Crafting Policy, the V. Ramachandran Style

Posted on:19-12-15

Working with the Expert Group on Participatory Planning chaired by Mr. V. Ramachandran was an object lesson in how to craft policy. The group had a mercurial composition and arguments flew thick and fast between the members. Mr. Ramachandran intervened more by listening carefully and summing up the discussions. Read more »

A Role Model Slips Away

Posted on:08-12-15

It was at a conference in Kerala, probably in 2003 or so, that I first met him.

Vijayanand, my friend and fellow traveller on the road to democratic decentralisation, grabbed me by the arm and took me to the table where the gaunt man was having lunch. ‘This is Raghunandan,’ he introduced me. Read more »

The Wicked Problem of Global Warming

Posted on:24-11-15

Over the last four, somewhat intermittent blogs, I had detailed the initiative taken by the Fourteenth Finance Commission in introducing a new factor, namely the extent and conservation value of forest cover, into the horizontal formula for distribution of central revenues to States. Read more »

How Conservation Payments Ought to be Used

Posted on:09-11-15

As detailed in last week’s blog, the report on ‘High Conservation Value Forests: An Instrument for Effective Forest Fiscal Federalism in India’ suggested the devising of a horizontal formula that comprises of a ‘High Conservation Value Forests Index’, a ‘Conservation Cost Index’ and a calculation of Opportunity Cost, namely, the revenue foregone by states by not diverting forests f Read more »

Funding for forest protection – peeping behind the Fourteenth Finance Commission Award.

Posted on:30-10-15

One good feature of the way India’s Finance Commissions go about their jobs is that once their reports are finalized, they make public the data on which they based their reports, as also the various studies that they commissioned for deeper study of the issues before them. Read more »

Funding environmental services; fundamental questions or process issues?

Posted on:09-10-15

My apologies for a break from my weekly blog. After five weeks of skipping my schedule, I resume my series on funding of environmental services.

As expected, my blog of five weeks back received some thought provoking responses. Read more »

Wicked problems; financing environmental services

Posted on:31-08-15

‘Just letting you know, Raghu’, said my friend, a passionate advocate of participative urban planning. ‘Whatever you do, don’t try to solve the stray dog problem’.

 ‘Where does that come from?’ I asked. I was not expecting that. We were discussing strategies of how to get people interested in coming together to solve their civic problems. Read more »

Imbibing Leadership skills through Institutional Reforms and personal habits

Posted on:17-08-15

The coming years calls for adopting the new age strategies of bridging leadership and adaptive leadership if civil servants are to make a difference. Training alone cannot make a difference in leadership styles and effectiveness. A combination of training, institutional reforms and adopting some simple personal habits might accelerate this transition in leadership. Read more »

Can the IAS learn Bridging and Adaptive Leadership?

Posted on:06-08-15

First and foremost, the IAS needs to consciously work on curbing swollen heads within their tribe. Read more »

Bridging Leadership and the Civil Servant

Posted on:31-07-15

While some aspects of dysfunctionality within the government system have been built up through several civil-servant driven decisions that go against fundamentally accepted principles of federalism and decentralization, the civil servant cannot be blamed for all weaknesses of the governance system. Moreover, it would be unfair to cast the blame on each new crop of civil servants for the mistakes of her predecessors. Today’s administrative system is a challenging environment, with many stakeholders and interests that are often at loggerheads with each other. Even as fractured systems are being rationalized, a civil servant in the field has to deal with situations that arise, there and then. This brings us to the next question, which is whether civil servants can consciously cultivate the qualities required to be an ‘adaptive’ or ‘bridging’ leader. Read more »