All posts by Takshashila Editor

Passion to practice

Meena S

On February 1,  Meena Seshadri, a software professional, a social worker and the wife of a well known politician,  spoke to the B.CLIP class on various topics related to a public life. Her session was on the realities of practicing politics and working at the grassroots level.

She talked about the choices that shaped her life, described her experiences as a software professional and as the wife of a politician and how she balanced both roles and the difficulties she faced.  She also spoke about  the role and responsibilities of a public servant touching on the multiple aspects of running for elections—from campaigning,  fund raising, to convincing the citizens to participate in solving the problems faced by the city. She described the daily challenges that one would face working at the grassroots level and the need for a strong professional and personal support system, along with the need to have a steady flow of personal income. Meena also spoke about the importance of giving back to the society and the personal satisfaction she felt with her work in bringing about a change in the country.

Meena’s session was informal and  interactive, with the B.CLIP students asking her multiple questions ranging from the significance of gender in politics, fund raising and methods to reach out to citizens .

Rupee

Introduction to BBMP’s finances

On the 17th of January, Ashwin Mahesh analysed the BBMP budget for the B.CLIP students. Despite the common belief that the city’s revenues are more than sufficient to cater to it, he insisted that Bangalore is an underfunded city. Today, Bangalore houses over 10 million people, and this number is increasing by the day with migration and more job opportunities becoming available, making it the second fastest growing city in the country today.

Bangalore over the last few years has reached an infrastructure cliff – be it social, political or demographic. The population density plummets immediately beyond the limits of BBMP jurisdiction, and so does the quality of infrastructure. This is primarily due to the fact that the attention of the government outside BBMP limits has been greatly limited. But if one looks at what goes into the planning of a city like Bangalore, one can see that not everything falls under the official control of the BBMP. But then if you are a municipal corporator the only direct budget that you will have influence over is that of the BBMP.  So how do you influence what is allocated or what’s budgeted?

Calculating cost
Consider the issue of housing for the poor. How many houses will the government of Karnataka have to build? To do this, we need to identify what percentage of the population can be classified as “very very poor”.

  • Define demand: The median income across the country is about Rs. 5400 a month, and in city areas, it is about Rs. 7000 a month. In Bangalore, about 50% of the population makes less than a Lakh per annum. If the threshold of poverty is, say, Rs. 4000 a month, then we can safely estimate that around 10-15% of the people that migrate into the city need some kind of support.
  • Calculate quantity demanded:  Out of about 850-1000 people migrating into the city, 100 people need to be given a house, resulting in the need for about 20-25 houses per day (average of 4 in one house), or 7000 to 8000 houses per year.
  • Calculate cost: The minimum cost of construction is about Rs. 1500 per sqft, and the minimum habitable house is about 300 sqft. So constructing one house alone would come up to 1500 X 300 = Rs. 4,50,000. For 8000 houses, it will amount to around Rs. 350 crores, excluding the cost for land.

What we understand by calculating the cost of providing houses for the poor is that it is much larger than expected. This one small need already eats into a third of the budget. This same cost exercise can be adopted in the other areas that the BBMP works with – education, lake revival etc.

Getting the money
The main sources of funding for these projects are:

  • Levied taxes – predominantly property tax
  • Inter-governmental transfers
    • Aid – State and Federal
    • Devolution – State and Central
    • Other factors
      • Fees
      • Licenses
      • Permits
      • Betterment charges
      • Special assessments
      • Utilities

Discrepancies  – Budget vs. Expenditure
The expenditure on the proposed projects is only 35-40% of the planned amount. Reasons behind this are

  • Under-collection of revenues due. Until 2006, property tax was not self-assessed. Once it became so, around 65,000 people realised that they could either undervalue their property and pay a lesser amount, or pay someone locally to ignore the collection of the tax on their property. Today, nearly 7 lakh properties have not been registered.
  • Inclusion of illegal entries
  • Wild assumptions about the state largesse
  • Bad estimation of the actual cost
  • Contingencies

Although this is well-known, discrepancies still occur for various political reasons.

Constraints in getting funding

  • Mismatch between growth and revenue
  • Poor constitutional framework for taxation
  • Hierarchy of politics
  • No borrowing
  • Long-term financial schemes are limited
  • Greater preference for expenditure-led schemes
  • Reluctance to increase taxes
  • Increasing proclivity to reversing decisions

 How can these be overcome?

  • Collect everything that is due
  • Push the state to make a guaranteed devolution of Rs. 6000 per capita
  • Similar guarantee from the centre to make a devolution of Rs. 2000 per capita
  • Educate the public about true costs
  • Decide the role of the private sector
  • Create sync between growth and revenue
  • Move to reconstitution schemes
ward planning

Ward planning & budgeting

On January 18, A Sivasankaran took a session for students on ward-level participatory planning and budgeting. Mr Sivasankaran retired from government service a few years ago to settle in Bangalore, and has since been very active in local governance and planning processes in his ward (#60, Sagayapuram) and at several other parts of the city. Having worked in collaboration with Janaagraha, CIVIC and other Bangalore-based outfits, he founded the Jago Federation to scale and sustain his work. Mr Sivasankaran also works on electricity governance and advises the state governments of Karnataka and Kerala.

As someone who has already been able to do much of what B.CLIP participants hope to in the coming months in their wards, Mr Sivasankaran’s talk was inspirational and he urged the participants to work harder, be patient and work smart to achieve their goals. A few points of his suggestions for the participants follow.

In preparing ward-level activities and engaging local public officials, the role of evidence and knowledge is key. If one prepares a comprehensive ward budget outside of the government system but with sufficient legitimacy and realism, it can become the official budget as there are no documents that currently compete. Having a firm grasp on local realities, costs and solutions can eventually win the respect and cooperation of local officials.

Participation of residents and constituents requires leaders to go to them, rather than the other way around. Large meetings and mohalla sabhas are difficult to manage, but can be necessary to confer legitimacy to plans and provide public support that pushes them through. However, as people can be fickle as well, public approval of plans and priorities may often have to be taken in writing.

Maps and markings help as they reduce the scope for discretion and confusion, and making budgets for 5 year periods help as it often takes that long to cover all concerns. In the absence of longer term plans, anything that gets chosen could get the appearance of arbitrariness. Mr Sivasankaran demonstrated how stakeholders and their interests can be aligned with the right incentives that leadership can provide.

Mr Sivasankaran also highlighted how creating a local newspaper can both teach a lot of things as well as provide a platform that fosters change. Running on advertisements from local shops, professionals and merchants, a local newspaper can showcase news and developments from within the ward. When most people like to see their photographs and their names in newspapers, even initial hostility can be overcome when people see others’ names in a paper.

Further, given the paucity of record-keeping within government, public officials end up using newspaper reports as a track record of their success. To the entrepreneurial civic leader, a newsletter/newspaper service is a vital tool.

Finally, he stressed on how individuals will always find it difficult to effect change, and people need to build organisations and groups of people around them who can make things possible.

garbage

Garbage and the city

On January 18, Kalpana Kar took a Practice Track session for B.CLIP students on waste and its management. Ms Kar is a prominent resident of Bangalore who has been a part of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force earlier and now leads the cause of a ‘Kasa Mukta’ (waste free) Bangalore, a campaign with the city corporation that strives for a clean city.

Ms Kar gave students perspectives on four broad areas: understanding waste and its categories; waste management examples from across the world; the context in India and Bangalore; and key players in the game. Some excerpts follow.

Different cities have found their own solutions for managing waste, from conversion to energy in Sweden to recycling in Singapore and London to use as road material elsewhere, all solutions suited to local constraints such as land availability, presence of a shoreline and other factors. What they do have in common is the notion that unsegregated waste neither has any value nor is it amenable for easy and safe disposal.

There is a strong role of markets to play in the waste management sector, where the role of government is be an enabling force. Segregation of waste into various categories and sub-categories not only makes disposal easier, but also creates value. Even in a city like Bangalore where currently most people do not segregate waste, it is quite rare to find milk covers, PET bottles or cardboard boxes lying mixed with garbage heaps. This is because there is already a value chain and a market for these items and people readily resell them for a profit and they get reused in various ways. The challenge is to form similar value chains for several other waste products, that incentivises their segregation. Tetrapack is a good example of a company that has done just this – where the multi-material laminate can be reused as construction material and private agencies have developed around the same. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is another idea along these lines that awaits exploration.

Unfortunately, city contracts on waste management are more often transport contracts rather than garbage contracts. Contractors are not evaluated or paid based on how clean they keep their zone of operation, but paid on the number of truckloads of garbage they can bring to the landfill sites. Subsequently, there are perverse incentives for contractors to not segregate garbage, as segregation leads to lower weights and volumes. Restructuring garbage contracts, amending archaic laws and building capacity within the BBMP are essential components of going towards a Kasa Mukta city.

Ms Kar also remarked on the public ignorance on a range of garbage-related issues. Even amongst a group of educated and motivated residents, it is difficult to get accurate estimates of say how much waste their own households generate.

This compounds into a range of ‘guestimates’ on even how much waste the city as a whole generates, and of what types.

For more on Kasa Mukta visit wakeupcleanup.in and take a look at their slides.

#6 ನೆರೆ ಹೊರೆ ಸುಧಾರಣೆ ಯೋಜನೆ – ಸಂಜಯ್ ಶ್ರೀಧರ್

೩೧ ಜನವರಿಯಂದು ಎಂಬಾರ್ಕ್ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯ ಸಂಜಯ್ ಶ್ರೀಧರ್ ಅವರು ಆಯಾ ವಾರ್ಡ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಮೂಲಭೂತ ಸೌಕರ್ಯಗಳ ಸುಧಾರಣೆಯನ್ನು ನಾಗರೀಕರ ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಳ್ಳುವಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೇಗೆ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು ಅನ್ನುವುದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬಿಕ್ಲಿಪ್ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ನೀಡಿದರು. ಅವರ ಮಾತಿನ ಮುಖ್ಯಾಂಶಗಳು:

1. ಯಾವುದೇ ನಗರಕ್ಕೆ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಸಿದ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸ ಯಾವತ್ತು ಜನರ
ಅನುಕೂಲ ತಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿರಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ರೂಪಿಸಬೇಕೇ ಹೊರತು ಅಧಿಕಾರಿಗಳ ಇಲ್ಲವೇ ಹಣದ ಲೆಕ್ಕಾಚಾರದಲ್ಲಲ್ಲ.

2. ವಿದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿನ ಹಲವು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ತಂದು ಜಾರಿ ಮಾಡುವಾಗ ಅವು ನಮ್ಮ ಸಂದರ್ಭಕ್ಕೆ, ನಮ್ಮ ಅಗತ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ತಕ್ಕಂತೆ ಇವೆಯೇ ಅನ್ನುವ ಮುನ್ನೆಚ್ಚರಿಕೆ ವಹಿಸಬೇಕು ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದಲ್ಲಿ ಅವು ಪರಿಹಾರ ಕೊಡುವುದಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಯನ್ನೇ ಉಲ್ಬಣಗೊಳ್ಳುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು.

3. ಒಂದು ವಾರ್ಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುವ ಎಲ್ಲ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕವಾಗಿ ನೋಡದೇ
ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ಬೆಸೆಯುವ ಬಗೆಯನ್ನು ಆಲೋಚಿಸಬೇಕು. ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ ವಾರ್ಡಿನ ಎರಡು ಮೂಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾರ್ಕ್ ಕಟ್ಟುವ ಕೆಲಸವಾದರೆ, ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕವಾಗಿ ನೋಡದೇ ಒಂದು ಪಾರ್ಕಿನಿಂದ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಪಾರ್ಕಿಗೆ ಜನರು ನಡೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗಲು ಅನುಕೂಲವಾಗಬೇಕು ಅನ್ನುವ ಆಲೋಚನೆ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡು ವಿನ್ಯಾಸ ಮಾಡಬೇಕು. ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಬೆಸೆಯುವ ಮನಸ್ಥಿತಿಯಿಂದ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳನ್ನು ರೂಪಿಸಲು ಆರಂಭಿಸಿದರೆ ಆಗ ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ಜಾರಿಗೆ ತರಲು ಬೇಕಿರುವ ಹಣಕಾಸು ಹೊಂದಿಸುವುದು ಮತ್ತು ಅವುಗಳ ಅನುಷ್ಟಾನದಲ್ಲೂ ಈ ಚಿಂತನೆ ಕಾಣಿಸಲು ಆರಂಭಿಸುತ್ತದೆ ಮತ್ತು ಇದರಿಂದ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಅನುಕೂಲವಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.

4. ಪ್ರತಿ ವಾರ್ಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ 20% ಜಾಗ ಮುಕ್ತ ಸ್ಥಳವಾಗಿರಬೇಕು ಅನ್ನುವ ನಿಯಮವಿದ್ದರೂ ಆ 20% ಜಾಗ ಇಡೀ ವಾರ್ಡಿನ ತುಂಬ ಹಂಚಿದಂತೆ ಹರಡಿಕೊಂಡಿರುತ್ತೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ಬೆಸೆಯುವ ಸಂಪರ್ಕ ಮಾರ್ಗಗಳೇ ಇರಲ್ಲ. ಪಾದಚಾರಿಗಳು ಸುರಕ್ಷಿತವಾಗಿ ಈ 20% ಜಾಗವನ್ನು ಬಳಸಲಾಗುವಂತೆ ನಾವು
ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ಬೆಸೆಯುವಂತೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳನ್ನು ರೂಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು.

5. ಕೆರೆಗಳು ಒಂದು ವಾರ್ಡಿನ ಜೀವಸೆಲೆಯಿದ್ದಂತೆ. ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಕೆರೆಗಳು ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕವಾಗಿ ಒಂದಕ್ಕೊಂದು ಬೆಸೆದುಕೊಂಡಂತೆ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸಗೊಂಡತವು. ಒಂದು ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಕೆರೆ ತುಂಬಿದರೆ ಅದು ಹರಿದು ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ದೊಡ್ಡ ಕೆರೆಗೆ ಸೇರುವ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ರೂಪಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಆದರೆ ಇಂದು ತಲೆಬುಡವಿಲ್ಲದ ಅಭಿವ್ರದ್ಧಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆರೆಗಳ ನಡುವಿನ ನೈಸರ್ಗಿಕವಾದ ಈ ಕೊಂಡಿ ಕಳಚಿಹೋಗಿದೆ. ತಕ್ಷಶಿಲಾ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯ ಸ್ವತ್ತು ಕೆರೆಗಳು ಹಲವು ವಾರ್ಡ್ ವ್ಯಾಪ್ತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹರಡಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ಇಂತಹ ವಿಷಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲವು ವಾರ್ಡಿನ ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಗಳು ಒಟ್ಟಾಗಿ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡಬೇಕು.

6. ಕಳೆದ ಒಂದೇ ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ 330 ಪಾದಚಾರಿಗಳು ರಸ್ತೆ ದಾಟುವಾಗ
ಸಾವನ್ನಪ್ಪಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇದು ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾದಚಾರಿ ಮಾರ್ಗಗಳ ಕೊರತೆಯನ್ನು ಎತ್ತಿ ತೋರುತ್ತಿವೆ. ಇದು ನಗರ ತಲೆ ತಗ್ಗಿಸಬೇಕಾದ ವಿಚಾರವಾಗಿದೆ.

7. ಸಂವಿಧಾನದ 74ನೆ ವಿಧಿಯನ್ವಯ ಒಂದು ವಾರ್ಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಗರೀಕ ಸೇವೆ ಕಲ್ಪಿಸುವ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸರ್ಕಾರಿ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗಳನ್ನು ಒಂದೇ ವೇದಿಕೆಯಡಿ ತಂದು ಅವರ ನಡುವೆ ಸಮನ್ವಯ ಏರ್ಪಡುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡುವ ಸಂವಿಧಾನಿಕ ಹಕ್ಕು ಜನರಿಗಿದೆ.

8. ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿನ ವಸತಿ ಸೌಲಭ್ಯ ಬಡವರು ಮತ್ತು ಸಿರಿವಂತರನ್ನು ದೂರ ದೂರವಿರಿಸುವ
ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ಸಿರಿವಂತರು ವಾಸಿಸುವ ಸ್ಥಳಕ್ಕೆ ಹತ್ತಿರದಲ್ಲೇ ಬಡವರು ವಾಸಿಸುವ ಹಾಗಿರಬೇಕು. ಅದು ಇಬ್ಬರಿಗೂ ಅನುಕೂಲ ಕಲ್ಪಿಸುವಂತದ್ದು ಮತ್ತು ಅದು ಸಮಾನತೆ ಮತ್ತು ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ನ್ಯಾಯದ ಕಲ್ಪನೆಗೆ ಹತ್ತಿರವಾದದ್ದು.

9. ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ 52% ಜನರು ಬಿ.ಎಮ್.ಟಿ.ಸಿ ಬಳಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. 12% ಜನರು ತಮ್ಮ ಕಾರು ಬಳಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಅಭಿವ್ರದ್ಧಿಯ ಗಮನವೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಈ ಕಾರುಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೇಗೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ರಸ್ತೆ ಒದಗಿಸುವುದು, ಕಾರುಗಳ ಓಡಾಟಕ್ಕೆ ಟ್ರಾಫಿಕ್ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡುವುದು ಹೇಗೆ ಅಂಬುದಕ್ಕೆ ಸೀಮಿತವಾಗಿದೆ. ಇದು ಬದಲಾಗಬೇಕು. ನಮ್ಮ ಗಮನ ಯಾವತ್ತಿಗೂ ಅತಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಜನರಿಗೆ ಅನುಕೂಲ ಕಲ್ಪಿಸುವುದು ಹೇಗೆ ಅನ್ನುವುದರತ್ತ ಇರಬೇಕು.

10. ಯಾವುದೇ ಯೋಜನೆ ರೂಪಿಸುವಾಗ ವಾರ್ಡ್ ಮಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ವಸತಿ ಸಂಘಗಳು, ವ್ಯಾಪಾರಿಗಳು ಸೇರಿದಂತೆ ಎಲ್ಲರ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆ ತಿಳಿದು ಅವುಗಳ ಆಧಾರದ ಮೇಲೆ ಯೋಜನೆ ರೂಪಿಸಿದರೆ ಅದು ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಜನಪರವಾಗಿರುತ್ತೆ.

#5 ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಅಂದರೇನು? – ಹರೀಶ್ ಬಿಜೂರು

ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಅಂದರೇನು? ಅದು ಯುವ ಪೀಳಿಗೆಯ ಜನ ನಾಯಕನಾಗುವವನಿಗೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ಮುಖ್ಯ? ಅದನ್ನು ಹೇಗೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು ಅನ್ನುವ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಪರಿಣಿತ ಹರೀಶ್ ಬಿಜೂರು ಫೆಬ್ರವರಿ ಒಂದರಂದು ಬಿಕ್ಲಿಪ್ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳಿಗೆ ತಿಳಿಸಿಕೊಟ್ಟರು. ಅವರ ಮಾತಿನ ಸಾರಾಂಶ ಇಂತಿದೆ:

1. ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಅನ್ನುವುದು ಒಂದು ಆಶ್ವಾಸನೆ. ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಪಾಲಿಗೆ ಅದು ನೀವೇ !

2. ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಅಂದರೆ ಬರೀ ಹೆಸರು, ಚಿಹ್ನೆ ಅಲ್ಲ. ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಅನ್ನುವುದು ಒಂದು ಗುರುತು, ಒಂದು ಗುಣ, ಒಬ್ಬ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯ ಮನದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಒಂದು ಶಕ್ತಿಶಾಲಿ ಚಿಂತನೆ.

3. ಭಾರತದ 54% ಜನರು 25ರ ಹರೆಯದ ಕೆಳಗಿನವರು. 72% ಜನರು 35ರ ಹರೆಯದ ಕೆಳಗಿನವರು. ಈ ಜನರಿಗೆ ತಾಳ್ಮೆಯಿಲ್ಲ. ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ತುರ್ತಾಗಿ ಆಗಬೇಕು. ತಾಳೆಯಿಲ್ಲದ ಈ ಪೀಳಿಗೆಗೆ ನೀವು ನಾಯಕರಾಗುವಾಗ ನಿಮ್ಮಲ್ಲೂ ತಾಳ್ಮೆಯಿರಬಾರದು. ಈ ಜನರ ಬೇಡಿಕೆಗೆ ಸ್ಪಂದಿಸುವಂತೆ ನೀವು ತುದಿಗಾಲ ಮೇಲೆ ನಿಂತ ನಾಯಕರಾಗಿರಬೇಕು. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ತಕ್ಕಂತೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ರೂಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು. ಆದರೆ ಗಡಿಬಿಡಿಯ ಈ ಬದುಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಒಮ್ಮೆ ನಿಂತು ನಿಮ್ಮನ್ನು ನೀವೆ ಆತ್ಮಾವಲೋಕನಕ್ಕೆ ಒಳಪಡಿಸುವ ಯೋಚನೆಯೂ ನಿಮ್ಮಲಿರಲಿ. ನೀವು ರಾಜಕಾರಣಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುತ್ತಿರುವ ಮೂಲ ಉದ್ದೇಶವೇ ಜನರ ಸೇವೆ ಅನ್ನುವುದನ್ನು ಎಂದಿಗೂ ಮರೆಯದಿರಿ.

4. ಇಂದು ಜನರು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಏನಂದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ ಅನ್ನುವ ಕಲ್ಪನೆ ನೀವು ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ಒಬ್ಬ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯಾಗಿ ಹೇಗಿದ್ದೀರಿ ಅನ್ನುವ ಸತ್ಯಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿದೆ. ಅದು ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ದುಃಖದ ವಿಷಯವೇ ಆದರೂ ಈ ಬದಲಾವಣೆಗೆ ಸ್ಪಂದಿಸಬೇಕಾದದ್ದು ಇಂದಿನ ರಾಜಕಾರಣದ ಅಗತ್ಯವೂ ಹೌದು. ನೀವೊಬ್ಬ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡಿ, ಫಲವನ್ನು ದೇವರ ಲೆಕ್ಕಕ್ಕೆ ಬಿಡುವ ಮನುಷ್ಯನಾದರೆ ಸಾಲಲ್ಲ. ಇಂದು ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡಿ, ಆ ಕೆಲಸ ನೀವೇ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದು ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿಸುವ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗಿನ ಜಾಣತನವೂ ನಿಮ್ಮಲಿರಲಿ.

5. ನೀವೊಬ್ಬ ಕೆಲಸಗಾರ, ನೀವೊಬ್ಬ ಮಾತಿಗೆ ತಪ್ಪದ ನಾಯಕ, ನೀವೊಬ್ಬ ಬಡವರ ದುಃಖಕ್ಕೆ ಸ್ಪಂದಿಸುವವ, ನೀವು ನಿಮ್ಮದೇ ಲೋಕದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಹರಿಸುವ ಜನ, ನೀವು ಜನರ ಜೊತೆ ಬೆರೆಯದವರು, ಹೀಗೆ ನೂರಾರು ಬಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ವಾರ್ಡಿನ ಜನರು ಅಂದುಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದು. ಈ ಎಲ್ಲ ಜನರ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆಗಳ ಒಟ್ಟು ಮೊತ್ತವೇ ನಿಮ್ಮ ವಾರ್ಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಬ್ರಾಂಡ್ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತೆ. ಅದನ್ನು ಜತನದಿಂದ ಬೆಳೆಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ.

6. ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡಿ ಮತ್ತು ಅದನ್ನು ಹೆಮ್ಮೆಯಿಂದ ತೋರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ. ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಸಂಪರ್ಕ ತಾಣಗಳಾದ ಟ್ವಿಟರ್, ಈಮೇಲ್, ಫೇಸ್ ಬುಕ್ ಅನ್ನು ವ್ಯಾಪಕವಾಗಿ ಬಳಸಿ ಜನರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸಂಪರ್ಕ ಸಾಧಿಸಿ. ತಕ್ಷಶಿಲಾ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯ ಸ್ವತ್ತು

Long Beach, CA

Introduction to field track: Parking

This session was taught by Nitin Pai and examined the concept of paid parking, its impact on infrastructure, economics and politics, and how an administrator should strategise  on implementing it across the city. The class discussed the reasons why parking is conventionally considered to be free. These included the fact that citizens pay a road tax and hence assume they can gain free parking; consider parking a public good; consider free parking a right; to avoid the parking ‘mafia’; assume that parking space is historically free; assume that it increases business and economic activity among other reasons.

The main points of discussion were:

  • “Paid parking” is charging money for a space of land that is utilised by the vehicle owner. Subsidising it, or not charging for that space does not ensure benefits to the needy. The need of parking is only for people who have vehicles. Vehicle owners, do not come under the traditional needy category. Therefore, paid parking is an anti people policy because it subsidises people who do not need the free parking. “Free parking is a transfer of value from a public asset to a private individual who is not the needy.” People will want free parking, but that does not mean that they need it and it should be given free.
  • If parking is free, everyone will use it and nobody will maintain or care about the space. The tragedy of the commons will prevail.
  • There is economic value in paid parking. All cities across the world have multi-story car parks that are paid and this is considered a business. The supply of parking space can go up because you are creating an incentive for people to create parking space and charge money for it. Paid parking will ensure revenue to the government/land owner as well.
  • In some cases paid parking can ensure that parking space will increase if priced properly. This is because people will be interested in giving their land for parking purposes.
  • Two points to keep in mind with paid parking is the ‘concept’ and the ‘execution’ of paid parking. There is a need to understand what  the concept of paid parking is and then look at ways to execute it effectively.
  • Paid parking is considered to be unpopular among people. To change it, there is a need to look at different strategies. Eg. Employing consultants who make the decision, and act as the stepping-stones to implement an unpopular idea. Another way is to invest in infrastructure—pavements, roads, public transport etc. Reduce the scarcity of paid parking spots in the city.
  • Implementing paid parking will be a challenge, as citizens will oppose  it. For any administrator, it is hard decision to take away a freely provided service to the people, and initiate the a new system charging for that service. It will have political ramifications. The challenge then is, how does an administrator sell this idea to people, starting from one ward and convincing the whole of Bangalore? How do you move the people from the concept of free parking to paid parking?

For this the best method is to do a stakeholder analysis, asking the following questions: One, Who are the stakeholders? Two, What are their interests?  Three, What are their incentives? How will one change their behaviour?

There are multiple stakeholders when it comes to parking in the city. These include vehicle owners, business establishments, tourists, homeowners, land owners, pedestrians, cyclists, autos and taxis, local buses, traffic police, municipal bodies such as the BBMP, roadside vendors, parking contractors, homeless people, educational institutions, home owners among others. Some stakeholders want free parking while some do not.  As an administrator, one needs to analyse each of these stakeholders and their needs. After an assessment, one needs to discuss and contend over the pragmatic ways to implement paid parking across the city.

4

Road management fieldtrack: Presentations

Following the field trips to the CNR Circle underpass and the Yeshwantpur TTMC, the B.CLIP class was divided into groups and asked to make presentations on how to improve road management in Bangalore.

From the presentations, multiple ideas emerged. The class discussed the factors that caused the degradation of the roads that included poor quality of construction, wear and tear,  and natural causes (extreme weather conditions, trees etc.) among others. It also discussed solutions in the form of human intervention (these can be legal or illegal interventions by individuals, agencies, private service providers, government agencies etc.). The concept of stakeholder analysis was also explained- who are the main stake holders with respect to a road? What are their interests and incentives in maintaining the quality of the roads?

1

(B.CLIP students making the presentation)

The class also discussed the kinds of interventions needed for road management. These included looking at information, coordination, monitoring and reputation.

Information: Information of various kinds exists with respect to roads in a city.  There is prior information that should address all questions related to the roads– what is over the surface and under the surface of the roads—walls, electricity wires, pipes, fences etc. There is information on the “calendar of works” for roads in a ward made available publicly. Information about the money involved-  what are the allocations for the road development? What is the spending? What are the finances of different stakeholders? And information disseminated via media– advertising road development plans in the newspaper.

5

(B.CLIP students making the presentation.)

Coordination- There is a need for coordination committees for effective road management. The chairman of the committee should be the ward Corporator.  Important stakeholders should be on this committee- RWA members, press members, different stake holders etc. The committee should be headed by a person in authority to make important decisions related to the ward. He should be the person motivated to do the work in the ward.

Monitoring- There should also be a well developed monitoring mechanism that is a sustainable and is an ongoing process. One needs to find people with vested interests, committed to monitoring the roads, who will use information systems.

Reputation- It is important to set the pre-qualification of contractors. Also, create and use the system of merits, stars and grades to help build a reputation for the stakeholder to perform his or her job to the best of their ability.

IMG_20140104_120313

Practicing electoral politics in Bangalore city

Members of B.CLIP Advisory Board held a panel discussion on January 4. The session was moderated by Mr Jairaj and the speakers were Mr PGR Sindhia, Dr Rajeev Gowda, Mr Ashwin Mahesh, Mr RK Mishra, Mr Narayan Ramachandran along with B.PAC principals Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Mr Mohandas Pai. The discussion delved into india’s contemporary political reality and aimed to answer questions about venturing into politics and of working in it.

Mr PGR Sindhia compared the the JP movement of the past to the contemporary economic and political situation and employment. He elaborated on the fact that all of the above were fundamentally dependent on people’s anger and eventually that was what democracy depended on. He talked about how the anger and passion of the citizens would ensure that our democratic systems stay in place. On the question of how to win an election, Mr Sindhia said that we need to remember that 90 percent of the voters don’t vote for money but for issues. People often vote on the basis of sentiment or the latest issues or if they believe in the candidate.

Dr Rajeev Gowda spoke about how issues pertaining to the citizens have a macroeconomic effect, however,  at the micro level, it is all about the individual and the candidate. To connect with the electorate, it is important to get known, engage with the public and gain face. The crux of the matter is on building individual credibility. Another way is to bring expertise into the party. He also talked about the importance of tackling issues hands on and not just being a speaker.

Mr Ashwin Mahesh spoke about how to ensure one’s campaign is effective. He spoke about the different political phases in India.  He spoke about how in contemporary India there seemed to be no distinction between the government and the sarkar.  He talked about how people have  started to demand for direct participation in the democracy.

Mr Mahesh also emphasised on the multiple levels of the government that do not often communicate with one another. He mentioned that one of the reasons for state vulnerability was the fact that india was a diverse country with a growing population. He spoke about the demand for a large number of people who could solve problems within the city.  By catering to these factors, Mr Mahesh said that it would be easier to formulate one’s political campaign—to identify an issue and get the right people involved. He also spoke about how people have common concerns across the country—opportunity for children, employment for young adults, retirement pland and services for the aged and savings.  He concluded by saying that for an effective campaign,  it was important for a politician to address issues that are personal to the people and those that they can connect to.

Mr RK Mishra spoke about his own experiences and transition from a corporate career into a political one. He spoke about his own realisations about the difficulties of being involved in a political life. He also emphasised on the importance of financial stability and passion, to sustain oneself in the political arena. Mr Mishra also spoke about how it was the time for the political parties to realise that they needed to change and give space to new and fresh people and ideas. Mr Mishra also talked about how there is a demand in India for young, adept people to foray into politics.

BBMP

Mukul Asher on the BBMP Budget

Professor Mukul Asher, Councillor at the Takshashila Institution visited Bangalore in December to teach B.CLIP students about public finance and municipal budgeting. He also analysed the Bangalore (BBMP) municipal budget for the class. Here he is interviewed by Subir Ghosh of DNA on the same:

One reason why the BBMP is under the public glare is that the Palike is sinking under the huge debt that piled up arguably because of its faulty way of accounting. According to the budget estimates of 2012-13, the BBMP was under a debt burden of Rs 5,325 crore.

According to Asher, though the BBMP budgets are classified by departments, line items aggregating to thousands of crores simply state “development works” or “Assembly  constituency works” without mentioning the precise objective or category of work. This  probably where the problem lies. On one hand the BBMP is biting more than what it can chew, and on the other the Palike is opaque about its own expenditure. The way out, Asher asserts, is for individual budgetary allocations aggregating to at least 90 per cent of total expenditure (excluding loan-related payments and overheads such as salaries, etc.), to clearly mention the purpose of the works in terms of either a category or one of the functions of the BBMP (such as solid waste management, storm water drainage, etc).

Read the entire article: Bangalore: BBMP? We should call it ‘BB empty’ instead, Jan 6, 2014.

Photo credit: DNA