Public Policy in Federal System
Public policy is considered as an important vehicle for societal transformation. Public Policy issues gained considerable momentum globally and are mainly seen as products of political and bureaucratic interaction. However, policy is also based on social discourse, public contestation, political negotiations and certain use of evidence. There are critical issues in the political representation of public issue and its subsequent translation into policy document and implementation. The recent political changes in Nepal, including the adoption of new constitution is likely to transform social values and norms, and the rules of game in governance, while at the same time facing the issues of increasingly globalized economic and political environment which will have significant bearing on the policy process and practice.
The greater access to data, information and claims has given greater opportunities for evidence based policy process. On the other hand, growing demand for government accountability makes new demands on government decisions. This leads us to the realization of viewing in new light the processes of policy making through more informed deliberations amongst major stakeholders. Upon promulgation of the new constitution, the country has entered into the new era of federalism with overarching objective of bringing transformation in governance system, function including policy processes. The country has just initiated the process of new policy making for the new government structure. From some limited institutions of public policy making, there will be more than 700 institutions having rights of policy making at different level- federal, provincial and local. Delivering the inherent essence of the constitution and other public commitments, it is imperative to begin a discourse to re-imagine policy processes from a new perspective, especially among the policy actors.
Civil service is one of the vital constituencies of public policy and effectiveness of policy execution largely depends on both the structure and culture of civil service. As a permanent institution of the government to ensure performing governance system accountable to citizens, the present form of civil service needs restructuring with appropriate deployment of human resources to fulfill the requirements of three levels of the governments as per new constitution. Designing systems for a performing civil service at all levels- federal, provincial and local- require synergic linkages between different tiers and spheres of governance system. This necessitates a national guiding policy for creating and developing harmonized and competent civil service, which is in the process of formulation with detailed study in the changed context.
Role of the senior executives of the government is crucial as policy leaders to enrich perspectives about evidence informed policy design and drive accordingly. For the purpose, high level discourse on evidence based policy making practices is need of the day that will create an opportunity for senior government officials on how the government would go about in policy design and implementation as the country entered in a new political and governance system.
In this context, Nepal Administrative Staff College has organized a Colloquium on ‘Public Policy in Federal System’ in order to bring the senior executives together in a forum to discuss the issues, proposal and prospects of evidence based public policy in the light of new Constitution.
1.Evidence Based Policy Making in Federal System: The colloquium specifically focus on evidence informed policy making processes, implementation issues and way forward in changed context of federalism. The first paper of the Colloquium- ‘Evidence Based Policy Making in Federal System’ will be presented by prominent scholars, Professor Rohini Pande from Harvard Kennedy School and Dr. Michael Callen from University of California, San Diego. Ms. Pande is associated as Co-Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) and Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Discussant for the paper is Dr. Shanker Sharma, former Vice Chairperson of National Planning Commission.
2. Civil Service National Policy: The second paper on civil service national policy is a valuable output of policy research study conducted by team of experts. Mr. Pratap Kumar Pathak, former Secretary of the Government of Nepal will present the paper bringing perspectives for the need of national level policy of civil service, role of civil service and functional arrangements.