H. Malcolm. Public Services through Private Enterprise: Micro-Privatisation for Improved Delivery. New Delhi: Vistaar Publications, 2000. 371 pages. Hardbound. Indian Rs 450.00.

Zafar Mueen Nasir


The book begins with a comparison of the availability of
public and private goods: “Cigarettes and soft drinks are available in
just about every village but clean water, primary education or health
services are not”. (Page 13). This thoughtprovoking statement by the
author focuses the reader’s attention directly on the main subject of
the book: the issue of private versus public management. The public
sector is responsible for providing public services, i.e., delivery of
those goods and services which the private entrepreneur is reluctant to
provide. Consequently, the supply of those services is grossly
inequitable and irregular, particularly in developing countries. One can
find understaffed and ill-managed schools, polluted water, poor and
unsafe means of transport and communication in such countries. People
who are really in need of such services are deprived of them. For
instance, often state primary schools are located in places where most
of the population send their children to private schools. Public health
units are available in areas where most of the people use private
clinics. Electric power may be cut off for an hour in the richer parts
of a city, but in the rural areas it is available for much shorter
periods of time.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v39i3pp.273-275


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