August 27, 2014
There are some tricky jurisdictional issues about Delhi that come into the picture, as well. These will need to be better understood. However, I had done some thinking around this issue some time earlier, so I'm noting these points for ready reference. I'd like to add that I'm not committed to these being the ten top reforms, and am open to being persuaded about more promising reforms for Delhi. The manifesto of the Swarna Bharat Party will contain a more comprehensive package, but this is a preliminary list of top 10 reforms.
1. Change in the departmental structure and bureaucratic management to ensure accountability
Without making the bureaucracy accountable, NOTHING can be achieved. This reform will not be as comprehensive as that detailed in SKC agenda. But much can be done directly by the Delhi government. The reform includes combining departments into a few large departments, each headed by a Super Secretary to the Government. The Super Secretary of each department – who will supervise all IAS and other officials in the departments – would be appointed on a contract of three years in the first instance at a salary of around Rs.75 lakhs per annum. Such Super-Secretaries would be eligible for a performance bonus of up to Rs 25 lakhs per annum for meeting their performance contract, which would include tight control over corruption and the delivery of high quality services. Such persons would be recruited from the open market. Any IAS officer wishing to be considered for such a role would need to resign upon appointment to such a position.
This reform will ensure hassle free interaction with government offices, e.g. licensing (RTO), water and electricity departments, etc. As accountability dramatically increases, corruption will dramatically decrease.
This will involve a radical increase in the level of transparency. The Super Secretary will be required (through KPIs) to pro-actively publish data related to government activities along with expenditure records (such as details about each road or park).
2. Drastic increase in the number of necessary jobs
These jobs will create hygienic living conditions in Delhi. All open drains will be closed and strewn garbage eliminated. These will also create aesthetic surroundings through god roads, clean parks, greenery, underground electric cables etc. In particular Delhi's roads need to be straightened (particularly around older villages, and all tiled sidewalks replaced with cemented blocks. All sidewalks will provide disabled access for people with impaired mobility. These actions will generate a vast number of new jobs and also make Delhi the most liveable city in India. In a few years time, Delhi could aim to compete with the better cities of the world.
Public safety will be made the direct liability of the Super Secretary of the infrastructure department, with any damages for injury from roads/ sidewalks paid personally by the Super-Secretary. Parking on sidewalks will be heavily fined. Specific parking places will be created and auctioned across Delhi in the colonies, to ensure that no car blocks traffic or the side walk.
3. Dramatic change in the real estate system to eliminate all black money from the system.
This change would take around three years to implement, but after that there should be no possibility of any black money in any real estate transaction. This will also include complete overhaul of the developer system to ensure that the mafia that currently operate in this sector are brought to book.
4. Dramatic change in the school system to ensure that the poorest of the poor start receiving high quality education
This would involve full implementation of details outlined in the SKC agenda. This would take around 3-4 years to implement, given the significant change involved. In the meanwhile, great focus would be given to improving teacher quality. This will ensure that all schools have decent infrastructure, e.g. toilets, library, furniture, etc.
5. Radical improvement in the water supply and sewage system
This will involve either implementing incentives in the government water undertaking for performance, or if that's not possible, then entirely privatising the system through public tender and bringing it under regulatory control. Supply will be provided at a regulated cost that takes into account future infrastructure needs. Unauthorised habitations will also be provided water – at cost. Temporary Infrastructure will be built as matters of property rights are resolved (these matters can take around four to five years to resolve, after the land system is entirely modernised). Sewage management will be professionalised, as well, with appropriate incentives.
6. Radical improvement in the electricy system
This will involve more intense regulation, and ensuring that incentives are aligned with desired outcomes. Supply will be provided on payment.
7. Transport system to be revamped entirely
In particular, focus will shift towards managing the demand side through appropriate congestion levy. The taxi and auto markets will be fully liberalised, and bus competition will be increased through innovative models such as kerb rights allocation. Supply side improvements will also be undertaken to the extent these are cost effective.
8. Revamp of agriculture
The APMC acts will be abolished and farmers in and around Delhi freed from the requirement to sell in mandis. This will allow for competition in the wholesale sector, In the long run, proper wholesale produce markets will be established.
9. Drastic reduction in unnecessary business regulation
Delhi will be made the most business friendly city in India by drastically eliminating all unnecessary regulation, and ensuring that all modern techniques are implemented to make it easy to do business in Delih. Under no circumstances will innovative technologies like Uber be prevented from operating in Delhi. [I request the PHD chamber of commerce and other industry associations to provide their business improvements suggestions for Delhi]
10. Radical modernisation fo the health system
Delhi does not exercise control over many of the large hospitals in Delhi. However, the SKC agenda will be implemented in Delhi to the extent possible, and all means of increasing competition in the health sector considered and implemented.
In addition, overall administration will DRAMATICALLY improve and corruption will reduce even more dramatically, almost to be come non-existent in three years.
DESIRABLE BUT CAN'T BE DONE BECAUSE DELHI IS NOT A FULL STATE
1. Electoral reforms as outlned in SKC agenda
2 Change in the local government system as outlined in SKC agenda
3. Full reform of the justice system
4. Rezoning of lands to allow high rise residential buildings within 20 kilometres of Connought Place (subject to aircraft clearance requirements)
5. Elimination of poverty as outlined in the SKC agenda
6. Security: Although the Delhi Government does not have Delhi Police under it's control, the Delhi government can cover all public places with world-class CCTV infrastructure with active remote monitoring. In addition a citizens' volunteer force can be organised to help people report crime.