Kiski Chai Bechata Hai Tu (Whose Tea Do You Sell)

Kiski Chai Bechata Hai Tu

(Whose Tea Do You Sell)



Apane ko chaiwala kyun kehta hai tu
Baat-baat mein natak kyun karta hai tu
Chaiwalon ko kyun badnaam karata hai tu
Saaf-saaf bata de! kiski chai bechata hai tu!


(Why do you call yourself a teaseller
Why do you act and lie all the time
Why do you give a bad name to teasellers
Say it clearly! Whose tea do you sell!)


Khoon lagakar anguthe mein shahid hota hai
Aur corporate mafia mein masiha dekhta hai
Ambani-Adani ki dalali se ‘vikas’ karata hai
Arre badmash bata de! kiski chai bechata hai tu!


(Without getting injured, you turn into martyr
And seek redeemers in corporate mafia
‘Development’ is building Ambani-Adani empire
O scoundrel! Whose tea do you sell!)
Khand-khand Hindu pakhand karata hai
Varnashram aur jati par ghamand karata hai
Phule-Periyar-Ambedkar se door bhagata hai
Arre OBC shikhandi! kiski chai bechata hai tu!


(Immersed thoroughly in the Hindu hypocrisy
You puff your chest in the caste culture
And run away from Phule-Periyar-Ambedkar
Hey OBC pretender! Whose tea do you sell!)
Masjid-girija girakar deshbhakt banata hai
Danga-fasaad ki tu darhi-munchh ugata hai
Dharma ke naam par bas qatleaam karta hai
Arre haiwan bata to! kiski chai bechata hai tu!


(Razing mosque or church makes you patriot
Manufacturing riots you nourish your luxuriant beard
You butcher the weak in the name of religion
O devilish terror! Whose tea do you sell!)
Dharmapatni ko chhod kunwara banata hai
Phir dost ki beti se chhedkhani karata hain
Kaali topi aur chaddi se laaj bachata hai
Arre besharm! kiski chai bechata hai tu!

(You leave your wife and become bachelor
To sexually harass your friend’s daughter
Black cap n’ khaki shorts cover your shame
O shameless crook! Whose tea do you sell!)

Kali kartuton par sharma nahin karata hai
Koshish insaan banane ki zara nahin karata hai
Chaiwale ko mupht mein badnaam karata hai
Arre makkar ab kah de! kiski chai bechata hai tu!

(Never ashamed of your black deeds
Not least interested in becoming human
With no recompense, you malign teasellers
You charlatan! Whose tea do you sell!)


Apane ko chaiwala kyun kehta hai tu
Baat-baat mein natak kyun karta hai tu
Chaiwalon ko kyun badnaam karata hai tu
Saaf-saaf bata de! kiski chai bechata hai tu!

(Why do you call yourself a teaseller
Why do you act and lie all the time
Why do you give a bad name to teasellers
Say it clearly! Whose tea do you sell!)


The unfortunate choice between the Dumbs- Indian Politics

I oppose both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister of India… But, there are some fundamental difference between my disliking and opposition for these two people.

When I think of Narendra Modi , tthe emotions that swirl in my mind are that of “anger, alarm, aversion, cruelty, or even hatred and disgust.” All of these are DESTRUCTIVE EMOTIONS.

But, when I think of Rahul Gandhi, then the emotion that comes in my mind are “Pity, doubt, disappointment, or maybe even humour or embarrassment.” Though all of these emotions are negative, but they are not at least destructive..

Though I find it insulting to be foreced to make a choice between ONLY these two, but, I think it would be more prudent to make a choice in favor of a person who arouses negative but non-destructive emotions rather than in favor of the one who arouses negative and destructive emotions…

And it is for this reason that I oppose the attempts of many people, who appear to be a clandestine supporter of Narendra Modi, to invariably talk about Rahul Gandhi whenever they have to say something negative about Narendra Modi (as if, even with all his shortcomings, he is at least better than Rahul Gandhi and to imply that we have only these two alternatives…)

There is a QUALITATIVE difference between why NaMo is undesirable and why RaGa is undesirable.

But, sometimes I feel that this qualitative difference between them might not be as fundamental as it appears.

If you remove some of the external features (like his aggressive body language etc.) and the effect of his personal past (like his association with the RSS, his abominable legacy of being associated with Gujarat roits etc.), I think Narendra Modi, at least at the personal level, will be as dumb (or maybe even more) as Rahul Gandhi… (I get this impression from his repeated fumbling with the historical facts, his ‘puppy comparison’, comparing the risk-taking capabilities of soldiers and traders etc. etc.)…

It is such a great irony of today’s India that the Prime Ministerial candidate of the two largest parties are both equally dumb, but the one, along with being dumb, is divisive and deeply indoctrinated into the fascist ideology… A ‘bigoted dumb’ is much more dangerous and undesirable than an ‘innocent dumb’…

From Worst to Best: #HouseOfCards Character Ranked: Spoilers

32. Nancy Kaufberger


Nancy Kaufberger


Played by: Elizabeth Norment
What she does: secretary to the Democratic whip

Nancy is proud to be Frank Underwood’s secretary — so proud, in fact, that with a little flattery, she’s willing to aid Frank in spying on Jackie Sharp when she’s Jackie’s secretary in Season 2. (It’s possible she didn’t realize what she was doing, exactly. But come on.) Nancy hasn’t been given much in terms of character development, but her loyalty, however twisted, is admirable.

31. Gillian Cole


Gillian Cole


Played by: Sandrine Holt
What she does: employee, then owner of Clean Water Initiative

For a very brief period of time, Gillian was a thorn in Claire’s side — it looked as though she might actually do some damage. And when Claire, in response to a potential lawsuit, basically threatened the life of Gillian’s unborn child, it was an eye-opening moment: Claire could be just as cutthroat as Frank. But Gillian disappeared with little fanfare in Season 2, making it all feel a little pointless.

30. Connor Ellis


Connor Ellis


Played by: Samuel Page
What he does: communications director for Claire Underwood

Aside from being perhaps the most attractive member of the Underwood’s staff, Connor didn’t leave much of a lasting impression. As soon as Seth Grayson started working for Claire and Frank, purposely pushing Connor out of the loop, there wasn’t much left for Connor to do. He left abruptly, leaving only the memories of his pretty face behind.

29. Lisa Williams


Lisa Williams


Played by: Kate Lyn Sheil
What she does: social worker

From the moment Lisa showed up on House of Cards, there were sparks between her and Rachel Posner. Oh, sure, they were just friends at first, but you could tell there was something more brewing. Who didn’t breathe a sigh of relief when these two finally got together? Unfortunately, Lisa wasn’t much of a character beyond that, and Doug forced Rachel to quickly dispatch her.

28. Christina Gallagher


Christina Gallagher


Played by: Kristen Connolly
What she does: staffer for Peter Russo, then assistant to President Walker

Poor Christina got the short end of the stick by the end of the second season. She was a driven staffer, yes, but for most of Season 1, she was relegated to the role of Peter Russo’s secret girlfriend. And in Season 2, despite the fact that she was a fully competent assistant, she got shut out thanks to Claire’s meddling and Tricia’s jealousy. And then she, too, vanished from the series. Christina deserved better.

27. Janine Skorsky


Janine Skorsky


Played by: Constance Zimmer
What she does: reporter for The Washington Herald, then Slugline

During Season 1, Janine was rightfully suspicious of Zoe’s inside knowledge of D.C. politics, later deducing that she was sleeping with her source. But once the two reporters started working together, they were even more effective, and it looked as though they might actually uncover Frank Underwood’s involvement in Peter Russo’s death. Instead, Janine got threatened and chickened out. Kind of a bummer exit.

26. Catherine Durant


Catherine Durant


Played by: Jayne Atkinson
What she does: secretary of state

Many of the characters on this list — most, perhaps — are pawns for Frank Underwood, but Catherine Durant is one of the most flagrant examples. A presence throughout the first two seasons, she mostly just exists to do Frank’s bidding, consciously or otherwise. Toward the end of Season 2, she gains some backbone in going above the president — even though, yes, that was Frank’s idea too.

25. Nathan Green


Nathan Green


Played by: Jeremy Holm
What he does: White House/FBI liaison

It takes a real asshole to threaten a guinea pig’s life. Agent Nathan Green is that asshole, using poor Cashew as a means to control Gavin Orsay — well, that and the 100 years of prison time he’s holding over Gavin’s head. On a series with countless unlikeable characters, Agent Green still stands out, if only because he’s perfected that smug dick look.

24. Adam Galloway


Adam Galloway


Played by: Ben Daniels
What he does: photographer

Whether it’s the accent or that unbelievably gorgeous New York City apartment, Adam Galloway is a serious temptation for Claire. But her dalliance with Adam in the first season comes back to bite her in the ass during Season 2. Adam does his best to hold his own as he’s manipulated back and forth by Raymond Tusk and the Underwoods, but he wisely admits defeat when it’s clear there’s no winning.

23. Tricia Walker


Tricia Walker


Played by: Joanna Going
What she does: first lady of the United States

You want to feel sympathy for Tricia — and a lot of the time, you do — but she’s just so easily manipulated by Claire, it’s embarrassing. Sure, there are moments in which Tricia stands up for herself, demanding time with her husband, and moving forward with the sexual assault bill. But when push comes to shove, she’s still too weak to survive the world of House of Cards. At least the marriage stayed intact.

22. Seth Grayson


Seth Grayson


Played by: Derek Cecil
What he does: press secretary for Vice President Underwood

Kudos to Seth Grayson for so deftly slipping his way into the White House and proving himself a valuable asset by gaining seriously damaging intel on Claire’s abortion. He also chooses power over money, siding with Frank against Raymond Tusk, an impressive and ultimately smart move. At the same time, we still don’t know a lot about Seth, and he’s not exactly overflowing in the charm department.

21. Donald Blythe


Donald Blythe


Played by: Reed Birney
What he does: congressman

While Rep. Blythe hasn’t had as much screen time as many of the other characters on this list, his ability to call Frank on his bullshit earns him a respectable ranking. He’s a man of convictions, but he knows enough about the game to realize when Frank is trying to use his wife’s Alzheimer’s to curry favor. And, as he demonstrates when he supports impeachment, he’ll do what he has to for the greater good.

20. Xander Feng


Xander Feng


Played by: Terry Chen
What he does: businessman and backchannel diplomat

It’s hard to top Xander Feng’s introduction: kinky threeway sex involving near-suffocation. And yet, Feng’s sexual proclivities are only one aspect of his character. What’s most fascinating is how calm and collected he seems throughout Season 2 — even when things don’t go his way and with certain death looming in China. Feng’s peculiar coldness is his most interesting trait.

19. Megan Hennessey


Megan Hennessey


Played by: Libby Woodbridge
What she does: former U.S. Marine Private

Megan is one of Season 2’s most tragic characters: a rape victim Claire coerces into speaking out, then stabs in the back. It’s not all as calculated as that — at least, not at first — but regardless of Claire’s initial intentions, by the end, she’s turned Megan into another pawn. The storyline is depressing, but it reflects the staggering real-life statistics of sexual assault in the military as well as the psychological toll it takes.

18. Daniel Lanigan


Daniel Lanigan


Played by: Gil Birmingham
What he does: casino owner

Another one of Raymond Tusk’s secret partners, Daniel Lanigan proves to be a formidable foe in Season 2. Anyone who stands up to Frank Underwood is impressive, and there’s something particularly brazen about Lanigan — his no-fucks-given gaze, perhaps — that makes him that much more fun to watch. The poolside scene between Lanigan, Tusk, and Frank is one of the season’s best.

17. Freddy Armstrong


Freddy Armstrong


Played by: Reg E. Cathey
What he does: owner of Freddy’s BBQ

While Freddy was a presence throughout the first season of House of Cards, it wasn’t until Season 2 that he really came into his own. It was a little strange at first — why was this ribs cook, however great the ribs, getting so much screen time? As it turned out, Freddy was doomed to be a casualty of the battle between Frank and Raymond Tusk. His eventual sacrifice was a punch in the gut for viewers.

16. Tom Hammerschmidt


Tom Hammerschmidt


Played by: Boris McGiver
What he does: reporter, former editor-in-chief of The Washington Herald

Tom Hammerschmidt hasn’t always been likable. This is, after all, the editor who called Zoe Barnes a “cunt” when firing her. And yet, he gets some redemption in the second season, doing his best to tell Lucas Goodwin’s story — for better or worse — even though he believes very little of it. Tom is clearly good at his job, but he’s firmly planted in the world of newspapers, and old media has its limits.

15. Edward Meechum


Edward Meechum


Played by: Nathan Darrow
What he does: Frank Underwood’s bodyguard and driver, then Secret Service member

For most of his episodes, Meechum doesn’t do a whole lot. He’s clearly a loyal staff member to the Underwoods, but we know very little about him. And then, on one fateful drunken night, Meechum blew our collective minds when he got drunk and had sex with Claire and Frank. And if we’re being real, he seemed a lot more into Mr. Underwood. Turns out there’s more to Meechum than meets the eye.

14. Lucas Goodwin


Lucas Goodwin


Played by: Sebastian Arcelus
What he does: Editor at The Washington Herald

Poor Lucas Goodwin. His intrepid reporter skills — and willingness to team up with a serious hacker — were no match for Frank Underwood. And yet, it was still fun to watch him nobly struggle to pin Zoe’s death on Frank, giving up sleep and sanity in pursuit of an unattainable goal. The fact that he’s now wasting away in federal prison just makes his character all the more tragic.

13. Ayla Sayyad


Ayla Sayyad


Played by: Mozhan Marnò
What she does: reporter for The Washington Telegraph

Finally, a truly competent journalist on House of Cards. Ayla Sayyad is so good at her job that she doesn’t even need to sleep with a source or hire a hacker. She does things by the book and gets results — so effectively, in fact, that Raymond Tusk assumes she’s working for Frank. Sayyad’s resilience in the face of Tusk’s threats prove what a badass she is. And they make Lucas seem really whiny in comparison.

12. Gavin Orsay


Gavin Orsay


Played by: Jimmi Simpson
What he does: hacker and FBI informant

Gavin would be a weirdo even without his sidekick, beloved pet guinea pig Cashew. But Cashew is what pushes Gavin into the realm of greatness. He’s a creepy hacker hermit, working for the FBI to avoid jail time. But he also has his own agenda, and it goes beyond keeping Cashew safe. When he slaps Lucas for his insolence, his inner rage is unmasked. Also, at one point, he literally barks like a dog.

11. Zoe Barnes


Zoe Barnes


Played by: Kate Mara
What she does: reporter for The Washington Herald, then Slugline

As far as some people are concerned, the best thing Zoe ever did on House of Cards was get thrown in front of a train. And yes, that was a pretty incredible moment. But give Zoe some credit. While her character has been criticized for inconsistency, much of that reflects her internal struggle to be the best at her job while compromising her morals and negotiating newfound fame. She is missed.

10. Rachel Posner


Rachel Posner


Played by: Rachel Brosnahan
What she does: call girl, then telemarketer

There are few House of Cards characters more tragic than Rachel Posner, who is ruthlessly manipulated in Season 1, and then forced to live a sad, isolated life in Season 2. While sparing her life seemed like mercy, Doug Stamper’s control over her — which quickly becomes an obsession — nearly destroyed her. As great a character as Doug was, it was truly satisfying to see Rachel finally bash his head in and flee.

9. Linda Vasquez


Linda Vasquez


Played by: Sakina Jaffrey
What she does: chief of staff to President Walker

It’s easy to underestimate Linda — Frank certainly does. But she’s more than just the occasional thorn in his side. In fact, Linda comes very close to exposing Frank for who he is at the end of Season 2. It’s only the president’s backpedaling that gets in the way. Linda also knows when to pull out: Her resignation was a blessing for Frank, but he also noted that it was the first time he had truly respected her.

8. Garrett Walker


Garrett Walker


Played by: Michael Gill
What he does: president of the United States

Walker was a kind of a dud president in Season 1, wasn’t he? He certainly talks like a president, but he was far too easy to manipulate. It was only in Season 2 that he broke free from being Frank’s puppet, eventually realizing that his trusted vice president was the one pulling all the strings. Sadly, Walker reverted to his lame former self in the end, quickly resigning and giving Frank the reigns. Poor choice.

7. Remy Danton


Remy Danton


Played by: Mahershala Ali
What he does: lobbyist at Glendon Hill

Remy is a force to be reckoned with — both as a lobbyist and as Raymond Tusk’s righthand man. While Remy seems largely motivated by money, he also has his own complicated set of morals that round out the character. Who would have guessed that the same man who convinced Claire to backstab her husband in the first season would demand commitment over casual sex from Jackie Sharp in Season 2?

6. Jackie Sharp


Jackie Sharp


Played by: Molly Parker
What she does: House majority whip

Jackie Sharp spends a lot of time insisting that she isn’t Frank Underwood. And that’s true, but it doesn’t mean she won’t go to extreme lengths to get her way. That was clear from the beginning when she destroyed a lifelong friend’s reputation to become whip. She’s one of the strongest, most uncompromising characters on the show, and her desire to do it all without becoming Frank makes her fascinating.

5. Raymond Tusk


Raymond Tusk


Played by: Gerald McRaney
What he does: businessman and advisor to President Walker

Like Frank, Raymond Tusk keeps his true desires under wraps, which is why he makes such an effective adversary. He’s one of the show’s most ruthless characters, but he’s spent most of his life passing through undetected. By the time he angrily snaps one of his pet bird’s necks, it’s clear he’s been pushed to his limit, but think of how many years he was able to manipulate the economy behind closed doors.

4. Doug Stamper


Doug Stamper


Played by: Michael Kelly
What he does: chief of staff to Frank Underwood

Doug is complicated, to put it mildly. How else to explain a recovering alcoholic who has no qualms about getting fellow alcoholic Peter Russo drunk to destroy him? He’s fiercely loyal to Frank but also haunted by his own demons — as seen in his unsettling fixation on Rachel. It’s hard to imagine Frank surviving without Doug, but he’ll now have to, as Season 2 ended with Doug’s untimely demise.

3. Peter Russo


Peter Russo


Played by: Corey Stoll
What he does: congressman, candidate for governor of Pennsylvania

Let’s be fair: Peter Russo was troubled before Frank Underwood came along. But he died because of Frank’s manipulation, and not only because Frank was the one to actually do the deed. As Season 1’s major casualty, Peter was a reminder of the personal toll political machinations can take. His struggles with alcoholism and his Frank-orchestrated relapse gave him a tragic arc that anchored the first season.

2. Frank Underwood


Frank Underwood


Played by: Kevin Spacey
What he does: House majority whip, then vice president of the United States, then president of the United States

Everything in House of Cards circles around Frank Underwood’s unstoppable rise to the top: Even at his most reprehensible, his skillful maneuvering and shady dealings are a pleasure to watch. As television antiheroes go, Frank is one of the hardest to like, whether he’s casually murdering former lovers or forcing a presidential resignation. The fact that we still root for Frank somehow is a credit to the series.

1. Claire Underwood


Claire Underwood


Played by: Robin Wright
What she does: head of Clean Water Initiative, then second lady of the United States, then first lady of the United States

But there is no Frank — or Francis, as she calls him — without Claire. Claire is the standout character of House of Cards, a woman just as conniving as Frank but also motivated by her own personal causes. Herself a victim of sexual assault, Claire’s desire to reform the way the military handles rape cases is noble. That she eventually caves to political pressure adds depth — as do her surprising tears.

Reply: A letter to Arvind Kejriwal by Preet Bedi

Dear Preet.

Thank you for your Letter dated 22 Jan, 2014. Your whole letter is based on the premise that we are looking at a long/mid term policies to actually bring about a change. But unfortunately, if I don’t give this anxious over expecting overwhelmed janta some quick free sops, I would lose LS 2014 very badly. I need 40+ seats to have my PM candidate.

Once I become the PM or my candidate becomes the PM, I don’t care about the treasury of Delhi. Why should I? My eye would be on Indian Treasury. Isn’t printing money a way out? After all everything is a banana republic. Wouldn’t depreciating currency give more exports. I hope so.

Regarding oil which is our primary import, I will fund a research wing headed by Ramar Pillai (of course by printing money) to convert plant energy into oil energy (combustive). ( I think my colleagues in NDA during their rule tried, we shall do the same. And as always we will declare victory.

And regarding gold, aam aadmi doesn’t need gold. We shall make gold nationalized commodity if that is possible so my govt shall have all the gold to print more money and more money. After all, its a banana republic. We will have wonderful ties with China and Russia. Who needs capitalist investors. They are not aam aadmi. They are sharks.

Preet, I would also like to point out that we need to appease our loyal vote bank. If we lose out on our Auto rickshaw drivers, it would be a disaster for us. Who will carry our political hoardings for free? I would like to draw an analogy with Salman Khan, my aam aadmi hero. If he loses out on his autorickshaw driver fans, how would that come about?What would happen to his movies?

Okay, regarding the electricity meters, I accept that what we spoke during campaigning is not so factually correct. I confused it with my electricity meter in Ghaziabad. I thought and still think its in Delhi. I went and checked at Shazia’s house it was working correctly. But Benny had forced me to speak that during the campaign and he just doesn’t listen to me now when i asked him to show me where the meters were faulty. I think it was an opposition plant to malign me. I am planning to sit on a dharna against Benny so that i can pin all my false claims on his shoulder. (Accountability is a primary mantra)

Preet, regarding corruption. I have understood that if we start any real process to curb it, our main election agenda point shall be curbed too. Hence, let us wait for sometime regarding the same.

My idea of Swaraj is people taking unauthorized videos of people and make it look creepy. During my visit to LA, I was astonished to see how the Paparazzi worked. They could even get to your bedroom. I would like the same here. You should agree with me on this point that we need to develop our paparazzi and use it for our advantage. Do you know how much revenue we can gather from YouTube videos? You know how much that Japanese punk made na? This will go to our treasury.

Since, I am in the hospital and the head nurse is a stern malayali with a syringe in one hand repeatedly asking me if I knew Kumar Vishawas, I wouldn’t be able to discuss my plans with you for now. I would however request you to write me a letter if you can think of any short term gains and that would give me maximum media mileage and my brothers and sisters would side with me on that, i would highly appreciate that. Mr. Modi is aiming at 272+, let me please have 40+, a request from AAM AADMI to an AAM AADMI. Katrina Kaif shall always remain the AAM AURATH.

With best regards,

Arvind Kejriwal

CM, Non-Government Organization- Delhi

(PS: This is a satire and should be taken as one)


The Original Letter by Preet K S Bedi

Dear Arvind Kejriwal

You have a somewhat self-serving understanding of the term achievement.

Removal of beacons, no matter how welcome is not any more an achievement than me giving up my car in favor of the metro. Subsidizing water and electricity are simple actions of distributing tax-payer money to your vote-bank. They will become achievements only if you can manage to grow the economy of the state and raise additional revenues that make such hand-outs affordable.

Which leaves you with three ‘achievements’. Setting up an anti-corruption helpline to trap bribe-takers, converting 6 buses into night shelters and ordering a CAG audit into the discoms. I leave it to you to assess for yourself whether these are adequate for a government promising paradise.

On the negative side, you have excluded auto rickshaws from the purview of the Delhi Police and decided to waive off penalties for your supporters who had stopped paying their electricity bills. This is unacceptable but citizens of Delhi have no option but to grin and bear it.

Disappointingly, for all your talk of ‘fixed’ electricity meters before the elections, you have still not ordered a simple audit of meters for which no CAG approval is necessary. You obviously fear that results of such an audit may embarrass you. Not fair.

Coming to the main point.

Arvind Kejriwal, is eradicating corruption still your priority #1? Or have you decided it is more convenient to keep the pot boiling? Just as godmen need discontent to sell nirvana, does AAP need corruption to stay in business?

I say that because in the last 25-odd days you have not taken a single step that would suggest a serious attempt to tackle this menace.

Corruption is neither new nor specific only to India. At some stage all countries have felt its scourge. But no country ever managed to control it only by additional policing as you are attempting to do. Just like traffic management requires not just policemen but also an understanding of traffic flows, traffic signals, flyovers and so on, eradicating corruption requires determination to strike at its roots.

But to do that you and your ministers will have to return to your office and put in real hard and boring work. Are you prepared to do that? If so, please read on.

Here are my suggestions to eradicate corruption. To make it simpler for you after each narration, I have highlighted your action points. You could call them the Sexy Six.

A. Eliminate discretion.

Whether it is Adarsh, 2G, CWG, Coalgate, the root cause of most corruption is the discretionary power vesting with politicians and bureaucracy in our system. If you could eliminate discretion, you could eradicate corruption.

Singapore is a good country to learn from. There is virtually no discretion except at senior levels. Government officials understand their job is to execute. Exceptions are not accepted; as a result, even America has to beg for its citizens to be treated with compassion.

In India, as a city state, Delhi is best placed to implement this. Do this and you would have created history.

Action point:

Task your ministers to list ‘discretionary powers’ enjoyed in decision-making by various levels in the government all the way down to the last mile. This will not be easy as bureaucrats would hate to give up their power. Not all politicians can do it but if anyone can, you can. Show the resolve you show in street and then, step by step, dismantle the current superstructure.

B. Separate decision making from oversight responsibilities

Nothing creates more opacity than a system in which a file goes through several levels, all of which have the power to block and not approve. As a result, each level not only delays but also leverages power to seek speed-money.

Action Point:

Collapse consideration and implementation to not more than three levels. Push decision-making down to senior bureaucrats and enable ministers to perform the role of keeping an oversight rather than be compromised by being decision makers. Once they are decision makers they develop a vested interest in opacity.

I would hesitate suggesting this to all states but would be happy to see it implemented in Delhi where at least for the moment we can assume ministers are honest.

C. Destroy monopoly

If instead of destroying discoms as you are currently engaged in doing, you were to work towards providing last-mile competition to the end customer, many of the issues would naturally get taken care of.

Build last-mile competition in every service including water and power supply and even in public services like schools and hospitals. Dove-tail this with your idea of Swaraj and you may have a winner. Every mohalla committee must have options of service providers to them.

Action Point:

Task your ministers to do an ABCD analysis of all services provided by your government beginning with A where there already is last-mile competition like telecom, B being partial monopolies like Electricity where despite competition the customer does not have a choice and C being others.

Set a target of 2 years to dismantle all monopolies and bring in competition at the customer-end.

D. Reduce government

Government is temperamentally not wired to provide service. By taking on more service the government adds to cost and sows seeds of eventual dissatisfaction among citizens.

If issuance of passports can be outsourced, why not registration of vehicles, grant of driving licenses, property registration courts etc. These are currently major pain points for the aam aadmi. A visit to the RPO at Saket and property registration office at INA may help. You do not need to go at night.

Action Points:

Task your ministers to come to you with a list of public pain points pertaining to their departments. If necessary, hire consultants to suggest outsourcing strategies. Attempt to put at least one department under each minster into a pilot within 12 months.

E. Mandate use of e-governance in all dealings with the public

Nothing eradicates corruption as comprehensively as e-governance. And possibilities are endless.

Let’s take the example of electricity bills. Mandate that in a year, each consumer will get his daily electricity and water consumption on his mobile. Through this data he can check and analyze his usage and even get a good idea if his meters are ‘fixed’. Simple. Effective.

Action Point

Hire a Nilekani-type as an e-governance evangelist and force all departments to be fully e-governed for public dealings within 2 years. That is the kind of challenge we expect a new young government to accept and deliver.

F. Change your working style

Nothing is more important than implementation.

Implementation is typically an area of weakness for us in India. To make all these things happen you will of course need extraordinary passion but also a very tight control over implementation.

Action Point

Earmark one day a week for implementation review. This is the day you do not meet people or the press and do not have meetings other than for implementation review.

Initially your ministers and their bureaucrats may find it oppressive but over a few weeks when they see that through these meetings they can actually cut through the red tape, they will start enjoying it.

Most of these are medium to long-term strategies. I would suggest that you announce them along with the rough time-frames so that citizens at large understand the journey they are involved in. This will also help buy you time so that critics like me do not pounce on you for results every week, week after week.

Wishing you the best.

Preet K S Bedi