Thursday, June 12, 2014

Empathy and Apathy

India is not new to man made mistakes, Nor is any other country. Issues involving huge areas and a sizable population are better off being automated. So, what prompted me to write this piece? The recent tragedy wherein students lost their lives owing to release of water from a dam. State owned/delivered welfare activities have been over years have been prescribed as a panacea for "common" good. That is, the private sector, always looks up to profit and the entire setup is for profit optimization. The previous two sentences are in conflict. But we are not seeing the fine line between them.

The fine line are the activities of the government that can be decided as welfare activities. Which are the activities to be taken as a pure welfare activity? How do we decide on this classification. The classification cannot be based on the activity as an independent entity. It should be related to all the issues which are touched by this activity.

Let us take this small activity of monitoring the release of water through a dam. The activity though, very simple, has a huge impact on a large distance of land and affects the entire gamut of human activity. The people on the release side have to intimated well in advance. This can happen by using a simple kanban indicator linked to the electronics handling the opening of the dam gates. When there is a huge downpour nature itself gives an indication to the people in and around the area. If it is man made, then, men have to act god. All theists have drawn their weapon, Oh, Please wait. If man can stop the natural flow of events as depicted by natural causes(Gods ways for a theist), then he can continue the flow also.

Dams have to be constructed by the government. Yes, It is a welfare activity. Though, people in the vicinity of the dam might not agree. But operating them, well, should the state bother about that. That statement has puased me. By my observation, there is a sense of apathy with which people working in state owned enterprises. This is solely because of the monotonous nature of the job on hand. People preferring the jobs in state owned enterprises normally aim and are capable of doing mundane and monotonous jobs. They resist change and lack entreprenual spirit. If at all few have them, it will be killed in the course of time and they too become a brick in the wall.

So, why would I argue that a private interest would be better off running the dam? Or, can I succesfuly argue for privatization of dam management? Or, in general, can I succesfuly argue for identification of all activities in governing a country and yet dole out all the welfare to the last person in the country. It is high time that we hand out a certain portion of the activities undertaken by the government to independent individuals. I think our country is now in a position of producing educated elite for taking care of mundane tasks in a welfare activity.

Instead of treating the citizens like children and asking them to open factories for making soaps and detergents since it is a low cost and low risk engagement we should bring the common man into the fold of welfare activities and also regarding the security of our country. It is high time that all individuals should stop thinking that whenever a wrong happens, he should look up at the government. The individuals should forget that new laws framed by the government would automatically improve the conditions of the country. Normally, the citizens of our country dissect every decission of the government and imagine how it can improve the country. No laws or rules are going to create any magic. There is no "abracadabra" law.

So, instead of cribbing over the loss of young students, the common man has to wake up and sense opportunity here. To contribute to the good of the countrymen as well as his own private self. The specific dam issue in question can provide private employment for many type of industry. You have security, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics, Civil maintenance, Event management, Tourism, Planned agriculture and the list can go on.

From all this, I should not be confused for lack of empathy for the loss of precious human lives, I empathize that we may have lost the entrepreneur who thought in similar lines, I empathize that we may have lost the next Sir M. Visweswariah, I empathize that we may have lost the next visionary. I am concerned more towards the apathy of state enterprises. Let this be the last time we empathize for the result of apapthy of state owned enterprises.

For the past years, India, our country with its past vast natural resources has done a lot for its citizens. Now, we, the citizens, Let us stand up and do for our country. Shall we.........