ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Failure of Governance

Like all of us, I watched from 26 November onwards the events in Mumbai with horror and profound grief at all of the families who have lost loved ones. I am writing because as I read the analysis, editorials, and opinion pages in the newspapers, there seems to be a profound misunderstanding of how this happened, and what needs to be done about it. Everywhere I read that we must be tough, and we must have the political will to act. True, but what is missing is that the Indian g overnment system does not have the c apability to act, and until that capability is created, such calls are useless.

Reading the local newspapers in Delhi every day in the run-up to assembly elections, I find that the primary concern of c itizens is poor sewage, and the unreliable supply of electricity and water. In the same papers are stories of how the Delhi sewage authority chiefs have been held in contempt of court for the failure to fix the se wage s ystem and prevent flows into the Yamuna despite over two years to do so. While it may not seem obvious at first, the causes of the sewage problems and the f ailure to prevent the Mumbai attacks are the same. This is a pervasive and systemic failure of governance.

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