Reforms and Public Life

We present to our readers an interesting Article written by Mr. Sorabh Bajaj. 

Mr. Bajaj has been working as Program Management-Customer Advocacy at Unisys. He is also a Visiting Faculty for MBA Program at MARC School of BUSINESS. To know more about Mr. Bajaj, please click here. Happy Reading !

The sight of a commercial vehicle especially an auto rickshaw polluting the air is a very common in India.  And Bangalore seems to be safe haven for environmental offenders. On an usual morning, en route office, my wife asked me do we have pollution check drives in Bangalore. She recalled how in Delhi cops would run pollution check drives. While this approach of Delhi police seems to be working but is it sustainable and efficient approach? If you had been ‘victim’ of this drive you will realize that how inefficient the process is. Traffic Police stops you for just checking if you have a valid pollution under control certificate or not- the entire process can take 10-30 minutes depending on time of the day and location in the city.

Mr. Sorabh Bajaj has been working as Program Management-Customer Advocasy at Unisys

Mr. Sorabh Bajaj has been working as Program Management-Customer Advocasy at Unisys

I have not mentioned anything about corruption opportunity during such drives. Gurcharan Das   very rightly mentioned in his book “India Grows at Night” that more the number of interactions with Govt., higher the opportunity for corruption.

Most of us are law abiding citizens and we are conscious about our environment. We get our cars serviced, ensure our car does not pollute. The real reason for us to collect pollution under control certificate is to avoid manhandling by Traffic Police.

Revisiting my wife’s comment- do we have pollution check drives in Bangalore? In my mind I am thinking do we really need such drives to control pollution? Again quoting Gurcharan Das, our government is sleeping where it need of be acting and is hyperactive where it should not be playing role.

Now, traffic police has host of responsibilities and their main responsibility is to manage traffic. To help them focus on their main responsibility, our Govt. should reform these outdated laws/systems. If you really want to bring discipline in adherence to pollution under control checks then having special drives by Traffic Police will bring more pain and agony to public than actually reducing pollution.

I offer some food for thought for our bureaucrats; all the pollution generating vehicles need to get their insurance renewed every year. Why can’t we sell pollution check vouchers along with insurance? Having already paid for pollution checks, vehicle owner would like to redeem the vouchers in timely fashion. And those who did not renew the insurance for their vehicle become target not just for pollution drives but also “document check” drives. These drives become much focused and if Traffic Police has resources, these drives can be driven at source i.e. vehicle registration address of non-compliant.

The suggested process may not be the best one and I welcome critique to start the thought process around it. This is my small effort to connect public with reforms, which generally are considered as high level governmental talks. In addition to major economic reforms, India needs to reform laws/systems that impact common man in daily life. And a discussion like this is starting point.

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