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State level reforms



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The finances of the states are in shambles. I'll illustrate with a short
note on this subject later. A proposal to help states initiate reforms is
placed below. Kindly offer views on this before it is sent off to the Plg.
Comm. SS

			STATE LEVEL REFORMS (by Sanjeev Sabhlok)

Introduction
 	Today, the economic reforms process is largely getting stalled at the
state level. For example, while clearances from Government of India are
often forthcoming for F.D.I., the procedure of facilitation at the state
level is often mired in outdated rules, petty corruption and inefficiency.
Political support is also often extremely lukewarm at the state level, or
subject to payoffs. 
	At least one of the reasons for this is that the senior bureaucracy and
political leadership at the state level is only partially aware of the
policy changes taking place at the national level. 
	After discussions with various officials in the Planning Commission  and a
few NGOs operating in the advocacy sector  the following programme is being
suggested for the Planning Commission. This may be called the State-level
Reforms Sensitization Programme (SRSP). This model is based on the concept
suggested by Dr. Pronab Sen.

Proposal
	It is proposed that the following two-stage process be put into motion:

Stage 1: Sharing of know-how
	Each major Ministry would identify one State where reforms in the subject
area  of that Ministry have been relatively successful. That State would be
assisted by the Ministry in preparing materials for a 3-day National
Technical Workshop where the key features of the success, and possible
shortcomings, would be analyzed threadbare, to help understand the
theoretical and practical aspects of the reform process in that area.
Ministers and senior officials from all States would then be invited to
attend this Workshop. A few outside experts from each State would also be
invited. The Workshop would be fully funded by the Government of India,
including the travel costs of State and outside functionaries. Each
Workshop would cost in the range of Rs.10 lakhs.

Stage 2: State-level and debate and Blue Prints
	All States would then be required to hold two sets of Seminars on the
concerned topics in their respective State.

(a) Initial Debate: The Department which attended the National workshop
would be assisted in preparing materials for a 2-day Seminar on the
concerned topic in which all MLAs and  senior officials of the concerned
state will be invited to attend, along with the Press, NGOs operating in
that area, and experts. In this Seminar, steps to bring about reforms in
this sector in the State will be debated with reference to the knowledge
imparted in the National Workshop.

(b)  Debate on the Blueprint: Within three months of the first Seminar a
Blueprint will worked out by the concerned Department and a second Seminar
organized in order to solicit comments on the Blueprint. As a result, there
will be a sense of involvement in the finalization of the Blueprint. In
particular, as one IAS officer substitutes another over the years as head
of the Department, the likelihood of the original project being abandoned
or otherwise sabotaged by the new incumbent will significantly reduce.
	The States would need about Rs.50,000 for organising each of these two
seminars.

Total Cost
	On each topic, the Planning Commission or Government of India would have
to budget  about Rs.40 lakhs. If six major areas are taken up each year, it
would cost about Rs.2.5 crores. It is expected that the gain from these
workshops will exceed the investment by an order of magnitude.


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