In India, we often have a broad notion that the performance of government at producing core public goods is bad. In order to make progress, it helps to focus on the hot spots, where things are extremely bad, so that the maximum bang-for-the-buck can be obtained in return for applying scarce resources of money, top management time and political capital.
Today in Mint there is a very interesting set of statistics showing results from a household survey focusing on poor people, done by Transparency International India and Centre for Media Studies, focusing on corruption. See the results and associated interview with Bhaskara Rao who heads the Centre for Media Studies.
The main result of this survey is:
I would take away one key message from this: the two areas where the maximum focus is now required are the police and land/housing. These are the hot spots with the worst corruption. Making progress on the police is inevitably tightly interlinked with the larger justice system, which includes the judiciary.
The larger discussion on `improving governance in India' would hence benefit from a focus on these two hot spots: making the police and judiciary function properly, and ending the corruption of the land market. If a prime minister or a chief minister or a mayor has to prioritise the use of his resources, these are the two areas which deserve top priority.