April 30, 2018

Statutory warning: Systemic sloth kills

Shankkar Aiyar, Visiting Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, writes on why politicians should recognise that they are judged not just on intent but execution of intent, in this New Indian Express article. Excerpts:


"On Thursday, a school bus carrying schoolchildren was run over by a train at an unmanned railway crossing in Uttar Pradesh—13 children lost their lives and eight were grievously hurt. The loss of young lives, the shock and grief, triggered outrage. Aggravating the anguish was politics—about what Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, and the many responses and interpretations.


The rage of the people, worsened by the dodge-weave rhetorical response of the administration, reflects the sense of frustration and helplessness at the episodic failures of the system. At the crux of these tragedies is the casual approach to causalities, the measures of governance that are ostensibly in place to prevent such tragedies. The details of the tragedy represent the classic cliché about governance—what can go wrong does go wrong. The unstated statutory warning on governance should read: Systemic sloth kills.


Consider the elements to appreciate the multiple failures that made this tragedy. The UP Police estimated that around 21 children were packed like sardines in the van. The driver, the police suspect, was 17 years old and either did not possess a driver’s licence or had one issued illegally. The driver, eyewitness accounts say, was driving with headphones on. The railway crossing was unmanned. The gate mitra at the crossing asked the driver to stop but he proceeded regardless. It is also not clear if the van was cleared by the school to carry students. The school itself was apparently unregistered."


Read the full article here

Topic : State Capacity / In : OP-EDS
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