Portal: Business Line

Headline: Measure what you want to improve

Date: 22 January 2016

Edition: Print & Online

Investing more in infrastructure or other sectors must be done after assessing how effective existing public services are

While big-ticket investments are being planned in infrastructure and other sectors, too, the question that needs to be answered now is this: What is being done to improve the utilisation of the existing infrastructure, to improve the quality of the services being offered by government agencies?

It all boils down to: Should we build more schools, colleges, hospitals, power plants and distribution utilities, new roads, railway lines and trains, new toilets, or maintain the existing facilities better? While we add capacity for a growing country, shouldn’t we first ensure that the existing public infrastructure is working well and serves citizens well?

But to ensure that, we need to measure the effectiveness of these services objectively, as seen by the citizens. Is that possible? Yes, this is already being done in countries such as Singapore, the US, the UK, Sweden and Canada.

How the world does it

One established methodology is the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a globally respected customer satisfaction measurement and benchmarking index, with presence in more than a dozen countries around the world. ACSI was developed by the National Quality Research Center (NQRC) at the University of Michigan, US.

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