Friday, February 22, 2013
City Management and Administration-A Lesson to be Learnt from the Canadian City of Edmonton !
I have not visited the Canadian City of Edmonton or Canada. For that matter I have never ever gone out of India so far. That is definitely a disqualification in my country. Because, in the official parlour, the number of countries visited is counted as a mark of experience and competence of an employee in the higher echelons, especially in the governmental organizations.
But there is a rider to it. If you have made any private visit abroad, that is not counted. An official is considered competent if he or she has managed to go abroad in his official capacity. So, managing to get an official trip abroad is one of the highest rewards an Indian official can have. Quite naturally, this is one type of carrot the Indian organizations usually employ to motivate their employees.
So thousands of Indian officials keep going abroad, mostly for getting higher learning and training. Foreigners keep training Indian officials ever since India became independent from direct foreign rule some six decades ago.
One of the motivating factors for Indians to procure equipments and systems from foreign sources is the lure and scope of potential foreign tour and training that it may provide to some. Foreign suppliers well understand this weakness of Indians very well that they are never very conservative in offering lavish training facilities in their home country while offering their equipment and technology to Indians.
Learning something good and new from outside is not a bad idea. But sourcing things from abroad only for the purpose of having some official foreign visit cannot be considered that way. The net effect in this kind of a situation is that Indians would never learn anything from their foreign visits. It has become so acceptable now that the teams of officials getting sponsored for foreign study tours from India are never any one associated with any discharge of responsibilities associated with that kind of a training!
Foreign study tours from India have become pleasure trips for those officials who are favoured persons of their seniors who nominate them rather than those who have to utilize their knowledge later. Foreign suppliers have also recognized this aspect that is special to India that they no more bother to make elaborate training arrangements for Indians in their respective countries any more. They would rather happily arrange some pleasure trips for them in the guise of the training trips, the way their Indian clients require.
Well connected government officials from the elite Indian administrative services are routinely sent abroad for higher studies. Some US universities like Harvard have permanent arrangements for this kind of training for the Indian officials.
But even after six decades of such perpetual training, the Indian professionals are not proving their skills in their respective administrative and other fields in their own work areas in India.
There is nothing in India where their performances could be bench marked to what they had learnt abroad.
During the same period some other Asian countries like China, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and the Koreas have gone far ahead than India by utilizing the knowledge that their professionals have been learning from the western sources. Now they have come to that level that they are in a position to offer some better technologies and management systems even to the westerners !
In the recent decades, due to the higher intermingling of Indians in western countries like the US, Canada, Australia and the UK, the westerners are more aware of the Indian psyche and their weaknesses that they are no more so considerate to the Indians as their immediate ancestors were. This implies that Indians in future are going to struggle a lot to keep them abreast with the high rate of technological advances that are taking place in those countries.
Knowing the double standards of Indians, no sane mind would think of trusting Indians fully, which would likely make things more difficult in the future for India as a nation to keep pace with the developments that take place in this world.
India is likely to become a country of all kinds of paradoxes, enhancing from its current level. Money and wealth in India would no more ensure a good life in this country. Affluent Indians would keep fleeing from this country and the rate of flight would increase from the current levels.
There are many at the top echelons of the elite administrative services in this country who have got ample chances to learn from the developed nations.
It is their responsibility to save India from non-inclusive and unplanned development.
It is easy to help the children to go abroad and settle for a good life in those countries and migrate abroad to live the rest of the old age life in the US or Canada. But Indians would be Indians wherever they live. Their skins and minds cannot change. That is engraved in their genes !
But learning good things from the westerners and adapting that to India is some thing else. It is difficult. It is indeed difficult when you have immature elected representatives who have made it a routine to blame the west for all the odds that the people face in India.
But it is not impossible !
It is not impossible for those who are still rightly placed in India. But they have to come out of their complacent self created shells to act.
You may be wondering why I started with Edmonton and wrote this much, apparently unrelated.
Not at all unrelated my friend !
I feel concerned because those Indians who visit abroad are not using their experience for the good of their own motherland !
There are much to be learnt from this land blocked city of Canada. For that matter, any city there perhaps !
How efficiently they keep managing and improving it !
You need not visit that country or city to learn it .
They have very nicely made it known in their website. [You may click the hyperlink to know more about the City Management in the Canadian City of Edmonton in Alberta]
It is indeed a very practical, efficient and transparent city management !
If you ask me, there is nothing that prevents the Indian cities and towns to adopt such a system of municipal administration. Incidentally, as I have learnt, there are many Indians associated with the prosperity of this Canadian city of Edmonton !
The professional pride of those connected with that city's efficient administrative system is reflected in their website.
And in my opinion it should be how the administrative professionals or public servants should work to help the elected representatives of the citizens.
If they can do it in Canada, can we Indians not do it in India ?
Don't repeat the same old Indian excuse that Canada is a rich country !
Canada and Canadians are rich because they manage their systems wisely and transparently.
Please correct me if I am wrong !