Page 3 of the June 14, 2014 issue of Hindustan Times has four articles and three of them [1, 2, 3] deal with what Delhi can learn from Gujarat, and in two articles, more specifically from Ahmedabad and Surat.
I like this, not because I am a Delhi denizen and would like to see the Capital come to grips with its myriad problems. By the way, I am going to be in Delhi only for the next two days; beyond that I will be a Tamil Nadu resident, at Srirangam.
The reason I like Delhi taking lessons from Gujarat is because I think this is the way a federal structure should work. The units of federalism should be the laboratories for evolving ideas, procedures etc. and testing them. Then they should then radiate from the individual units to the rest of the country and may be scaled up to the extent of being centralized subsequently.
Where did I get this idea from? From how California has led the United States in bringing about lasting changes nationwide by setting examples, as in the case of air quality and other environmental considerations, including automobile emission standards. In a federal structure, it is not to the shame of the other states not to be the vanguard; after all someone has to follow. It indeed is to the credit of a state to show the willingness to learn from experiments conducted by elsewhere by someone else. Ego problems diluted, even if not vanquished.
Yes, of, course, there is a caveat. Every experiment and its results should be transformed into the relevant coordinate systems of where it is being transplanted to. For example, how relevant is Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati to Delhi’s Yamuna? Tough question but should be answered instead of the effort nixed, without probing queries, at the beginning.
From page 3 of the paper (main section) I now take you to page 10 of the same edition of HT: refer to a small news item entitled “Guj govt team visits Amma canteen [in Chennai], to replicate model.” That is, it is drizzling Tamil Nadu in Gujarat. These are not the first instances of transplanting ideas. Maharashtra’s employment guarantee scheme metamorphosed in the nationwide MGNREGA, for instance.
Why I am so happy to learn that Delhi is trying to learn from the experiences of Gujarat? Because this is how learning proceeds. Teachers are mmany and students do not remain students forever. This dynamics in the federal system that we have given to ourselves should help us grow.
Now you know why I am happy. Now, I will take things from Delhi and transplant in Srirangam!
1. Sabarmati plan fit to replicate for Yamuna? Experts disagree, Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times, June 14, 2014
2. Solar plant on each roof: Guj model may resolve Capital’s power crisis, Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, June 14, 2014
3. Delhi Police keen on Surat’s city surveillance programme, Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times, June 14, 2014