Thank you dear subscribers, we are overwhelmed with your response.
Your Turn is a unique section from ThePrint featuring points of view from its subscribers. If you are a subscriber, have a point of view, please send it to us. If not, do subscribe here: https://theprint.in/subscribe/
A wise man once said, “India is not a country of 1 billion people, it is a country of 1 billion minds”. This statement, with all its good intentions, lacks in being specific. A billion people can’t work together without specific actionable goals, and therefore, I present to you a redefined statement – “India is not a country of 1 billion people, it is a country of 1 billion auditors”.
Imagine a city where every citizen knows how to audit their governments work. Where they know where to get the data from, who’s neck to grab and who to push to get things moving. Just 4 people calling their civic local body representatives or showing up on their office daily can bother them senseless enough to get the work done. Some may argue that it is the duty of local government representatives to get this audit done, the same people also exclaim how the government systems are not incentivised to work efficiently. Why then, should we leave the duty of auditing our civic work to a representative who most likely lives in a house that doesn’t get impacted by these issues? “The-local-representative-will-care-for-me-because-he-needs-my-vote” model works in countries where the ratio of local representatives to citizens they manage is 1/10th that of India and identity issues do not take precedence over civic issues.
Following on the spirit of being specific, I am going to share a list of actions citizens can take to get nuisance value (another wise man once told me – “Nuisance value is the most valuable thing when you have nothing”.)
Working example of how to be a nuisance to your civic authority, but a hero for your community:
Say the rainwater causes drainage issues in your society every monsoon. Here is what you do, I call it the R.A.W model:
RESPONSIBLE: Find out who is responsible (In this case it turns out Delhi Jal Board is responsible for the big drains and MCD for the small ones). Go to their website – find the organization chart and call the junior chief engineer responsible for the maintenance.
ACTION: In all likelihood he would answer after 5/6 attempts (nobody said this won’t require some patience) and when he does, he will most likely give a typical response (in my case it was – “Sir, I have only just joined I am trying to figure things out as well.”)
WHATSAPP: Once you catch a lead – use those WhatsApp groups and ask four other people to bombard this person with the same queries. Do make sure that your four friends and you are communicating with each other effectively to make sure you are on the same page with the situation and progress. We don’t want to be a burden on the system when it starts doing its job. The engineer will automatically start getting a little concerned about this matter escalating beyond four people, if he doesn’t – make it eight people. Eventually the engineer will have to start looking into the matter himself.
If there are some higher order matters that require detailed government information about public expenses, I highly recommend https://rtionline.gov.in/ it only takes 5 minutes to file an RTI and costs Rs. 10/- only. Here are a few rules for an effective RTI:
Correct Department: Make sure you are filing it to the right government department (use google to figure this out, anyone who has cleared class 12th can get these answers within 15 minutes).
Specific: Ask specific questions. Vagueness breeds loopholes.
Multiple questions: You can ask multiple questions in one RTI.
Follow up: Use the first appeal option if you notice your RTI is being passed around to different departments/hasn’t been answered in more than 30 days.
It also helps to have a vision as a citizen, my vision is to have a state where every civic worker, from top to bottom, is petrified of not doing his job because he has a billion people knowing how to call him out and make his days miserable.
– Shreshth Varshney
The garbage truck shall identify which garbage bin is overflowing and shall immediately rush to that bin. Face recognition cameras shall be installed throughout the city. Unless you impress your thumb, you cannot enter the smart city. Free WiFi. Electronic blackboards in all schools. So on and so forth!
The above were the loudest digital media announcements done by the govt in 2014 with lakhs netizens liking it. Unfortunately, I am unable to notice them anywhere. Either my sight is depleting or the government has lost vision or the netizens have forgotten — I am not sure. But I am sure, I miss the smart city bonhomie. And I miss the funds allotted and already spent on it. I miss the smart city.
This is a humble request. Please help me find the missing smart cities and improve my sight. I am sure the government’s vision also shall improve with your help!
I totally differ from your views as to the newfound change in politics, decency related to the visit of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to offer his condolences to O. Panneerselvam, the AIADMK co-convener. It is just one more gimmick that is being blown out of proportion by the DMK and Left-controlled media, and ThePrint has also fallen into this trap. The leopard cannot change its spots, neither can the DMK. If Tamil Nadu has degenerated in many important areas, it is the handiwork of DMK since 1967.
Even today, the anti-Hindu, anti-Brahmin hatred is more visible, and it is unfortunate that it has never been reported, courtesy of the media. Any incident involving Hindu gets headlines while other communities, particularly Christian and Muslims, are just a few words and ‘chalo chalo’ news.
In fact, after this government has come, they have been addressing the Centre as a ‘unified government’, not central government. Even driving licenses now bear this. And they also have a pseudo-love for regional language and an unjustified hatred towards Hindi. This at a time when their MPs still recommend children to KVs under their discretionary quota. Also, the first thing this government tried was to shame a Hindu management-run reputed school with sexual assault charges. What was the reason? The correspondent canvassed for BJP in the assembly election. It also then silenced a strict athletic coach with similar charges and jailed him under Goondas Act.
The same CM tore his shirt in the Assembly and made a drama just a year and a half ago. So much theatrics. Today, police force is demoralised and the number of thefts, burglary, unauthorised constructions and flouting rules is on steep rise.
There is a US-returned FM who is in his own world, as are other ministers. You can find the son of the CM in official functions on stage on the pretext he is an MLA. His son-in-law is calling the shots in many departments. Take a look at the schoolbags case. He just could not get the bags re-done even when there were no schools functioning, thanks to the lockdown. No choice. This was not magnanimity, by any stretch of imagination. It could be “something ” else. The Sterlite crisis also has its roots in the present ruling dispensation. Maybe ThePrint reporter Revathi Krishnan needs to go deeper into the happenings in Tamil Nadu. To claim ‘decency’ just like that is just not acceptable. Past performance and present indicators sync beautifully for the DMK.
– S. Anantha Krishnan
These pieces are being published as they have been received – they have not been edited/fact-checked by ThePrint.