Events : Economic, Development & Social Issues

Interactive Discussion on “Cost Effectiveness of delivering Public Services” by Mr. S K Ghosal, Former Addl. Chief Secretary, GOK

Held on 2006

Shri S K Ghosal, (Former Addl. Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka) had an interesting interactive session with the BIC Members on “Cost-Effectiveness of the delivery of public services” in India. Drawing upon his vast experience in public administration in Karnataka, Shri Ghosal highlighted the fact that there has been an acute mismatch between what is sought to be done in areas of public service and how it is actually done. He drew attention to the often unproductive and unfocussed “establishment costs” which left increasingly less and less investible surplus for capital investments which could promote and trigger more growth. He felt that there was a huge, unmet demand for public demand for public sector investments in infrastructures, like roads, fly-overs, bridges, irrigation works, health, education, transportation, urban facilities like water supply and sewerage systems, environment and conservation etc. which could have a multiplier effect on growth. Whatever little that is provided either under the Central or the State Budgets for such activities is inadequate and improperly utilized. The system of budgeting and subsequent performance appraisals is such that it is not possible to arrive at a true picture of the state of affairs that exists. Shri Ghosal therefore urged a systemic overhaul of the pattern and methodology of budgeting, expenditure and appraisal of the delivery of public services in India. He drew attention to the pattern of budgeting and performance appraisal in the United Kingdom where the concept of “Unit Cost” has been clearly spelt out to make cost-effectiveness studies real and effective. A lively discussion followed the talk. Shri Ghosal was introduced and subsequently thanked by Shri P R Dasgupta, Director of BIC.