The most basic public good of all, which should be the first priority of the government, is law and order. If you think of the principal-agent relationship between citizens and State, citizens would want to tie down the State to first focus on law and order, and deliver results on law and order, before embarking on mission creep. One of the unhappy consequences of India's socialist adventure was a breakdown of this principal-agent relationship, and a loss of focus on this core function. See a recent column by Avinash Persaud in Financial Express.
Today, Human Rights Watch has released a top quality and incredibly depressing report on India's police. (Via Nandkumar Saravade). We need to reorient government -- as in financial resources and top management time -- towards the police and judiciary.
Also see Bibek Debroy in Indian Express, and my blog post on the Bombay attacks.