Tuesday, May 6, 2025

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Open Government Principles and Execution

Declaration of Local Open Government Principles

With the development of new technologies and an increasingly connected and engaged population, a growing pressure has been placed on [City] government leaders to adopt open government practices that will promote transparency, citizen participation, and collaboration. In order to change how government works, provide more effective government services, and establish a more robust democracy, [City] adopts the following open government principles:

[City] is committed to transparency. [City] should adopt policies, practices, and procedures that allow citizens to have access to understandable, accurate, reusable, and auditable data and information about government operations and decision making (with updates available as they are made, whenever possible). City departments should use new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online. Departments should also seek public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public. The city should operate under a presumption of openness and accessibility, while also maintaining privacy, confidentiality, security and compliance with all relevant laws. These policies, practices, and procedures will increase accountability, promote informed public participation, and create economic development opportunities.

[City] is committed to meaningful public participation. [City] believes members of the public have a valuable role in governing their communities and should have opportunities to take part in government decision making. [City] supports establishing guidelines and practices that will enable the public to contribute opinions and ideas regarding political, economic, management, and other decisions using a variety of methods, as conveniently as possible for citizens. These guidelines and practices will create more informed and effective policies and enhance and expand opportunities for the public to participate throughout decision-making processes.

[City] is committed to collaborating with the public and across government. [City] should create opportunities to work jointly with individuals as well as public, non-profit, academic, and private sector groups to address the needs of the community. The city should also enhance and expand its cooperation among city departments and other governmental agencies in order to more effectively fulfill the city’s obligations to citizens. Furthermore, citizens are encouraged to contribute their time and knowledge. The city will take steps to provide efficient and effective methods of participating and collaborating, and the city commits to incorporating citizen feedback into decision making processes.

[City] is committed to sharing best practices and software and other resources with other government entities.

[City] acknowledges that, in the face of budget decreases, government entities at every level must cut costs and find efficiencies. An enormous cost-saving opportunity exists in the city’s information technology resource acquisition practices. [City] supports collaborating with other government entities to share technology resources, lessons learned, and best practices; reform procurement practices, policies, and procedures; and learn to function not only as a provider of services but as a source for other government entities, the public, and other organizations to add value to the city’s services.

Open Government Directive: These commitments require that the city create a legal framework that will institutionalize the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the culture and work of [City] government. Therefore, the [Mayor or City Manager or City Council] shall establish [an Open Government Directive] [alternative: a citizen and government open government planning group] within [90 days] to guide the implementation of open government.


Open Government Executive Directive

[City]
Local Open Government Directive

Introduction

The [City] is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. City officials will work together and with the public to ensure open and effective government as well as public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, collaboration, and accountability.

This memorandum requires [City] departments and agencies to take the following steps to achieve the goal of creating a more open government:

Publish Government Information Online

To increase accountability, promote informed public participation, and create economic development opportunities, each [City Department][1] shall expand access to information by making it available online in open formats that facilitate access to and reuse of information.

Online Publication: [City Departments] shall publish information (such as budget information, crime and health statistics, contracts with private firms, policies and procedures, and data or information frequently requested under [Open Records Act][2]) online (in addition to any other planned or mandated publication methods) and preserve and maintain electronic records. Data and records shall be preserved and maintained consistent with the [Open Records Act] and other applicable law and policy.

Timing and Consistency: Timely and consistent publication of information is an essential component of open government. As such, [City Departments] shall develop schedules for making information available to the public and indicating when information is updated.[3]
 
Presumption of Openness: With respect to information, the presumption shall be in favor of openness and publication (to the extent permitted by law and subject to valid privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions). Where practicable, [City Departments] shall publish all data that is not subject to valid privacy, security, or privilege limitations.[4][5]
 
Online and Open: [City Departments] should publish information online and, when practicable, in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, sorted, searched, and reused by commonly used Web search applications and commonly used software.[6]
 
Open Government Web Page: Within [45] days, the [City] shall establish a common Web page that will serve as the source for citywide and departmental activities related to this Local Open Government Directive.
 
Open Data Catalog: Within [60] days, each [City Department] shall create a catalog of its public information. The catalog will be accessible through the city’s Open Government Web page. The catalog will indicate:
  1. If the information is publicly-accessible;
  2. The date of when the information was made publicly-accessible;
  3. The date the information was last updated;
  4. If the information is from a primary source or has been aggregated or modified; and
  5. If the information is restricted by any license or privacy restrictions.

High-Value Data Sets: Within [75] days, each [City Department] shall identify and publish online, in an open format, at least three high-value data sets or other types of previously non-publicly accessible information.[7]
 
Public Feedback: The Open Government Web page will include a mechanism for the public to:
Give feedback on and assess the quality of published information; and
Provide input about which information to prioritize for publication.
 
Response to Public Feedback: Each [City Department] shall respond to public feedback received through the Open Government Web page on a regular, timely basis. Responses shall include descriptions of actions taken or reasons for not taking action based on public input.
 
Publication of Open Records Requests: Each [City Department] shall publish each [Open Records Act] request in an open format on the Open Government Web page, unless the request is subject to valid privacy, security, or privilege limitations. The name of the requester will remain anonymous unless otherwise indicated by the requester. If a request is subject to limitation, the [City Department] should release a redacted version of the request that also discloses the nature of the request. Each open records request shall be listed in conjunction with the status of the request and whether such request has been fulfilled. Where practicable, the requested information should be released to the public in an open format and published on the Open Government Web page.[8]
 
Licenses: The city shall not assert any copyright, patent, trademark, or other restriction on government information. However, such restrictions may be applied to information shared by the city that was compiled or modified by non-governmental entities or individuals.[9]

Create and Institutionalize a Culture of Open Government

To support open government and government accountability the [City] will expand and create opportunities for citizen participation and collaboration.[10][11]
 
Open Government Plans: Within 120 days, each the [City] shall develop and publish an Open Government Plan that will describe how the each department will enhance and develop transparency, public participation, and collaboration.[12]
 
Transparency: The Open Government Plan will describe steps the city will take to conduct its work more openly and publish its information online. The plan will describe how the city is currently meeting its legal information dissemination obligations under [Open Records Act] and [State Sunshine Act] and how the city plans to create more access to information and opportunities for public participation. This information should include ordinances and regulations, policies, legislative records, budget information, geographic data, crime statistics, public health statistics, and other public records and data.
 
Participation: To create more informed and effective policies, the [City] shall enhance and expand opportunities for the public to participate throughout [City Departments’] decision-making processes. The Open Government Plan will include descriptions of:
  1. Online access to proposed rules, ordinances, and other regulations;
  2. Online access to information and resources for the public to be properly informed (such as frequently asked questions, city officials’ and department contact information, and other supportive content);
  3. Opportunities for the public to comment through the Web on any proposed rule, ordinance, or other regulation;
  4. Methods of identifying stakeholders and other affected parties and inviting their participation;
  5. Proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve participation;
  6. Links to appropriate websites where the public can engage in the city’s existing participatory processes; and
  7. Proposals for new feedback mechanisms, including innovative tools and practices that create new and more accessible methods for public participation.
To the goal of encouraging public participation, rules, ordinances, and other regulations shall be based, to the extent feasible and consistent with law, on the open exchange of information and perspectives among other government officials, experts in relevant disciplines, affected stakeholders in the private sector, and the public as a whole.
 
Collaboration: The Open Government Plan will describe steps the [City] will take to enhance and expand its practices to further cooperation among city departments, other governmental agencies, the public, and non-profit and private entities in fulfilling the city’s obligations. The plan will include specific details about:
  1. Proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve collaboration;
  2. Proposals to use technology platforms to improve collaboration among city employees and the public;
  3. Descriptions of and links to appropriate websites where the public can learn about existing collaboration efforts; and
  4. Innovative methods, such as prizes and competitions, to obtain ideas from and to increase collaboration with those in the private sector, non-profit, and academic communities.

Evaluation: The [City's] progress towards meeting this Open Government Directive will be evaluated six (6) months after implementation, one (1) year after implementation, and each subsequent year. The city shall release the evaluation on the Open Government Web page or create an Open Government Dashboard that will provide the public with both graphic and narrative evaluation information. The evaluation will indicate if the city has not satisfied, partially satisfied, or fully satisfied the following criteria:
  1. Experts and other stakeholders were consulted when creating the Open Government Plan;
  2. The public was involved in developing the Open Government Plan;
  3. The Open Government Plan includes all of the elements required in the Open Government Directive;
  4. The city has established processes and a timeline for publishing information and data sets online;
  5. The city has established processes and a timeline for making underlying, raw data available online;
  6. The city has effectively promoted its open government efforts to the public;
  7. The city has effectively promoted its open government efforts to private sector stakeholders;
  8. The city has established efficient public feedback mechanisms;
  9. The city has reviewed, responded to, and incorporated public feedback; and
  10. The city has established processes to revise its Open Government Plan to reflect changing public needs and new technologies.
Working Group: Within 45 days, the [Mayor] and [City Auditor] shall establish a working group that focuses on transparency, accountability, public participation, and collaboration within the [City] government. This group, with senior level representation from program and management offices throughout the [City], will serve several critical functions, including:
 
Transparency Forum: The working group will provide a forum to share best practices on innovative ideas to promote transparency, including system and process solutions for information collection, aggregation, validation, and dissemination; and
 
Participation and Collaboration Forum: The working group will provide a forum to share best practices on innovative ideas to promote participation and collaboration, including how to experiment with new technologies, take advantage of the expertise and insight of people both inside and outside the [City] government, and form high impact collaborations with researchers, the private sector, and the public.
 
Public Input Forum: The working group will provide a forum for developing resolutions to issues described through the public feedback mechanisms of the Open Government Web page.
Incentives: Within 90 days, the [City Treasurer] will issue, through separate guidance or as part of any planned comprehensive management guidance, a framework for how the [City] can use challenges, prizes, and other incentive-backed strategies to find innovative or cost-effective solutions to improving open government.[13]

Create an Enabling Policy Framework for Open Government

Emerging technologies open new forms of communication between government and the public. Achieving a more open government will require the various professional disciplines within the government (such as policy, legal, procurement, finance, and technology operations) to work together to define and develop open government solutions. Policies should be regularly reviewed and revised to realize the potential of technology for open government.
 
Identification of Barriers, Guidance, and Revisions: Within 120 days, the [City Attorney], in consultation with the [City’s] [Chief Information Officer], will review existing [City] policies to identify impediments to open government and to the use of new technologies and, where necessary, issue clarifying guidance and/or propose revisions to such policies, to promote greater openness in government.[14]
 
Publication of Guidance and Proposed Policy Changes: Any clarifying guidance and/or proposed policies related to this Open Government Directive will be available through the city’s Open Government Web page.


[1]Depending on the organization of the local government, [city departments] will be replaced with the name of the city, such as the City of Castle Rock, or something like “all city departments”, such as all Castle Rock city departments.


[2][State Open Record’s Act] should be replaced with the applicable open records law, such as the Colorado Open Records Act.


[3]The timely and consistent publication of government information is of critical importance to the use of that information. Adherence to a publication schedule is critical to the success of this open government mandate. It is not enough to simply publish information without managing that information. Therefore, it is important that the mayor or another executive leader or leaders to review the resources necessary to manage the on-going publication effort, but the directive should not eliminate the schedule as part of a publication plan.


[4]Paragraph c is intended to embody the underlying intent of Freedom of Information/Open Records laws in that information held and maintained by the government is public information. As such, the default setting must be to release information and publication should only be withheld if a valid privacy, security, or privilege exists. A valid privacy, security, or privilege concerns include, but are not limited to, personal identifying information, critical infrastructure information, information related to an on-going criminal investigation, or any publication that may breach an individual or groups legal rights. If the local government chooses to withhold information from publication that government entity should provide the public with a reasonably detailed explanation for withholding the information. Such explanation should be created to foster trust and instill transparency in the publication process. Furthermore, in order to provide consistent application the city’s council should provide detailed guidelines regarding the limited publication exemptions.


[5]One of the greatest strains on government resources is compliance with open records requests. As such, local governments should use the open government directive as an opportunity to preemptively publish government information before an open records request is received. Furthermore, the local government should publish information if such information is frequently requests or if the information is a data set.


[6]Paragraph d is intended to result in the maximum use of government information. Governments must publish information that is machine-readable as well as human-readable. Although maximum openness is achieved through publication in open formats, city’s should take steps to publish what information they have in whatever format they have and then take step to convert what information into open formats.


[7]Paragraphs e-g set a time frame for publication of government information. A timetable is extremely important and should be included in the directive. The absence of a timetable will seriously undermine the success of any open government effort. Therefore, a firm deadline should be set forth in the directive.


[8]Government information includes data sets collected and maintained by the local government. Dissemination of these data sets is as important as all other forms of publication. Therefore, local government should actively release this data to the public for use and re-use.

It is again critical that data be released in an open format that is machine readable and accessible.


[9]Unlike US Federal Government information, state and local government information is not in public domain as a matter of law unless the state or local law dictates otherwise. Some local governments can and do exercise copy, trade, and intellectual property rights over government information. This practice significantly impacts the use of government information by the public and hinders open government efforts. Local governments should, therefore, release all government information free of any such right and should not exercise these rights after release. However, the city may reserve the right to enforce reasonable privacy, security, and privilege rights on government information. Finally, if license or restrictions are asserted then the license and restriction should be minimally restrictive so that they do not significantly impugn the use and derivative use of the information.


[10]This section is intended to institutionalize open government within city government. As such, the city should take substantial steps to create detailed open government plans that will help the public understand how the city will implement and operate a more transparent, participatory and collaborative government.


[11]Each paragraph of this section creates a firm timetable for development and implementation of the open government plan. A timetable is of critical importance and will allow the public and senior leadership to track the progress of the open government plan. Although, the model directive sets forth a specific timeline, the city should create a timetable that is feasible for that city. However, the timeline must be included in the directive in order to be successful.


[12]Paragraphs b-d a set forth the key core principles of open government; transparency, participation, and collaboration. These principles are viewed as the cornerstone of sound open government policy by the open government community. Therefore, the directive should include these principles as key issues to be address in the city’s open government plan or plans.


[13]Examples of incentive efforts include, http://www.appsfordemocracy.org/, http://nycbigapps.com/challenges/81/, http://sunlightlabs.com/contests/appsforamerica/.


[14]Although legal and policy barrier will hinder progress unless addressed, cultural change will also be necessary to encourage greater openness and innovation in government. City leaders should also take steps to promote and encourage cultural change in government. 

Source

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why We Need Transparency in Governance

10 Key Facts About Transparency that is available in USA

• Transparency requires listing all government expenditures online in an easily searchable database, providing the details of every tax Rupee spent. Ideal transparency websites provide a complete, itemized, and clear description of all expenditures, including but not limited to all contracts, vendors, and grants. All expenditures would have a detailed account of the payment’s purpose and who authorized the payment.

• Transparency fosters accountability in government.

• Increased public access to and understanding of government spending instills greater public confidence in elected officials.

• Transparency brings clarity and sunshine to the characteristically opaque process of government spending.

• Transparency serves as an x-ray machine, allowing people to look into the details of the budget books and understand where their tax dollars go – and to whom.

• Transparency implementation costs at the state level have varied, with most programs having minimal to low fiscal impact.  The benefits of transparency quickly make the cost worthwhile, and in the Internet age, there is no excuse to not post expenditures and financial data online.

• Transparency Laws are better than a Army of RTI activists, who waste their energy and sometimes life in searching for information, which should have been available without demand.

• Transparency alleviates the paper-heavy, inefficient File process, eliminates the unnecessary steps involved with Files, and allows the public to go right to the source.  This makes life simpler for all parties involved – including the government.

• Transparency offers a simple, effective, low-cost tool to put the government back on track and back into the hands of the citizens government ought to serve.

• Implementing transparency at all Five levels of government, whether in Centre, State, District, Taluk (or Corporation) and Panchayat , does not demand great effort; it demands basic respect for communities and taxpayers funding government operation.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How MNC's Tap Indian Talent and Innovation to succeed

Here is an Article on how MNC's Tap Indian Talent and Innovation and succeed

You might think that emerging country companies are more ready to address the needs of and win customers in other emerging markets. Indeed, India's Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. is expanding rapidly via acquisitions of Issue Group and Cosmetica Nacional in Latin America, while China's Huawei has a large direct presence in India's telecom market. But we believe that multinationals from rich countries who are already developing products for one emerging market possess unique advantages that can help them win in other emerging markets too.
For example, In August 2011, consumers in Mexico's fifth largest urban area, Toluca, were offered a new product, PureIt, a home water purifier that enabled them to not have to lug 40-pound garrafones (bottles) of drinking water to their homes from the grocery store. Consumers in many developing countries don't trust the quality of the municipal water supply; some boil their own water, others buy bottled water and yet others purify the water in their own homes. Mexican consumers traditionally did not install home water purifiers, so Unilever was building a new category. PureIt, sold by Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever was not designed in Mexico or in Europe however. A Unilever R&D team in India first developed and introduced the countertop product, which includes innovative four-stage germ kill technology, in Chennai, India in early 2005. PureIt became a grand market success in India, winning a Golden Peacock Innovative Product/Service Award and acclaim in UNESCO's Water Digest. Unilever now sells the PureIt family of products in Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria in addition to India.
Similarly, California-based Cisco Systems launched an entire new global business unit called Smart+Connected Communities from its Bangalore, India location, dubbed Cisco East. The smart building router was the first product developed by the team in Bangalore first for the Indian market but is now available globally. Wim Elfrink who led Cisco East for five years was quoted in the Economic Times of India "The ideas and concepts are coming from our Bangalore center. So it's not that we do things in India for India, we are doing for the Asia Pacific, for the US. This is not something I had anticipated three years ago."
Panasonic of Japan is designing air-conditioners in India that address the unique requirements of tropical climates and customers accustomed to an air blast from swamp coolers. Indian engineers working for Panasonic and its outsourced partners are now designing products for other tropical emerging countries. Yamaha, another Japanese company has found a huge market for its headquarters-designed motorcycles in India where they are used for primary commuting, not just for recreation. This year, it decided to develop a $500 motorcycle in India and will use the design to address emerging markets, according to Yamaha India CEO Hiroyuki Suzuki. Conglomerate Siemens of Germany is designing innovative medical scanners using a distributed team of engineering in Europe and in Goa, India. Peter Löscher, Siemens chief executive, says: "A good idea or product from, for instance, India can be plugged into a global system of sales and manufacturing."
The takeaway from Unilever, Cisco, Panasonic, Yamaha and Siemens is that innovative thinking from low-cost countries combined with rapid action can benefit rich country companies disproportionately.
Four factors make it possible for American, European and Japanese multinationals to use globally distributed product development and engineering capabilities to leapfrog local firms from emerging markets:
  • Techniques such as Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) have enabled leading companies to become more disciplined about the engineering and R&D process. This enables large initiatives to be parsed and subdivided across time zones and cultural boundaries more readily than in the past.

  • Low cost three-dimensional printers enable near-simultaneous creation of physical prototypes on multiple continents. So a new design file from Beijing can be transmitted in minutes to the test center in Mumbai, to the corporate lab in Chicago and to the potential market in Cape Town and teams can have physical prototypes ready in a day without having to wait for shipping, customs and other delays.

  • The extremely low cost for video conferencing using services such as Skype or GoToMeeting enables participants separated by 11 or 12 hours of time zones to collaborate in real time.

  • Companies from rich countries often already own a reservoir of intellectual property that can be combined with the innovative ideas from the low-cost country innovators to produce a winning combination.
Seizing this missed opportunity for reverse innovation should be on the agenda of every multinational already succeeding in one emerging market.

 by Vijay Govindarajan and Gunjan Bagla

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Frugal Innovation with Jugaad Mindset

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, famously coined the term "frugal engineering" in 2006. He was impressed by Indian engineers' ability to innovate cost-effectively and quickly under severe resource constraints. And under Ghosn's leadership , Renault-Nissan has proactively embraced frugal engineering and become one of the world's leading producers of both electric cars as well as low-cost vehicles — two of the fastest growing and most promising market segments in the global automotive sector.
Recently, in New York, we participated in a panel discussion organized by the Asia Society called "Jugaad Innovation: Reigniting American Ingenuity" (you can watch a video here). We were honored to have Ghosn as our key panelist. During the panel discussion, Ghosn explained that Western automakers must sacrifice the "bigger is better" R&D model and adapt to frugal engineering.

In today's resource-constrained environment, Western firms are feeling the growing pressure to "do more with less" — that is, deliver more value to customers at less cost. CEOs of these firms can emulate four best practices initiated by Carlos Ghosn at Renault-Nissan:

1) Create "good enough" products that deliver high value for money: Over-engineering products is no longer sustainable — both for economical and environmental reasons. Rather, Western firms need to make simplicity a key tenet of their innovation process by developing "good enough" offerings that deliver significant value for money to cost-conscious consumers. For example, in 2004, Renault launched Logan, a small, no-frills family car. At a starting price of $10,000, the car is built with drastically simplified product architecture and minimal components. In addition to a stripped-down, modern design, Logan is reliable and energy efficient. As a result, it has become Renault's best-selling car across recession-weary European markets as well as in many emerging markets. Building on Logan's success, Renault has now developed an entire line of low-cost vehicles (under the brand Dacia) all modeled after Logan's technology platform.

2) Foster healthy rivalry among global R&D teams: CEOs may find it difficult to persuade R&D teams in the US and Europe — used to abundant resources and pushing the technology frontier for its own sake — to embrace frugal innovation. Yet engineers and scientists love challenges. Western CEOs can create challenges for global R&D teams by introducing artificial constraints that foster a sense of urgency and healthy rivalry that can lead to frugal solutions. In one instance, Ghosn requested three different R&D teams — one each from Japan, France, and India — to come up an engineering solution for the same technical problem. The teams came up with solutions of equal quality — yet the Indian engineers' solution cost only one-fifth of what the French and Japanese engineers' solutions cost.

3) Tap partners in emerging markets who excel at innovating more with less. Rather than relying exclusively on in-house R&D teams to develop frugal solutions, companies in developed economies need to connect with entrepreneurial organizations in emerging markets that have a knack for innovating on a shoestring. Recognizing that even its least-expensive pickup truck was five times costlier than the Indian market could afford, Nissan established an R&D and manufacturing joint venture with Ashok Leyland, an Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer. Ghosn recounts with humor how Dr. V. Sumantran, Non-Executive Vice-Chairman of Ashok Leyland, paid a visit to the basement of Nissan's technical center in Atsugi, Japan and pointed to a four-generation old Nissan pick-up truck. He told Nissan's baffled head of product planning: "Give us the design specs of this vehicle and our Indian engineers will use it as baseline to develop a great-looking yet affordable and robust pick-up truck fit for the tough Indian roads." And they did it. The result is DOST, an entry-level pick-up truck with a starting price of Rs 3.7 lakhs ($6,600). Since its launch in September 2011, DOST has garnered more than a third of India's hypercompetitive light commercial vehicles market. The Ashok Leyland-Nissan joint venture now plans to introduce DOST in other emerging markets in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

4) Send your top executives to emerging markets to cultivate the jugaad mindset:
Ultimately frugal innovation is not just about doing more with less. It's about learning how to innovate under severe constraints and turn extreme adversity into an opportunity for growth. But it's hard for Western executives to cultivate this frugal, flexible and inclusive mindset — which we call jugaad — in resource-rich and relatively stable Western economies. That's why Ghosn dispatched Gérard Detourbet, a senior executive in Paris who was in charge of Renault-Nissan's entry-level cars, to India. From his new base in Chennai, Detourbet will be leading the development of a "global small car" — an entry-level car priced at around Rs 3 lakhs ($5,200) that will first be commercialized in India and then introduced in other emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa. When Detourbet returns to Renault-Nissan's headquarters in Paris, he is poised to bring with him the jugaad mindset he honed in India. As Ghosn, a Brazilian-born French national of Lebanese descent, explains: "We don't go to emerging markets to just bring back a product, but to learn something — like new processes or a whole new mindset."

To win in today's resource-constrained global economy, Western CEOs must follow Ghosn's lead in embracing frugal innovation. By inculcating the jugaad mindset within their enterprise, Western CEOs will be able to build a resilient organization that can deliver significantly more value to customers using fewer resources.

Source
Harvard Business  Review

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fighting Corruption

Since corruption has become major issue in the country and has become major stumbling block in the progress of the nation.  I have made list of measures that can prevent corruption.


Mandatory Diclosure requirements
Make declaration of assets and incomes mandatory for joining any organisation of public importance including non profit social institutions, Government service, contesting Elections or political parties.  Any candidate want to join public service or contest elections has to produce income tax filed certificate and subsequently file income tax every year and which should be open to scrutiny by a independent body to fight corruption. All firms which apply for any tender or work orders with governments should also do mandatory diclosures on their assets. Make all the tender process public.

Create Deterrents
If anyone is found corrupt then all his wealth should be attached(Already practiced in Bihar by Nitish Kumar) and sold to raise funds for fighting corruption. Arrest and jail term for flouting rules. Debared from fighting any public office including social service organisations, trusts of any kind.

Transparency
Greater transparency in all government, bureaucratic functions. No rule should be left undefined. Any violation or non implementation should be death.
Law should be passed for creating a body for regulating transparency, so that all the standards are met in both public and private decision making.

Performance Driven
Non performing public and bureaucratic functionaries should be de - promoted to lesses roles with lesser pay instead of transfer.

Streamline punishments
Create fast tracking mechanism and punishment parameters , just like traffic cops fine structure for violation is given. The corruption practices jail terms should be given. So the investigation agencies and  courts have to be no longer logjammed over small crimes.

Create Legal Departments 
Create legal dept in all the levels of government, stop depending on bureucrats for interpreting rules.

Political Party Reforms
Make functioning of political parties Transparent. Party Elections Mandatory. Bring party elections under Election commission supervision. Disclosure of funding and expenses Mandatory. Bar political parties from that constituency if they field corrupt or criminal candidates. Appoint a Regulator for Political parties to deal with violations and keeping them Democratic, Transparent, Constitutionally correct and Funding.

Prevention

  •  Declare all Family assets and incomes along with application to any government post , Social organization post.
  • Filing of Family income tax compulsory for all posts  and responsibility of the management.
  • Make Information all the projects except sensitive ones like defense compulsory available freely in the office and website , no RTI needed to know the information
  • one man one post.
  •  80% percent of all positions in political and Social organizations should be elected not appointed.
  • Declare how money was spent by each official , politician publicly and take them into consideration when considering their record while giving another project or work.
  • Remove human interface by computerizing and access on on-line
  • Define scope, Functions, Responsibilities and parameters  for assessment of job done.
  • Reward good work. 
  • All kinds of party funding be closed, this is the base for all corruptions.
  • Implement Independent Lokpal.
  • Make CBI Independent
  • Bring Citizen Charter and fix time-frame for disposing of cases under the charter, else make them accountable for delay.
  • Making the required changes to double taxation treaties with countries like Mauritius to avoid tax evasions and transfer pricing policies.
  • Kill RTI, Make it Mandatory to disclose information about the activities of Beuracracy and Politicians.
Action

  • Swift action and Accountable person punished along with accused.
  • If accountability cannot be fixed, all the connected persons should be demoted or suspended.
  • Property of all should be attached.
  • Non Performing people should be demoted.
  • Ban people from contesting or being appointed, if they have criminal or corrupt past.
  • Enforce Non-Conflict in people appointed.
  • Disqualify lawyers, Charted accounts if found supporting corruption.
  • Put people in jail for all types of corruption like Bribery, Extortion, embezzlement,Nepotism,Patronage
  • Ordinance to attach all properties of families and relatives of any scam ministers or officials and suspend them permanently from all activities. Also make a rule that people with scam be banned life long from politics and govt offices
  • Any action of corruption be declared anti-national, with stringent punishment. demote them if they cant be removed from office.
  • All irregularities done by Chartered Accountants should result in their disqualification

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ten Areas to Improve to become a Super Power for India

  • Religious extremism: Long term trends indicate that liberals and moderates in every religious community in India are on the defensive.
  • Left wing extremism: Extremism in the form of the Naxalite movement, which is a result of geographical reasons and also social and political forces, owing to the continued dispossession and deprivation of tribal people in India
  • Corruption: The corruption and corrosion of the power center in India, as a result of political parties functioning as family firms rather than open, transparent political systems.
  • Decline of public institutions: This includes universities, police, civil services, the judiciary (except for higher judiciary) etc.
  • Rich-poor divide: The increasing gap between the rich and the poor which is particularly manifested through farmer suicides in India, a phenomenon that has become pervasive only in the last 10-15 years, perhaps because there is now the expectation of a 'good life' that did not exist before.
  • Environmental degradation: The degradation at a local level, which is impacting people's lives in very real ways, whether in the form of massive depletion of underground aquifers, chemical contamination of soil, death of rivers, loss of species etc.
  • Apathy of the media: Apathy in covering issues of rising income inequality, environmental degradation.
  • Dynastic Politics : Politics not based on performance ,but on Family relationships , Loyalty pushing the urgent areas to improved like Literacy, Health, Development issues to backburner
  • Border disputes: India's unresolved border disputes, especially in Kashmir and the North East (Arunachal) which indicates that there are parts of India that are not comfortable with being part of India.
  • Unstable neighbourhood: India's increasingly unstable neighbourhood is another serious impediment to our superpower ambitions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walkable Cities

One of the important parameters of good cities are , whether they are walkable or is it a nightmare to walk. The Website walkscore gives the score for each city and lists out the following parameters. The Parameters are below.

Walkable Neighborhoods

Picture a walkable neighborhood. You lose weight each time you walk to the grocery store. You stumble home from last call without waiting for a cab. You spend less money on your car—or you don't own a car. When you shop, you support your local economy. You talk to your neighbors.

What makes a neighborhood walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernable center, whether it's a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.
  • Density: The neighborhood is compact enough for local businesses to flourish and for public transportation to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.
  • Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.
  • Nearby schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.

Streets Designed for Everyone

Complete Streets are roads are designed for everyone who uses them, including bicyclists, pedestrians of all ages and abilities, and people getting on and off transit vehicles. These streets are:

  • Accessible: There are wheelchair ramps, plenty of benches with shade, sidewalks on all streets, etc.
  • Well-connected: Streets form a connected grid that improves traffic by providing many routes to any destination.
  • Built for the right speed: Lanes are narrow or traffic calming is in place to control speed.
  • Comfortable: Pedestrian medians at intersections, count-down crosswalk timers, bicycle lanes, protected bus shelters, etc. make the street work better for those outside of a car.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Soverign Rating Game

It has been always puzzle how these ratings are given, Just look at the below article , you can find reasons.

United States-based rating firm Standard & Poor's downgraded its outlook for India's sovereign debt from stable to negative on February 24, while retaining the country's BBB- rating - the lowest investment grade. In essence, India's sovereign debt is just a step away from being declared junk. Not only does that indicate that the economy is in a perilous state - it drives up the cost of borrowing.

The last time India was downgraded to junk was in 1991. Are we saying that India is currently on the edge of the precipice and is about to hurtle down the abyss, as it did then, when, if memory serves me right, inflation ruled at 16.7% in August 1991. India's foreign currency assets were worth a measly US$1.1 billion on June 30, 1991, just good enough to cover the country's import bill for a fortnight.

That year, the government leased 20 tonnes of gold to the State Bank of India (SBI) for sale abroad, with an option to repurchase it after six months. The government also asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in July 1991, to ship 47 tonnes of gold to the Bank of England to raise $600 million.

Agreed, India's current fiscal situation is a cause for concern. This is purported to be the background for the current downgrade, along with external vulnerability, given the rising current account deficit. But before we go into the depth of the issue, it is important remember that in the interim, during 2001-2004, there was a strong debate on same issue, when global rating agencies downgraded India in view of a rising fiscal deficit.

In January 2004, Professor Nouriel Roubini (RGE Monitor) and Richard Hemming (senior advisor at the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund) in their paper "A Balance Sheet Crisis in India?", drawing on their and India's experience of the previous crisis in 1991, concluded by highlighting several vulnerabilities that India was on the verge of another crisis. In retrospect, however, these risks never materialized. India recorded 8%-plus annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the next few years thereafter and everything was under control.

Now, the specter of a high deficit is again looming large. India's estimated fiscal deficit for the financial year 2008-09 is 6%, and if one takes into account the state government deficits, the total fiscal deficit should be in the region on 9% to 10%. However, the uptick in the deficit has as much to do with rising expenditure as it has to do with falling revenues as growth momentum slows, following the contagion effect of the global crisis.

It is important to note that the fiscal deficit rose despite a sharp fall in private spending. Hence the rise in the fiscal deficit has not been caused by private spending. Even the external (im)balance that is of concern to the rating agency has a lot to do with the global financial crisis. In fact, with domestic demand shrinking and commodity prices falling (and unlikely to improve much even next year or the next given the general recessionary trend), India's external balance will be much under control going forward.

Given the demand contraction (both domestic and external), India will be lucky to record even 6% GDP growth in 2008-09. It is not expected to be much better than 6.5% even by 2009-10. Thereafter, India will record much higher GDP growth. Clearly the fiscal vulnerability that is being talked about is more cyclical than structural and hence is a lesser cause for worry.

Seemingly, for the the rating agency economists, these are issues not important enough to dwell on, and hence they have decided to sound alarm bells by simply going by the macro-indicators and their past experience, failing to take congniscance of the fact that the business environment changes and a much more holistic view needs to be taken.

In the case of India, 1991 was different. Since then, India has seen many structural changes and, as an economy, the country is in a much better shape. Because of prudent practices, India has managed to avoid the financial contagion that many developed economies, with their cutting-edge policies and regulations, have fallen into.

A major part of the blame for the implosion of the global financial market has to do to with the credit rating agencies themselves, for their miserable failure to predict a crisis that was possibly one of the most predictable ever to hit the global financial system. Agencies that pour their energies into studying company data day in and day out could not predict the collapse of the US housing bubble, despite every data indicating that big trouble was brewing. Not only that, they went ahead and boldly gave a high investment grade rating to various structured products that abounded with junk, leading to the problem being exacerbated.

A scorecard released recently by Credit Suisse detailing the vulnerability of various countries repays study.

Credit Suisse ranked countries with regard to their vulnerability by taking into account various factors, the lowest ranking being more vulnerable. The table highlights the ratings given to the East European countries. As we all know, this region has the ability to have a severe impact on even the developed European economies. The S&P rating column shows that only one East European country, Latvia, had a BBB- rating similar to that of India. All others have higher rating than that of India, at times substantially higher.

Yet consider that fact that Hungary, Ukraine and Romania have already gone to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout. In contrast, India is talking of making contributions to the IMF's coffers to finance these bailouts. India's ranking is 25, that is, it is a country considered to be much less vulnerable than others. More importantly, consider Iceland, now a poster boy of doom because of its reckless policies. Iceland was rated similarly to India. Clearly, S&P even failed to predict Iceland's tremendous fall from grace.

Given the current situation, Keynesianism - with government spending seeking to take up the slump in the private sector - is the way out of the present crisis for most countries. Given the contraction in domestic demand, India needs to do the same.

Similarly for the US. The forecast fiscal deficit for the US in the current year is higher than that of even India. It is quite likely that, if S&P or another such rating agencies were handed the relevant data for the US without the information to which country it referred, the sovereign rating that would result for the world's biggest economy could well be "junk".

Kunal Kumar Kundu

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

National Security Registry

After Every attack we see lot of blaming of each other between the state and Central government Agencies regarding Intelligence Failure , how the Intelligence was given by central agencies and how it was vague and not actionable by state agencies. Let us see how Agencies operate before going into solutions. Structure is as follows

Central Government
National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS)

Intelligence Bureau(IB) Research and Analysis Wing(RAW)

Military Intelligence
Directorate General of Military Intelligence (DGMI)

Defence Intelligence Agency (Co-ordinator of Intelligence from Below below)

Army Intelligence Airforce Intelligence Naval Intelligence

Intelligence Units of Central Security forces
  • Central Reserve police force (CRPF)
  • Border Security Force (BSF)
  • Special Protection Force (SPG)
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
  • National Security Guard (NSG)

State Police Security Units
  • Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
  • Special Branch or the Crime Branch

Others
  • If you thought you had enough number of Security Agencies , there are more to coordinate National Technical Research Organization (NTRO)
  • cyber intelligence and cyber counter-intelligence

Co-ordinatingUnits
To co-ordinate between Central and state level intelligence
  • Multi-Agency Centre (MAC)
  • Joint Task Force on intelligence
state level co-ordination
  • State Multiagency centre (SMAC)
So , why so many agencies and not much action. The Main problem is Information sharing. The agencies play only lip service to information sharing. So everytime some incident happens there is so much blame game. So How do make these persons in the Intelligence units share information. Let us analyse the options. Let us leave the Military Intelligence as the structure is good and with DIA seems to be working fine. There are few points to be noted
  • We still operate in British time mentality
  • The Local Law enforcing people or police is the main source of gathering intelligence and also enforcing the law. (foot soldier)
  • Co-ordination is missing between the units even though there are co-ordinating agencies Intelligence for one agency may not be a Intelligence for another agency.
So how do you solve the problems. We need to move away from British time intelligence operation to modern one. We need to provide access to intelligence to all necessary units, especially to point of law enforcement that is police. We need to provide relevant intelligence to the particular unit. National Security Registry.

The Answer is a National security registry or crime register , which contain all the crime data on all the crimes commited in India. This registry should be searcheable to all the security personal. Sensitive information if any can be restricted to higher ups. You might say already that is available MAC and NTRO. MAC is anything but operational, while NTRO has become another Intellgence agency. We need to computerise the crime data and provide computers in each police station to provide access to the intelligence data. Later on any new intelligent communicating device comes in aid of policeman, it can lead to the data link to his/her hand. In short cut Redtape on intellgence sharing. The each citizens can be given a security number and this number will make the indexing easy.
This will help
  • Bring all the crime data to actionable intelligence.
  • Break the Hierarchy in information sharing.
  • Make every policeman , Intelligent policeman
  • solve Inter-state crimes
  • Help law enforcement officials to make watertight cases.
  • Increase Conviction.