Saturday, September 19, 2015

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

There is a great importance to making progress on an announced project.  If you are a business then you just don’t announce or start something and just let it sit, you finish the project on budget and on time.  The key to successful and profitable business or life is not announcing or starting something, it is the process of effectively working to achieve the stated objectives of what was planned.

Our politicians announce many major projects and initiatives, and also assign huge values to them as budgets and potential employment.  India has a legacy of major announcements by the party in power, along with massive investments and really massive employment opportunities.  It has become a common practice for politicians in power to say “I will do this in five years”, and then there is nothing that comes back to say “I have done this in 12 months”.

In recent news there was coverage of linking the rivers in Andhra Pradesh which was more than a 50 years plan.  It is hard to imagine what was thought of as a need 50 years ago applied to today, while politicians claim credit for something that really took 50 years?  We have multiple fold increase in population, pollution, encroachment and all kids of social and people issues today that could not have been envisioned 50 years ago.  Still the concept of planning and development that is many decades old which still is in work-in progress today, and we still refer to as progress, as if India has infinite amount of time to take care of its own. On the one hand completion of any infrastructure project is a boon for the people, while the time and opportunity lost in decades of delays and indifference is immeasurable in losses.  The project costs balloon into double, triple and more in the delays and India also adds scam value to any infrastructure.

When a project does get completed, people rejoice.  Politicians inaugurate and place their name in stone as if they really had something to contribute to the eventual completion and ignore the decades old plaque that identifies the politician who laid the foundation stone.  There is pomp and circumstance and a lot of talk of what the project will do to the future of the citizens.  No one on the stage will admit to the huge delays, huge cost overruns, huge loss of opportunity, and huge cost to the lives of people.  No one will ever admit to the delays and lost opportunity.  Indians are optimists, they feel that let’s be happy that it is finally done and we can see the benefits of the future.

The reality of the government promises and their deliverables are so far apart, they are like fact and fiction.  There is no realistic plan of action, development, budget, expenditure or anything that is really real.  Huge numbers are thrown in billions and billions and no plausible explanation of where the money comes from and how it is spent.  Everyone throws around massive numbers as if they are really giving their own money to the public projects (you hear the words so often when politicians claim “I am giving thousands of crores to the project or for development” as if it’s coming from ones pocket).  There is no logic to where the money is coming from, how it will be spent, who will manage and account for it, when and how the money will be made available, who will manage the funds and who will be accountable for the funds, when the project gets started and god knows when it will be finished.  All freely given and freely managed, and nothing gets done ever on time.  India really has projects that are a half a decade or more in the works, some still unfinished.

The current government as did all the older ones, constantly throws billions in pronouncements to projects and programs as commitments to the states and the development of national projects.  The government and the PM are quite computer and internet savvy.  Why not put the projects and their planning and development online.  Why not let the public have access to whole deal and details, people, money, plans, time, deliverables and budgets; put them all online as soon as the PM or the government commits to the project and funding.  The PMO and PM now take the time to post details of its daily routine.  Posting a project plan online and updating daily should be no more than one person’s work on a regular basis, and the public can really know what is being said and what really is being done.  If we are demanding the public to be accountable the government can demand the same from the government.  Especially when the leader of the nation constantly speaks of open government and accountability; then let us see it online.  It is great to hear that he has thousands of crores at public, we constantly hear from the PM “let me give you thousands of crores” sure we need the development and projects, but we want to see if it really is budgeted, from where, when and how it will be delivered and money spent towards the project.  We are all computer savvy and with more than a phone per adult in the great nation.  If we are getting your twitter feed and Facebook posts and Instagram updates on a minute by minute basis, it will be great to have an online and regular minute by minute update of the government's commitments and deliverables.

For a change we the people would certainly like to see the same level of commitment from the government and our leader on completion of what the government keeps throwing at us a “I plan to do this”.  Let us see the accounts and responsibilities online, and up-to-date.  The only measurement to the government’s performance is completion of the promises made, on time and on budget and nothing else. “I completed this” should be the words we should hear and nothing else.

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