There is a level of sophistication required that present day India cannot do without. Whatever the area of activity, the complex web that the nation today constitutes needs every citizen and agency to function at a certain level so that even the most basic things can get done. This is why it is not possible to allow any individual, organisation or state to operate below par. Anybody who is logged in to society at any point has to be able to perform certain basic duties. Failure to do so at even the most fundamental level can exact a price in material terms or human lives.
Among the means of meeting the challenge are innovation and technology. India claims to be a developing nation making progress in all kinds of ways, but its systems fail much too often in the face of the most basic challenges. This is because of a lack of anticipation and the necessary training. An example of this is the incident in which a leopard trapped inside the building of the Srinagar Medical College had to be shot dead despite three days of trying to capture it put in by all the agencies supposedly trained for such operations. It was found after killing the leopard that it had a wire snare around its neck – it was almost as though it had come to the hospital looking for treatment!
Dehradun houses the Wildlife Institute of India. There is a hierarchy of forest officers with fancy designations such as chief wildlife warden, etc. All of these supposed scientists and experts are paid fat salaries at the taxpayers’ expense to know the complexities of animal behaviour and ways of dealing with them. Despite that and knowing full well the whereabouts of the leopard, they could not perform the basic task of tranquilising or capturing it. Traps were set up reportedly with dogs as bait, as though this was still the age of Jim Corbett and not a time when India contemplates flights to the Moon and Mars.
Yes, the system can brings crowds of first and last responders to a site, but they lack even the basic training and equipment required to meet the challenge. The cost to the GDP of such fundamental failures is no doubt enormous. There are many reasons for the laxity, as ‘democracy’ it seems requires that idiocy, lethargy and corruption be tolerated as ‘human rights’. One of these is lack of effort and ingenuity at the individual level. When people complain about the ramshackle condition of the roads or civic amenities, it is because at every level of leadership people look to those above them for direction, not bothering to take responsibility even as much as to deserve their salary. This will continue for as long as people are not punished for their sins of omission, as against just their sins of commission.