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B-PAC, the mantra for all of city's problems?

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Governance

B-PAC (Bangalore Political Action Committee) is all over town, the latest being for backing 14 select candidates for the May 5th Assembly elections.

The following excerpt from the ToI (for the full text, click here) explains the context, in this connection:

A candidate will be given Rs 5 lakh if he/she is the sole endorsed candidate in a constituency ; if there are two endorsed candidates in one constituency, they will get Rs 3 lakh each.

The educated middle class is apathetic about politics, and not interested in voting. For long, we were only discussing things, but now we've decided to act. We registered about 6 lakh new voters . Also, citizens were not contributing to campaigns - only illegal money was coming into politics. So we, through individual contributions, raised a Rs 1-crore corpus to support these candidates who believe in our agenda for Bangalore," Kiran Majumdar Shaw, managing trustee and president of B.PAC, told reporters while giving the example of President Obama's campaign.

I can't see anything wrong in this approach. In fact, everything seems right, and looks quite the way to go.

About a week before B-PAC's inaugural rally (from Kanteerva stadium to Freedom Park) was held, a mail reading as below (and, captioned "BPAC - ABIDE redux?") appeared in a yahoo-group, which I subscribe to, from a person whose opinions I generally value:

I've been getting a lot of email and personal requests to join and support BPAC. Am I the only one noting that this smells like Abide (or worse) all over again?

Particularly disturbing (to me) is their agenda for increasing citizen's participation in governance. Seems like they want to circumvent the democratic process by getting  "experts"  nominated into standing committees and the corporation, rather than strengthening the democratic process itself. It also suggests that they are for the inclusion of certain types of citizens in governance, but not others.

I know BPAC is personally reaching out to a lot of folks (including me, several of my cyclist friends, as well as my college alumni network). I personally declined a request to participate in their event next weekend at Freedom Park after reading through their agenda.

Wanted to hear what other people think about it. Predictably, the press is going all ga-ga over them.

But then, I asked myself "If the democratically elected leaders set up expert groups is it wrong? What should they do? Become experts in everything like our babus?", and left it that. In fact, I myself attended the inaugural show, which was I may add fairly impressive.

There have been other criticisms too. But, since they were largely from the usual 'corporate bashers', I generally ignored them.

Later, however, going through B-PAC's "Agenda for Bangalore", at Sl no 5, I noticed

"A comprehensive proposal for infrastructure development across all sectors has been drawn up by the Karnataka Information Technology and Communication (ICT) Group, which was presented to the government on January 8, 2013. BPAC will advocate that each piece of this proposal be taken up by the government and instituted over the next 10 years."

The question I have is why is this not made available on the web-site, and more importantly, why was this not presented to the public in an open forum, before being finalised. And, are the candidates who are being supported supposed to have committed themselves to pursuing this agenda?

Similar is the case with Janaagraha, which in the midst of all these goings on, organised a "conclave on Governance of City-Systems and the Challenges of Mobility" along-with the British deputy high commission. Though, Janaagraha is an invitee to the Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC), convened every alternate month by the Additional Commissioner, Traffic (and, chaired by none less than the City Police Commissioner, himself), the TAC doesn't appear to have been involved, nor was CiSTUP, nor Ms Jenny Pinto, whose PIL on poor pedestrian facilities has recently been admitted by the High Court (check here). Like-wise is the non-transparency of the dealings of their allied initiatives like B-TRAC, Tende-Sure, etc.

And, this is perhaps where they are going wrong, perceived as they are as elitist, and all working in their individual silos.

The first of such initiatives, viz the BATF (of S M Krishna ministry days - in fact, many members of the later 'avatars' were originally members of the BATF), too suffered from the similar perception problems. In quite a few of the forums that I am a part of, I have had to defend their critics, saying that they were essentially providing expert advice on how best to implement policy decisions taken by the elected bodies, taking extreme care to steer clear of interfering in policy making. I have even cited the example of how I withdrew from a sub-committee when the Chairman, Mr Nandan Nilekani, stated clearly that "opening up of the public bus transport services sector", something that I had been campaigning for (and continue to do so even now - check this), was a no-no as far as BATF is concerned, that being a policy matter.

BATF did quite well, if one were to ask me; but, of course, they could have done a lot better. The emphasis then was not as much on 'sustainability' as it is (rather, should be) now. The lack of vision from that perspective was their undoing, if one may say so.

Besides, the inevitability of their influencing policy decisions, as the nexus built up, was perhaps perceived by the aam aadmi (particularly in the rural areas) as not quite being in his interest, contributing in a way to the downfall of the S M Krishna government.

SMK government's fall meant the end of BATF too. But, the key members then came up with the idea of NURM, and sold it to the Manmohan Singh government, which had around then taken charge at the centre. Though, again a well-conceived and timely idea, its implementation across the states left a lot to be desired, rampant misuse becoming the order of the day (for examples in Bangalore, click here), with the originators unable to put in place the right checks and balances. This didn't much help the perception about their credibility, either.

Much later came ABIDE. Here again, the ill-conceived "Sarjapur road signal-free corridor" (check here) type schemes started raising suspicions about 'expert interventions', now even from generally well-off sections, who were perhaps beginning to see the larger sustainability picture.

All in all, B-PAC has got its task cut out. It would do well to study the learnings from the BATF, JNNURM, and ABIDE experiences.

PS: Corporates work through lobbying - that is, if they want things their way, they will work to change the law to suit them. But, largely, they work within the law. This is quite the scene in the USA. The down side is that you have as powerful lobbies such as the "gun lobby", about which even a Obama, is not able to do much yet, inspite of the recent spate of killings. On the other hand, however, you have a determined Preet Bharara nailing the all powerful Rajat Gupta, in a matter of months, as also the Boston bombers being nailed within hours, all through their well-oiled systems.

In 'hamara mahan Bharat', on the other hand, we are currently ruled by all kinds of mafia, the governments' own being the biggest, all openly flouting the laws, left, right and centre. Consequently, whilte collar criminals rarely get nailed, and the Malleswaram (Bangalore) bombing (which happened about simultaneously as the Boston incident) investigation is still in its preliminary stage.

As such, I would certainly welcome the participation by the experts from "Corporates", since I believe that in as vibrant a democracy as we have, it should not be difficult to keep any kind of lobbies in check. Mafia's, on the other hand, can easily make democracies dysfunctional.

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

vmenon's picture

"Corporate experts"

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Have never really understood this corporate experts business.Can understand experts from academia, experts in a functional field.But coprorate experts.Truth be told,they are lobbys nothing more.

The real issue with the Batf/Abide/Bpacs of the world is a  contradiction of sorts in thier operation.And at many fora have stated this openly.

The cry is for engagement of citizens/those outside of governmnet with descion making and that , that experts be consulted.

So far so good .But in all their own operations , plans .reccos there is not an iota of citizen consultations.In a way governmnet has to consult , but not them,.

Also these bodies tend to jump from reccomendatory bodies to actual implementers/deciosion making bodies in the shortest of times.

No doubt,if you analyse their plans , there will be a lots of merit.

But its wrong to use the bannner of democracy for these bodies.

vmenon

 

i

murali772's picture

city could benefit from their expertise

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@ VMenon  -  While appreciating the points made by you, there is no denying the fact that these 'corporate experts' are largely people with proven track records in managing their respective businesses. And, with management expertise very much lacking in our government organisations, I am sure the experts' engagement can contribute to filling up the gap there. As such, while there is a relevance to their engagement, the problem as you have rightly pointed out, and so also I, is the lack of transparency in the goings on.

The other intriguing aspect is that while we have world renowned institutions, like IISc, National Law School, IIM, CiSTUP, etc etc, right in our back-yard, and covering each and every aspect of life, very rarely does the government want to engage any of them, even in advisory capacity. If you recall, it was after a lot push that we finally got CiSTUP into the picture to help resolve the Sarjapur road signal-free corridor (about which I have touched upon in my opening post) impasse. Here is another instance where the BBMP could have done well to engage CiSTUP, right in the beginning itself, than go plainly by their revenue considerations and build such useless contraptions.
 
As such, while I would welcome engagement of Corporate experts, their roles have clearly to be defined, and the exercises whatever have to be carried out in a most transparent manner, with citizen participation given its due place too (Praja is all about that, and we certainly could help the process).
Muralidhar Rao
das's picture

BPAC's vision is confused, short term

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BPAC's vision for Bangalore says "We need world class infrastructure, if we are to have a world class city." This term has been liberally used by Abide/BATF/BPAC but nobody is clear about what it means. BPAC wants implementation of the Karnataka Information Communication Technology Group report . This report has a bunch of poorly thought out recommendations, full of contradictions like these.

1. It has 12 sections, of which 11 talk about improving the IT sector. No other industries or businesses are even mentioned. 11 sections for improving IT, 1 section for improving Bangalore.

2. Sections 12.3.1 says at least 60 % of people must be 'encouraged' to use public transport. Section 12.3.3 is all about building High speed travel corridors, elevated roads, flyovers (which encourages private transport).
The contradiction: There is NO mention anywhere in the document of discouraging private transport. So how do you enocurage people to use public transport if you provide more facilities for private automobiles instead of discouraging them ?

3. Section 12.3.2 mentions "Pedestrian overhead crossings with lifts and escalators".
The contradiction: To encourage walking you must have pedestrian crossings at grade. The report's recommendation actually gives primacy to automobiles.

4. Section 12.3.9 talks about segregation and recycling, and at the same time talks about incentivizing waste to energy (which means burning the waste) schemes.
The contradiction: You can either burn waste to generate energy or segregate and recycle it - you cannot do both.  This presentation of mine on Waste to Energy vs. segregation + recycling clarifies the issue, and explains why waste to energy does not make sense. WTE plants use waste as fuel, and the experience worldwide has been that they discourage segregation and recycling.

5. Section 12.3.12 talks about Rapid tree plantation (without explaining what is 'rapid').
The contradiction: There is no mention of preserving the existing trees. Scemes like "replace each felled tree by 5 saplings" don't make sense because if you cut down a tree today and plant a sampling in its place, the latter will take 40 years to grow to the size of the original tree. Most readers of this post will be dead by then, and our children will see the benefit of the trees only in the latter part of their lives.

6. Section 12.3.16 asks for enhanced car parking space (notice it is only 'cars', never two-wheelers).
The contradiction: This encourages private transport, while sensible cities worldwide are reducing the parking space to discourage private transport.

7. Section 12.4 : Talks of a budget of Rs. 95,000 Cr. for high speed travel corridor to move private transport, Rs. 78,000 Cr. for public and non-motorized transport.
The contradiction: Lip service to public and non-motorized transport. It's like "I'm smoking 40 cigarettes a day to stop smoking" - meaningless.

These are topics that I am aware of. Doubtless people who know about other issues (like water resources) will have things to say about them.
 

s_yajaman's picture

I have my doubts

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Haven't we seen this stuff before? BATF and then ABIDE and now this. I just went through their website and here is my critique

a. Governance structure - there is never a perfect structure. What makes us so sure that the mayor will perform any better than the corporators? About 3 years back the corporator elections were touted as the missing link. Now all we have is another layer of corruption for the most part. Why will the state government let go of a cash cow and give autonomy to a mayor?

b. Citizen participation: citizens need to be involved, but largely with maintenance - the weakest link in any Indian set up. Have a responsive helpline where I can register a complaint about a broken pavement or a pothole. What is my qualification to suggest a flyover design? What is so unique about Indian cities that citizens need to design solutions?

c. Funding - is the problem with funding or with spending? BBMP must have blown up 1000s of crores on its hare brained signal free ideas but needs advertising money to put up a bus stop.

d.Accountability - no quarrel. The proof of the pudding is there for all to see in any case.

e. Strong infrastructure - I wish they would detail this out. Going by the past, it will mean more flyovers, signal free roads, elevated expressways.The city looks like a permanent war zone.

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Sceptical

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There is no clarity in what BPAC used as a criteria to support candidates? I have a problem with these corporate honchos having a history of building flyovers to their backyard and steamrolling roads thru other peoples neighbourhoods. Respectfully they dont know a thing about city governance going by what BETL has done for the city. I havent seen them articulate a sustainable vision for Bangalore that they stand for or will support. Until then I have the right to be sceptical about their intentions, regardless of how much I would like bodies like these to help in governance.

murali772's picture

give them their due

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The property tax self-assessment (SAS) scheme, and F-BAS accounting system, both for BBMP, as I can readily recall, were two significant contributions from 'corporate expert' members of the BATF team. 

After the SMK government fell, and the BATF along-with it, there was a concerted move by the inspector mafia in the BBMP, backed by some of the new political bosses, to scuttle the SAS scheme, through the introduction of the CVS scheme. But, this having a direct bearing on the citizens, they realised what was happening well on time, and took up battle with the government under the CAF (Citizen's Action Forum) banner. Though that saved the SAS, by trying to manage the entire job on its own (rather than thorugh out-sourcing to say TCS - check here), the BBMP has deprived its stake-holders, namely - the citizens, the full potential of the excellent scheme to spread the net and maximise revenue.
 
The F-BAS scheme suffered a worse fate. With it not having a direct connect with the citizens, nobody realised what was going on, and eventually the BBMP landed up with the multi-thousand crore scams.  
 
As such, what the corporate experts with their clout could do today is to campaign for re-introduction and strengthening of such schemes. Besides, they could come up with more such schemes, or better still encourage even the ordinary citizens to figure out similar schemes to solve their everyday problems, incubate the ones that are seen to be viable, try them out through prototypes, and if found successful, help scale them up through professional set-ups for the benefit of the entire community. 
 
If one looks around, there are many such schemes under discussion already. The "Namma-Railu" scheme, easily the most cost-effective way for fast connectivity the city with its hinterland, is one such. But, with most corporate experts' eyes looking up into the air (literally), than to the ground, I doubt they are even aware of the developments in this regard, and consequently I doubt it has found mention in their agenda for the city. And, there are plenty more where they come from.
 
Looking even at their current emphasis on getting the youth to vote, can't they see that the SEC/ BBMP/ NIC combo just doesn't have the capacity to carry out the task, in spite of the reams of newspaper reports (today's ToI is full of it) being published on a daily basis (check here for more). When some of them themselves have contributed to smoothening the back-end work for the Passport Department, as also for the IT department, shouldn't they be demanding similar solutions here too? 
 
First and foremost, I suggest that they all take a walk around the Domlur fly-over.
 
Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Vision?

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Every good thing has to stem from a vision. BPAC is politically influencing for what outcome? If it is what has been pointed out by Das, it does not look promising or even thought thru properly. 

Transport(modal share), technology(e-gov+automation), water(new sources+zoning), power(new modes+GDP) all start from there & break down to numbers. If BPAC wants to follow the money trail set targets & allocate numbers to those targets.

sanjayv's picture

Like everything this is a mixed development

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Looks B-PAC like everything else is a mixed development.  They have done some good things.  Publicity, encouraging people to vote.  Some amount of effort in trying to get people registered to vote (though I believe Smart vote did an excellent job and then B.PAC has claimed some undue credit).  Contributing to candidate election campaigns legally as "White" money.  As long as there is proper regulation, I think lobby groups like this are a good development.

As far as what B.PAC itself has done, their processes for vetting and endorsing candidates seems hard to understand.  it is made worse by the short cycles of our elections.  Candidates are nominated and finalized and the contest is on is a few weeks.  Where is the time to figure out what these guys stand for?

Now they are pushing for some policies (beofre even the elections are done with).  That is kind of short sighted.  I agree that this group, based on their actions so far,  is short on "vision".  Agree with IDS - a comprehensive vision is what is important.  Policy details should evolve through proper planning and extensive public consultation.  Now if proper mechanisms were in place such as public consiultations and limits on funding from sources like this, politicians would feel less beholden to special interests and things should work better.

Right now, the black money contributing land baron or real estate maven or mining raja is dictating policy.  Widen road here, put flyover there and ask your officials to turn away there.  In short, I feel this is a good move people.  It may not be ideal and have its short comings, but that is the story of life isn't it?

vmenon's picture

BPAC ..need to watch

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Am really not concerned about the current avatar of B PAC , which is exhorting people to vote.Good thing.The endorsement bit is carrying things a bit too far , But while one can be indignant on their methods , cant see doing much overall damage.

Much much more worried about this KIG( karnataka information group) report  .While a lot of it is about the ICT industry and the efforts needed to promote that( any industry body should and must do that), they step into the "infrastructure of bangalore"

An earleir posting has already correctly put down  some of the contradictions.

My input on this:

a)the only constraint they seem to identify is resources ie money and the report is being sold to GOK on the basis of how money can be raised.This is from a scheme for real estate sectors  in general terms" pay for more FSI".A fairly dangerous arena.

b)Was privy to the preperation of the document .I had 2 essential inputs, both of which don't seem to have found their way into the final report.

i)In the transportation area, Namma railu..they were clueless on even the existence of such a concept.Details were given and they promised that they would get all data from  DULT .No such luck

ii)That the document must also look /suggest /recomend the method of the plan process for infrastructure and the citizen engagement model .The governance model ala 74th amendment  and  municipal planning councils.

No chance of that being even considered since the lobbies overall attitude is that therer are "5 wise men " who can deliver for banglore and a citizen engagement model or a municpal planning function is just too messy to get wht they want.

Look , these are good efficent  peoplein theior own world , not people  with evil intentions, as some leftist civil society orgs would like to state.But their outlook, defintion  of development, understanding of the basics of democracy are all very very different.

And listen there are no corporates which are  run on democratic norms, and therefore these are creatures from that background.

But they will , by their standing in society, always be forces to reckon with. 

 

Enuf said

 

kbsyed61's picture

B-PAC, Contradictions galore!

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Vijayan,

You are bang on when you said, least practitioners of democracy are the corporates. If one really wants to dissect B-PAC, many thesis can be written and N number of blogs can be produced.

You are absolutely right about these executives being not necessarily evil as many would like us to believe.

If past experience is of any merit, we all remember how some of these people had tried every trick in their sleeve to stop BIAL from starting the operation with loads of untruths. Then they went onto be part of the 'ABIDe' and we all know how transparent it was, what level of citizen consultations they had and their work products.

-Syed

das's picture

BPAC backing MLA candidates - spread it evenly ?

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The only logic behind BPAC's selection of candidates to back is 'Spread the largesse evenly'. There seem to be 2-3 from every party, some of them definitely NOT known for their integrity.

MaheshK's picture

Why endorse two from the same consitituency

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How can B-PAC endorse two candidates from the same constituency, such as Malleswaram? B-PAC endorses BJP and Loksatta candidates. I dont get it. Two can't win an election.

May be the team B-PAC should have jumped into the fray. Its easy for armchair philosophy. Its whole different issue to contest an election.

Charu Sharma and Vani Ganapathy as team B-PAC? God help!

murali772's picture

a let down

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By selecting candidates from all parties, B-PAC is essentially being politically correct, and ensuring that its eggs are in all the different baskets, so that whichever party comes to power they can have access to the corridors of power - all typical of a lobby group. More was expected - it's a let down.

Besides, I can't see the need to have selected Dr Ashwathnarayan and Dinesh Gundu Rao, who have declared assets at Rs 15.93 cr and Rs 22.76 cr resply, apart from other factors weighing against them, even as they have ignored a most eligible Sridhar Pabisetty. Could it be that Sridhar refused to endorse B-PAC's agenda for Bangalore?

Muralidhar Rao
das's picture

BPAC-endorsed candidate : an example

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One of the candidates endorsed by BPAC: CN Ashwath Narayan of Malleshwaram, who also happens to be the current MLA.

See this report 66 legislators grab BDA sites . He is one of them.
Also this : Virtually overnight,netas turn guardians of wildlife . He is one of the two.

Achievements:
- Mantri Mall.
- CNR Rao underpass opposite IISc that has been going on for 4 years (Rs. 40 Cr.).
- Widening of Sankey Road (Rs. 100 Cr.).
- Replacing the old Malleshwaram market with a 5 storey building (Rs. 132 Cr.), with evidence of illegality.
ALL projects opposed by local residents.


 

 

MaheshK's picture

Endorsing wrong candidates?

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It is interesting to note that the BJP office was raided yesterday in Vyalikaval and found 61 gold nose rings and Rs. 63,000 cash for distribution to the voters. In fact last week walkers in the Gayathrinagar park were given gold nose rings and Rs. 2,000 cash to support the BJP candidate.

Why is B-PAC supporting cadidates who indulge in these types activities for votes? Let B-PAC come out and clear their stand.

Who chose the team for B-PAC? Its just a group of people who knew each other through social circles / parties. Looks like there is an hidden agenda for each individual.

silkboard's picture

Have money, have the will - beyond that?

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I have been reading this discussion with interest. Yet to find the time to read some of the links provided above in detail, and have seen only the two pages on BPAC website in full (mission, agenda for bangalore). But here are my 5 paise on this subject

  • These guys (aka "corporates", word looks to be used positively by the press, negatively by the 'civil' society') seem to be at it again. Even the hardest critics don't say that they do this for potential personal profits. What stands out to me is their persistence - keeping at it, trying things to fix a problem they have defined by themselves, most likely this way "Bangalore is not a world class city".
  • This persistence doesn't win them any points from 'civil society' (guys like us - some doers, some talkers, but all in all interested and concerned enough to spend the time doing the talking or doing !).
  • My take on them, and the new effort named BPAC is that the guys have the money, the influence (see how media laps up anything they say and do, see how they will get invitations to the first few 'citizen meetings' the new government will organize in June etc etc, see how some of them will get to head the new commitees etc), and the will to do "something", but that "something" gets picked on and criticized over all else.
  • However, in general, it is hard to find a civic group in the city that doesn't have any issues with "something" of another civic group in the city. This is no criticism of civic groups themselves, we are lucky to have so much civic energy in Bengaluru, this energy will take us somewhere. But differences are not that uncommon.

Where am I going with this? Criticizing BPAC, or siding with them? Thoughts I got after going to their website are like this - ah, nice graphics! Wish they could throw some money this way, and we could make this website look better. Ah, nice agenda, at least the first 4, wish I could leave a comment right there to help make them tighter, and help make #5 (about infrastructure) more acceptable through constructive criticism. :)

Guys with money, influence, persistence and will - they need to join in with those who need the support, and could bring the understanding that may be missing due to lack of primary research here and there. We probably know that nobody can ever write a single page agenda for Bangalore that will make each of the 300-400 odd prominent corporates/civic group members nod their head in agreement. Despite this, can we still make this "join" happen, of money+influence+will with the rest aka us!?

Sorry if the comment seems orthogonal here. But after reading up BPAC's website, BPAC's media coverage, and criticism in most forums, these are the first thoughts and reactions I have on this development.

cheers,

SB aka Pranav

srkulhalli's picture

No good mechanism to discuss and resolve issues

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Pranav,

 

WHat I am seeing is that there is no good mechanism for discussion and consensus building. I have tried workign with Janagraha, BATF (of erstwhile SM Krishna times), ABIDE and what I see is everybody has some "idea" on what should be done, and depending on how much the person is "up" the importance hierarchy, he/she gets heard and that "idea" or view point gets the push.

A lot of times these suggestions are well meaning, there may not be any personal benefit involved, but just that a lot of times the person making them is not really knowledgable about it or has completely thought through it (ie listened to varying perspectives). Some make it through partially, like the BIG10 and signal free outer ring road largely because of individual initative and not well reasoned and detailed discussion

Its not just us, aka common man. Recently the father of METRO E Sridharan had some suggestions on the DTC bus working ... he throws it in the air and some other people through some more and something randomly gets done. But point is even he was complaining about his "suggestion" not being listened to.

In that sense I have been a little dissapointed with Praja as well. Whereas Praja is democratic and open (that is fundamental), there is no easy way to "get somewhere". There is a lot of discussion and a lot of orthogonal comments, but no closure. Contrast this to a company meeting, where everybody has an opinion but in the end there is a discussion and a resolution

Whereas if we do it on Praja, it may still not be listened to byt the authorities, but at least if a few of us can evolve a mechanism and demonstrate a way where interested and motivated people of differing perspectives can get together and agree on the WAY forward, we will be making a start.

What I am thinking is for eg:, we take one issue, could be anything .. lakes, roads, electoroal reforms... then on one Post we first discuss by comments, follow it up by either a conference call or an in person meet and finally come up with a draft paper on what is the solution and everybody (or at least majority) sign off on it. If 10 of us not motivaed by personal profit cannot agree, we can imagine how big stuff  with so many different pulls and pushes can every get done in a rational way?

Am willing to try a pilot ..... I was thinking of an 

"Bettering Karnataka cities(Bangalore and others) .... Agenda for Chief Minsiter". Let us see if we can agree on the top 10 things on what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, we can actually send it to CM

Are you OK with trying out such an idea. If yes I will post a blog in a few days and take it to a agreed upon draft paper

Suhas

murali772's picture

ready-made list

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@ Suhas - I have been making these lists from long - here's one. See if you can build consensus on any of them.

And, Praja-RAAG has been constituted as a Society to pursue matters that we are overall agreed upon. There are a few on hand now - Namma Railu; promoting cycling; updating of KAOA. And, if we can build consensus, we can pursue more.

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

Depends on the issues!

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Suhas,

I am not sure what made you to conclude that there have been no closures on Praja debates/discussions. Quite a few as Murali as noted has been taken up for implementation or redress.

The platform 'praja.in' , aka Praja website is meant for discussions and not every discussion is expected to graduate to be citizen's campaign. Some are just sharing information and awareness posts. Members are free to take up the issues and this is how Namma Railu, NMT, KAOA efforts are work-in-progress. In a nutshell, onus is on the members to pursue.

I will draw attention to couple of discussions we had on Praja. One, Single Emergency Response Number. Though we had some degree of discussions and we did pursued with Police and others. Murali had taken it up personally with ACP Dr. Saleem through TAC meetings. Each one of the identified entities washed their hands off citing jurisdictional compulsions. There is still scope for it, if we can get a team to design the campaign and pursue further.

Second, a lot gets discussed on Pedestrian Infrastructure and the same was discussed in many Praja-RAAG meetings. I am not sure if we had any consensus on filing a PIL, but Jenny along other Non-Praja activist pursued it and now has filed a PIL. Now Praja-RAAG has committed to support her efforts.

Agree, it is time to draw a wish list and pursue with the new government. But again that would depend upon member's interest and bandwidth to pursue it further.

So, please go ahead and publish your list and see how the response would be.

srkulhalli's picture

Depends on what you see Praja as

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77 users have liked.

KBS, Murali

Thanks for some thoughtfull view. I have been out of touch for a while, and I agree Namma Railu is a good example of consensus and what can be acheived.

It depends on what Praja is. Is it a complaint box ?. If we complain, we all agree things are in a mess, there is inefficiency and corruption all around. There will be always consensus on how bad things are and the need to make it better. But everybody complains and really this becomes one more forum to vent your frustration.

THe other vision is Praja is a solution box. That is we discuss and come up with workable solutions to the issues around us. Now it is possible that nobody will listen, but I am not even getting there. Can we even reason out and agree this is the best solution to a given issue.

Can we be a good bouncing board for some govt. beuracrat or politicain who is looking to see the relative merit of different ideas. Maybe such people are few in number, but atleast are we able to be a "think tank".

Let me make an attempt in a blog on city improvement and you will get what I am saying.

 

Suhas

kbsyed61's picture

Consensus!

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90 users have liked.

Suhas,

If one can get a consensus on the what and how to address the issues, nothing like it. It is difficult to get consensus some time. This is where member's conviction, passion and resolve to take up the matter to next level comes in. That precisely is the lesson for all us in PIL for pedesterian filed Jenny and others. If you have the conviction in what you are proposing and believe in it, just go for it whether you have the consesus or not.

One lesson I have learn't is, put the issue in open for everybody to look at it and see if you can get some support. If not, be ready to be one man army.

-Syed

murali772's picture

more than just a 'think tank'

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@ Suhas

THe other vision is Praja is a solution box. That is we discuss and come up with workable solutions to the issues around us. Now it is possible that nobody will listen, but I am not even getting there. Can we even reason out and agree this is the best solution to a given issue. - - - Can we be a good bouncing board for some govt. beuracrat or politicain who is looking to see the relative merit of different ideas. Maybe such people are few in number, but atleast are we able to be a "think tank".

If you had been keyed in, you would perhaps have noticed that we are very much that already, and in fact more, quite like Syed has already pointed out.

Muralidhar Rao
srkulhalli's picture

OK

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82 users have liked.

@ KB Syed - well said

@ Murali

Yep. Johhny come late should look around before commenting. Point taken.

 

Suhas

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