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MPA-011: State, Society and Public Administration

MPA-011: State, Society and Public Administration

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

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Assignment Code: MPA-011/Asst/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: MPA-011

Assignment Name: State, Society and Public Administration

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

This assignment consists of Sections I and II. There are five questions in each section. You have to answer a total of five questions in about 500 words each. It is necessary to attempt at least two questions from each section. Each question carries 20 marks.


Q1) Briefly discuss the changing perspectives on the nature of the State.

Ans) The study of the state has been approached from a variety of angles, each of which provides a distinct viewpoint from which to comprehend the distinguishing characteristics of the state. These viewpoints frequently centre on concepts like individuality, equality, and universalism; but, because they present such distinct visions of the state, they can also lead to confusion.

Liberal Perspective

The Liberal perspective views the evolution of the State through the lens of individualism and the social contract. Thinkers like John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau explored the concept of the state of nature, where individuals surrender some of their rights and powers to form a State for their protection and the provision of goods and services. Early Liberals like John Locke believed in limited government intervention, emphasizing individual liberty and property rights. Over time, Liberals like John Stuart Mill expanded the definitions of equality and democracy.

Later, New Classical Liberals like Max Weber and F.A. Hayek advocated for a minimal State, emphasizing the importance of a free market in goods and labour. The Austrian School, represented by von Mises and Hayek, questioned governmental interference in the economy. Modern Liberals, such as John Rawls and Robert Nozick, sought to balance liberty, equality, and social justice, paving the way for Neo-liberal or New Right philosophy.

Marxist Perspective

Marxists see the State as an instrument of the ruling class, serving their economic interests. The State is viewed to maintain the power and capitalist mode of production. While Marx initially considered the State as a byproduct of property relations and class struggles, later Marxist thinkers like Nicos Poulantzas, Claus Offe, and Theda Skocpol argued that the State could have a relative autonomy from the dominant class. However, the predominant Marxist view remains that the State is a class instrument.

Marxist perspectives also diverge on the State's role, with some emphasizing its role in stabilizing capitalism and others focusing on its role in maintaining the dominance of the bourgeoisie. Ralph Miliband examined the State's ability to separate itself from ruling class factions. Claus Offe and Habermas delved into the relationships among elites, government officials, and parliamentarians within the State. Recent anti-dependency Marxism challenges traditional Marxist views by suggesting that State-led economies can be progressive, and obstacles to development are internal rather than solely due to imperialism.

Neo-liberal Perspective

The Neoliberal approach favours a state that is small and supportive of market forces. The idea of public choice, which forms the foundation of neoliberalism, contends that the state distorts economic transactions for the purpose of maximising its own profit and advancing the interests of particular interest groups. Neoliberalism is an economic and political ideology that advocates reducing the size and scope of the state, as well as the discretionary power of politicians and the activities of government agencies.

Neoliberalism, when considered in the context of globalisation, views the borders of nation-states as obstacles to the free flow of goods and services. As a result, it advocates for the least amount of state intervention possible in the globalised economy. The New Public Management (NPM) paradigm, which is influenced by Neoliberalism, is critical of old forms of public administration and advocates for performance management, high-quality services, and increased levels of competition.

Q2) Examine the role of Neo-liberal State in the era of globalisation.

Ans) Since the mid-1980s, the global political landscape, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, has been shaped by the ideology of the New Right, which has aimed to "Roll back the State." This agenda revolves around reducing government intervention, trimming bureaucracy, cutting public spending, dismantling welfare programs, privatizing state-owned enterprises, and promoting free-market capitalism. Essentially, it represents a resurgence of classical liberalism's ideals, albeit adapted to the conditions of advanced capitalism, which masquerades as globalization. This ideology is commonly referred to as neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism isn't just an economic strategy; it encompasses a specific growth model and comes with various extra-economic prerequisites. It marks a strategic return to free-market liberalism, rejecting the class collaboration that led to the welfare state following the Great Depression. One of its unique features is the erosion of nation-state-based capital mobilization, which has significant political implications. Neoliberal policies encourage porous borders, allowing transnational capital to minimize tax burdens, potentially leading to fiscal crises in individual states.

Another facet of neoliberalism involves the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) facilitating the interests of transnational corporations. They advocate for the privatization of essential services such as electricity and water. Moreover, neoliberalism marginalizes the democratic process, as governments can no longer freely shape their economies without consulting or adhering to the dictates of the IMF and WTO. Decision-making authority has shifted from relatively democratic international institutions like the United Nations General Assembly to more powerful bodies like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO.

Additionally, responsibilities for areas like education, environment, and healthcare have moved from UNESCO and the World Health Organization (WHO) to the World Bank, which has also assumed a political advisory role in borrowing countries.

In this era of neoliberal globalization, global governance institutions act in accordance with the terms set by capital, leaving government policymakers with limited manoeuvrability. Corporate leaders and business associations often discuss policies before presenting detailed proposals to their national negotiators. This dynamic underscore the dominance of corporate interests in shaping global policies.

The rise of neoliberalism raises questions about the role and relevance of the nation-state in the face of globalization. Francis Fukuyama's "End of History" thesis suggests that nation-states are losing their significance.

This thesis is typically advanced for three reasons:

  1. Economic Autonomy Erosion: Globalization, marked by increased trade and capital flows, has eroded the economic autonomy of nation-states.

  2. Emergence of Non-State Actors: The world of nation-states is increasingly being replaced by a world of international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other non-state actors in international politics.

  3. Territorial Basis Undermined: The territorial basis of political modernity, symbolized by the self-contained nation-state, is being challenged by new forms of economic modernity. The nation-state's territorial boundaries are no longer sacrosanct.

It is crucial to differentiate between rhetoric and reality when assessing the impact of globalization on the nation-state. While globalization has reshaped the world, there are new challenges that necessitate a revaluation of the state's role. For instance, the persistence of issues like cross-border terrorism challenges the idea of a "borderless world." Borders continue to play a significant sociological role in shaping political realities.


Q3) Examine the role of bureaucracy in India.

Ans) Bureaucracy is a concept that has faced continuous criticism throughout its history. Discussions about bureaucracy often revolve around two main themes: Weber's analysis of bureaucratic organization and critiques of Weber's bureaucratic ideal type. Within this context, it is essential to analyse the Indian bureaucracy, particularly considering the significant changes brought about by liberalization, privatization, globalization, the advent of Information Technology, and socio-cultural transformations. This examination of Indian bureaucracy reveals a set of defining features:

Strong Binding Character: The Indian bureaucracy exhibits a cohesive and unifying character, often serving as a stabilizing force within the country, especially during periods of political instability and uncertainty.

Non-partisan Advice: Bureaucrats provide non-partisan advice to the political leadership. This impartiality is vital in maintaining a stable and efficient administrative system during dynamic political scenarios.

Administrative and Managerial Capacity: The bureaucracy demonstrates robust administrative and managerial capabilities. This is crucial for effective governance and the implementation of policies and programs.

Effective Coordination: Bureaucracy plays a key role in facilitating coordination between various institutions of governance, helping to streamline government functions and enhance efficiency.

Leadership at Different Levels: Leadership within the bureaucracy exists at various levels, from the highest administrative positions to frontline officers. This hierarchy ensures efficient decision-making and execution.

Service Delivery: Bureaucracy is responsible for service delivery at the grassroots level. It plays a critical role in ensuring that government services reach the citizens effectively.

Continuity and Change: The Indian bureaucracy must strike a balance between maintaining continuity in administrative processes and embracing necessary changes to adapt to evolving challenges and circumstances.

Delegated Legislation

Delegated legislation refers to the exercise of legislative powers by subordinate authorities. In India, as in many other modern societies, there has been a significant expansion of legislative powers held by the permanent executive, which is the bureaucracy. Bureaucracy often acts as delegates, filling in the details of policies and laws, as legislatures may not have the time, expertise, or capacity to provide comprehensive legislation. This delegation empowers bureaucrats to play a pivotal role in the rule-making process.

Administrative Adjudication

Administrative adjudication is a quasi-judicial power vested in administrative agencies. Just as bureaucracy exercises quasi-legislative power through delegated legislation, it also performs quasi-judicial functions. Administrative adjudication is guided by statutory standards of the common good and public interest. Adjudicators base their decisions on these standards rather than strict legal precepts. This adjudicatory process is essential due to the expansive role of government in modern society.

Administrative Adjudication in India Encompasses Various Mechanisms

  1. Administrative Tribunals: These specialized bodies help individuals obtain fair and impartial hearings when adversely affected by administrative actions. They provide an avenue for common citizens to seek redressal against misuse of bureaucratic power. However, the effectiveness of administrative tribunals varies, and they have faced criticism for their secrecy and perceived protection of government interests.

  2. Publicity and Consultation: Rule-making procedures should involve consultation with the public and stakeholders affected by the rules. This can include soliciting feedback on draft rules, holding public meetings, and conducting public hearings.

  3. Parliamentary Scrutiny: Parliamentary committees, such as the Parliamentary Accounts Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings, scrutinize delegated legislation. Rules may be laid before Parliament with varying degrees of control, from no direction to subject to annulment or approval by both houses.

  4. Judicial Review: Courts play a vital role in ensuring that delegated authority is exercised within the boundaries of delegation. They review the legality and reasonableness of rules and regulations. This judicial oversight is crucial in maintaining checks and balances within the administrative system.

Q4) Discuss the impact of globalisation on developing countries.

Ans) Globalization has had a profound impact on public administration in developing countries, presenting significant challenges on multiple fronts. The influence of market forces on public services has led to adverse consequences. One notable phenomenon is the privatization of public enterprises, especially those that have been financially struggling. In many cases, these enterprises are sold at lower prices due to a lack of suitable buyers. This trend is also observed in countries like India, where privatization efforts face substantial resistance.

Privatization often comes with costs, including increased unemployment, particularly among older workers. This, in turn, places pressure on welfare budgets and results in human effects, such as a loss of pride and purpose among workers who become redundant. Additionally, privatization can exacerbate economic inequality, with profits rising while wages decline in the privatized industries.

The process of contracting out public services can be susceptible to corruption and mismanagement. It introduces complexity and requires constant monitoring and supervision, adding to the workload and costs of public agencies. While outsourcing can reduce service provision costs, it may lead to lower service quality in some countries. These issues offset some of the financial gains expected from marketization, as it places additional managerial responsibilities on public administrators.

The introduction of user fees for public services can undermine principles of equity and ability to pay, particularly in developing countries. This approach often results in higher costs for essential services, which a significant portion of the impoverished population may be unable to afford. Consequently, this can deepen existing inequities and intensify dissatisfaction and dissent among citizens. International institutions like the World Bank have pressured many developing countries, including India, to increase tariffs and eliminate subsidies in various sectors.

Marketization of the public sector in developing countries, driven by donor agencies, leads to several associated problems. Firstly, the expected gains in efficiency and reduced public expenditure are often overshadowed by high indirect costs and artificially boosted productivity. These small savings come at the expense of fundamental principles of public service and undermine public confidence in government competence.

Secondly, governments may see their power, credibility, and legitimacy erode as they negotiate with powerful private sector service providers and influential international agencies and corporations. Finally, consumers of public services, who already lack protection from the government, become even more vulnerable in the face of marketization.

Developing countries have not yet reached a stage of development where public service provision can be handed over to private providers without significant disruption or threats to consumer interests. Privatization will not be accepted by citizens unless the costs and benefits are carefully assessed and demonstrated to be in their favour. Marketization of public administration in developing countries, driven by donor pressures, has weakened both consumer and government power, while strengthening the position of the private sector and international agencies.

Globalization is characterized by knowledge-based societies and advanced information technology; many developing countries still lack the basic prerequisites for effective public administration. Despite promises and pressures to adopt market-oriented reforms, results in the developing world have been far from satisfactory. The mechanisms for establishing democratic governance, characterized by accountability and transparency, are still underdeveloped.

This does not mean market-oriented reforms cannot improve public services in emerging nations. Cost recovery, market forces, and state retrenchment require reforms. Globalization is permanent, and companies are driving new management structures. Globalization has benefited the few while impoverishing the many, especially in emerging nations, according to many. The growing impact of multilateral financial institutions on economic and social policy in these countries is often cited. Global protests against globalisation raise worries about democratic standards.

Q5) Explain the concept of internationalisation of public governance.

Ans) The early 1980s brought an even more significant challenge as international commodity prices crashed. While developed nations voiced focused and issue-based displeasure with their governments, developing countries faced an economic crisis marked by the failure of costly poverty eradication programs, political instability, and volatile international market trends.

The verdict was clear: governments were too big to handle. This prompted calls for private entities to redress state failures. Reforms emphasised entrepreneurship and open competition. The government handed over supply and delivery of products and services to private agencies, a major change. Market needs and foreign donor support strengthened this change.

In aid programmes, donor organisations advocated for decentralisation, liberalisation, performance reviews, privatisation, and cost-effectiveness to reduce poverty in developing nations. The World Bank's 1996 report, "From Plan to Market," called for marketization to replace decades of failed planning and fill state gaps. The World Bank, IMF, OECD, and UNDP drove these reforms. They prioritised cost savings and meaningful performance reviews. Because developing world protectionist policies have stagnated markets in established industrialised countries, urgency increased. Due to costly and self-serving bureaucratic market laws, a lot of good transactions were hampered. The goal was to break this bureaucratic hold on the state, reduce public choice, and open markets to capital.

This international aspect of New Public Management (NPM) inevitably became "Good Governance." Thus, the OECD, DFID, and UNDP promoted the same management-oriented reform programme. Despite many failed reforms, multilateral donor agencies emphasised individual successes in papers like "Managing Success" and "East Asian Miracle."

To encapsulate the changes influencing the nature of the state, economist John Williamson introduced ten propositions of policy reforms in the early 1990s, collectively known as the Washington Consensus. These propositions stressed fiscal discipline, reallocating public expenditure to areas with high economic returns and potential for improved income distribution, tax reforms, interest rate liberalization, competitive exchange rates, trade liberalization, liberalization of foreign direct investment, privatization, deregulation, and secure property rights. These propositions reflected the Neo-liberal agenda of the World Bank, aiming to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness in administrative functions.

Despite criticism and occasional comparisons to new imperialism, these reforms aimed to make governments more efficient and market oriented. Proponents like Williamson argued that focusing on fiscal discipline and market adaptation was essential for income distribution, calling for the alignment of global practices with local norms and community institutions.

Economic liberalisation shaped US public administration management in the 1990s. This age saw efforts to renew government to meet modern demands efficiently and effectively. Government renewal was a purposeful and organised activity by governments to overhaul internal and external political and administrative structures and policies to promote Good Governance-based public administration.

In 1992, David Osborne and Ted Gaebler introduced "Reinventing Government" to start the NPM movement. They advocated turning bureaucratic governments into entrepreneurial ones with adaptability, responsiveness, efficiency, effectiveness, and market orientation. reinventing government proposed ten ways to give quality goods and services to residents' desires, including being customer-driven, innovative, and market-oriented. Public managers' expanding role in providing high-quality services and connecting global demands and local experiments was highlighted in 1994 and 1996 Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) conferences.

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