Archive for January, 2010

Improving Accountability – Science Ministry posts its Targets online

Mint has an interesting report on 14th Jan that Science and Technology Ministry has posted its targets online. While the targets have been set internally, the performance will be evaluated by an independent panel of experts.

Check it out

Innovations in Services for Urban Poor Awards

Dear All,

Greetings for the New Year 2010, from India Urban Space Foundation!!

Social entrepreneurs are taking on new challenges in leading path-breaking social innovations. As a befitting tribute to the spirit of such leadership, India Urban Space Foundation launches ‘Innovations in Services for Urban Poor Awards Program’. If your organisation is one amongst these pioneers, this program seeks out for you!

With support from The World Bank – SIDA Partnership, and a host of other Government and non-Government apex and network organisations, we embark on this program to identify, recognise, and reward the best innovations in reaching out and impacting the lives of the burgeoning mass of urban poor.

We seek nominations from Government, entrepreneurs – small and large, NGOs and CBOs; of successful experiments in dealing with problems confronted by the urban poor in – Water and Sanitation; Housing; Urban Mobility; Livelihoods; Primary Education and Preventive Healthcare.

Sustainability; Linkage with mandate of civic agencies; and Integrating individual and community interest – are the three cornerstones of innovation; around which our eminent Jury panel will evaluate the nominations.

Apart from national recognition, the Awardees will receive a citation and a handsome cash reward. The program will also open new doors to the awardees – linkages with funders, financial institutions and venture funds; opportunities to impact policies and large urban programs; linkages with market players for upstream / downstream activities; access to panel of expert mentors; et al.

For more information on this program, and guidance to submit your nomination, please see enclosed e-brochure and visit –

We look forward to your active participation and support in this initiative.

Yours truly

Shrinivas Kowligi
Chief Executive Officer
India Urban Space Foundation

Coup in India

What if there was a coup in India – not by armed forces but by administration. Chief Secretary takes charge and all politicians are removed. Will the governance suffer? For better or worse? All that the coup shall do is eliminate top layer of policy making. A layer that is superfluous in any case. Politicians are nor portfolio experts neither experienced in matters of governance. They rely totally on inputs from the administration & advisers. One thing is for sure that the country will save lacs of crores of rupees that is spent on upkeep of politicians. Corruption would be less if only due to the sheer reduction in number of takers.

One could argue that the IAS brigade might be no better. True. Could they be any worse? Unlikely. Atleast they have the qualifications & experience & hopefully values that better resonate with middle classes – the backbone of the civil society.

Let’s discuss this. Put forth your point of view. Dont be silent.

One could improve on this model by introducing a thin political layer. Let’s say we elect only the PMs & CMs who in turn choose their teams not from politicians but administrators supplemented by external subject matter expert advisors.

My first post on this forum was entitled “Govt needs an OD overhaul”. By & large, the consensus is that we have a large government machinery that is ineffective. It is elephantine & slow to respond. We the citizens are paying for sustenance of this governance without getting bang for the buck. If we were to analyse how to maximise value, we will seek to eliminate the most expensive & least bothered layer. We instinctively know that is the political layer. Lets dig in & find out if our instinct is backed by the facts or not. Pl contribute to this discussion.

Who’s the boss

Indian express has an interesting article here on instances where the legislature exercised control on the executive. Perhaps we need more of this.