It is gratifying to note that a number of roadside hawkers are using biodegradable bags to sell products after the announcement of a single-use plastics ban. But, it has happened before and, once the initial momentum is over, they revert to plastics once again, obviously because these are cheaper. Like so many other good initiatives taken by government, this too dies due to lack of follow-through. The pressure must continue to be applied by the authorities till such time use of cloth bags by buyers and biodegradable material by sellers becomes second nature. The impact on the environment will be seen almost immediately.
To ensure effectiveness in policy implementation, government agencies must prioritise their functioning to ensure optimisation of returns on effort. It is an accepted fact that, with all the responsibilities taken up by the administration, there just is not enough staff available. In most departments, government just cannot afford to employ more. As such, there should be an intelligent policy on contracting out routine functions to the private sector. Emphasis should be placed on recruiting in departments that have a higher level of responsibility, such as the police. Even in these departments, the priorities must be clear, with unnecessary tasks taken away and smarter utilisation of resources done through technology enhancement, use of modern equipment, enhancement of skills and mutli-tasking abilities.
An example of such functioning would be not to deploy a few cops for checking use of helmets by two-wheeler riders on an everyday basis and, instead, putting as many personnel available on a weekly or fortnightly ‘campaign’ to ‘overwhelm’ the rule-breakers. A similar approach should be adopted by all departments to obtain effective results, including those tasked with enforcing plastic bans. Once people get used to abiding by important rules, the overall task of improving administration can also be achieved with greater ease.