STATE, SOCIETY AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
IGNOU MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment
MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Briefly discuss the changing perspectives on the nature of the State.
Ans. A state is a historical institution. It is an outcome of an evolutionary process. Various essential elements have contributed to the development of the state.
The nature of state keeps on changing with passage of time. It changes according to social, economic and political situations. The nature of state can be studied in light of the following perspectives:
Liberalism is an important political ideology. It was started in 16th century. Economists like Adam Smith and Ricardo have contributed a lot to promote this ideology. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Early liberals like Hobbes, Locke, Benthan and J.S. Mill amongst others have also contributed a lot to spread this ideology.
The origin and development of this ideology cannot be related with any one political thinker. It advocates freedom of the people.
The prominent features of this ideology are representative democracy, rule of law, human rights, secularism and struggle for political power. The liberal perspective is still developing further.
In liberalism, man is core focus in any social set up. It focuses on maximum freedom of the people. It also emphasizes minimum control and interference of state in the lives of people. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
It supports capitalism and also favours that state should not interfere in the economic activities of the people i.e. policy of ‘Laissez-faire’. There should be free and open competition.
Liberals believe that state is a necessary evil because its rules and regulations infringes on the freedom of people. But it is also necessary as it performs some unique functions that no other institution can perform.
It works for the welfare and development of the people wherein the state accomplishes most of their needs.
According to early liberals like James Mill and Benthan, state is not a necessary evil but it is a social and ethical institution.
Rule of law and societal peace can only be established when there is interference of state in different spheres of people’s lives. It develops such circumstances that are vital for the development of people.
According to Marxists, a state is not an ethical or social institution. It does not represent people’s needs and will. State is an invention of that class of society that owns the means of production. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
It is a political invention for the protection of interests of this strong economic class. State is an outcome of historical development. It has originated due to class distinction in the society.
Industrial development led to feudalism and capitalist economy. This strengthened the class distinction and hence class distinction became the main reason of state’s origin. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
According to some Marxist views, state and its bureaucratic institutions are working independently as an autonomous body. State is also working according to various sections of society.
As per today’s Marxist approach, state works for its own interests and for other powerful pressure groups. In a nutshell, Marxists believe that state protects the interest of the ruling class, whatever it may be in any form.
The base of this perspective is public choice or public agent theory.
This theory assumes that state works for the interest and welfare of special groups. State uses its authority to fix economic transactions for their benefit.
It advocates market model and competitive elements like marketisation. It assumes that government is the best which rules the least’. It favours that market is superior over the state. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
There is a need to cut down the size of administrative machinery and more active participation of non-governmental agencies. For this, it promotes privatization.
It works to widen the gap between politics and administration and on the other hand, bringing public administration close to private administration. So the main focus is on ‘management’ and ‘managerialism’.
This perspective supports that state should play a minimum role in the economy but in developing countries/ economies, state has to interfere in various aspects of peoples lives as significant number of them are poor, deprived and disadvantaged.
So here, state becomes a prime institution as it performs the functions of defence, security welfare, infrastructure development, social justice and economic growth.
Q. 3. Describe the significance of people’s struggles with special reference to the Right to Information.
Ans. Information is a critical medium for governance. It is a tool in the hands of the citizens to make the administration more responsive, transparent and accountable. Without the necessary information, citizens would not know their rights and duties.
They would be unable to participate in various government programmes and would be helpless in knowing where their rights have been infringed upon so that they make voice their protest.MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
It is important to note that since government projects are mainly for public interest and as government institutions are for the public, it then becomes a duty of the government to provide the right and required information to the public about their programmes etc.
The Right to Information movement began on the basis that information is power and there is a tendency of government functionaries at various levels to restrict information flow to citizens in order to carry on its corrupt and arbitrary use of
authority as well as widen its sphere of control.
Thus, there should be simplified rules and procedures, transparency and proactive dissemination of information if one has to prevent government malpractices.
Since its formation, the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (MKSS), in the state of Rajasthan, has been involved in the struggle for the poor, especially on the issue of land and wages, women’s rights, prices and sectarian violence.
The majority of the members of this organisation are landless workers and marginal farmers from the lower levels of the society.
In 1944, MKSS began a new struggle against corruption through ‘jan sunwai’ or public hearings. This movement made a very significant impact in that it shook the base of traditional monopoly and corruption in the state bureaucracy.
The organisation demanded copies of all documents related to public works that were completed in order to carry out a people’s audit, in particular documents like muster rolls, bills and vouchers. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
During ‘jan sunwai’, works related details and procedures were read and explained to the people. It revealed the level of misappropriation of funds, fudged records and forged muster rolls.
Further, people were also encouraged to raise their voices against corruption and at the same time, concerned government officials were asked to defend themselves.
During the proceedings, several demands were made like people should have the right to make copies of bills, recovery of misappropriated funds etc.
Though, the initial government response was quite resistive and obstructive, the public hearings carried on as they were getting huge support from the locals as well as honest administrators.
In April 1995, Rajasthan’s CM announced in the assembly that his government would confer on its citizens the ‘right’ to get copies of all official documents related to local development works. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
But even after a year, the administration had not executed the CM’s assurance.
In response, the MKSS began a protest in the form of a ‘dharna’ in a small town of Beawar to urge the government to act on its promise.
As an initial response, the government issued an instruction that citizens could inspect the required documents by paying a nominal fee but not obtain copies of those documents.
This was rejected by the MKSS as it felt that it was a mere ‘eyewash’ and not in the real spirit. Without the actual possession of copies, no action could be taken against corrupt officials and their misdoings.
The MKSS continued with their protest that was increasingly gathering huge support from local people. Importantly, people knew that the main thrust of the protest was on the Right to Information.MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
This protest also got support from different sections of the society like shopkeepers, educated people, local politicians, NGOs and even the media.
Finally, the state government issued an official note that it had decided to make a committee that would give final shape to the CM’s promise.
However, even a year after this with several activists meeting government officials, no concrete decision was taken.
In May 1997, the protest began again in the capital, Jaipur. The government though, tried to keep things in a flux all through.
Eventually, in 1999, the state government announced that it was committed to bring a powerful bill on the Right to Information. Talks were initiated with the MKSS and other NGOs to prepare a draft bill for the same.
The draft bill that took shape due to MKSS’s persistent struggle along with other sections of the society was finally passed by the Parliament.
Thus, we see that the civil society movement in the form of MKSS played an important role in providing citizens rights to access information that is theirs, legitimately. It is another example of participatory democracy.
Q. 5. Examine the issues confronting the Indian State.
Ans. Since independence, India has seen a rise in democratic representation across the country. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
People across all sections of the society, especially the disadvantaged and backward ones have increasingly become aware of their rights, potential and political importance.
With a social mix comprising of several castes, communities, regions and language, each social group continues to voice their own particular demands and aspirations, either through proper democratic means or otherwise.
The state too has used several different means to tackle such demands and meet the challenges of governing such a vast country.
However, newer issues that the Indian state is likely to face in the coming years would be much Globalization, economic and trade issues, global warming and environment concerns are amongst the many challenges that confront the Indian State. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The main concern here is that our current administrative framework is not updated and modern enough. In short, the bureaucracy has to be turned into a technocracy, in order to face the challenges.
Our domestic situation has also become complicated. Rising population, skewed develop-ment, a society divided across caste, community, region and wealth, unplanned urbanization coupled with rising migration into cities, increasing gap between demand and supply of necessities like water and power besides political complexities and other factors are causing difficulties for the state to govern.
Although the state is able to manage the situation, increasing corruption, inefficient administration and criminalization of the political system does erode its credibility.
Some political thinkers believe that the concept of a modern nation state is based on homogenization and universal unity.
However, India being a highly pluralistic state with several social complexities, the notion of it being a modern nation state does not really apply.
They believe that the state then emerges as one causing social intolerance and communal strife.MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
As a developmental state, the country has been unable to reduce poverty, tackle social and political intolerance, remove inequalities and provide social justice to citizens at large.
A slow and overloaded judicial system combined with oppressive law enforcement does little to alleviate people’s pain. This puts a question mark over the state’s ability to govern effectively.
Different thinkers have attributed various factors for the obstacles faced by the Indian State.
Some point to the complex and rigid administrative system that most people don’t understand while others pint to internal political conflict and uncertainty, power struggle between social classes and the state, low levels of political participation and skewed and inequitable development.
Irrespective of all the shortcomings and obstacles, the Indian State has been quite successful, particularly in comparison with other states in the region.
It has maintained a healthy and working democratic political system, kept religious and regional conflict in check, spread development to vast areas that were neglected earlier, provided working rural employment schemes, developed vital infrastructure and rural connectivity, initiated health related programmes across regions and classes, initiated successful poverty alleviation schemes and channeled development funds to disadvantaged communities across the country.
Q. 6. Examine the role of bureaucracy in India.
Ans. Bureaucracy is any country is never a closed concept and it continues to be influenced by several factors like liberalization, globalization, privatisation, societal changes and trends, technology trends and developments and many others.
In India too, the bureaucracy is affected by these and many other factors. Our bureaucracy has several characteristic features like a strong binding character, giving non-partisan advice to politicians, ability to manage and administer, leadership, multi-agency coordination and others. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
In this chapter, we would specially understand role of bureaucracy with respect to ‘delegated legislation’ and ‘administrative adjudication’.
Delegated legislation implies the use of legislative powers by a subordinate authority.
Although theoretically, bureaucracy does not have any legislative function but in reality, it does carry out some legislative work as a result of the authority delegated to it by the legislature.
This function primarily concerns with furnishing all the details while making policies, giving them depth of meaning and clarity-the legislature is unable to do this task due to the constraints of time, resources, abilities and knowledge. This function of delegated legislation has been on the rise over time.
However, it is making the bureaucracy even more powerful and influential then it already is. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
This is now becoming a cause of concern as many feel that the bureaucrats may begin acting on their own whims and dictates, overlooking the citizen’s interests and focusing on their own.
The objectives of social justice, fairness and equity may be compromised while making rules and regulations.
An important method to control this delegated legislative authority is through Administrative Adjudication’.
Administrative adjudication is a power similar to ‘delegated authority’, vested with the judiciary to specifically check the abuse of delegated legislative powers of the bureaucracy. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
There are no defined legal rules for conduct that form any guide for administrative adjudication. The adjudicator is guided by statutory standards of common good and public interest.
Here again, arbitrary authority of the administrative adjudicator is kept in check by the judiciary through judicial review.
Besides courts, there are other administrative bodies too that carry out adjudication and ensure that citizens get justice. In India, administrative adjudication consists of the following:MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
(i) Administrative Tribunals: These bodies operate to maintain a balance between personal rights and public welfare. They provide the common man with impartial and fair hearing when faced with administrative malpractices and misuse of power.
They provide quick justice but have only been successful in a few areas of economic administration.
(ii) Publicity and Consultation: While making rules, the public and other affected parties should be consulted with.
This can be done by sending draft rules to the affected parties, holding meetings and providing public hearings to any interested party who wishes to testify.
(iii) Parliamentary Scrutiny: Delegated legislation can also be scrutinized by Parliamentary committees like Parlia- mentary Accounts committee, Estimates committee etc.MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
(iv) Judicial Review: Is another process by which bureaucracy’s delegated legislative authority is kept in check by the judiciary.
Here, the courts can observe whether the delegated authority is within the limits of the Constitutional provisions and other legal boundaries.
In case it exceeds, the courts can then step in and declare offending rules and regulations as null and void.
Q. 8. What kind of reforms have been adopted under the Judicial system?
Ans. The Judiciary is the third organ of the government. It mainly acts as the custodian of fundamental rights and the guardian of the Constitution.
However, in India, the present judicial system appears to be slow and over-burdened with a large number of cases. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
With several cases not being disposed off in time, justice appears to be delayed and then denied. Judicial activism has made the judiciary more powerful than the legislature and the executive.
Public confidence has also decreased in the judiciary. Thus, there is a need to reform the judicial system.
Some measures or reforms that can be initiated are as follows:
Speedy and time-bound disposal of case Due to lack of judges and courts, more than five million cases are still pending for judgement with a typical case taking several years to come to a conclusion. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Some steps have been taken to improve the system like:
(a) A prescribed time limit for case arguments.
(b) Worthless cases to be dismissed in the initial stages itself.
(c) A lesser number of ‘appeals’ and ‘stays’.
(d) Segregation of similar cases with the help of software so that a single judgement can help dispose all of them without delays.
(e) Provision of Tribunals to solve the cases between employers and employees, reducing the burden on courts.
According to the Supreme Court (SC), a superior court can dismiss an appeal if the case has no merit in terms of facts or law as this leads to waste of time and money.
‘Lok Adalats’ are trying to provide speedy justice and share the burden of regular courts.MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
They make decisions on the basis of mutual settlement so there is no appeal to the superior courts. They ensure quick and cost free justice with legal force.
The National Commission also recommended that each High court should monitor the performance of the lower courts in its jurisdiction.
Planned effort should be made to clear the cases in fixed time frames and no case should be kept pending for more than one year.
The Commission also indicated that the Supreme Court and High court judgements of a case should be delivered within a period of ninety days.
This will lead to a quick disposal of cases, saving valuable time and money for both the courts and citizens.
Participatory approach has also proved to be very important in disposing off cases in time. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
At rural local level, Gram Nayayalayas are vested with the power to process 60-70 of rural litigation so that district courts can focus on more important civil and criminal matters. This also provides quicker justice to the rural populace.
There another recommendation is of a Conciliation Court where a professional judge interacts with two lay judges in order to arrive at a reasonable solution.
Sometimes, the judiciary appears to be taking undue advantage of the privilege of contempt of court.
In case of any sort of complaint against any judge, citizens or the media becomes afraid to lodge any complaint so as to not invite any contempt of court proceeding on them. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Thus, they appear to be helpless is such a situation. Hence, some judges can and do take advantage of such legal privilege and indulge in unfair practice.
For better and speedy justice, the judiciary should prefer qualitative judgements. The courts have to user friendly. The setting up of Human Rights Commission has also helped the courts in this regard.
The Commission not only looks into cases of human right violations but also the provision of civic amenities like health, education, employment and environment for the people.
According to the National Commission, another way for speedy justice is the system of Plea bargaining. The accused has to submit an application mentioning the case and offence committed. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
It is also accompanied by an affidavit stating that the accused had no prior conviction in any court for a similar offence.
Judicial Reforms and Accountability
The Indian judiciary does have several shortcomings. Besides wielding considerable power, the superior courts have low accountability.
Allegations of misconduct do appear from time to time against these judges. The Chief Justice of India can appoint a commission to investigate and report in such cases but there is no legal sanction to this.
The judge can be removed through impeachment. However, this impeachment motion is very complex and tedious. Besides, judges also do not want to come under the purview of Lokpal. MPA 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
They also opposed the National Judicial Commission. The judiciary does not want to be accountable to any external independent institution.
Thus, all these factors together has enabled the judiciary to avoid any strict action on its own people.
To overcome the shortcomings in the judiciary, there is a need to set up a Judicial Council which will comprise of respected judges, looking into the cases of misconduct and deviant behaviour amongst the judges’ community.
Recently, there was a proposal by the Conference of Law Ministers and Law Secretaries to set up a National Judicial Commission, headed by the Chief Justice of India, SC judges and chief justices of High courts as members.
This commission was to look into the matters of favouritism, partiality and discrimination on behalf of the judges, besides taking into account their properties and assets.