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Civil Society Forum BBMP manifesto

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On Friday, 24th June, 2022, Ms Kathyayini Chamaraj presented Civil Society Forum BBMP manifesto, keeping in view the soon to be held Municipal elections. The invitation read as below:
Civil Society Forum has great pleasure in inviting you to the presentation of "Manifesto for BBMP Election - 2022" 
Presided by Hon'ble Sri Justice H.N. Nagamohan Das, Former Judge of Karnataka High Court
Chief Guests: Sri Ashwath Narayan, State General Secretary, BJP; Sri Ramalinga Reddy, Working President, KPCC; Sri C. M. Ibrahim, State President, Janata Dal (S); Sri Prakash Krishnappa, Member State Secretariat, CPI(M); Sri Prithvi Reddy, State President, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP); Sri Srikanth Narasimhan, General Secretary, Bengaluru Navanirmana Party (BNP); Sri C. N. Deepak, General Secretary, Karnataka Rashtra Samithi Paksha (KRS Party)
Date:  Friday, 24th June 2022; Time: 10.00 AM to 1.30PM; Venue: Gandhi Bhavan, Kumara Krupa Road, Kumara Park East, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
All are welcome.
The manifesto may be accessed @
The key demands may be accessed @ (English version); (Kannada version)
Though the drafts were circulated amongst known Civil Society groups and activists (in cluding yours truly) in advance, seeking inputs, I must admit I did not quite wake up to the matter till the finalised version was sent. On receiving the same, I responded as below:
While I am in overall agreement with most of what is stated in the Civil Society Forum manifesto, I have the following comments to make on the "key demands" listed (numbered as per the list):
1A) Revenue enhancement:
None less than Sri K Jairaj, former Commissioner (as also former addl Chief Secretary, GoK) has commented that if the job is outsourced to professional agencies, like Infosys, etc, like Passport Dept and many others have already done, the revenue collection can go up to its full potential (almost three times the present level). For more, check @ . That's plainly the way to go.
2) Housing:
Huge properties of defunct PSU's like ITI, HMT, Mysore Lamps need to be re-developed for affordable housing on PPP basis with reputed developers.
3) Drinking water:
Of the 1450 ML/day being pumped in from Cauvery at enormous cost, the BWSSB has managed to reduce the UFL in distribution from some 45% to 43.5% or so, whereas in developed countries it is in single digits. The job of distribution again best outsourced to reputed contractors, like many cities have already done - check @
3b) Public toilets:
Some level of outsourcing seems to have happened - check @ But, the upkeep doesn't appear to be upto the mark - needs review.
6) RTE:
While the Delhi model has been much talked about, they appear to be faced with the serious problem of "guest teachers" - check @ . The problem is more than of just teachers - it covers all government employees (including pourakarmika's), more so with government recently announcing that all C & D level jobs will be progressively outsourced in future. The answer perhaps lies in UBI (Universal Basic Income), more so since there is no social security system existing in the country.
7) Right to health:
Apparently, the Delhi "mohalla clinics" too are facing the same "guest doctor" issue, because of which it is not working at optimum levels.
9) Unorganised workers:
All C & D employees are also going to get added to this "gig" sector soon, in addition to the many already there, but termed as temporary, trainees, apprentices probationers, etc, trapped there for life (in effect as "bonded labourers") in the hope of getting confirmed, but which never happens. Answer again perhaps lies in UBI.
15) Urban transport: 
For all of the new fangled Metro, Commuter Rail, etc etc coming on, a big part of the work-day commute trips have still to happen by bus. With its limited capacity, the BMTC should be concentrating on serving the needs of the poor. As such, the high-end services (including to the airport) best handed over to the private sector, as has already happened in other Metro's (CityFlo, Shuttl, etc). 
A) Power supply:
High time the power supply re-structured along the most successful and equitable Delhi model - check @
All of the above suggestions are in line with the overall thinking of "less government; more governance" based on which slogan the present government has come to power. So, there are no contradictions from the stated policy. All that is needed is implementation.
The resulting savings that will accrue to the public exchequer will enable it to implement all of the many social programmes effectively too. 
A reference may also be made to my blog-post of Dec '17, accessible here on the same subject.
I circulated the same among the Chief Guests (party representatives) too.
Muralidhar Rao


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my takeaways from the meet

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After the formalities of welcoming, introducing of the guests etc, the meeting started of with the presentation by Ms Kathyayini Chamaraj. Hers was more or less the same as she has been making for years together, steeped in 'genuine' Socialism, with demands for all kinds of subsidies for all kinds of services, all of which have to be provided by the government. The traditional politicians, from the so-called main-stream parties, have been saying yes-yes to all of them (very much like all of the representatives of the Congress, JDS and BJP did at the meet too), but in essence practising "pseudo-Socialism", which quite suited their respective individual and collective agenda's perfectly (do listen to Dr J P Narayan's latest talk on the subject @ ). This had quite ruined the country, and if not for the opening up of the economy to the private sector by the Narasimha Rao/ Manmohan Singh combo, we would never have reached the status of being the fifth largest economy in the world that we are today.
But, even the few reforms that the Narasimha Rao/ Manmohan Singh combo, as also the governments that followed (including the present NaMoSarkar), undertook, were more out of economic compulsions, than out of any genuine conviction, over their needs. As such, they were all carried out through stealth than through serious straight-forward talk, resulting in their floundering at every stage. And half-way measures, that led from this, proved worse than what existed before, and consequently the efforts suffered serious push-backs.
The unfortunate part is that, even as the world had largely begun to recognise that the government, and its agencies, are the most inefficient of service providers (as also manufacturers/ suppliers of goods), the Socialists refused to accept that, and they in turn played right into the hands of the traditional politico's.  
The NaMoSarkar, in particular, came to power with the promise of the much lauded "less govt; more governance" slogan, but which remained more or less a slogan, except for what generally was seen as palming of of critical assets to crony capitalists, which in turn made the stance of the Socialists even more rigid. 
Meanwhile, there has been the promising development of a highly successful and most equitable Delhi power supply PPP model (check here), which can readily provide a template for all of existing and future enterprises, where the government needs to have a presence. Strangely, however, even though it has been in existence from almost two decades, and improving year after year, very few governments have chosen to adopt it, even as countries like Nigeria have already taken the leap of faith and adopted it successfully. Very recently, however, Odisha has begun moving along the direction too. 
As such, the talks by the representatives of Congress and BJP were of little consequence, as far as I was concerened. Sri C M Ibrahim (JDS)'s talk however was noteworthy more for its Kannada eloquence, laced with Sanskrit sloka's, than the actual content. But, it needs to be added that he made it a point to look in the direction of Sri Prithvi Reddy, and acknowledge the good work being done by the AAP govt in Delhi in the field of govt schools.
The talks by AAP's Sri Prithvi Reddy and BNP's Sri Srikanth Narasimhan were excellent, and I would not hesitate to say that they hold the promise for the future of Bengaluru as also Karnataka. One hopes they work to their respective strengths, and not at cross purposes.
However, like I have already stated in my original post, AAP needs to figure out solutions to some of the key issues they are faced with (more specifically the ones listed @ 6,7 & 9 - scroll above to check). Besides, they may also want to look at more of my gyaan, accessible here, which I have been accumulating, being a close follower of their 'progress' over the years. 
Another issue I have with AAP is their rather soft approach to the present government's hardline Hindutva. I will refrain from elaborating.
And, as for BNP, when I raised the question of how they are going to find the resources for having all of the many pourakarmika's on govt roles (as included in their party manifesto, as all of the other parties too had done in the past and conveniently forgotten it after the elections), Sri Srikanth Narasimhan responded saying that it will come out of the savings of the commission now being paid to the contractors. If BBMP starts absorbing all of the pourakarmika's, will not similar demands arise from the multitudes of 'contract' workers in all of the government departments too, and if they are acceded to, can we afford the resulting "more government and inevitably less governance"? Is he going to say that that is the state government's outlook and not of BBMP?
Further, maintaining that it is limiting itself only to issues that are under BBMP, BNP refuses to take up issues such as power supply, water supply, public transport services, fire & emergency services, etc, all of which pertain more to the city than elsewhere, and consequently should have been under BBMP. Even as they appear to have demanded re-structuring of Bengaluru governance, to bring all of these under BBMP, one would have hoped for their demanding implementation of the reforms many other cities have successfully undertaken in these areas, right away.  
Sri Prakash Krishnappa of CPM gave a fairly forceful talk on the various aspects of mis-governance we see today, highlighting specifically the instance of BMTC being put to huge losses by being made to buy fuel at much higer price than in the market. Well, I can give many more such examples - check here, all of which only go on to reinforce the points I have been making. 
Sri C N Deepak of KRS party again dwelt on corruption. All I can say is that the best way of addressing it is "less government; more governance", which will hugely reduce at least retail corruption. The wholesale corruption like what is alleged in the Rafale deal, etc, will have to be tackled differently.


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