Citizen should be ruler; Govt, the servant

Prof. Rajeev Gowda, Chairperson of Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, shares his vision for the government with Citizen Matters.

Here is a new government which has an opportunity to think long term as well as an opportunity to bring in far-ranging changes.

In terms of infrastructure, there should be importance given to commuter rail issue. In the next one year, with the Centre and State having the same party running the governments, it is a good opportunity to try and push the issue in a concrete manner and get it into the railway budget and the system. The commuter rail system will have Bangalore develop in different ways along the railway tracks and allow for much more access for people who are living outside Bangalore to come and work here and go back. There are beautiful examples of such things in New York and other places. There is no reason why we can’t implement it. This is one priority that I think we need to work on.

We have industry railway lines that go to Bangarpet, Tumkur, Mandya and other cities. If we can increase the frequency and availability of trains in this region, people get to understand that there is a train line that is running on a regular basis. Then people would be happy to live there, come to work and go back, because it takes as much time as it would take from KR Puram to the city centre. That would also allow for more stations and more development along the railway lines. I personally am going to push this one.

Another is to change the way the agencies in city co-ordinate with each other. It could be the BWSSB which does not come under the city corporation, it is a separate organization by itself. BWSSB, BDA, BESCOM – all are separate. This is an opportunity to try and think how we can bring them all under some unified, coordinated programme. This would make the city much more efficient in terms of providing service.

Another thing to think about from implementation point of view is to explore what would it take to give contracts of road works to single contractors instead of multiple piece works. What would it take to give a section of roads in a particular ward to a particular player? Give them contracts and say that in Jayanagar and Basavangudi all the roads will be re-tarred and maintained by this particular player for the next five years. It’s not just putting roads but also the maintenance contract that will make the thing work. That way we’ll also not have infrastructure barriers on a continuous basis.

Another would be to wrap up the metro construction fast. They should also work on water-related issues. Already we have started to hear some scary stories of Bangalore running out of water in an year. So how do we proactively work to prevent such a situation? How do we change the rules and regulations and how do we enforce rain water harvesting? How do we revive the chain tank system? How do we make use of our lake network?

We have many catchment areas affected because of construction. But rain is still falling and the water is still flowing. So where does it go? How do we keep it within various tanks? There are still pipelines that can be put in. These things have to be made top priority area. Some of the agencies that work in the state government really need to rethink on how to approach the issue of water.

Citizen involvement in governance is another important thing. More transparency, more citizen involvement, better access to information is needed. The aim should be to make the citizen as ruler and the government as the servant.


  1. keerthikumar says:

    Water:- All infrastructure works such as Metro BMRCL,BDA Flyover and all construction works such apartments hosing and commercial mus use only treated sewage water it should be mandatory, no bore well or BWSSB water connection should not be permitted.By this lot water can be saved.
    BBMP;-Garbage collection is not efficiently handling by contractors,we citizens paying Rs 360/annum but it is not worth.
    The worst part is the roads surface are very bad and there no good friendly foot paths.
    Bangalore has become dust city.
    BMTC it is worst corporation it never be friendly to commuters.It is knowing only jack up the price.
    Police department it has to high teck the old system is not use
    Traffic police has to strengthen with more staff and equip with latest gadgets.
    BESCOM := It si better to remove all transformer sets on foot path and relocate.

  2. PK says:

    What nobody understands is that none of the parties want to develop the state they have power in. The reason they do not want to do this is simple. If they develop a particular state while they’re in power and lose the next election, then the other party or parties that come to power will enjoy the benefits of what they’ve done. This is a vicious circle of self-preservation and selfishness. They don’t think beyond that; it’s not about the people or the citizens, it’s about their own egos and party-centric whims.

  3. raju m.r. says:

    The headline of the article, and the last sentence in the article is like we are reinventing or redefining our constitution and governance.Our constitution says that we are a democratic country, the people-voters choose their representatives to govern. The people are infact are the masters and the representatives are required to govern as perv the constitutional provisions and the rule of law. But in reality it has become quite opposite and the representatives assume as masters and the electorate as their servants! This is the irony of our democracy.The education, awareness on our constitution, its provisions have been kept away from the common man who mechanically asked to vote and salute his representative.Now the author of this article, a respected faculty in prestigious IIMB also wants from now on that the people should be the masters! I think we should lead a mass awareness movement in telling the people that you are the master and your representatives should implement whatever you decide. Then only there is meaning in our democracy, our constitution and our governance. At present people are fooled in the name of democracy and most of the representatives, their cronies, relatives amassing wealth, investing in elections and keep on amassing wealth.They have redefined caste, corruption, crime against women and the law makers they are suppose to be , have become law breakers in many cases.They have become a different class, VVIPs in society. It is a farce. It should change, then only the real democracy will have a meaning. raju m r

  4. raju m.r. says:

    For the kind information of Bangaloreans:To look after Bangalore affair/needs/requirements, we have the following agencies:1.BBMP, 2.BDA, 3. BWSSB, 4. BMTC-, 5.BMRDA, 6. BMRC, 7. BLDA,8.Dy Commissioner , Bangalore City Dist, 9. BMTF, 10. Bangalore City Police Commissioner ate, 11. BESCOM. There may be some more. All these Govt. Depts. are headed by very Senior IAS or IPS or IFS officers,assisted by IAS/KAS officers.They are either statuory, autonomopus or independent bodies.In addition, a seperate dept. in the govt. ministry and sometimes an independent minister to monitor. Bangalore. Sometimes the CM himself heading such depts or bodies. What an amount of importance given to Bangalore Administration!Woh!A very big army and several Captains! But in reality? In every field there is poor and mismanagement. When complained, “I/we are not responsible, ask the other dept., they are the concerned dept, then blame game.” Ultimately, with all these agencies to look after, the citizen is made to suffer in most of the time and from most of the depts. Why? Are we not paying the tax? Don’t we have the right to good governance, good civic amenities? Why this callous attitude towards the legitimate basic needs of citizens of Bangalore? May be lack of proper coordination among these agencies or too many agencies or duplication of work? Now we are suffering from water, electricity, garbage, pollution problems and above all indifferent attitude from most of these authorities? Can we think/expect, the new Govt. under the able leadership of Mr. Siddaramaiah, set right things and make Bangalore the First and the Best city in the country again!

    – Raju M R

  5. Niranjan says:

    I thought we are still in democrazy. I just really wonder the meaning of the title for this article. Its all puzzling to look around, where people are pullied around by our servants.

  6. Ram S Pejawar says:

    Easier said than done. Some of our civil ‘servants’ break the very laws passed by our legislature. We are a group of senior citizens who are being harassed to the extent of having to distress sale of our homes.

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