NIAS Thesis Proposal Presentation: Policy Implementation As A Social Process – A Case Study Of Niranthara Jyothi Program In Karnataka

Thesis  Proposal  Presentation


Date: Thursday, 5 January 2017

Speaker: Ms. Meera Sudhakar

Time:  10:30 am

Venue:  Lecture Hall, NIAS


The dominant approach for understanding the public policy process views it as having a linear causal logic with discrete stages — agenda-setting, followed by an objective search for alternative courses of action, the rational choice of the best alternative and subsequently the implementation stage, when the decision is ‘delivered’ and later evaluated. In this view, policy implementation is an administrative task after the decision. When there is a deviation between the goals of the policy on paper and outcomes in practice, it is common, especially in countries such as India, to attribute it to ‘failures of implementation’. The implication is that, despite a sound policy design in which the goals, means, and the causal theory are consistent, the outcomes fell short due to factors external to the decision.

Most implementation studies try to answer the question of ‘what happened’ using a variety of analytical approaches. While this provides a descriptive understanding of key actors, their interest and motivations, and has generated a long list of factors related to the content and context of implementation to pay attention to, what is less understood is an understanding of which factors are most significant and the ways in which they relate to each other.

This work starts with a critique of the approach to understanding policy implementation as a ‘prescription’ and as a distinct stage after the decision.  In contrast, this study proposes to understand the inter-related social processes that lead to policy responses that diverge from the stated goals of the policy. The intuition is that policies get formulated and implemented in particular ways in particular social and historical contexts.   While the gaps may manifest during implementation, the process by which policies take particular shape, how they interact with institutions that interpret and deliver it and the response from the society is all part of a social process, that determine outcomes of a policy. This research proposes to understand these macro and micro-level social processes and the interconnections between them using a detailed case study of a redistributive policy implemented in Karnataka – the Nirantara Jyothi program, which attempted to separate agricultural and non-agricultural consumption in order to achieve better of control subsidies for the state.

All are invited to attend

Thursday, January 5, 2017