Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency :
The Central government seems to have put on hold its ambitious plan to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with a Single National regulator for higher education. If implemented UGC and AICTE could be thing of the past with government replacing them with a single higher education regulator as multiple regulatory bodies have led to excessive and restrictive regulation and hence contributed to lack of institutional autonomy. The new institution must be given operational freedom and clearly demarcated rights responsibilities and accountability to perform its duties of setting the highest standards for Higher Education and to create adequate new capacities for the millions of New students every year with particular emphasis on quality of education.
National Water Commission:
India needs a 21st-century Federal institutional architecture to meet the country’s increasingly serious water challenges, prevent narrow political gains and Inter-State rivalries to play havoc with a serious subject of Public need. Merging CWC & CGWB into a New Water Commission is under the works and should help, but the real challenge is their limited faculty, training focus and powers of implementation and thus being stuck in a narrow groove and reform must begin by preparing their technical professionals for a larger role. Hence New Water Institution created should opt for induction of social scientists while the core technical competencies of these institutions be retained, along with the regular exposure of their engineers and hydro-geologists to economics, the social sciences, eco-systems and relevant latest management concepts to ensure the best practices be implemented in India for Water management. The mandate for NWC Institution should be a 25-year plan for Water preservation and conservation in India with Constitutional powers to make Centre and State Governments implement the recommendations for National good. The top leadership of NWC should be selected, even if from within, on merit and must be given at least five-year terms with Broad-based capacity building carefully planned for the top management cohort, which would include interactions with leading practitioners of their craft around the world.
National Cyber Security Centre:
India needs to create National Cyber Security Center (NCC) within the Ministry of Defence reporting directly to the Defence Minister & PMO. The NCC should be tasked with protecting Indian Govt’s communications network to protect Data Security and to reduce susceptibility to cyber-attacks, the NCC should work closely with industry to share information, data and intelligence. NCC should have experts from the private sector to ensure “best and the brightest in the industry” will help “test and challenge the government’s thinking” in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity is a national threat and priority, it, therefore, mandates that an institutional approach is established in the country so business leaders from corporate and government organisations recognise the importance of cyber-security strategy, and equip themselves to secure their business assets….encouraging effective collaboration and engaging Industry fully, should be the task of NCSC and to execute a comprehensive cohesive approach to ensure India’s defences against all kinds of Cyber attacks & espionage.
National Defence & Security Council :
Given the multi-prong Defence & Security challenges both from within and outside borders of India and its impact on the economic security of India, its imperative a Federal institutional mechanism be created with prime objective to implement consistent long-term policies needed to deter war and to protect security of the country by Institutionalizing Clarity and Cohesion in Defence &Security Planning.
A Single unified Defence & Security Command and Control Centre with the Constitutional mandate would facilitate long-term Security Doctrine for India.
With rising threat levels and endeavors at becoming a reckonable military power capable of providing regional stability, it’s important for India to initiate a more structured approach to defense planning both in terms of stating our objectives and equipping our armed forces to achieve these.
Under the rubric of the national security policy Institution will be the formulation of comprehensive defence, foreign, economic, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency policies for which India needs to establish national security think tank Institution comprising of heads from Intelligence / Military / Min of Finance /Paramilitary Forces & Min of External Affairs in a Constitutionally established Institutional body headed by National Security Advisor reporting to the Prime Minister to facilitate implementing a long-term cohesive Defence & Security strategy in keeping with the National Security goals. To allow lateral entry of the best Defence & Security Specialists in the Federal Security Institution will facilitate the formulation of most effective policies for National security. A Single unified Defence & Security Command and Control Centre with the Constitutional mandate would facilitate long-term Security Doctrine for India to be converted into defence plans and allow the executive to arrange appropriate financial allocations and thus extend assured financial support. This also helps remove the uncertainty of defence procurements and if seen in the correct perspective, these are links of a chain once tied together by a Federal Institutional mechanism, helps India to gain its rightful place as a future power destination.
Equality and Human Rights Commission of India :
India desperately needs an Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as an independent statutory body established with a Constitutional statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across the nine “protected” grounds – age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment. The EHRC can serve as independent federal regulator for equality, human rights and good relations in India and help the Govt promote Equal Opportunities of Status and growth to all citizens of India.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission should be tasked with implementation of long-term plan for the Govt of India to strengthen its status as world leader on equality and human rights thus protecting parliamentary sovereignty over the India’s equality and human rights legal framework and human rights infrastructure and promoting India as an open and fair place to live and do business.So there is an urgent need for institutional redressal mechanism that will balance the social outcomes of the next stage of India’s economic development.
Financial Reporting Council of India
To promote ease of doing business in India there is need to regulate auditors, accountants, actuaries and Financial instruments and set India’s Corporate Governance Codes and promote transparency and integrity in business. Its work should be aimed at investors and others who rely on company reports, audit and high-quality risk management. It should be tasked to develop and maintain transparent accounting standards by developing and issuing clean robust accounting standard guidelines and undertaking outreach to all stakeholders. FRC of India should work as an independent Federal regulator with a dual role of standard-setter and enforcer responsible for promoting high-quality financial governance and reporting to foster investment climate by promoting transparency and trust in the financial markets of India.
Financial Services Authority of India
India needs a Single Federal Financial Services Authority (FCA) which regulates the entire financial services industry with its aim to protect the consumers in India, ensure the industry remains stable and promote healthy competition between all financial services providers.
Global healthcare and wellness are a $7.4 trillion industry, second only to the food and agro-industry and the economy of the 21st century driven by the health sector can be dominated by Indians.
Its scope should mainly be the Federal independent regulation and supervision of all banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms operating in India. It sets operating standards and supervises financial institutions at the level of the individual firms across the whole country.
The Financial Services Authority (FCA) will have goal of ensuring relevant financial markets in India function well with three operational objectives in support of this strategic goal – to protect consumers, to protect and enhance the integrity & trust of the Indian financial system and to promote healthy competition between all financial services providers in protecting the ultimate interests of consumers in India.
National Healthcare Regulatory Commission
A National Healthcare Commission would Serve India Better than a Medical Commission. The primary mission of this Institution should be to regulate a holistic approach to healthcare, including nurses, paramedics and other medical professionals within its ambit like Homeopathy, Ayurveda & Herbal Medication practitioners to create a broad-based world-class medical education & healthcare delivery system that caters to the Indian health system in the present and the future. Health is a public good and weak medical education has direct ramifications on the cost and quality of healthcare delivery.
A Federal Institution will help regulate and legitimise non-allopathic systems of medicine as well as impose uniformity on the standards of education and in turn, healthcare, under those systems. Its main mission should be to ensure Healthcare is uniformly accessible and affordable to the masses.
India needs a Surgeon General as Operational head of India’s Public Health Service Delivery Institution and thus the leading spokesperson on matters of public health for the Union government of India. The Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) to advise Govt of India on how to utilise best of Technological innovations and world practices to fund and establish a affordable and accessible Healthcare delivery system in India to cater to a huge population.
Global healthcare and wellness are a $7.4 trillion industry, second only to the food and agro-industry and the economy of the 21st century driven by the health sector can be dominated by Indians. According to Dr Devi Shetty, if India can build a global empire in healthcare, as a byproduct, every Indian will get quality healthcare at an affordable price. All that’s needed is reforms in medical and nursing education and India has a chance at being the healthcare provider for the world and as a result, Indians will have access to the highest quality of healthcare at an affordable price.
National Energy Regulatory Commission
Energy is a Indicator of Growth and a Measure of Comprehensive National Power. Energy is an important ingredient for accelerating development because its consumption pattern is the measure of the growth of a nation.
Its availability/ lack of it, is also an important element in the measurement of a country’s comprehensive national power.
The PM and a few important decision makers cannot fix every problem faced by India, hence they must fix institutions and delegate sufficient powers to capable people with domain expertise.
A Federal Institution for Energy Security can be assigned to the task of developing a cohesive and coherent Energy Security doctrine for next 25 Years with an aim to Diversify Energy Mix – from fossil fuel to other sources like; renewable, hydro, bio-based fuels, Solar and nuclear and securing the energy supply sourcing technologies to tap the resource richness of India.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, as an independent agency should have Constitutional powers to regulate interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil in India. FERC should also review proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing all Power Projects across India.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) members should have best Energy Industry experts appointed by the President & Prime Minister of India in consultations with the Parliament with fixed five-year terms and have powers to regulate on matters of Energy.
Institutional reforms are thus essential for building a 21st-century federal institutional architecture for managing multi-State governance challenges in New India.
India’s state capacity is considered inadequate for an economy almost $2 trillion in size, with 10 million young people entering the workforce each year. Running the Centre is not equivalent to running a state, even a large state. The PM and a few important decision makers cannot fix every problem faced by India, hence they must fix institutions and delegate sufficient powers to capable people with domain expertise. Not only will that be in the larger interests of Indian society, it will serve as an instrument through which the political executive can translate its policies into reality. The over-centralisation that many allege, and justifiably so, is also a symptom of state incapacity and a problem that needs immediate attention.
As Modi Govt approaches final year in office, common running criticisms of the prime minister is in addition to providing overall direction to the administration – is also expected to solve daily mundane problems. It is impossible for a complex society of over a billion to look to one person to solve all problems as this only chokes the process of decision making. It’s therefore critical for Modi government to put in place an efficient federal institutional mechanism for multi-State governance.
Federal Institutions as a second tier of governance between the Centre and States holds out exciting possibility for facilitating huge gains in governance capabilities.
India over the years has created Institutions but overlapping often competing functional jurisdictions and weak autonomy, Quality of training focus have lead to slow decision making and performance constraints. There is a need for establishing clarity in the role and functioning of both existing and new Institutions in India for its effectiveness.
Federal Institutions as a second tier of governance between the Centre and States holds out exciting possibility for facilitating huge gains in governance capabilities and achieving the potential for Institutional multi State governance requires that both Central & State governments be willing to accept the need for transparent governance reforms.
As shared my last post on PGurus, a decentralised Four Tier level of governance comprising Central & State Governments ,Federal Institutions and Panchayati Raj each with Independent Constitutional powers of authority, accountability and responsibility holds the best promise for strong transparent governance to propel India forward in the 21st Century.
One may hasten to add Govt of India should even consider moving key parts of the Central Secretariat & sensitive Ministries to a new location outside Delhi and create a new secure modern office Building complex & decongest Lutyens Delhi as it will also have an effect of galvanising change across the Govt administrative hierarchy.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.