Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Can't we ever learn from our mistakes? 

Is it the Indian ethos that we always give the job to politicians and not to professionals? Let me begin with the glaring example of Indian cricket: around 1950, maharajas and bureaucrats were entrusted with leading or selecting teams, and I do not believe India ever won a cricket test, leave alone a test series. We have come a long way till we left such serious matters as selection of teams or captains to professionals. The path from the Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram (or Vizzy, as he was known) to Dhoni and Kohli was possible only after matters of selection were left to people who really played and knew cricket like Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. By adopting this obvious change in methodology, the Indian cricket team was transformed from a laughing stock to world-beaters.

In contrast, you just have to look at our squads for the Olympics. Once every four years, we suffer the embarrassment of being the squad more than 50% of which consists of fat administrators who have probably never played anything; and the `bare'ness of our cupboard of olympic tallies reminds you of Old Mother Hubbard's! The fate of hockey and tennis are also similarly dismal.

Now let me remove the kid gloves and come to the point. The people that this letting off steam is directed at is our various Government bodies `entrusted' with realising the promises made to the PWD (Persons with Disability) about giving them their rights and due.

To put it simply enough for your limited powers of comprehension, here are some instances of how you jokers are pulling a Vizzy on us:

* According to the Wikipedia, The NITI Aayog comprises the following:

Prime Minister of India as the Chairperson

A Governing Council composed of Chief Ministers of all the States and Union territories with Legislatures and lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar.

Regional Councils composed of Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region.

Full-time organizational framework composed of a Vice-Chairperson, three full-time members, two part-time members (from leading universities, research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity), four ex-officio members of the Union Council of Ministers, a Chief Executive Officer (with the rank of Secretary to the Government of India) who looks after administration, and a secretariat.

Experts and specialists in various fields [4]

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Chairperson, the committee consists of

Vice Chairperson: Arvind Panagariya [5]

Ex-Officio Members: Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu and Radha Mohan Singh

Special Invitees: Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Zubin Irani and Thawar Chand Gehlot

Full-time Members: Bibek Debroy (Economist),[6] V. K. Saraswat (former DRDO Chief) and Ramesh Chand (Agriculture Expert)[7]

Chief Executive Officer:Amitabh Kant[8]

Governing Council: All Chief Ministers and Lieutenant Governors of States and Union Territories

Query: How many of these members have a trace of a connection with disability? Will they know one if it hit them in the face?

* There have been no end of pleas on our part that they have some PWD on their planning committees. Nevertheless, we are always presented with a fait accompli with deficiencies that would have immediately been spotted by a PWD. You just have to look at Vaishnavi Jayakumar's documentation of DRA's attempts at making CMRL (Chennai Metro Rail) think about making the metro accessible - and not screw up the last chance of having at least one means of public transport usable by PWD. When we finally did get a chance to take a look of the initial stretch from Alandur to Koyambedu, our worst fears had been realised : gap between train and pavement, toilets being totally inaccessible, ...

* I recently learnt (from one of Vaishnavi's emails, naturally) of something called Pre-Legislative Process (PLP). I am mentioning below a few pertinent links in the hope that people in our Government will involve and take the opinions of the people for whose supposed benefit they are attempting to enact a law. Even if some of the PLP considerations came into being at the behest of the erstwhile UPA Govt, these suggestions make sense. (e.g.., Pre-legislative scrutiny is a first step towards greater transparency in law-making.) Please do not ignore these links out of sheer cussedness!




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