public scrutiny of such institutions takes place primarily on account of the latter’s failure to provide jobs, if not to produce new knowledge. But, those at the helm of affairs do not show any serious interest in such a reason. In this regard, the essay by Sudipta Kaviraj on “Indira Gandhi and Indian Politics” (EPW, 20 September 1986) needs our serious attention.

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Updated On : 20th May, 2020
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