About six months ago, the Chief Minister announced, with the usual fanfare and ribbon cutting, that the city would be ‘garbage-free in 6 months’. Since then, regularly on this wall, I have been counting down the clock to this deadline. Now he’s about to give us the Christmas gift we’ve all been waiting for – one more promise to do something, probably in 6 more months.
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It was always clear that this would not happen on time. But rather than be a skeptic from the beginning, I decided to wait. I even offered to help some BBMP corporators in South Bangalore run the Kasa Muktha program properly in their wards. Nothing changed. For three reasons.
(a) The tendency to equate announcements with outcomes. I wrote about this earlier. Our netas have gone from promising outcomes, and then diluted that to outputs, and then making do with mere inputs, and finally just announcements.
(b) Not actually having a plan in place before making an announcement. We tend to make the lofty statement first and then think we can work backwards from that. But it won’t do. Great outcomes are the result of the steps that add up to them, not the other way around.
(c) A bureaucracy that misleads. When some senior neta wakes up (in some cases, literally) and gets all worked up about an issue, he barks out an order to a senior officer. ”dishum-dishum-damaal, this had better happen by summer” follows. The officials, instead of explaining the complexities and governance issues involved in any making decision come true, instead say, “yes, Sir.” Partly because they sense that he will not have the patience to hear them out, and partly because they believe he will not remember it after the next nap.
What we really need is a solution to the Attention Deficit Disorder that plagues our government. Kasa Muktha will happen on its own after that.