Thursday, January 13, 2011

Managing public resources

Here is my Mint op-ed that talks about allotment of natural resources to private interests only after a competitive price-discovery mechanism.

1 comment:

KP said...

Dear Gulzar,

A very objective and critical post.

Possibly the most important
change we need to see in our public debate is the robust evaluation of government decisions on public resource allocation / sale / allotment.

"The critical issue here is one of ensuring that public resources are transferred only at a fair value".

While many reasons for transfers at less than "fair value" are profferred when such allocations are made - the intended public benefit does not always materialise or is not tracked in very specific terms.

"..advocated the use of independent boards, open to public scrutiny, to manage this allotment process. However, are there any independent boards? Experience with such boards even in the private sector has not been satisfactory."

There are no independent boards ( btw we want the experts for their biases and expertise) - but the eventual decision should have political consequences. The defence of the decision should be inherently a political act - not one hiding behind committees.

Curiously "incompetence" - wilful or otherwise - in these kind of large scale decisions has never made headlines. If it does, it is invariably an issue of corruption.

Public debate among experts prior to these actions the equivalent of hearings / depositions - and not a post facto analysis - could force better quality in decision making.

The sound and fury of parliamentary debates mostly obfuscates, rarely informs and is of dubious value.

Thanks for the post.

r,KP.