Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The mid-day meals tragedy

I have an oped in Mint today that draws attention to the how the mid-day meals tragedy is representative of a low level equilibrium in public systems. 

There are numerous similar examples of systems entrapped in such negative equilibriums. Similarly inadequate allocation of resources for food and maintenance, encourages hostel wardens in government welfare hostels and residential schools to manipulate attendance figures. The meagre budgetary allocation for public offices, from that of Tahsildar to the Station House Officer, makes them rely on local interests to manage logistics. These resource gaps provide a fig leaf for officials to make money and sustain a rent-seeking chain. Furthermore, since violation of rules and culpability varies only in shades of grey, enforcement becomes very tricky.

Update 1 (25/08/2013)

So the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women now finds the mid-day meal allocation unrealistic

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