‘Slow mover’ Kochi faults survey

In response to a report in The Times of India, “‘Slow mover’ Kochi faults survey,” Feb. 18, 2016. [2]

A senior Kochi Corporation official was reported as saying, “.. we received just 210 out of 400 marks for waste collection and 60 out of 200 for processing and disposal of waste. It is to be noted that Thiruvanthapuram [2, 3, 4], where there’s no waste processing and disposal taking place currently, received 302 and 182 marks respectively. What’s the logic behind this?”

The report exemplifies the loss-of-clarity-of-mission common in Kerala government and its various agencies. There are several reasons. Foremost among them is the culture present and promoted by education institutions in the state.

The purpose of education in Kerala, as practiced, is not gaining knowledge and developing skills. But passing examinations with high scores and getting top rank in various state and national tests. And there is a whole ancillary “tutoring industry” [2, 3, 4] operating to help students achieve high scores in many entrance and other examinations.

The official seems to be reminiscing about the education system.

The purpose of a government agency is to achieve its mission goals and generate outcomes that are relevant to the residents of the city. The points in surveys may be helpful as a performance measure, but definitely not the yardstick for evaluating how an agency is fulfilling its mission.

Ask a tourist or an affected resident, they will tell you that the garbage disposal, waste pile-up, sanitation facilities and cleanliness of public places in Kochi are deplorable.

Now, don’t start finding excuses like, “We’re at position 55! … There are other worse places. And last year we were 4th …”


Smart City: Oppn flags user-fee trap

In response to a report in The Times of India, “Smart City: Oppn flags user-fee trap,” Feb. 16, 2016. [2]

You may have been wondering when you read that the Kochi Corporation accepted “Free Consulting” from a London based firm for preparing the Smart City proposal (“Smart Cities Project: Kochi to Get UK Support“). Kochi Smart City project is part of a larger program by the Government of India.

Ponder no more! You have the answers now. You will be asked to pay again for the “Smart City” facilities as “user fees.” (If you didn’t have questions about the “free consulting,” it is high time you paid attention to what your elected representatives are doing in your name.)

In an economy there are two types of activities: solution-seeking and extractive (Please see, “Extreme Inequality = Economic Collapse“). In a regenerative economy, “circulation and investment in human capital and solution-seeking leads to systemic vitality and well-being for all.”

Kerala economy consists mainly of extractive activities. Hence the pathetic state of the Kerala economy. Kochi Corporation’s Smart City project is an example of a plan for private capture of public resources.


French kissing

In response to an op-ed in The Times of India, “French kissing,” Feb. 1, 2016.

Democracy was a gift to India by Mahatma Gandhi [2, 3, 4, 5] and Jawaharlal Nehru [2, 3, 4]. We have now an “institutional democracy” — operated by the political parties — largely for the benefit of the “ruling class.”

People are yet to understand the essence of democracy — beyond casting votes in elections — and how to hold elected representatives accountable. True democracy requires people to internalize “liberty, equality, fraternity” and develop the will to assert their rights. Traditional Indian cultural norms are an inhibiting factor for achieving true democracy.

The hope is, being inherently multicultural, Indian people will develop democratic skills by internalizing “liberty, equality, fraternity” — better than French people even though they started the rebellion.