Welcome to Guest !
       IUP Publications
              (Since 1994)
Home About IUP Journals Books Archives Publication Ethics
  Subscriber Services   |   Feedback   |   Subscription Form
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy
From the Consulting Editor's Desk

The gauging of a nation’s well-being has become a hot topic for discussion among the policy makers across the globe, the trendsetter being the Himalayan mountain kingdom, Bhutan, which desires to measure “gross national happiness”. The latest to join the bandwagon is Cameron when he said that Briton needs alternative measures that would express national progress “not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving; not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life.”

Of course, all along GDP has been recognised as the best measure of economic performance because of the implicit link between the economic growth and elements of well-being such as employment levels, level of consumption, etc. However, as Robert Kennedy argued in the 1960s, GDP also measures a nation’s evils in terms of pollution, tobacco advertising, production of napalm and nuclear warheads, but not the wit, the strength of marriage, courage, wisdom, or learning of the people. He said, GDP “measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

All these arguments, besides reminding us of what Simon Smith Kuznets, the Jewish Nobel Laureate in economics, who standardized the measurement of GNP, said way back in 1934, “The welfare of a nation can … scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income”, have set in motion a kind of momentum for “Happiness Economics”. Now the moot question is: How to measure national well-being/happiness?

Nevertheless, researchers like Norbert Schwarz, Alan Krueger, and Daniel Kahneman have come up with “day reconstruction method” which asks people to recall, episode by episode, the previous day’s events and the most prevalent accompanying feelings—stress, peace, exhaustion and elation. Of course, economists like Andrew Oswald argue that the data pertaining to well-being does already exist and hence demand more such collection of data than adapt an altogether different model, while professors like Kahneman and Krueger plan for a radical departure by proposing the publication of “time accounting measures”—how a nation spends its time—alongside regular national accounts.

The central idea behind this measure is that by asking the survey respondents to rank the emotions they felt while spending time in various activities such as cooking, commuting, working in office, and watching television, a measure can be produced that indicates how long people spend in a predominantly unpleasant state of mind because of engaging in tedious works like commuting or working vis-à-vis a pleasant state of mind by engaging in acts like having dinner or watching TV. Such an approach to measure the well-being of people would also enable the government evaluate public policy interventions such as investing in roads, overtime laws, creation of leisure facilities, etc.

Yet, as the UK’s National Statistics Office felt, the question of how to summarize the overall well-being of a nation using a set of indicators such as health, education, governance, and social connections, and subjective measures of quality of life, remains a challenge. Nonetheless, all these arguments lead to the need for clarifying what indices are most appropriate to measure progress and how this can best be integrated in the national decision-making process.

Interestingly, the first paper, “Can Microcredit and Job Under NREGS Jointly Bring More Happiness to the Villagers?” by Amit Kundu, investigates whether the enhanced financial capacity of a villager due to better access to micro-loan from a microfinance institution and employment under the NREGS had any impact on the well-being and happiness of the villagers in West Bengal, by developing “Happiness Index”. The author carried out a field survey using a structured questionnaire that consisted of ten questions to collect information on happiness of the people for two periods: one, just before joining the microfinance system and two, the status of happiness after two-and-a-half-years of joining the loan system. The respondents were asked to rate their happiness between four to zero on a four-point scale and the impact was assessed through first differenced method. The study revealed that participation in microfinance programme, size of the loan and more number of days of job under NREGS bestowed more happiness to the villagers. It was also established that members of self-help groups under SGSY had become happier than members of VSSU microfinance system. The difference is attributed to the fact that most of the members under SGSY scheme were women, while members of VSSU were men, and the fact that women for the first time felt more empowered by virtue of joining a microfinance programme by forming self-help groups, vindicating Amartya Sen’s capability approach theory.

This paper is followed by another interesting assertion by T. V. Ramachandra and H. S. Sudhira, in their paper, “Influence of Planning and Governance on the Level of Urban Services”, that planning and governance are imperative for ensuring effective service delivery and management of resources in addressing the challenges posed by urban sprawl, taking Bangalore as the focus of the study.

The third paper of the issue, “Agricultural Water Governance and Policies in Bulgaria”, by Hrabrin Bachev, analyses the evolution and efficiency of agricultural water governance and policies in Bulgaria during post-communist transition and EU integration, based on which the author has made certain recommendations for the improvement in public policies and strategies that would pave the way for effective and sustainable water management.

The last paper of the issue, “Corporate Governance Education: An Analysis of Existing Syllabi”, by Zabihollah Rezaee, Ran Zhang, Shahriar M. Saadullah and Douglas E. Ziegenfuss, analyses the extent to which corporate governance education has been integrated in the curricula of business schools worldwide and, based on their empirical findings, offers pedagogical suggestions for designing curriculum for corporate governance education.

-- GRK Murty
Consulting Editor

<< Back


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Click here to upload your Article

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs): The Changing Face of Banking in India

Bank Management
Information and communication technology has changed the way in which banks provide services to its customers. These days the customers are able to perform their routine banking transactions without even entering the bank premises. ATM is one such development in recent years, which provides remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the development of this self-service banking in India based on the secondary data.

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is playing a very important role in the progress and advancement in almost all walks of life. The deregulated environment has provided an opportunity to restructure the means and methods of delivery of services in many areas, including the banking sector. The ICT has been a focused issue in the past two decades in Indian banking. In fact, ICTs are enabling the banks to change the way in which they are functioning. Improved customer service has become very important for the very survival and growth of banking sector in the reforms era. The technological advancements, deregulations, and intense competition due to the entry of private sector and foreign banks have altered the face of banking from one of mere intermediation to one of provider of quick, efficient and customer-friendly services. With the introduction and adoption of ICT in the banking sector, the customers are fast moving away from the traditional branch banking system to the convenient and comfort of virtual banking. The most important virtual banking services are phone banking, mobile banking, Internet banking and ATM banking. These electronic channels have enhanced the delivery of banking services accurately and efficiently to the customers. The ATMs are an important part of a bank’s alternative channel to reach the customers, to showcase products and services and to create brand awareness. This is reflected in the increase in the number of ATMs all over the world. ATM is one of the most widely used remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the growth of ATMs of different bank groups in India.
International Scenario

If ATMs are largely available over geographically dispersed areas, the benefit from using an ATM will increase as customers will be able to access their bank accounts from any geographic location. This would imply that the value of an ATM network increases with the number of available ATM locations, and the value of a bank network to a customer will be determined in part by the final network size of the banking system. The statistical information on the growth of branches and ATM network in select countries.

Indian Scenario

The financial services industry in India has witnessed a phenomenal growth, diversification and specialization since the initiation of financial sector reforms in 1991. Greater customer orientation is the only way to retain customer loyalty and withstand competition in the liberalized world. In a market-driven strategy of development, customer preference is of paramount importance in any economy. Gone are the days when customers used to come to the doorsteps of banks. Now the banks are required to chase the customers; only those banks which are customercentric and extremely focused on the needs of their clients can succeed in their business today.


View Previous Issues
Governance and Public Policy