‘Learning’ in public policymaking

Latest Livemint article – on cash transfers and other such, various questions regarding the efficacy of alternate implementation strategies should be tested and lessons incorporated in the programme design – because while its all well to announce policy with an eye on 2014, do it well if you are doing it at all

In theory, the recent policy announcement regarding the direct cash transfers is a great example of implementing a learning agenda that would follow a sequence of steps—an ambitious technology platform is used to announce a roll-out, the government chooses pilot districts and then proposes to roll out the programme to the rest of the country. The reality however, is far less encouraging, with the policy announcement seemingly rushed through with an eye on the 2014 elections. There is absolutely nothing wrong in governments attempting to win elections on the back of effective policymaking and to suggest otherwise or to label cash transfers as ‘bribes’ is just plain stupid. However, unfortunately we seem to have a scenario where fallible technology is being pushed through by a government that appears not only muddled conceptually, but also one that has not thought through the entire implementation chain.

See here for the column

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