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Unsolicited advise to the new Congress sarkar in Karnataka from a "non-godi" NGO member

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Governance
Instalment 1)
 
Here I will comment on the promises made by the party in their manifesto
 
1) Gruha jyoti - 200 units free electricity
Best instead to go for total power distribution reforms, along the lines of the Delhi model in cities/ towns (urban areas), and Odisha model in rural areas - check @ http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2018/08/05/failed-ppps-and-finally-good-model. For rural areas, there is also the alternative of Karnataka's own Hukeri Co-op Society model. Whatever, no supply, whether to farmers or to slum dwellers, should go unmetered. Whatever subsidy the government may want to offer, should be through DBT, so that the service provider is not burdened.
 
2) Uchita Prayana - Free bus service for women
Just last week, Delhi's AAP government announced the opening out of high-end bus services to the private sector service aggregators like #Shuttl, #CityFlo, etc. Among the first steps that the new government could take is to follow the Delhi government lead in this regard. This will lead to a large section of work-day commuters giving up car/ two-wheeler usage for the purpose, helping to de-clutter city roads to a huge extent. What is needed simultaneously is to provide for similar efficient, reliable and cost effective bus services, for the aam admi too, but which BMTC/ KSRTC cannot do in their present avatars. As such, what is called for is re-structuring of the entire state bus services along a PPP model perhaps as @ http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2019/07/16/outline-most-equitable-public-bus-transport-model. Here too, whatever subsidies the state may want to give to women, students or whoever, needs to be done through DBT
 
3, 4 & 5) Gruha Lakshmi - Rs 2000/- per month for women; Yuva Nidhi - Rs 3000/- per month for graduates; Rs 1500/- per month for diploma holders; Anna Bhagya - 10kg rice per person per month
I will club all of these together and say that it would instead be preferable to provide for "Universal Basic Income", with simultaneous doing away with the anomaly of "permanency of government jobs", as argued in a series of blog-posts @ http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2012/05/23/oh-government-job#comment-38734. Such a step will solve the most vexatious problem of "job reservations" too. 
 
If the suggestions made at 1 & 2 above are actively pursued, the resulting savings to the public exchequer will enable the government to implement all of the many social programmes at 3, 4 & 5 and more effectively too. 
 
Further instalments to follow
 
PS: reference may be made to my post on pre-election Civil Society debates @ http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2022/06/25/civil-society-forum-bbmp-manifesto#comment-38747 
 
Muralidhar Rao
 

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murali772's picture

Instalment - 2

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The KARC(2) had held a Citizen Feedback meet on 2nd March, 2022. I had made made my submission as @ 
 
 
in advance, and attended the meet too. All of the points hold good even today, and as such, I will not repeat them (a few have already been covered in the 1st instalment)
 
Muralidhar Rao
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Instalment - 3

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Ministry formation
 
Following are the excerpts from a Citizen Matters article (to access the full text, click here):  
 
A new BBMP Act has been enacted that extended the Mayor’s term from one year to 2.5 years. The BBMP Act also brought in Zonal level Commissioners and Zonal Councils. We saw so many Chief Ministers, Bengaluru Ministers, Commissioners, and Mayors but one thing remained more or less constant–our 28 City MLAs. Most of them have been elected again and again by citizens and have now gained decades of experience representing our city in the state legislature. Many of them have been Cabinet Ministers and even Bengaluru Development Ministers in the past.
 
Now, alongwith gaining decades of experience, many of them have become individual power centres, ensuring the success of their cronies as Corporators, and between them, controlling all of the massive 'developments' goings on in the wards under them (both legal & illegal, and enriching themselves in the process), without bothering with effective citizen participation through Ward Committee's etc (The need for Bengaluru city governance restructuring, as already mentioned in the 2nd instalment, gains significance here). This is even as they have essentially been elected to undertake state legislative business. As such, the new government needs to be very selective about the kind of 'legislators' being taken into the ministry, lest it too acquires the 40% + tag, sooner than later.
 
Here the Citizen matters gives the profiles of the Bengaluru MLA's, as also a glimpse into their past records, to help the powers that be to help make the right choice
 
It needs to be appreciated that criticism (at least from the non-godi Civil Society groups) will remain 'constructive' as long as the government is seen to be making sincere efforts. But, if it is seen to be slipping back into a laissez-faire approach, it cannot be blamed for turning 'aggressive'. I myself have filed a PIL (WP 15147/ 2022) for "Quality & affordable power supply", having failed in my attempts from long to appeal to past governments to usher in necessary reforms. Another for "reliable & affordable bus services" is in the pipeline (continuation of my efforts from where I left my earlier petition - WP 8313/1996). 
 
Today's citizens of Karnataka are more demanding, and having tasted success in voting out the what was earlier seen as an invincible (Modi backed/ fronted) sarkar, it will be foolish on the part of any future government to take them for granted, equipped today as they are with the most powerful tool - the social media. 
 
Properly governed, the city and the state have the potential to become world leaders in sustainable economic & overall growth.
 
Well, the new government will be on a close watch.
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Instalment-4

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Here I am listing all points not (adequately) covered so far:
 
1) Right to health:
Heathcare is one sector where government presence is very much needed. But, perhaps what it needs to do is to run a few model hospitals, may be on the lines of AIIMS, with good budgetary support, and leave the rest to the private sector, after putting together a proper regulatory mechanism or ombudsman in place (check the debates @  http://praja.in/en/tags/healthcare). Further, apparently, the Delhi "mohalla clinics" too are facing the same "guest doctor" issue, because of which it is not working at optimum levels (A reference may be made here to sl no 4 on "government hospitals" in the listing in Instalment-2).
 
2) Anti-Cow Slaughter Bill/ Act: 
Repeal the recently introduced legislation (by the BJP government) in this regard, which is playing havoc with the livelihoods of dairy farmers, Dalits and Muslims. That apart, unproductive cattle let loose on the roads and railway tracks, besides being serious traffic hazards, are themselves getting killed/ maimed in accidents. The Acts as existed earlier were good enough to follow the provisions in the Constitution.
 
3) Government schools:
While the Delhi model has been much talked about, they appear to be faced with the serious problem of "guest teachers" - check @ http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2012/05/23/oh-government-job#comment-38734 . 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. (Reference here may be made to the point listed @ sl no 3 in Instalment-1). 
 
4) NCERT text-books: 
While on the subject of education, the Karnataka government may also want to check the changes made by the ModiSarkar in NCERT text-books, and reverse them if found unacceptable, like the Kerala government has supposedly done.
 
5) Agricultural reforms:
This is a largely neglected area, though affecting the lives of a large section of the country's population. Handled well, the sector has the potential to make the country the grannery of the world. Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, and a few other experts too, have stated enough on the subject, some of which may be seen @ http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2010/11/01/agricultural-liberalization-need-hour.
 
6) Affordable 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.(This has also been touched upon @ sl no 9 in the list linked in Instalment-2)
 
7) Public toilets:
Some level of outsourcing seems to have happened - check @ http://praja.in/en/blog/nagrajprabhu/2009/08/08/public-toilet-ppp-initiative#comment-38377. But, the upkeep doesn't appear to be upto the mark - needs review.
 
8) Old Pension Scheme:
This is a global issue, and the old scheme has been widely recognised as non-feasible. The alternate NPS, as proposed, may not be the idea. A 3rd alternative has to be evolved, as readily accepted by none less than Sri P Chidambaram, in his TV interaction with Sri Rajdeep Sardesai a few days back. 
 
Muralidhar Rao

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