Acts of Leadership and of Bridging Divides

Posted on:03-07-15

Last week, I had elaborated on Heifetz’s idea of ‘leadership without authority.’ To refresh our memories, Heifetz cited Gandhi as an excellent example of such leadership, which, in his words, push us to clarify our values, face hard realities, and seize new possibilities, however frightening they may be. Eric Michel, who amplified on Heifetz’s pointed out that leader Read more »

Heifetz’s Path-breaking work on leadership

Posted on:26-06-15

Last week’s blog probably was my most boring one so far. There were hardly any responses to it, primarily, I think, because people were primed to read some salacious details about how the civil service is trained, and all I was giving out was some theoretical gyan on leadership in general.

Undaunted, I shall continue in the same vein. Read more »

A Digression into ‘Leadership’

Posted on:22-06-15

Given my penchant for approaching most issues from the point of view of grounding theory, I reworked this installment of my blog. It was earlier witty, entertaining and irreverent; now, I regret to say, it is boring. Read more »

Changing track; a critical look at the civil service and leadership

Posted on:08-06-15

Over the past couple of months, I began to default a great deal on my weekly blog and ominously, that irregularity began to be habit forming. As this troubled me a great deal, I went beyond using writer’s block as an alibi and wrote to my boss, Yamini, to suggest themes on which I could write. That, I explained, would get me back into the groove and churn out stuff every Friday as planned. Yamini’s reply was short and to the point. “How abt you do a series on training for the IAS. Types of training how this can be more forward looking”, she wrote, with scant regard to spelling, punctuation or grammar. Read more »

The Old Guard Changeth

Posted on:01-06-15

‘You know, Raghu’, said the large man with the kindly face and the piercing eyes, ‘I think that we made a mistake with the Seventy Fourth Amendment’. Read more »

The Thirteenth Finance Commission – a game changer for devolution.

Posted on:16-05-15

The report of the Thirteenth Finance Commission (TFC) can be considered as a game changer in the manner in which devolution of funds from the Union government to the local levels was configured. For one thing, the allocation of funds over the five year period of its implementation, was sharply increased from Rs. 20000 crore, to around Rs. 87,519 crore for five years from 2010 to 2015. While the increase of funds for local governments was welcomed, the manner in which these were configured brought more cheer. For the first time, the considered the demand by the States and local bodies for giving a share from the divisible pool of central revenues, to the latter. Having accepted that landmark change, at the time of actually making the recommendation, the TFC did convert this share into grants under Article 270 of the Constitution. They did so on the strength of a legal opinion that they obtained, in which they came to the conclusion that the Constitution did not provide scope to them to give LGs funds as revenue shares. This was not merely a semantic change; it did change the character of the devolved funds into ‘grants’. Read more »

Participative budgeting: things to be kept in mind by the Delhi Government

Posted on:04-05-15

The decision by the AAP government in Delhi to undertake a process of participatory budgeting is welcome. However, some things need to be kept in mind, to ensure that the process does not dissolve into empty political rhetoric and becomes a meaningful exercise. There are five such points that need to be kept in mind. Read more »

The game of diversion of Finance Commission funds

Posted on:24-04-15

The results of the Twelfth Finance Commission’s directive that funds meant for the Local Governments should reach them within 15 days of their release, and that the Comptroller and Auditor General should verify compliance, did have a salutary effect. States, including those that had acquired a bad reputation for such diversions, did assiduously adhere to these stipulations. The major disincentive for them to delay funds was the additional directive that the States ought to pay interest to the local governments, for the delays caused due to transfers later than 15 days, from the State to the Local Government.

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The Twelfth Finance Commission and Command and Control over States

Posted on:20-04-15

By the time that the Twelfth Finance Commission report was released, late in December 2004, the game of many states in diverting funds meant for the local governments had been exposed. Read more »

Why the Fourteenth Finance Commission did what it did.

Posted on:10-04-15

It was not always that Central Finance Commissions gave pointed directions on how and what for, the funds recommended to be granted to the local governments were to be spent. Initial reports of Finance Commissions immediately following the Constitutional amendment that expanded their scope to recommending grants to local governments, were more sanguine about the manner in which funds were to be transferred to them.

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