Political Games being Played all Over!!

MUMBAI IS in headlines for last few days and we have seen some very parochial politics being played in Mumbai and in the country over all. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists are on rampage against North Indian migrants in Mumbai and Maharashtra.

Amar SinghThe ‘bhaiyyas’, common pejorative for North Indians living in Mumbai, are being targeted because MNS believes that these migrants, especially from Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar are creating nuisance in the city and are taking the share of Marathi people.

Raj Thackeray is struggling to gain some political relevance and ahead of 2009 assembly polls, he has aroused regionalism to meet his vested interests. He wants to project himself as a true saviour ‘Marathi manus’. But he has touched a new low in the politics by pitting people of one region against another. Such tactics can be very deadly and may lead to total chaos and unrest in Mumbai.

RajThe state government also kept quiet for a week, chief minister and deputy chief minister were busy attending functions, while police commissioner of the city hosted Thackeray at his daughter’s wedding. There is an allegation that Congress-NCP (National Congress Party) kept quiet because it knew that it would be difficult to regain power in Maharashtra after ten years in the office. If Thackeray can eat some of the Marathi vote bank of Shiv Sena, it will ultimately help Congress-NCP.

Mumbai ViolenceOn the other hand, Samajwadi Party (SP) wants to expand its base in Maharashtra following the large population of North Indians in the city, and this tirade of Thackeray has provided SP a golden goose they were looking for. They are leaving no stone unturned to project themselves as saviours of North Indians.

Both MNS and SP are at loggerheads in order to woo the voters. BJP, a national party that is struggling to project its pan India outlook, is reluctant to change the hollow and illiberal outlook in Maharashtra. The criticism of Thackeray by BJP appears hollow. Instead of mentioning Thackeray for his ugly remarks, they demanded the resignation of the chief minister. It seems that they are on some other track. They need to be told that the resignation of the chief minister is not going to diffuse the tension, which is primary at the moment.

The notion that a particular city belongs to its natives and the people from other states or regions cannot work in that city is totally against the very essence of our Constitution and concept of national unity. Our Constitution has given right to every citizen to work and earn living anywhere in the country. But the recent incident has made me think on two points.

Firstly, what makes people leave their homes?

Herein lies another aspect of our politics. In the last 60 years, our political leaders and political parties have succeeded in enjoying themselves in the politics of non-development. The national parties are mainly responsible for this. They never paid heed to the development of India as a whole. In fact, the little development that has happened is centered around the state capitals and mostly around Delhi and Mumbai. The non-development in the other cities leads to birth of regional outfits and parties, which have no sensitivity towards the nation as a whole. No one can deny the fact that maximum job opportunities are available in these two metros only. Therefore, people migrate to make better living. In Mumbai, there is 70 per cent population of migrants who have come from every nook and corner of the country. Thus, Mumbai, South Asia’s biggest city, is choking. Everyday over 40 families arrive in Mumbai.

United Nations (UN) report says that Mumbai will have 30 million people by the year 2015, which makes it the world’s second most crowded city after Tokyo. This rising population stretches the infrastructure such as roads, water, railways, electricity, residences, law enforcement, etc. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is considered to be the best in the country, has failed miserably to create better infrastructure. The hindrances from various political outfits are also making life difficult for BMC. If it tries to replace slum, there are protests; if it takes action against illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, there are protests; if it takes steps against unauthorised settlements, it is not allowed to do so.

Mumbai is crumbling but none of the politicians are taking any comprehensive review of this chronic situation. They are unable to act tough, as they may loose something politically. Mumbai requires Rs 2,34,000 crores for infrastructure development but New Delhi has budgeted Rs 35,100 crore for whole Maharashtra. We need to be more practical and focus on the solutions rather than aggravating it. A more inclusive approach is required, and driving away immigrants is not going to help anyway. One of the approaches can be to decentralise the jobs from Mumbai to nearby areas such as Panvel and Vasai. The world’s largest cities like New York, Shanghai, Tokyo that faced similar problems have successfully implemented this solution. Then why can’t Mumbai? Political will is required.

Secondly, why people from UP and Bihar migrate most?

If you observe closely, you will find people from these two states all over the country. Punjab, Assam, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, to name few. One reason is that the labour from these two states is cheap and hardworking, ready to do jobs such as driving taxi, housekeeping, milkman etc. The main reason, though, is that the politicians of UP and Bihar are worthless with no self respect. The elections in these two states are never fought on the agenda of development, but on the petty issues of caste, community and religion. The politicos are so corrupted that they eat all funds diverted by centre for development. Mayawati government stalled Anil Ambani’s power project in Dadri, probably because it was cleared by her political rival. When a private player is meted with such a treatment, how can you expect him to set a factory in the state? This politics of ‘vendetta’ has led to dearth of private sector in UP and Bihar. There is no infrastructure in these two states and the politicos have no knowledge of the economics. For them, development is restricted to opening of new parks, lawns, memorials, etc. They never ponder to encourage the growth rate, number of private players, boosting agriculture, small-scale industries, and power plants in the state. With no option left at their disposal, the people of these two states are also needed to be blamed for the condition of the state. They always fall prey to vested motives and are very happy with underdevelopment in the state. Otherwise, they should have made their elected representatives more accountable.

The politicians from UP and Bihar are baying for Thackeray’s arrest but if they feel so insulted, then they should take the daunting task to provide job opportunities to people in their own state. Instead of expanding their political base in other state, they should concentrate on the well being of the people in their own state. Every regional party wants to go national but their motives are regional centric only. I would be more happy if Amar Singh, Mayawati, Lalu Prasad, who are ‘true saviours’ of the people from their state, do something to improve the living standards in UP and Bihar. The people of UP-Bihar have immense potential and are showed by their success stories with reference to number of engineers, doctors, and civil servants. But unfortunately, their own state cannot tap their talent. I will be happy to sacrifice my multinational corporation (MNC) job and work for upliftment of my state, provided government shows some positive signs.

Whatever is happening in Mumbai is very sad. It is basically part of regional chauvinism and parochial politics played at the expense of some very poor people. Nothing will come out of this situation and only poor will suffer. Political games are such that the people never understand these but they do play and become a part of it.

Indo-US Nuclear Deal is DEAD?

HOW OFTEN we have seen the Indian cricket team being beaten in the game after getting on top of the opposition. The same thing is happening with the Indo-US nuclear deal, which was cleared by Senate in the United States and then Indian Prime Minister went on to risk his government to move forward with the deal. But then some behind-the-stage drama led to curtains on the deal. Where is the nuke deal heading now? The issue, which dominated foreign policy in 2007, has lost its way somewhere after Left parties threatened to withdraw support from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if the deal was finalised.

Nuke DealUS ambassador David Mulford has said, “If this is not processed in the present Congress, it is unlikely that this deal will be offered again to India. It certainly would not be revived and offered by any administration, Democratic or Republican, before the year 2010, which is after the life of this administration.”

Flash back to 1950, when India was offered the permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council but the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru refused to accept the offer because he believed it was aimed at “creating trouble between India and China.” Ever since, India has been trying very hard to get the place in Security Council. That seat eventually went to China. China grabbed it with both hands and now is the staunchest opponent on the expansion of Security Council. It seems that time has rolled on and we are back at the same stage as before. The government might have bought time to convince the dissatisfied colleagues of UPA on the deal. But till date no positive step has been taken towards the finalisation of the deal.

The top nuke scientists believe that India has got a fair deal. A major component of any clean energy strategy must be nuclear power and I strongly believe that the civil nuclear agreement that was negotiated was good for India. India is already facing crisis on the energy front and the deal could have solved the problem for India. There are several other advantages, which have been highlighted time and again.

The US is continuously warning India that it is “now or never” for India as non-proliferation groups may force additional conditions on it, considering that they are too unhappy with the deal in its present form. The political atmosphere in India and US is changing and we might not get another deal in near future if it fails this time. The backing down from the deal has also caused an international embarrassment to the Prime Minister and he will have to personally face a two-sided attack for this foreign policy failure that he himself had nurtured and gone against the tide.

The times have changed but it seems that the Left are still living in the past. The Left, which has its presence only in the three Indian states and with only 60 MPs in Parliament, has caused the government to change its stance on such an important issue.

The lack of will on the part of Congress is also surprising because it was Congress’s government that refused the Security Council seat in United Nations in 1950 and now this deal in 2007. The inability to operationalise the deal would hurt the government’s image. The prime reason for silence over the deal is that every step taken in Indian politics is backed by political mileage and economy and international business has never been on that list. I don’t think political parties think about India’s benefit while they take a stand.

Budget 2008- What to expect?

The Annual Budget is just a month away. Whether it is the poorest of the poor or the richest Billionaires, all of them want a reduction in taxes. With this the last budget of the coalition government, will it be a dream one or will the FM play safe?

With just a month to go for the Annual Budget of 2008-09, it is time to speculate as to what changes can be expected in this edition of the Budget. The Indian economy has been sanguine with GDP growth of 9.25% in2006-07, inflation below the danger mark and sustainable interest rates. But what changes can be expected in this edition. Will there be any measures to counteract the effects of the recession of the US Economy? Will RBI step in to control the gargantuan influx of capital income into the economy. Well, the Finance Minister will have a lot of points to ponder on as he sets out to unleash his last budget of this term.

One thing that we cant ignore is that this will be the last budget of the current coalition Government. The United Progressive Alliance is due for its Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and with the dispute over the Nuclear Deal with the Left, the coalition has been on the Brink of Divorce. Thus, the Finance Minister might not give a budget that could stir up a political storm and bring the ruling government down. He would rather play safe. We can expect a popular budget with the aim of appeasing specifically targeted sections of the Voting Community. Thus vote bank politics could again play a vital role in this year’s Annual Budget.

P. Chidambaram had indicated that there could be a significant revamp in the taxation schemes. The Direct taxes could be reduced from the existing 33.6% inclusive of surcharge to about 25%-30%. Thus, the reduction in the Direct Taxes would come as a sigh of relief to the several individuals as well as corporates who are affected by the Direct Taxes. Reducing the tax rates could also provide an incentive to taxpayers to declare their entire income honestly so that the overall tax collections can be improved. Plus the Surcharge on tax which is paid by Individuals and association of people who have an annual income greater than Rs 10 lakh is expected to reduce. Currently, there is 10 per cent surcharge on personal and corporation income tax which may plummet in this budget. It could come down to as low as 5%. Partnership firms and domestic organisations, whose income is greater than Rs 1 cr will also benefit from this.

The recession of the US Economy has meant that the rupee has appreciated to a great deal. The exporters are feeling the brunt as their profit margins continue to go down. It is predicted that this trend is likely to continue. The RBI is expected to address this issue through its monetary policy and tax cuts in order to reduce the load on the exporters can also be expected. The fiscal deficit is expected to be scaled down to al little above 3% of its GDP. The FRBM Act that is the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management is proposed in this Budget. With respect to the fiscal deficits, the FM will also have to ensure that investments do not fall drastically.

It is a known fact that India has failed in having a World Class Infrastructure and has also not succeeded in providing adequate quality services in Education, Healthcare, Water Supply and Sanitation. The challenges of infrastructure will require large amounts of funds. It is believed that in this current eleventh five year plan from 2007 to 2012, we would need to invest almost US$500 billion to meet the infrastructure alone. This current budget could ease regulatory issues in order to facilitate building up of a World Class Infrastructure.

Lets just hope that Budget 2008 turns out to be the least taxing not just for the Finance Minister but also for the billion plus citizens of India.

Bangalore : ‘BYTE’-ing the dust ? – Part2

Part-1 of this series : Surviving the BYTE, recounted how Bangalore transformed from a city with calm and undeniable charm, to a commotion ridden beast. With both the locals and the non-locals complicit to it’s downfall, Bangalore seemed to be headed for doom. What with the backbone of Bangalore — IT, threatening to pull out and the IT Czars publicly threatening to desert the city unless they were satiated. Is Bangalore BYTE-ing the dust ? Not yet. Not even in the conceivable future.

Much has changed since 2004-05, when the IT Czars threatened a pullout. Not only did they come back to the city, they now have major expansion plans as well. The cultural tension between the locals and the non-locals, still exists ; but people have found a way around it. Bad infrastructure and politics, is endured — albeit grudgingly. Was there some magic pill for all the ill ? Yes, money. Apparently there is nothing like the sound of money. Despite the problems, the city has seen an un-abated flow of foreign equity investments. With it, the IT giants realized they cannot afford to not have a major presence in Bangalore. The jobs are still abundant, the local economy is booming, malls and restaurants are sprouting everywhere. Despite the glaring issues, Bangalore is working — very well at that, and the doomsdayish predictions from 2004-05 have abated and the death knells halted.

Of late, there are other new developments among locals — a new wave of outspoken, at times brash youngsters, who, affected by the changes they saw, are vociferous about their presence. In these youngsters, there is a palpable sense of linguistic pride and Kannada usage. Changes are elsewhere too : the once defunct Kannada movies is seeing a golden run — probably not seen since the glorious days of Puttanna Kanagal ; Kannada TV serials have iconic following ; art expos like ‘chitra santhe‘ have sprouted ; FM stations have a mixture of offerings, Kannada included ; when pushed back by non-Kannadigas, the local youth is fighting back — was not the case 5-6 years ago. This is seen as a much needed antidote to the city that has endured the BYTE’ing. Among the locals : veterans, youngsters and everyone in between included, seem to approve of this quasi-cultural awakening.

The Kannada awakening, culminating with outspoken demeanor : Orkut groups like ‘Gaanchali Bidu Kannada Maatadu‘ have created a sense of realization in the non-Kannadiga populace. They seem to get the need to blend in. Many cities would cringe with a 70% non-local population and Bangalore is no different. Bangalore has always had the reputation of being a cosmopolitan city ; it still is, else, it would not have been hospitable to the massive influx (and we are far from seeing the end of it).

Dwelling on the cultural/linguistic rift, why does it exist ? When threatened by a loss of identity in their own backyard, local populace views non-locals as outsiders thus forcing the local culture to stand up and show spine. That’s what is happening in Bangalore. Increased and vocal dis approvals, many rightly so, as in the case of Railways conniving to stack it’s offices in Karnataka with Biharis, and some, not rightly so, like reservations in software sector for locals (quite rightly rejected by the Czars), have increased. There is a definitive shift in the status-quo.

When a culture opens it’s doors, voluntarily or by the compulsions of economics, the onus is on the emigres to acknowledge the gesture, blend in and be a part of it’s success. Most countries mandate that. Why should it be any different when it is between states of India, where the cultures-language-cuisine is so different as in say, two European countries ? When you decide to come live in a different culture, is it too much to expect that you blend in and not stick out like a sore thumb ? If you do stick out, and more so as a group unto itself and hence a clenched fist rather — not just a sore thumb, with scant disregard for the host’s feelings, it is bound to stress the cultural fabric, no matter how venerable or how evolved the culture is. You see these fissures in Karnataka-TN or Maharashtra-Gujrat or USA-Mexico. Hence the quote, when in Rome, be a Roman..

There is no doubt, the non-locals ought to do more in Bangalore : blend in, learn the basics of the new culture, treat this as their home and not a pit-stop/alien land. Some signs of that happening are evident. We Kannadigas can do better as well. The Kannada awakening was much needed and is good. But we need to control the tone of it. I would much rather say ‘Jamba bidu Kannada Maatadu'(discard the false pride, learn Kannada) than a ‘Gaanchali Bidu Kannada Maatadu'(discard the arrogance, learn Kannada — though seemingly innocuous, gaanchali is oft used with prefixes that makes it potent, hence the disdain..). We are better than that.

Yes, there are changes, some for the better, some for the worse. But change is the only thing that’s constant. I believe most people in our country are fair and, are cognizant of the fact that, they, have a mutual stake in the success of one another. Given the above inevitability, there is an underlying dormant sense of camaraderie that needs tapped. Once done, it furthers individual development while contributing to the growth of our nation. We Bangaloreans, locals and non-locals included, have been the beacons of change in Software, Hardware and Bio-tech arenas. We can, again, be the change that unfurls the melting pot of India — Bangalore, and, be proud of it. All of this, without losing our identity or individuality – The whole being greater than the sum of parts.

Bangalore : Surviving the ‘BYTE’ – Part1

With an undeniable laid back charm, not so long ago, Bangalore was your quaint old south Indian city — a pensioner’s paradise and a garden city. Misty mornings heralded the start of beautiful, often sunny days. Laden with rich aroma of filter coffee, crisp morning air soon displaced this misty blur. The tune of suprabhata would fill the neighborhoods from some one’s old transistor. Close on the heels of milk and newspaper delivery, the ubiquitous darshinis(eateries) readied their fare for the morning commuters. As the Suprabhatas turned to news, a steady stream of traffic would fill the roads and the eateries.Good Morning Bangalore.

Passing the baton, the short-lived ‘peak hour’ bustle, would lead into a warm mid morning calm. As the postman did his rounds, retirees perused the newspapers on their patios, soaking in the morning’s tender sun. Ladies bartered sugar, coffee and gossip standing across the compound walls in the shade of the omnipresent coconut trees. Selling his interesting wares, a hawker or two would often lead to an emergency session of the street Parliament — cartels formed, deals negotiated, decisions made and the news of a good buy reaching the other end of the street in seconds ! Life was easy. The whistle of the pressure cooker, often the spoiler of such fun, ushered the lunch hour. Fresh cooked anna, saaru, palya would fill the noon air. Bon-Appetite. Lunch made way for a calmer afternoon good till the kids came running home.

Evenings were never dull either : kids playing at street corners ; teenagers chatting away endlessly at the front gates ; walks on Sampige or Margosa roads ; idyllic meetings of seniors in Jayanagar-4th block complex; savoring panipuriat Ramakrishna Ashram or Seshadripuram ; the street market bustle of Malleshwaram 8th cross or Gandhi Bazaar, evenings had their share of simplistic fun before a staple of TV and dinner. There was much to be happy about in this predictable, chaos free simplicity.

Though a generalization, Bangaloreans have always loved simplicity. They take great pride in their simple happiness pursuits. Simple, polite, family oriented are some qualities that are a commonplace in Karnataka as the Bisibele Bhath, Kodubale and Akki Rotti. Do not let the unassuming simplicity fool you, for quite a few successful people hail from Bangalore — after all, the software boom did not happen by itself.

Even in the most famous of it’s sons, Kannadigas have a sense of obeisance to an inner discipline and simplicity. To me, a prime example is Anil Kumble : while playing, he is one of the more grittier and determined cricketers our country has seen (remember his fractured jaw strapped into place by a thick bandage, an injured Kumble, returned to claim Lara’s wicket in the Windies tour of 2002 ), while off the field, he is possibly the nicest, most unassuming person you will meet. Kannadigas bring that attitude and charm to what they do.

The non-stoic stance, the welcoming nature, beautiful weather, abundance of scientific brainpower and the cost arbitrage to outsource led to a steady flow of traffic — of software companies. MNCs and software companies, people who wanted to be in these companies, their vehicles and their baggage in tow(emotional & cultural), made a beeline for Bangalore — cumulatively changing it for ever. This influx led to the software wave, crowning Bangalore as the numero-uno of the Indian software hubs — ‘The Silicon Valley of India’. This gold rush had not gone unnoticed and there was a huge stream of people trickling into Bangalore from various parts of India. Local businesses and non-local job aspirants alike benefited from this growth and wealth. Seemed like a win-win situation — till it got out of hand. With the crown and the wealth, came woes : uncontainained traffic, soaring real estate prices, failing infrastructure and, last but not the least — a melange of people.

Per reliable estimates, only 30 per cent of Bangalore’s residents speak the local language, Kannada, today. The last decade of IT boom that put Bangalore on the global map, also made it a city dominated by non-localites. There is, of course, no justification for saying that any region of India be inhabited by members of one linguistic community only, in case of Bangalore, the Kannadigas(and all it’s flavors). But often the reality is too twisted to be framed to such idealistic frameworks.

Very many of the new entrants did not do much to help the situation either. For most parts, they chose to live in their own groups, often not blending with the locals or picking up basics of Kannada ; thanks in part to a lack of need for it and, in part due to a misguided sense of linguistic pride — picking up Kannada tantamounting to reduced allegiance to their mother tongue. When in a new city, there is hardly any bad in seeking people who hail from your hometown — it is almost second nature. The problem started when these groups became vocal and abrasive to the extent that it made the locals feel unwelcome in their localities.

Early 90s set the stage for the future things to come when the discontentment poured into the streets during the Cauveri water disputes . The water dispute was the last straw and a reason. Violence marred the city. Chennai returning the favor, just added to the fire. The tension is very much alive even today and flows in the moment water levels in Cauveri recedes.

Like I have stated, many a times : ‘Politicians are like diapers — almost always full of crap ; if not, it’s just a matter of time’. Among these politicians, Karnataka is blessed with the worst of their ilk. Add to this, the woes of traffic congestion, rising real estate prices, bridges and flyovers built where one was not needed and eventually ending up impeding the traffic flow (after construction dragging on for years), IT Czars threatening to walk out on the city and the state. It was chaos.

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Was it just chaos or, was it the sound of Bangalore’s death knell ? Is Bangalore BYTE’ing the dust? Read on in part-2 ..

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Drunken Driving – Mumbai Police Finally Awakens

Mumbai Police finally awakens towards Drunken DrivingDrunken Driving, which has been a menace since long in Mumbai, seems to have finally awaken the Mumbai Police to start a drive against it, bringing a relief for majority of Mumbai’s concerned citizens.

The drive which started in July 2007 has so far registered 12536 cases, earning a revenue of over Rs. 2 Crore for the Mumbai police through fines. The latest case on Xmas night of 8 drivers sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment and another 57 to 15 days imprisonment shows the conviction of Mumbai police to not only book offenders but also dole out severe fines and punishments so that it acts as a deterrent to others who have the habit of taking booze and hitting the accelerator.

Mumbai police have also been quite efficient in booking repeated offenders and having their licenses revoked, sending out a strong message to others. Even the most high profiles haven’t been left.

However, How much of this drive is going to be successful in future is a question left unanswered? Earlier in many instances, the Mumbai police has undertaken many such drives but all of them have been of short tenure lasting at the most 6 months. Though this drive seems to continue lately, but its fate also hangs unbalanced. The moment Mumbai Police slow down on this drive, offenders will roam freely on the roads once again, endangering the lives of many.

What is needed over here is a special cell of may be the traffic branch of Mumbai police to continuously monitor traffic offenses. The other department in which Mumbai police lacks is the use of latest technology. Mumbai is poised to become an international city and it cannot have such a bad track record of traffic offenders. A strong commitment from the police force as well as government and citizens is needed if we want to see all the drives undertaken to be successful.

Mumbai needs a Bypass Surgery

The chaos of Mumbai Railways - Picture: Telegraph UK BlogsA local train packed to capacity, with people hanging out of the doorway, and perched atop the train. This is a sight most Mumbaikars are well accustomed to. Efforts by the civic body to somehow reduce the congestion have so far been unfruitful. More trains have been introduced, the BEST (Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking) has upgraded its fleet, innumerable flyovers have been constructed and the number of tracks has also been doubled at some locations. Despite all this, the sardine like situation prevails. So, what else can be done to ensure that we Mumbaikars enjoy a more “breathable” ride?

Firstly, the reasons for the overburdening of infrastructure need to be analysed. The amount of private vehicles on the roads of the city has exponentially increased. Flyovers have been constructed at various locations, but more flyovers will only mean more cars on them. The BEST has now introduced buses on various routes, but the potholes and constant digging up of roads has meant that people no longer want to travel by bus. The sorry state of most of Mumbai’s roads has ensured that the public buses are constantly incurring losses.

Queen’s Necklace, Marine Drive - MumbaiThen there are the local trains. Emergence of BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing) and call centres in various parts of the city have generated an influx of people in search of employment the likes of which have never before been witnessed. Add to this the population that deviates away from the buses and chooses trains and you are left with jam packed metallic worms snaking through the city.

The only way that congestion can be reduced on the roads is by ensuring that more people use public transport buses. A very simple way of achieving this is to reduce the number of cars that are allowed to run on Mumbai’s roads. Also, by levying taxes on those who use private cars for entering business districts, people will automatically start using buses.

The metro rail that is being laid is a step in the right direction, but not big enough. Surveys show that the capacity of the metro must be at least four times that which is planned, to take the load off the existing trains. The overground and underground network must complement each other, and so, must be connected at various nodal points along the routes.

So, all said and done, a lot of infrastructural as well as techno-politic upgrades need to be implemented in order to guarantee a comfortable ride to the average Mumbaikar. The special case of the ‘rush hour’ needs to be tackled as well. Only the widening of roads and increasing the number of railway lines is useless, if more people are not drawn toward the public transport system. Not many other cities in the world can boast of having a trustworthy and massive public transport system like that of Mumbai. It is time that this system not only becomes efficient, but also world class.