Try Autonomy Not Economy

As the debate on SEZs special economic zones goes on, something occurred to me. Having lived in Hong Kong and visited Shenzen many times, question I asked myself, do we need these Shenzens or SEZs popping up in India ? What do they really achieve ? Indian industrial houses who have financial power will hoard huge tracts of land and convert them into economic engines where it be commercial viability first and all else incidental. India has no dearth of commercial successes like Reliance, Infosys, HCL which are one generation companies, that is made their meteoric rise in one generation. We have had Jamshedpur, Bhilai etc. but these continue to be oasis es. What we need is examples of excellence in governance, judiciary, social harmony and people participation. This experiment is more bottoms up, rather than top down. Take couple of areas in India that will be the same land size as Singapore or Hong Kong. Transfer all governance to the people that includes tax collection an deployment of civil services. For eg : the police force, the judiciary etc will report to people committees and not to politicians. All taxes collected will have a central surcharge for defence and internal security, rest of the money will be deployed locally. Transparency will be the essence of the administration. Data on every Rupee collected and spent will be available on the Internet. Every property transaction, every social offense, fines collected will be logged electronically. The whole society will be run on certain metrics and various people committees will use data and metrics to drive public administration. It will by governance for residents in these SAZs, that will be the role models of change across Indian society. It is governance that will bring accountability first to administration, respect for public spaces and property, value of human life, respect to fellow citizens and a society that will be able to revive our ancient culture and maintain it for years to come.

In engineering, we simulate on computer a transistor, car crashes, flying airplanes etc. These are models, that are a small representation of something very large. I firmly believe these SAZs if done well, will be the role model for rest of India to emulate.

1 thought on “Try Autonomy Not Economy”

  1. the SAZ seems to be a little too far-out and dangerous for our government to like… i’d say the primary interest of government is to protect itself… and therefore government likes to think and act as if it is in control of things… your SAZ simulation will necessarily require govenrment to give up control

    so maybe it may not at all start off as a controlled experiment…

    i think sometimes significant things start of as silly things like SMS voting for Indian Idol or Nach Baliye… to my mind, there is no reason why it cannot spill over into mainstream political process eventually… and this change will be fringe driven, not center driven…

    another place where people seem to be connecting like crazy is orkut.com… i’ve been part of an exponential rise in the indian population on orkut… you should see some of the conversations that happen there… its nearly all people under 25 from – tiny town, small town, big town, and metropolis… it’s made a start as a friends and flirting type crowd… people talking in english, hinglish, pinglish and minglish, and has caught on like fire on nylon curtains… but who knows where it will go… what new kinds of conversations it can spawn…

    so… in some ways, with things like this and with the rate at which people are getting connected with each other in india… i’d say your SAZ effect is already showing up… loosely… but surely

    and i reckon that it is likely to get more pronounced in (compressed) time

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