We propose below nine new institutions that can change India dramatically.
1. Territorial Army – Civic Governance
One of the major improvements we need to do is to dramatically change the way we manage our cities and villages. The issue is not just corruption but lack of skill and will to do a good job. We propose to create an institution called Territorial Army that operates nation-wide and positions itself as an integrated infrastructure service provider using a managed services model. The people’s representatives can give a multi-year contract to this institution which can also be empowered with authority to clear encroachments. This is a single integrated authority, a model institution that can manage large regions of state to specific cities/towns or districts. They will employ and train best in class people and use the latest technology in remote sensing including drones to manage a region. Most civil work will be done as per pre-negotiated rate contracts. This can be a division of Army with the same level of professionalism. The TA will be accountable to elected bodies leaving them free to focus on people’s issues. Once TA matures, even private players can be selected to do similar role. TA should evolve on the same lines as NDRF.
2. RCSSC (Regional Centre for Serious and Surge Crimes) and National Police Force(NPF)
The Police Force of every state should have at least 50% people from outside the state so that they are not swayed by local pulls and pressures. In addition, the national police force should go through high standard of training and orientation towards ethical matters. It may be good to have the Police Force some kind of reporting to constitutional authority (Governor) unless it makes matters worse. In addition every region should have Regional Centre for Serious and Surge crimes to tackle terrorism, anti-national activities and surge crimes against women and children. The role of RCSSC is ongoing compared to that of NIA which gets involved in a case by case basis. The RCSSC should play a role in continuous monitoring and preventing attacks. The RSSC typically covers multiple states.
The Government should start a holding company called IndiaInvest which in turn invests in public sector companies as well as other companies as strategic investor. Using this model, the Government should rationalize its investment in PSUs. Through holding company route it should optimize utilization of its resources – may it be man-power or other assets. This way the holding company can continue to tune the ownership level required and focus investment in line with national strategy. The holding company can sell shares to the public, that way Government investment required can be reduced. Instead of two extremes of divestment and majority ownership, the Government can go for tailored public investment approach.
4. National Strategy Cell
Most of the Governance is driven by policies and processes rooted in economic theories than by a clearly articulated strategic plan. The NSC should pick and choose sectors where India can lead, where it can be on par and where it can afford to lag relative to other countries. The NSC should also come up with plans at various levels and how we can leverage the strength of the nation to promote trade, travel and services, basically how internal networks among people, businesses and places can be increased multi-fold so that there is explosion of opportunities. Networks are the key to generate opportunities. Theme of 4Ds – distribution, differentiation, depth and disintermediation can be exploited to change the face of the country. Leading in Higher Educations, Health Services, High-tech and arts and crafts should be vigorously pursued. Also new business models and flexible working models are important. Even sports, adventure and culture can invigorate economy. The way nation competes we should also have states compete and collaborate with each other. We should co-ordinate in a matter that there is a sense of “better together” among all the states. Each state should have a strategic plan that dovetails with the national strategic plan.
5. Citizen Facilitation Center
As we tackle Bijali-Sadak-Pani issues routinely, the focus should be on encouraging people to better their lives on their own with a helping hand from Government. The Government should lead them to opportunities for better education, health, employment as well as provide counsel related to safety and societal issues. The citizen facilitation center can be a point of contact during personal crisis of people including tourists.
6. Agriculture Corporation of India
India pretty much needs to reinvent agriculture. One institution that can come handy is a fully forward and backward integrated PSU that invests in agriculture by leasing land and/or labour. The ACI should even run retail outlets. That way a large part of agriculture will get into somewhat organized sector with encouragement to scheme’s such as ITC’s e-choupal or Tata’s foray into agriculture. The distinction between agriculture, manufacturing and services should go making all sectors open to use of technology and modern methods based on their need. The agricultural income should be made taxable in the sense that accrued taxes over and above 10% can be invested in long term deposits, crop insurance and bonds that are used exclusively for promoting agriculture. IIM’s should be involved to create a nation-wide crop plan to decide what to grow, where and how much so that the markets operate in a balanced manner that protects consumers, producers and intermediaries. The plan should also look at giving an edge to India in global market place. For example instead of Punjab growing Rice for domestic consumption, let Eastern states do that job and let Punjab go after other crops.
7. Social India Mission – Social Banking and Social Businesses
We should encourage people to help each other. With a proper insurance scheme and legal framework people can be encouraged to lend directly to people they know or with a calibrated risk to people/businesses they don’t know. We refer to this as Social Banking, where members of society interact with each other directly within a safer framework. This way any informal financial transactions can be given the support of appropriate legal documentation and facility to manage risks. This can liberate people who want to lend as well as borrow at rates that are driven by market dynamics than by an administered regime. In addition we should encourage Social Businesses that can scale businesses that benefit society whether in energy, health-care, education or arts and crafts. Slowly we should have Social Businesses proliferate so much that NGO’s and non-Profits are no longer needed. The Social Businesses should work towards socially relevant themes; manage profit levels so that they can scale phenomenally. The profit levels should make it affordable to large number of people yet adequate to invest for growth.
8. National Finance Management Mission
IT should be used for India to manage how Government collects money and spends money. Real time taxation, providing off-sets of one kind of tax vis-a-vis another should be used to reduce tax rates and expand tax base. In addition pooling of funds should be done in such a way that funds become available where there is a need right way than getting delayed so long that the need disappears. Right now we may have excess in some cases and deficit in some other cases and overall short windows to spend – we need to move away from batch releases to continuous utilization model.
9. National Ombudsman Network
Timely service, timely resolution of complaints, tracking of issues and responsiveness should be new norm for Governance at all levels. Today too many issues land at the door-step of judiciary that has nothing to do with adjudication of cases. We should have a network of pro-active Ombudsmen across sectors that even cover private sector. We need to employ people who approach it with a sense of purpose than entitlement or as a post-retirement perk.