Process of policy-making in India since Independence

  • Policy Structure
  • Economical Policy
  • Foreign Policy
  • Development Policy

Policy process in India is done at many levels. The goals of the policy are determined by the vision of the leader of the political party in the ruling. Then these policies are detailed at the secretariat and passed down the ladder for the implementation. By the trickle down effect, these policies are reached to the grass root level. Following are the broad stages of the policy determination.

Policy Structure

Parliament is the supreme legislative body of a country. Our Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general elections under the new
Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Parliament came into being in April, 1952. (IndiaNetZone)
But the Parliament has to follow certain procedure to decide any policy. The Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties are sections of the Constitution of India that prescribe the fundamental obligations of the State° to its citizens and the duties of the citizens to the State. These sections comprise a constitutional bill of rights and guidelines for government policy-making and the behaviour and conduct of citizens. These sections are considered vital elements of the constitution, which was developed between 1947 and 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of India.
The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines for the framing of laws by the government. These provisions are not enforceable by the courts, but the principles on which they are based are fundamental guidelines for governance that the State is expected to apply in framing and passing laws.
The Fundamental Duties are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. These duties concern individuals and the nation. Like the Directive Principles, they are not legally enforceable. (Wikipedia)

Economical Policy:

Nehru was fascinated by Soviet Union's Piatiletka or 5-year plan and tried implementing the same for the Indian Economy. He wanted India to have the best combination of Socialism and Capitalism and tried to implement Democratic Socialism in India. He wanted the state to be a principal entrepreneur and all its citizens to be equal share holders. He strengthened the democratic pillars of nation immensely by creating proper wealth distribution systems at all levels.
Nehru's economic policies are often confused by critics with those of his daughter, Indira Gandhi, who was more left-wing. Nehru's economics of state intervention and investment were conceived at a time when transfers of capital and technology important to India were not easily forthcoming from the developed world (which incidentally also had plenty of state-sponsored capital controls.) Nehru is often criticised by ill-informed commentators of the present-day, when transfers of capital are unhindered, easily channelled by recipient nations, and even encouraged for their high returns in emerging markets.
The Soviet Union was the only major power to allow India to develop independent capabilities in many spheres of heavy industry, engineering, and cutting-edge technologies. India's combination of internal political freedom, economic and political independence throughout its existence can be favourably compared with many client-states of the United States and the Soviet Union.
Till 1991, India followed more or less the same policy, and then it followed the policy of the liberalisation. This opened up the economy and brought in more FDI.

Foreign Policy:

The foundations of India's foreign policy were laid during the freedom movement when our leaders, even when fighting for independence, were engaged with the great causes of the time. The principles of India's foreign policy, that emerged then, have stood the test of time: a belief in friendly relations with all countries of the world, the resolution of conflicts by peaceful means, the sovereign equality of all states, independence of thought and action as manifested in the principles of Non-alignment, and equity in the conduct of international relations. Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, India was the founder member of the Non-aligned Movement. India has also been in the forefront of the world community in the struggle against colonialism. A notable feature of Indian foreign policy has been its strong advocacy of general and complete disarmament, with nuclear disarmament being accorded the highest priority. As a founder member of the United Nations, India has been firmly committed to the purposes and principles of the United Nations and has made significant contributions to its various activities, including peace-keeping operations. India's foreign policy has always regarded the concept of neighborhood as one of widening concentric circles, around a central axis of historical and cultural commonalties. From this point of view, it has always given due priority to the development of relations with South East Asia.
Process of policy-making in India since Independence
Process of policy-making in India since Independence

Development Policy:

The social problems of contemporary India are the result of a complex nexus between the factors of exclusion and inclusion rooted in history, values, and cultural ethos. Many of these problems based on the policy of segregation have not been addressed by the development strategy launched since Independence. Recent policies of globalization have further undermined the role of larger societal norms as well as the state apparatus that could counter exclusionary forces. The agenda of social development has remained unfinished, keeping social tensions simmering. Today, however, in the policy debate, orthodox economic liberalism is giving way to concerns regarding social consequences of globalization, as it affects the poorest and the marginalized sections of the population. Thus, a number of highly important and far-reaching social policy measures have been brought on to the development agenda, in the form of the Right to Information Act, Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Rural Health Mission among others. This unique volume argues the need to harness the energy of the nation to ensure their effective implementation through an overview of trends and patterns of development along with policies and programmes. It identifies key concerns and proposes measures of possible intervention.  (Oxford)
Issues of sustainable livelihood and social and political participation of the vulnerable groups exists as the major problem in the India. They have least participation and access in the social, economic, political and cultural sector. They have been marginalized from the mainstream State system and the development process. Governments have failed to guarantee people’s rights in the implementation level. People of the vulnerable groups are unable to acquire and use their rights. This has caused very insignificant access of this groups in the State system and the resources. They do not have adequate access to justice and equity. Though the States have incorporated equality in their policy, the vulnerable groups have not been able to feel it in reality. They have been facing many challenges in enjoying their right to sustainable livelihood and social and political participation due to lack of priority of the States in protection and promotion of the interests of the vulnerable groups. Governments and elites of the region back up State terrorism and militarization in the name of national or internal security, resulting in violation of the civil and political rights of those who struggle for economic, social and cultural rights.
Human rights violation is supported by the unjust structure of society. There are many structures in the Indian societies that have to dismantled – unjust economic social and cultural structures. We can take the case of peasants for instance. If the peasants do not own and control the productive resources such as land, financial capital and technology, we cannot imagine human rights for them. As long as workers are laid off, or if they receive unjust, very low wages because of policies dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO) and carried out by respective governments, there will never be improvement in economic, social and cultural rights or the right to development, nor will there be improvement in the realization of the civil and political rights of our peoples. This arises because the policies of such international organizations always influence the policies of India.

To conclude, the government has to retrospect the basic policy making process which it is using for the last 60 years. This will help greatly in the development of the people.

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