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Policy Paralysis

            According to Public administration dictionary Policy paralysis refers to the delays, inaction and inability to take policy decisions by the government or its various departments and agencies which runs the country and the economy. Policy Paralysis stalls the economy and growth of a country. Policy paralysis is more apparent in an economy when various projects are shelved or being delayed.
International Dictionary of Public Management and Governancerefers to Policy Paralysis as stalemate that is reached in policy formulation because of
·         Irreconcilably divergent views on a policy
·         Lack of will on the part of a government to tackle a particularly difficult issue.
Such a stalemate leads to inaction on the part of the government which will further worsen the situation.
            In the case of India, Policy paralysis is making news mostly in the second term of the UPA government. The major reasons are the lack of political consensus on the major reforms needed and there is a huge distrust on the government owing to the recent spate of scandals and corruption in the country. There is no constructive debate that is happening in the parliament and the bureaucracy is wary of making decisions in this suspicious atmosphere.
  Some examples of policy paralysis in India are FDI in multi brand retail stalled due to opposition in parliament, GST, DTC not implemented according to schedule, mining ban by judiciary leading to slowdown in industrial production, stalemate in oil and energy sectors, land acquisition and environmental clearances are becoming monstrous activities. After a spate of scandals involving politicians, Civil servants and industry elites, decision making in the power corridors became the casualty.
 Policy Paralysis that has affected India recently can be easily compared with the economic crises that hit US and Europe. Economic growth has stalled and we can see of late government bringing down the GDP growth rate.
 Policy Paralysis seen in other way can be that there is no investment in the crucial sectors where there is true need of investment. Government's only motive is to win next elections apparently at any cost. So, massive social sector schemes like NREGA, NRLM are being pumped up with money. With endemic corruption and book cooking there is no way where we can see these schemes bringing about a change. Basic infrastructure is missing in our cities, agriculture is suffering and our food rots in go downs, power sector seems to have no effective solutions, natural resources are being looted. There seems to be another British empire being built up to loot us in every way possible. These issues have been in the forefront for the last 20 years and no one knows when there will be effective policies to solve these problems. So we can say that at some level policy paralysis is existent from last decades also.
 Lets take the example of the 2G scam which has direct implications on the policies as the then telecom minister was arrested after a huge uproar and many bureaucrats, corporate honchos were also indicted in the case. The CAG came up with estimated losses and policy paralysis kicked in after the honourable Supreme Court decided to cancel 122 licenses awarded to different companies and ordered TRAI to re auction the 2G bandwidth. So the telecom industry has seen policy paralysis since the scandal has broken out. Entire concentration of the government is being directed from important issues to the saving of the party minister and defending the government action in the parliament rather than cleaning up sector and making appropriate policies.
             Policy Paralysis can also be seen in the way of leadership vacuum. After independence India had a very strong central leadership. Over a period of time now coalitions have become order of the day. Since there is no strong central power and the fact that no single party can get a large majority, every small party that constitutes the government has to be taken on board which has made politics more opportunistic. With bad governance and corruption there is no way single party dominance or strong central leadership that can be envisioned. So to make strong policies, to bring important policies into action and orient the government towards it even when there is opposition to it from some quarters will require political will that seems to be not present today. 
            So we can conclude that Policy Paralysis is a symptom of a disease like corruption, scandals, lack of leadership or political will and many more issues. So we need to find the correct sure for the disease pinpointing what is the cause of the disease rather than just issuing blank statements of policy paralysis happening in India. We should not treat the symptom, we should treat the disease.