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Want to know how a govt dept prioritizes things?

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Governance

Happy I'day to all. Got a proposal for an RTI gig. Would take IDD (Infrastructure Development Department of Govt of Karnataka, currently headed by Mr V Madhu) only as an example, but we could pick any other busy government department as a target. The idea is to find out how the dept decides on the priority of projects it has on hands. For example, IDD is running with HSRL (Please do arguments for or against HSRL on other discussions, for now, assumed that the projects has a case for it), then:

  • When Mr Madhu or his 2-3 employees spend time on HSRL, there are other projects that get to be ignored.
  • Its a tough question to ask (in an RTI), but don't we need to know how IDD and Mr Madhu decided on priority of projects?
  • We hear loose talk of departments preferring big money projects (for share), or PPP (more freedom to award tenders). Wouldn't such loose talk go away, and IDD gain more trust of people if they are transparent about their list of projects and ways to prioritize them?
  • It could be that they tend to pick projects that are relatively easier to execute (Commuter Rail hard to push, HSRL perhaps not, for example?).
  • It is more likely (compared to the two points above) that priorities are forced on them by the ministers. This probably is the right way for things to happen (elected representatives sould decide), but wouldn't we want to know who is behind what projects, and which minister should we go to talk for or against a particular project?

It does sound like an ambitious RTI, but shall we think togeher to structure a set of RTIs to go deep into a department (can take IDD which isused here as an example, or any other dept) to find out how they prioritize things?

  • What kind of records do they keep that we can ask for via RTIs? Minutes of meetings enough? Is there a way to ask for Minister/Babu meetings only?
  • Do these departments maintain time-sheets of their projects, so that we can find out which projects are getting more attention?
  • Is there a process where regular reports go out to the Ministers, or State's Auditor General? Can we ask for these?

Over to knowledgeable Praja-galu for their ideas.

PS: Want to make another call for few more folks to join the RTI club. You just need to help with mailing RTIs using Praja's registered address. Or, help with scanning and uploading the RTI replies. That is all. As easy and simple as it can get in terms of what you can do to help your city without leaving the cozy confines of your home.

Comments

psaram42's picture

Priority of projects

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 I think it is a purely technical subject based on the merits and need as I could see from the example involving IDD(?) and HSRL(high speed Rail). I think IDD must be some other transport system. Pardon me for the ignorance. Basically transport is part of planning a city (Town). Any planning is as good as the assumptions made at the start of any project planning. 

RTI for priority is a bit confusing. Priorities can keep changing too due to political pressures I feel. 

silkboard's picture

sorry, let me explain better

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 PSA sir - let me explain better. IDD is a cell (Infrastructure Development department) within government of Karnataka. It is executing a project named HSRL. IDD would have 20 other projects to execute. Shouldn't we all be interested in knowing the process IDD used to put HSRL on priority, and what other projects have been put on backburner?

We can take any other dept X, and can ask for things like

  1. Give a list of all projects you are working on. Assume 20
  2. From this list, mention 3 projects on which your dept has spent the most time
  3. Reasons for not spending time on the other 17.
  4. If not available, reasons for picking these 3.
  5. Directions receivied from elected representatives on these 3 projects in last 5 meetings.

I am making up the questions as we go here. But I think getting such information out could be interesting. May be departments would't even have an answer for #1 or #2, which would tell us how well they are organized. May be answer to #5 would tell us who all drive work in the departments.

Questions like above are still very open ended. Need everyone's help in narrowing down the scope of the RTIs.



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