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If I can just give to the world more than I take from it, I will be a very happy man. For there is no greater joy in life than to give. Motto : Live, Laugh and Love. You can follow me on Twitter too . My handle is @Raja_Sw.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Systems, infrastructure for governance - What we SHOULD be talking more about, in my opinion!

  1. (Originally posted on Storify on 1st Aug 2013).

    All we seem to be doing is discussing politicians, political parties, outraging at incident du jour. Much of it is fire-fighting, much of it is personality-based.

    I strongly believe none of this will change (even if the players do) unless we change the entire rules of the game. Stop thinking incident/individual, think systems.

    Systems have a way of running on their own. They simulate a culture that's person-independent and process-dependent. Processes can be adapted as and when required. So think best practice, think of the process to get the results you need. Results don't come out of thin air.

    That is the essence of this series. It focusses a bit on the financial side of govt activity, but it applies to other areas too. Key is measurable accountability.

    The example here of a data warehouse is just an example of a structural solution to provide transparency for better governance. There could easily be other examples too.

    So here goes.

    Like I've said at the end, I have no claims to being right. I could be very wrong. But I'd rather this sort of thing were debated more. 


  2. This started as a random rant. Since it became a series of tweets, I decided to storify it, FWIW.

  3. Sad that we fight abt politicians/parties without seeing the bigger picture. We have structural issues which go beyond pol parties.


  4. For all his brilliant admin skills, Modi alone cannot deliver governance. We need a system for that. Modi isn't a system.


  5. We need systemic overhaul with emphasis on governance-providing and monitoring systems/institutions. Political party- independent.


  6. CAG was intended to be one such governance-monitoring institution. No wonder the govt hates it. I prefer systems to institutions, tbh.


  7. Institutions can be corrupted. After all, they are manned by humans. Systems are less corruptible.


  8. The debate we shd be having is not UPA vs NDA. But why we do not have systems for better governance and accountability.


  9. The one word every govt HATES is accountability.But finally that's what REALLY matters.You're given power, you are accountable for its use.


  10. We elect ppl to represent us. We entrust the country's finances to them. Surely they are accountable for how they use those finances?


  11. It is public money that the govt spends, right? Isn't the public entitled to know details of how that money is spent?


  12. I can't/won't speak for other govt websites but Indian govt websites sharing info with public are pretty difficult to wade through.


  13. What I'd like to see is a search possibility (cricinfo stats style) on govt revenue and expenditure. With download possibility.


  14. How difficult is it to build a data warehouse of Govt income/expenditure, where one can zoom into detail?


  15. A figure of 100,000 crores is too large to work with. Zoom into it - and you get a better understanding of how it is built up.


  16. If we had ONE reliable source of information provided by the govt, we wouldn't have so many numbers floating around the place.


  17. Right now, it's difficult to even trust any numbers that we see in the media. They all seem agenda-driven. There shd be ONE source.


  18. Fact is govt HATES sharing information with public. Tries to obfuscate as much as possible. HATES the RTI but got caught into it.


  19. Govt acts as if it's done public a great favour with the RTI. Hello? I shdn't have to ASK for info, you should be having a system to share.


  20. Sb may say "But other govts also don't have this data w/h".I don't care! Govts worldwide don't like to share. I'm interested in MY govt.


  21. We can define our own good practice as citizens. We don't have to tolerate bad practice thrust upon us, using other countries as excuse.


  22. In today's information era, there is NO excuse to not share public info (esp finances), with the public. It's public money being used.


  23. Imagine the power if things were transparent. We'd know where our money is going, which projects. Leakages would be so much more visible.


  24. This is what I call "the infrastructure of governance". Build it, you can structurally expect governance. O/wise, you are party-dependent.


  25. When you set up the infrastructure for governance, the framework and parameters become clear. Decisions are taken within that framework.


  26. Setting up a framework also brings focus into the entire process. Of decision-making and debate. No extraneous, rubbish discussions.


  27. The framework brings focus not only on delivery of governance but also monitoring. And therefore media focus too. Currently focus lacking.


  28. I don't claim to be right. But I'd like to see more debate on the infrastructure, the systems we need to have for better governance.


  29. Just saying "we want better governance" means nothing. It's like saying "I want to be a millionaire". There needs to be a process in place.

  30. That's it for now. I could say much more - but I'll leave it with this for the moment. :-)

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