Diana Jue-Rajasingh

Research Update: Less Urban Development, More Public Administration

Posted in Fulbright, India, Traveling by Diana on September 4, 2012

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the Fulbright research. Just to let you know, though — it’s actually going on! At least, Steve and I are brainstorming and planning. We met for a Chinese-Indian lunch buffet (at a restaurant named “3/4 Chinese,” although it’s probably more apt to call it “1/4 Chinese” — or maybe “1/8 Chinese”), where we were just not on the same page for awhile regarding the research. I had written my proposal around issues of land development, but our IAS officer who was leading the Bangalore Development Authority was promoted. It was still feasible to focus on inner-city development issues, but then the head of the Bangalore City Corporation (the BBMP) was also moved.

Oh, India and your “steel frame” of administrators — you’re supposed to be sturdy, but your pieces seem too replaceable.

With land and urban development out of the picture, the other feasible research topics, based on personal connections, were water and electricity. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about either, and nine months is far too short to learn an entirely new subject. Nor did I want to be extremely technical in this research project; I’m not here to write out a master plan for the city or make purely technical recommendations. That’s what hired contractors do, and it’s not like anyone actually follows the plan anyway.

And thus, my research topic took a turn for, what Steve and I believe, is the better (and yes, we’re now on the same page). The focus is now more about public administration — or rather, public administrators themselves. How do people like these bring positive change, even though they’re so constrained by the system? It may seem difficult, but it’s not impossible. In the state of Karnataka, there are a few examples of public administrators who have actually done good things (not everyone is corrupt!). It’s now my goal to learn lessons from these short-listed fellows (unfortunately, just fellows — we haven’t yet been able to identify any ladies!). Lots of writings and a conference are planned. Let’s do it!


One Response

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  1. Ramesh said, on January 12, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    u met P.Manivannan ?

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