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Execution enigmas

December 17, 2007

Abstract: In India, the private sector has succeeded in delivering affordable goods and services. On the other hand, the government has persistently failed to meet the rising demand for public services and quality infrastructure.  The reason for this failure can be found by comparing the Indian political class with that of China.

In China, a cadre of technically-oriented professionals, with hands-on experience in planning and executing projects early in their careers, typically come to occupy leadership positions and their approach to execution benefits from such experience. Not surprisingly, the Chinese have been able to deliver high quality infrastructure. The Indian political class, however, lacks such experience, since India has traditionally followed the western democratic model of a highly generalist political class overlaid on a permanent bureaucracy with professional capabilities. Ultimately, the secret to effective execution in public services lies in the presence of a high degree of compatibility between organisation, people and incentives.

Keywords: private sector; public sector; quality infrastructure; project management; China

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