Vijay K. Saluja
Senior Fellow, Insitute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
I am on a brief visit to Singapore. Coming from Delhi to this state-city is a great learning experience for me-a City-Management Professional?! One immediately observes what a “world class city“ contains, should be & can proudly boast of ?
The first class experience of the city, starts right from the moment you arrive & enter its sparkling `Changi` airport. No hassles of any kind,- self explanatory well designed/ located signage, clean toilets, efficient bags collection at the belt, quick but orderly immigration clearance, availability of sufficient tourist information brochures about the city`s various places of interest, ,foreign-exchange counters, [wo] manned by helpful & smiling attendants, nice cafeteria etc etc & immediate availability of very well maintained taxis, being plied by courteous drivers[most of them are older persons who have taken to this profession after their retirement],to name a few experiences.Though, one has to stand in a queue of pre-paid taxis, in case of some flights arriving almost at the same time & there is just no long wait, as the airport staff ensures that the requirement of taxis is met immediately.
Drive from the city to one of the HDB[Housing Development Board] residential complex[In Singapore, most of the flats are state-built] was indeed a comforting drive-smooth ,lane-discipline, roads are excellent, flanked by lovely trees & well manicured green spaces, proper road signage of various kinds & all traffic lights in operational order. One hardly sees any traffic policeman on the way,but traffic continues without any hassles!!
I ask myself, why we can not have facility/situation like this in our Delhi?
This is the beginning of my sojourn in Singapore.
STRAITS TIMES is one of the widely read English newspaper in the city.It costs ninety cents equivalent of approx thirty five Indian rupees. Media Corp is the English TVchannel. To know about the various happenings in the city, I daily read the said morning newspaper & watch the TV channel.
.The `Paper` makes it a point to devote some of its pages to the efforts and views of the community in making their neighbourhood better & properly maintained. There is active `People Association`.The Minister Mentor[Mr Lee Kuan Yew], the prime minister, the local MPS, the community representatives, take very active interest in the day to day welfare of the community & the citizens. The city-its clean & green residential areas, numerous malls, various eating joints/food courts, traffic on the roads, give an appearance of total orderliness.
In STRAITS TIMES of 23rd Sep there was a news on the top page with the caption`The Ministry of Education, to give stress on values & character-building`How I wish,our Govt could take up this area with commitment & vigour to infuse the minds of our citizens/politicians/bureaucrats!. Infact we need it very badly.
News on Zee TV& Sony TV also tell about traffic jams/gridlock in Delhi, water logging in North India & miserable state of the flood affected, besides the state`s debate on poverty-criteria .
I really wonder what sort of effect, these news will be making on the local population & their reaction towards so many Indians, who stay, work & visit here in droves for shopping etc.
There was also another news on the front page.`Jail for attempted bribe`which informed about a Singaporean who tried to bribe a Malaysian traffic policeman with Singaporean twenty one dollars, after being caught speeding, being given a one-day jail sentence and also with a fine of 4200 Singaporean dollars by a Malaysian court. That was a clear indication of no-tolerance for corruption & making the news available to the citizens!
My thoughts go to the state of affairs in my own Delhi & earnestly hope as to when our city, will be actual `World Class City`!
I feel, the leadership & the bureaucracy will have to have a different attitude & mindset, to bring change for the better. They need to be imbued with vision, selflessness & take the help of its vast resource-its citizens, who have to also play pro-active role in becoming active partner in governance.The government must train & empower them on sustainable basis.
They can, as well, learn from Singapore.
Let the Govt treat Anna, as their friend & not foe. Let synergy be created.
Long way to go? Lot many things to do. But, time to start that journey is now. No more delay ,if we desire Better Delhi, Better India.