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Reforming Public Services in India: Drawing Lessons from Success

Reforming Public Services in India: Drawing Lessons from Success

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There has been considerable debate in India about the quality of public service delivery. Various governments have attempted in recent years to improve delivery systems. This study examines 31 such efforts. Focusing on specific innovations in service delivery across India, the study identifies common factors underlying their success. In doing so, it highlights the efficacy of six instruments to improve service delivery—fostering competition, simplifying transactions, restructuring agency processes, decentralization, building broad political support for program delivery, and strengthening accountability mechanisms.

Covering a range of services and cases—such as ITC’s e-Choupal, Madhya Pradesh’s effort to decentralize teacher management, Karnataka’s road transport corporation, Andhra Pradesh’s eSeva, and Tamil Nadu’s success in improving human development outcomes—the study draws lessons that can help improve service delivery across sectors and facilitate the transplanting of success stories to other settings.

Reforming Public Services in India has much to offer both the politician and the planner, as well as the scholar and the activist. With its insightful analysis of exciting experiments in village, city and state administration in India, this report will serve as a valuable guide for students of public policy, governance and development.