‘Governance and Accountability’ – 11th CPPR Quarterly Lecture by Dr Jacob Thomas IPS

 

1_JD_1004 (cppr)

 

We need less public servants and less policies, but more entrepreneurs says Dr Jacob Thomas IPS, at the 11th CPPR Quarterly Lecture

The 11th Quarterly Lecture organized by Centre for Public Policy Research explored the issues of Governance and Accountability.

The Chairman and Managing Director of the Kerala Police Housing Construction and Corporation Ltd., Dr. Jacob Thomas IPS was invited to share his thoughts and opinions on the importance of an accountable and transparent government. The event was held at Kochi on 7th January 2016.

Dr. Jacob Thomas has previously served several positions such as Director General of Police for Govt. of Kerala, Director General of Fire and Rescue Services, Special Officer for Kerala Maritime Society, Director of Department of Ports etc.

He is from the 1985 batch of IPS and holds a PhD in Agronomy from Indian Agricultural Research Institute. He is also an esteemed writer and has published several books.

 

Dr. Thomas commenced his lecture showcasing a video of Mr. Arunachalam Muruganathan, a social entrepreneur who strived for change. This case was brought to light to explain how the entrepreneur worked towards the betterment of our society by looking into the needs of the people and helped create 1-lakh job opportunities. “If a one-man army could be accountable to the people, so can our government too”, asked Dr. Thomas. He went on to explain that what we need right now is less of public servants, less of policies and more of entrepreneurs like Mr Arunachalam.

Whether the existing patterns of governance is maintaining or destroying our social system is a thought that needs to be speculated upon.  Dr. Thomas also questioned whether the existing system of governnace is accountable to the people and if yes, to what extent. It was noted that some of the members in anti-corruption agencies and structures responsible for recruiting public servants are mere party nominees without any accountability to the people. Even the Lokayukta, which is an anti corruption body in India is neither accountable to the people nor the legislature. He commented that Karnataka Lokayukata is one of the most highly corrupt bodies in the country. He emphasized on the fact that citizen engagement and curtailing corruption  are very essential to construct the apparatus of good governance.

There is a popular notion in the country that when politicians do something wrong, they claim that they will get the verdict from people’s court. However, Dr. Thomas was certain that elections couldn’t be considered as a symbol of accountability.

Dr. Thomas critically analyzed the state of Kerala’s health and education growth. He reflects on how the state is still struck in its past achievements of 1970s and presently, no efforts have been taken by the govt to upgrade the quality of the sectors. He also recognized several areas that need attention, achieving which, accountability can be ensured in the state of Kerala. These include proper waste management,  plastic recycling, improving ground water quality, construction of concrete walls and bunds and dealing with issues related to the tribal and fishermen community.

He concluded saying that one should always have the courage to fight against corruption, even though it is likely to be harrased or vindicted for the same.

 

Prof. K.C Abraham, academic director CPPR moderated the discussion, and Ms Pooja Sundaresh, Managing Associate, CPPR- Centre for Comparative Studies hosted the event.

 

 

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