Monthly Archives: September 2016

Union of India Vs Aedes Aegypti & Ors

Today’s newspapers carried pictures of friendly politicians beaming into cameras with their colleagues from opposition parties. Jointly they will fight the scourge they claimed. Sorry to burst your bubble friends, but all politicians jointly trying to fight the armies of Aedes mosquito is akin to a group of sulking colleagues holding hands and shouting slogans in front of a battle tank.

For almost a decade the Government of NCT of Delhi has tried to contain this menace but failed. For almost the same time the politicians have promised that they will do all they can and promised to do it. They too have failed.

It can be believed, given the benefit of doubt, that the Delhi Administration is genuinely interested in fixing this problem. It can also be confirmed that they will fail. They do not have the army required to fight this menace

The Garbage situation in the city though unconnected with the Aedes mosquito is in a similar phase. The Government does not have the wherewithal, expertise or the gumption to fix it. At best the three Municipalities can pull out a global tender and ask a big concessionaire to carry away the waste. That too will fail. Despite it being the Prime Minister’s initiative, despite the Municipal solid Waste rules being notified, despite everybody paying lip service to swachhta and despite the big ads not a single municipal ward out of the total 272 in Delhi has been able to segregate and compost its waste. Big talk, zilch delivery

It is no longer a question of the Government’s intent or of that inexplicable expression ‘political will’ it simply means that the Government and the Political leadership are incapable of dealing with these crises even if they want to. They just don’t know how to.

The problems are so widespread that they require an unprecedented and extensive mobilization of local communities, school children, teachers, doctors and NGOs at the ‘every colony and block’ level to achieve any significant result.

The RWAs of Delhi, which form the key elements of last mile governance, have repeatedly asked the Government and Municipal corporations to deal directly with the RWA at the ground level with support to mobilize volunteers, local activists, experts & doctors at the local community level. All requests have fallen on deaf ears. The Bureaucracy hides behind ‘busy in meeting ’and ‘gate passes’ kind of distancing and the politician just does not know what to do. All he is certain of is; that no empowerment should happen further down the food chain.

The residents are miffed that all sorts of taxes and cess are collected from them, all sorts of central funds are allocated but not a single penny seems to be coming down to the last mile for fixing health and sanitation challenges of the most basic kind

The Government, at the centre and state (regardless of political party) will have to work with the RWA of Delhi to even begin to make a dent. Without the RWA the Government does not stand a chance. Not at least with waste and mosquitoes.

15th Sept 2016

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ज़रुरत में गधे को बाप बनाना

“zaroorat mein gadhe ko baap banana”( ज़रुरत में गधे को बाप बनाना)

This is a peculiar Indian Idiom. I have researched much but not found a similar saying in other parts of the world. I have come across literature where ‘making a donkey out of your father’ is practiced by some rascals , but ‘Making a donkey your father’ is like taking it to another level altogether, and is nowhere to be found except in India

I have been reflecting much upon this. I have been thinking, if this is what we have been doing for very long in the past, that has gotten us where we are. I mean the total collapse of urban infrastructure, traffic,health services and the environment. And this is not about politicians so nobody need get all pompous, petulant and upset. I am like talking generally about society.

Now giving Maan Sammaan (मान सम्मान) is a part of our culture, we touch feet, we supplicate, we venerate and we do chamchagiri(चमचागिरी), but I suspect that the long term effect of several people doing all this, by making Several Donkeys their Fathers, is now taking its toll.

We need a new strategy (or would it be a new narrative?) where donkeys are required to be positioned differently in our lives.

 

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