When something is persistently wrong or a failure, we tend to over-react and assume that the existing design and processes have failed and we need to adopt something new. We have deeply internalized that failures are due to lack of innovation with design, process, and technology. Very rarely do we step-back to see whether the original design and processes themselves were rigorously implemented or not. It is very comforting to rationalize away failures by blaming it on the design and other extraneous factors, rather than questioning our implementation capability.
3. Implementation: Some argue that the problem is with the implementation of existing laws and hence we need police and judicial reforms.
1. Implementation is not dependent only on inherent capacity of the bureaucracy responsible for implementing it:
Challenges in enforcing laws arising from (b) and (c), due to factors external to bureaucracy, mainly the society, can be termed as the resistance of society to state penetration. The resistance to state penetration is dependent on five factors
We must be careful that not all acts that involve a large number of people is due to prejudices or a problematic mindset. It can also be just because of the incentives in the system. For instance, as many people think, corrupt mindset is not the *main reason* for widespread corruption, though it is widespread involving a large number of people. It's an issue of appropriate incentives. Issues like foeticides are not due to incentives, it's due to inherent prejudices that boys are preferable over girls.
4. The state needn't be the only entity responsible for addressing the issue: We often confuse between the right to enforce the law and playing a role in addressing the problem. As discussed, addressing some issues requires dislodging prejudices, which requires sustained social messaging. However, governments alone are expected to perform this action, because it's (state) the law enforcer. In a real life scenario, it's not feasible for governments to sustain focus of messaging on a single issue because of the diverse priorities. Sometimes, governments are quickly judged based on their campaigns leading to a backlash even though the reality is that such campaigns alone can't address complex problems. Swachch Bharat Abhiyan and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaigns are appropriate examples of government's initiatives to carry out social messaging which wade out over time and received criticism.
In this context, we need to understand the difference between responsibility to enforce the law and playing a role in addressing the problem. State is responsible for enforcing the law and hence policy narratives expect only the state to carry out the social messaging campaigns. It might be more effective if governments initiate the campaign but systematically activates grass root organizations to take the campaigns forward. In this case, the grass roots organizations are playing a role in addressing the problem but not being the authorities to enforce the law. Once we understand this, we can also make society an equal partner and expect them to be part of addressing the problem.
[Update: Realized that there is one that amplifies the threat of punishment thereby preventing the crime. It is the closeness of the perpetrators of crime. If all the possible perpetrators are concentrated and closely connected then the punishment to one can swiftly communicate the fear to others thereby acting as an amplifier.
In the case of female foeticides, the possible perpetrators are doctors, who typically are few, concentrated and closely connected. Thus taking switf action by punishing them can have amplifying effects in preventing the crime.
In some cases, this alone might be sufficient and hence we need not rely completely on the difficult and uncertain approach of social transformation.]