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How democratic are we?

When we were talking about the KL monorail, one of the other most glaring topics on monorail came up to my mind. This was about the Seattle monorail. This was voted out by the public of Seattle. Financial reasons was stated as the reason. Again when I was in Boston, a Bangladeshi lady came to me for a signature campaign. She needed this to set up a hotel in Boston. Why arent we using this in the biggest democracy in the world? Shouldnt we use the public opinion more for implimenting something? All the thoughts coming out our forum have been well debated and gives the feel of what the people need and feel better about. The governament should look at this and respond instead of taking fancy decissions of their own!
tsubba's picture


blrsri, for the longest time i have been trying to get around this idea. as you know, JNNURM mandates some serious public participation. but my problem is this. urban transit, city planning, etc etc are all sciences. these are not problems to be solved exclusively at an emotional level. at that level, a streetful of traders will build shops at basements and then violently oppose all public transit arguing that the foot print of the solution eats into parking space and will reduce road space. these are real problems that people with real insights need to tackle. just like the science of medicine. public vote is mostly at an emotional level. but there is a need for hard headed scientific view of things too. such a perspective can only come from real experts. once this view is formed, then ofcourse, they can weigh it against public perception of it. that bangaladeshi kid comes to you and pesters you to vote. but do you make an informed choice or vote at an emotional level?
blrsri's picture

vote being informed

I get your point..a typical scenario was the CMH road traders fighting it out. In that case if they were worried about parking they could have voiced that and probably the corporator of that locality could look at constructing a multi level parking lot like the one coming up in Jayanagar! So that boils down to how informed the people are and forums like ours can become the best media for any debate and then there can be a vote! The emotional content would get diluted then and also probably come up with 'best practices' points! Btw the Bangladeshi lady got my vote as desi restaurants are welcome anytime! :)
City.Zen's picture

Bogus Votes

I hope experts in science and technology will also help in eliminating bogus votes. It seems more than 36 lakhs bogus names are now being deleted from the voters'list in Karnataka, at the behest of the Election Commission.
City Zen
City.Zen's picture

Wisdom Of The Crowds

TS: I am impressed with as well as confused by your scientific informed choice versus public voice. I recall that I discovered bangalore praja when I wanted to read more of your writings and googled your name.
City Zen
silkboard's picture

mixing the two aspects creates confusion

In our context (city going down the drain etc), I see it this way. Democracy is required more to identify and agree on the problem. Then you need transparency in deciding who will provide the solution, and science to solve the problem. Confusion results when problem and solution both get mixed up. Take Deve Gowda and Metro vs Mono debate for example. DG's mandate was to go to people and understand the problem on the ground (local public transport), and not to fuel the Metro vs Mono debate. The moment DG and the likes (read democracy) jump into the debate on solution, "popularity" (whether we like it or not, DG and likes are popular) starts winning over "science". Another example of mixing problem and solution into one is BMTC figuring out public transport solutions. Their mandate is to run the buses, and democracy is here to say whether 1) BMTC is running buses well or not, and 2) if public transport is a problem in Bangalore or not. What BMTC needs to do to provide better services is to be figured neither by the democracy nor BMTC. People + BMTC only need to transparently pick an expert to solve the problem (or assist the BMTC) of bus and public transport.
City.Zen's picture

Beautifully clarified

Thanks SB for clearing my confusion. Sendng you and TS a mail about examining a possible new role for Praja a la PRS Legislative Services.
City Zen
blrpraj's picture

is this democratic? - 

I don't think so and the above topic merits discussion with a higher priority than any other topic because of it's shocking nature, nothing is more precious to a human being than freedom. comment guidelines

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