Search This Blog

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Poor Municipalities !

You might think that is a strange title when most of us experience Municipalities as behemoths that don't function, or function very slowly indeed. But when you look at them from the inside, sit on their rickety desks, glance at their yellowing files, sip tea from dhaba tinpots which do the rounds, you look at them differently..

You see they have little means to communicate with their large workforce, and still fewer means to talk with their populous citizens. But most critical of all - there is a HUGE information deficit. Very often, a Municipality will not know if their neighbours have achieved sterling success with a common pressing problem. This is galling when one finds that some Municipality or the other - in some part of this vast country, has made a heroic effort to rearrange a depressing facet of urban life. The examples are legion - you name me a common urban problem, and I will tell you about a Municipality that has substantially changed it around.

Then why can't they learn from one another ? There are many, many reasons for this, but suffice to say here that those reasons are wedded to the way our Governments are run, i.e. the rules and established behaviour patterns that govern them. So we really need a break-through on this - a new way of addressing an old problem..

Tsunami thoughts

At times like this, we are all thinking of what can be done to better the condition of those affected by the Tsunami.You may not believe this - but in a fair amount of regular reading on the net, and following the news on TV, I find that there are few announcements which tell us WHAT is needed right now, in WHICH quantitites, and WHERE.

You don't believe me ? Take a look at the Rediff page for Tsunami help, or indeed the Google page, the Red cross pages, or even the Government of India / Governments of Indian States webpages. You will find descriptions of the disaster, even listings of relief camps, people dead, livestock destroyed etc. but not specifics on what MATERIALS and SKILLS are urgently needed, and WHERE.