Launching a book titled Switching Tracks for a New Uttar Pradesh by Saurabh Johri, programme advisor of Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based public policy think-tank, Gupta said in order to put UP back on track the auto-correction system has to be set right.
"Half the battle is won by appointing the right person for the right job. However, the entire battle is lost by appointing the wrong person for job. In UP, jobs are increasingly assigned not on merits but by other extraneous considerations," he said.
Praising the book, Gupta said that not only areas and issues relating to governance, economic and social reforms have been identified but several strategies and solutions to resolve them have also been suggested.
In his opening remarks, former Union cabinet secretary Surendra Singh pointed out that the term of the next government also coincides with the 12th Five Year Plan period and this is a good time to layout the agenda for development for the state. He emphasised that over the last two decades UP has figured in the bottom quartile of most of the economic and social indicators and the quality of governance has declined.
Singh said, "We have to be forward looking as no purpose would be served by delving in the past and that is why the ORF has suggested some doable and workable models which hopefully can create a public debate on development issues."
Participating in the discussion on the book, Prof AK Singh, director, Giri Institute of Development Studies, said, "UP is suffering from policy inertia and needs radical policy reforms in agriculture and industry. He emphasised the need of a proactive policy to attract investment, streamline the regulatory mechanism, speed up sanctions and reform land and labour policies to make labour and land market flexible."
He also suggested to set-up a policy-making mechanism in the form of an economic and social development council.
Veteran bureaucrat TN Dhar said that there was a need for an Anna Hazare- like movement in the state, which can create public pressure to put the state on the development course. "The ORF study has presented an excellent script for augmenting the development process, but who will act on it," he asked.
"There is an institutional decline in the state and unless something is not done urgently, things would go from bad to worse. The state administrative system has become highly centralised, which is undemocratic," he pointed out.
Johri said technologies like IT and GSI are helpful tools, which can help in improving the system.