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Can genuine Public Consultation happen through government web-sites?

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Within a week, every citizen of Bengaluru can voice his or her opinion on how the city's administration should be restructured, through an interactive web-site, as part of an unprecedented series of public consultations on the issue. 
Citizens can log on and state their opinions on whether the city should be bifurcated or trifurcated, whether the existing body covering 800 sq km can continue with modifications, how the quality of life in the city can be improved, which are the areas of concern on which governance has to concentrate and so on. 
The website is currently being registered. 
For the full text of the report in the Economic Times, click here
This appears to stem from Siddaramaiah's perceived need to emulate/ rival NaMo sarkar's " ". Now, "", like any sarkari web-site, is largely a one-way communication forum, where the sarkar wants to tom-tom its "yojana's", "achievements", etc etc - essentially a propaganda medium. There is no inter-activity whatsoever, and even if you record a suggestion on it, on as universally applauded a scheme as "Namma Railu", you'll not get an acknowledgement even. As such, claiming that these sites facilitate public consultation, is nothing short of a farce.
If the government wants genuine public consultation, all it needs to do is to come on to PRAJA, quite like Mr Manivannan had been doing when he was the BESCOM MD (check here for example), and does so once in a while even now. One may ask why PRAJA, and why not any of the many other sites. A narrative of the comparative advantages PRAJA enjoys over other known Bengaluru based sites is available here. One may draw his/ her own conclusions. 
Yes, Mr Manivannan is a rare exception, and unlike him, many of the other neta's and babu's may not want to interact with the public directly on a regular basis. But, they could do it very well through their PA's or departmental PR officials, even while keeping themselves abreast of the goings on, and coming on directly selectively. That's the kind of consultation that the public is looking for today, and Bengaluru/ Karnataka is best placed to do it. 
The question therefore is does Siddaramaiah avaru want to set that kind of an example for the country, or does he just want to replicate NaMo sarkar, just for the sake of it. 
Muralidhar Rao


Sanjeev's picture

When Govt is sitting on proposals, what these lip services can

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If true intention of Govt to provide services to public,  why one needs to file RTI to understand Govt intention or  status of  project ??

Why one needs to struggel to  get what agreeent signed between Navyog - NHAI - BIAL - GOK  for the Tolled highway,  when govt is hiding what agreement signed between NHAI + BIAL + GOK for the Trupet flyover to Airport.

Insuch case,  these services will be hyperlink directing to other sites.

Case as  mentioned by Murali on Commuter Rail,  Railway Board still sleeping on the proposal and GOK not willing to follow up on the project,  case itself how govt  refusing to give good, quality Urban Transport to Citizens.


murali772's picture

scope goes beyond geographical re-structuring?

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The media report about the constitution of the B S Patil Committee for recommending the re-structuring of BBMP, cited in my opening post, didn't quite excite me much. One had thought that all that was there to it was to sit over a map with colour pens, and split  the 800 odd sq km, 198 ward, monolith into manageable blocks/ boroughs, or whatever you may want to call them. But, from the looks of things, to begin with its snazzy (by sarkari standards) web-site -, the Committee seems set for a more involved study, and, after a preliminary round of meetings with 'stake-holders', it is now seeking inputs from the biggest of stake-holders, viz the citizen. 
All very fine. Let's, Prajagalu, give it the best we can. After all, two members of the Committee, viz Mr Manivannan, IAS, the member-Secretary, and Mr V Ravichandar, have made enough posts on PRAJA already, and are perhaps looking into it once in a while, too. 
But, what interested me in the report was the mention of the plan to set up an inter-active website for citizen consultation on "how the quality of life in the city can be improved, which are the areas of concern on which governance has to concentrate and so on". So, is this website going to be doing all that too? And, even if intended that way, can it be effective when it is managed by the government itself? I have my doubts. 
What the government perhaps needs to do, on the other hand, is to outsource many of its functions, like property tax collection, to professional agencies (quite like Passport Dept engaging TCS to do a major part of its back-end work, and Income Tax dept likewise engaging Infosys), as already discussed at length here, and use their expertise to come up with innovatice ways to maximise revenue, even while being tax payer friendly at the same time.
As for consultation with the citizens, I would maintain it's best done on platforms managed by citizens. PRAJA is ready to offer its services. 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Committee member welcomes the suggestion

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In response to my posting a link to the above comment, on a mail-group, Mr Ravichandar has responded as below:

Since you feel best done on Praja, Murali why don't you anchor the consultations there and send us a summary of what what your flock wants? We welcome those inputs. Have noted your mention of privatising tax collections and the like for starters!

Yes, certainly, I would like to do it. So, folks, do send in your comments.

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