What is “policy paralysis”

What is “policy paralysis”. How it is going to impact the governance of the nation. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this issue

Ans: Policy paralysis is a situation where laws and reforms are not passed because of lack of commitment on part of government or inability of the government to reach a consensus over the correct variation of the reform.

There may be many causes of policy paralysis:

1. Haste in making policies without consulting all stake holders

2. Financial issues with policies

3. Lack of political will in implementing the policies

4. Bureaucratic and other Red-tapism related issues.

5. Absence of policies on other matters which affect the subject of current policies and so on.

The term was frequent in use during last part of UPA 2 regime where government action to the problems was perceived as inadequate.

One of the meaning of policy paralysis is when the policies formed by the government are unable to give the desired result because that policy alone is insufficient to answer all the problems of the subject under consideration.

Say for example Delhi government came out with Odd Even scheme. The scheme failed badly to curb the rising level of pollution and Particular Matter (PM) as cars were not the sole reason of pollution. Pollution so also caused by two wheelers, buses, trucks, industry and so on. Construction activities and fires in land forms to burn stubble too add to pollution and PM.

The policy required action on other aspects too. Like a tree plantation drive, improving public transport system and providing last mile connectivity, awareness generation, investing in green technologies for industries, urging farmers not to burn stubble and so on.

Currently, there is a broad-based despondency that the situation in India is going to get worse and it would perhaps be quite some time before things start improving. The near consensus view is that India’s fall from being the shining example of high growth to the current comatose state is largely due to public policy inaction, or in popular terms ‘policy paralysis’.

Following are the tips to overcome policy paralysis

1. Reject perfectionism

Everything has some level of downside risk; even “sure things” can blow up in your face. Let’s face it: No matter how much time and effort you’ve spent preparing, you’ll probably hit unexpected snags. So stop hesitating and move forward. Prod your team members into action if you must.

2. Accept the possibility of failure

Naturally, you want to do your best for yourself and your team, but inevitably a certain percentage of your decisions will prove incorrect. Recognize this fact and stop huddling in place.

3. The simplest solution is probably the best

Often, the path of least resistance represents the best possible choice. So once you’ve examined it from all angles and can see no obvious surprises, flaws, or pitfalls, then go for it.

4. Follow your core values

If a potential decision conflicts with the things you or your organization believe in most, dismiss it from consideration. Stand secure in the knowledge that your core values will guide the way, whether they revolve around a deity, an absolute belief in people and what they can accomplish, personal and intellectual honesty, or all of the above. This alone will clear the field of many candidates.

5. Focus on getting started

Knowing where you want to go and the basic route you need to take represents half the battle. You don’t have to sharply define every step before beginning. Handle the fine details on the fly.

6. Establish milestones and a drop-dead deadline

Know when you absolutely have to have a task done. Break it into easy pieces that allow you more than enough time to complete it before the final deadline arrives. Hand out the pieces to those who can accomplish them best. This will motivate you to stop wasting time and get started. Nothing beats writer’s block, for example, like knowing you face a specific date to turn in a piece, no matter how uncertain you feel about it.

7. Listen to both head and heart

Sometimes a certain course of action makes absolute sense from an intellectual perspective but still seems wrong. If so, your subconscious mind has probably noticed something your conscious mind hasn’t. So use both your IQ and your emotional intelligence (EQ) when making decisions. Don’t go overboard here; instinct can lead you astray in some cases. But do consider both sides of the IQ/EQ equation, and make your decision based on which side weighs the heaviest. Again, you may still be wrong, but you need to make a decision and move on.

Stressing and anxiety can cause the over-production of a certain hormone called cortisol, which encourages weight gain about the belly

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