Institutional reforms key to effective service delivery, says World Bank

New Delhi, July 26 | Updated: Jul 27 2006, 05:30am hrs
The World Bank in its India Development Policy review has said implementation of institutional reforms is key for more effective provisioning of core services. Effective implementation requires more than choosing the right areas for emphasis. The bank pointed out that Indias economic achievements have also thrown up several challenges in terms of providing access to services.

The country would need to build on its achievements by providing fair access for all citizens to core services, while meeting the challenges of improving citizen satisfaction by providing reliable and appropriate services, the bank said.

The report indicated meeting these challenges would require systematic reforms and not merely expansion of business as usual. These reforms must also improve the relationships of accountability between citizens, the state and the organisations which provide services.

The report stated corruption, absenteeism, low quality and high costs are some of the factors which engulf the current state of service delivery in the country.

However, it underlined that the many of the current challenges are not the challenges of failure but rather challenges that emerge from the current achievements. According to a survey conducted by Public Affairs Centre, there is an access-satisfaction gap for the people of the country.

While 72% of households used the public distribution system (PDS), less than one in 10 were fully satisfied with quantity, quality or fairness of the system. It showed that 78% of the households reported using government or government-aided schools, only 16% were fully satisfied with the behaviour of their childs teacher.

This showed that the country is not struggling with the problems of a complete failure of the state, but of incomplete successes, mixes of failure and success. The achievement of rising incomes suggested that citizens are demanding more and higher quality.

However, the revolution of rising expectations creates the challenge that government are under pressure to deliver services like never before. The achievement from cumulative investments in asset creation has brought the goal of physical access to road, clinic, school or market within reach.