Evidence based Programme Design

Flagship development programmes in India have not been designed or modified based on evidence from evaluations. With examples, discuss why it is important to launch development programmes after thorough evaluation of their feasibility and impact and how the negligence of this aspect has affected development process in India. (200 Words)

India is a land of bold social welfare programmes but they share one common disadvantage which is lack of empirical validity. Though all programmes are high in hopes but fail to yield results because once launched they become political party flagship programmes and ego image and hence resistive to change.
Some examples and reasons for pre-evaluations of programmes are:
  1. India has vast populations and inequalities. Same programme doesn‘t work for all regions. Hence pre-evaluation is important to analyse region based needs and tailor made programmes as per the region. For ex. Kerosene in PDS provided all over India, though in 95% area of India is electrified and doesn‘t use kerosene for domestic purpose. Hence, all kerosene ends in black market. Kerosene should only be provided in un-electrified homes regions and not to all.
  2. NREGA is extended to all over India, but it has shown negative impact in agricultural belt where there was no unemployment earlier. Here, now all agricultural labour are using NREGA for cash and Subsidised grain for food. No one is interested in farm labouring leading to huge loss to plantations, orchards, and big farmers. NREGA should have been only provided to high unemployment and poverty area.
  3. Towns near to capital of state only get more attentions like Public health care, functional PDS and all. But far flung areas are often avoided. Hence, near to capital area are now well doing, but far areas are not. So, government should now focus in reverse.
This examples shows that, there is need for pre-evaluation and analysis before implementing Policy in ground zero.
It is argued that a development policy based on a more realistic understanding of how human beings think, decide and behave can make development interventions more effective, and help us tackle challenges. Discuss with examples. (200 Words)
The dominant socio-economic development paradigm has been top-down ignoring human needs, behaviour and action. Simplistic parameters of monetary poverty lines
quite clearly demonstrate how insensitive such data can be to poverty-stricken masses. The example of people not using toilets despite owning them demonstrates why attitudinal change is a prerequisite for policy effectiveness.
In this post-modern era, where information generation and analysis has exploded, it would be beneficial to include human behaviour and attitudes towards policies, into policy formulation and conceptualization process to predict why a particular policy will be a success and other may not.
Many examples show that understanding a recipient at personal level is long overdue in policy cycle.
  1. Participatory potential: several cases of success at local level, RWAs, social audit showcase that every citizen is entrepreneurial, regardless of socioeconomic status. Building capability by reserving seats for women has encouraged other women to follow suit.
  2. Role models: spreading awareness regarding schemes, enlisting entitlements in simple language, using celebrities for campaigns like tourism (Aamir Khan), health (Amitabh Bacchan for pulse polio campaign) – all indicate how suitable role models and sending constant reminders will help recipients particularly who lack financial strength
  3. Rewards and recognition: for successful initiatives like Nirmal Gram Awards (for sanitation), scholarships for backward classes can inspire others as well. The recent ‘Selfie-with-daughter’ campaign launched in a Haryana village and positive response it evoked is another example.
The behaviour of recipients of Govt schemes if analysed and corresponding policy changes made, can ensure better realization of desired goals. However, care must be
taken to not to turn it into purely technical act.
[After individuals were exposed to women leaders through reserved seats in gram panchayats in West Bengal, Girls in those villages also increased their aspirations, the gender gap in adolescent education was erased, and girls spent less time on household chores. This example points to the importance of role models in lifting aspirations.
In Rajasthan, in the context of an initiative to supply reliable immunization providers, some randomly chosen households received small non-financial incentives—lentils and thalis—to immunize their children.
Female sex workers often face considerable stigma and exclusion. A programme in Kolkata built self-esteem. After just eight weeks, women who participated in the programme were more likely to choose a future-oriented savings product and to have visited a doctor, even though the training programme included no specific mention of health issues]



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