Sunday, December 28, 2008

‘Citizens’ anger can push govt towards change’

‘Citizens’ anger can push govt towards change’
Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: Ideas are fine. But what about implementing them? The government has formed many agencies to study various problems and find solutions, but whether the government actually acts on the reports filed by these agencies is difficult to determine.
Now, the Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure Development (ABIDe), a government-formed body on the lines of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force, will release a draft plan in January to tackle security issues. ABIDe has been recommending many ideas on solving civic issues. Some questions, however, remain. Will things start moving after ABIDe submits the plan? Will the government and other establishments deliver results?
Convener of ABIDe and industrialist, and also an old-time Bangalorean and Rajya Sabha MP, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, shared his view on the matter. He puts the responsibility on citizens — as long as people are angry with the government, there will be reforms. Excerpts from an interview:
Is the era of license raj and red tape over? Do you see quicker reforms now?
I’ve a different view of reforms — they’re not about allowing companies to operate in different areas, but also about how the government operates and regulates itself. Reforms are different from the ones that happened in the early nineties.
Today’s reforms are about how accountable the government is to citizens, how transparent and responsive it is. Reforms are going on, but how quick and effective they are depend on one factor — to what extent people can sustain anger against the government.
Are you optimistic about implementing ABIDe’s security plan and other recommendations on development?
I’m optimistic about everything we plan. Political leaders are interested in what Bangalore can become. I keep telling them that Bangalore is the gateway to Karnataka. The present government’s manifesto focuses on fixing the chaos in the city. The ABIDe blueprint is not only a political document; it’s a move to promote inclusive development.
What are your concerns about the plan?
There are no concerns, only learning. I discovered there are two types of people in this sector. One is more talk and no action and the other is less talk and more action. We’ll focus on the latter to gets things moving.
What keeps you positive about governance?
The good news is people are angry with the government. Protests against the government prove that people want a reform in the way the government functions. Citizens are the agents of change.


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