The Punjab model of reforms attracted the attention of policy planners at the national level during a civil services day function at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday.
Punjab governance reforms commission chairman Dr Pramod Kumar's talk on governance reforms in the state, a key agenda in Punjab politics, elicited a keen response from other panelists, including union ministers Kapil Sibal and V Narayansamy and national advisory committee member NC Saxena, attached to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
People of the state are hoping that the governance reforms initiated at the instance of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal would bring them respite from rampant corruption in public offices. But since the process is yet to pick up pace, they may have to wait a little longer.
Dr Pramod Kumar, who was among the four panelists, said during his presentation that the main feature of governance reforms in Punjab was its political ownership.
"Punjab is the first state in the country to set up a separate department and a commission to provide corruption-free public services to its people in a time-bound manner. Technology alone cannot make service delivery efficient. The rules of the game must change. We are still functioning with archaic rules. Metaphorically, we are playing the game of basketball with the rules of kabaddi", he said.
Dr Kumar said that even bribery had ceased to perform its foremost function to facilitate and effectively deliver the task, as exemplified by the Commonwealth Games. Maintaining that the system had ceased to be functional, he said there was a need to have a relook at the system rather than dealing with corruption in an ad hoc manner.
He stressed that the major thrust of reforms in the Punjab model was on removing deficiencies in governance by increasing productivity and restoring people's faith in governance by making them active partners in the process.
Dr Kumar spoke in detail about how Punjab introduced administrative reforms in various departments and notified 67 public utility services to be introduced in a stipulated time period.