Monday, November 28, 2005

Narayana Murthy vs. Deve Gowda

Do read this balanced article by Narendar Pani, on the Murthy vs. Gowda spat. He gives some really interesting historical details about the previous spurts in industrial activity that Bangalore has seen. The development of the cantonment in the 1890's and the public sector spree of the 1950's and the 60's. Contrasting the present behaviour of the IT industry with that of the planners of the previous growth spurts, he notes:

[The media coverage of the spat] brushes under the carpet the failures of the dominant imaginations of the future of cities like Bangalore; imaginations that have led the IT industry to shoot itself in the foot.

At the core of this dominant imagination is a belief that what is for the immediate good of the IT industry is good for the city.

Bangalore's resources are then expected to be used to provide international quality physical infrastructure for the IT industry.

Since the state government does not have the resources to take infrastructure in the entire city to that level, the focus is on the elements that are most visible to the global IT market, whether it is an airport or a tech park.

Towards the end, however, he simply seems to suggest that the IT industries must do something to ensure that poor and lower middle class can also afford engineering education that brought the IT industry to Bangalore in the first place.

I understand his concern for availability of higher education -- professional education in particular -- to the poorer sections. One can even make a case that it is in industry's long term interest to address this concern in a meaningful way.

But linking it with the ongoing spat on infrastructure is just not on. How is this going to help the current infrastructure problems in Bangalore? How will it suddenly produce the money that Pani says the State government doesn't have?

It is this very problem -- of poor roads -- that made Bangalore spurn the previous Janata government led by Gowda's hankpicked successor, the late J.H. Patel. In a later, coalitional avatar, Gowda is playing an essentially similar game of neglecting Bangalore in the name of 'serving' rural Karnataka. Just how good a job is he doing there? I really have no idea.

For now, all this just means that we have to learn to live with poor roads and traffic snarls for several more years.


  1. Anonymous said...

    I believe Deve Gowda falls in the category of those notorious politicians that is hindering our country's progress.