Thursday, April 09, 2009

Governance Infrastucture

India is moving from a nation of low activity and a slow moving one to one of hyper activity (from Taamsik to Raajas state as my friend Koushik would put it.)

Governments have been talking about building Physical and Social infrastructure for long with chequered success at doing it. Much still needs to be put in place. But physical & social infrastructure will only enable the flow of these energies. Even act as a multipliers.

What we need is management infrastructure or as L.K. Advani would put it a 'Governance' infrastructure.

Without it, these newly released energies are likely to collide violently or dissipate or worse still, get blocked leading to a dangerous growth in frustration.

What is required is an intense focus on managing the growing activities of our economic and social life. Mind you I'm not talking about containing or controlling them, I am talking about channelising them, giving them directions.

As much as we need good ideas to lead these energies, we need equally good action to be able to do this. So what is this management infrastructure (or governance infrastucture)? Management infrastructure as I see it would be the Vision, Policies, Methods, Human Resource, Regulatory Framework, Governing bodies, Leadership etc. of our cities, towns, airports, ports, roads, public utilities, religious places, educational institutes, judiciary, the police and so on.

Such a management infrastructure can help us direct the unleashing energies into the making of a better India and a better world.

One of the ways to weigh an advice (to our ruling masters) on bettering things is to see if we as citizens can act on it. I see this as such an idea. The RTI (Right to Information) Act e.g. gives us the power to be quasi-Auditors and quasi-Board members of the government run institutions we care for. Asking for information and advocating improvements can improve the goverenances of these institutions. Or easier would be to start with getting involved in the management of - our societies, our children’s schools, our teams at work etc. Easier still to start by managing one’s own self better.

Fortunately all this is already being done by many people in our country and across the world. We need to quickly become part of this tribe.

I wish the media is less cynical, less intent on manufacturing political controversies, less inclined to merchandising misery and more active in seeking the truth behind the miserable management of our institutions and exploring possible solutions.

I support Advani's idea of Governance being the central plank to judge performance of governments. It is great to see Advani et. al. spend more time building & articulating their idea of governance. It is heartening to see him lead more by an alternate vision around the idea of good governance, than by slamming the incumbent government on the mat for its every fault. 

No comments: