Sunday, August 23, 2009

Will Rajasthan Police learn something from MIT project

Rajendra Bora

Jaipur. It is full one year after completion of a three year collaborative project between the Rajasthan Police and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States. And it is the time for looking back and evaluate if the exercise really succeeded in enhancing performance, and improve public perception of the state police?

The ambitious project was claimed to be the first rigorously evaluated police reform project in the world.

The project started in September 2005 was over in June 2008. It was considered as a first genuine effort of administrative reform where a government department willingly opened itself to a neutral agency to identify the areas of concern in their basic field unit and rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of reform to provide a responsive, accountable and transparent police to citizens.

During the course of project around 350 investigation officers – Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors and ASI’s – were trained at Rajasthan Police Academy for improving their skills on investigation. Also 2,000 police personnel of all ranks were trained on soft skills to improve public relations. Starting with 11 police stations in Jaipur North, Jaipur East, Jaipur Rural and Sikar districts the project area was scaled up to 150 police stations in 11 districts across Rajasthan.

The reforms initiatives took off from the basics that Rajasthan Police was facing some enduring issues like effectiveness, scalability and lack of evidence on public and police perceptions.

The report on “Police Performance and Public Perception” made public describes working of the project and its results and recommendations. The report includes both public opinion about the police and the police personnel’s own opinion about their job.

The interesting finding of the project is that police personnel do not find their job boring. Lowest respondents mentioned their job of policing as boring. However, worst aspects of policing, in the opinion of police personnel, were mentioned as long working hours, no day off, low pay, poor housing quarters, unsteady and unpredictable postings and postings far away from home besides no potential for promotion, and no reward for hard work.

The project showed that an improvement in investigation can be achieved if administrative transfers of constables are frozen for a certain length of time, minimum two years, and posting periods are lengthened and inappropriate interference or maneuvering for postings are reduced. The innovative project results indicate that if police personnel got weekly offs regularly it resulted in better rested, more flexible and more efficient police force.

In the project areas No Transfer regime increased crime victim satisfaction by 30 per cent, decreased ferar of police by 19 per cent and reduced staff complaints of unfairness. Training all staff increased victim satisfaction by 31 per cent and grade on scientific investigation increased by 1.3 points (average grade was 2)

The collaborative project introduced a novel community observer idea. More than 100 community members were selected per police station to visit there for three hours on one day each. The idea had two goals. While observers witness and spread information about true roles, challenges, and needs of police their presence encourages polite, patient behaviour by staff. However, the innovative idea can succeed only by proper implementation.

A household survey was the part of the project to understand people’s perception about the police. It came out with interesting findings. As many as 39 per cent of the respondents felt that law-abiding citizens feared police. Of the 11 districts covered by the project 18 per cent of the households were victim to at least one crime. In Kota 13 percent households were found to be victims of at least one crime while 10 per cent of the households in Jaipur and Chittorgarh (including Pratapgarh) were found to be victim to at least one crime.

The survey found that in 71 per cent cases victims never reported the matter to police. The reason being 28 per cent of them felt the matter was not important while 20 per cent felt police couldn’t do any thing and 17 per cent of them felt police won’t do anything.

A significant finding was that 17 per cent of the victims reported that police demanded money to register FIR. Median demand was Rs.2,000.

The survey found satisfaction with police investigation was very low with only 13 per cent of the people were found to be “completely satisfied” while 46 per cent of them were “completely unsatisfied” and 27 per cent “unsatisfied”. The major reasons for dissatisfaction were also analysed. In 25 per cent of cases Police did not take action, in 23 per cent cases Police did not seem interested, in 17 per cent criminal was searched or arrested, in 13 per cent police was unable to return stolen property and in six per cent cases police asked for money.

The survey returned with astonishing findings when it tried to ascertain people’s perception as to how hard do police work compared with average citizens? As many as 56 per cent of citizens believed that the police don’t work hard and 81 per cent of respondents did not favour that police needed more resources. The number of people who feel police are lazy are increasing too.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gulshan Bawra: Lyricist with the magic pen

Rajendra Bora

Noted lyricist Gulshan Bawra, whose song in Manoj Kumar’s film ‘Upkaar’ – ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti Sona Ugle’ – turned out to be one of the finest patriotic songs in Hindi films, passed away in Mumbai today. Many would not know that the poet who also wrote ‘Yaari Hai Imaan Mera’ for Amitabh Bacchhan’s first blockbuster ‘Zanjeer’, had Jaipur connection.

The poet, who thrilled the Hindustani Film Music buffs for about 40 years had his schooling in Jaipur. He was born at Sheikhupura, about 30 kms from Lahore in undivided India. His original name was Gulshan Kumar Mehta. His family was a victim to the partition riots where young Gulshan saw his parents being killed in front of his eyes. After the tragedy his sister brought him and his elder brother to Jaipur and brought them up. The family used to live in Raja Park area and Gushan had his schooling in the Pink City.

After his brother got a job, Gulshan was shifted to Delhi where he graduated from the Delhi University. He started writing poetry in his college days. After graduation he got a job in Railways and was posted to Kota. But he found that the post at Kota had already been filled when he reached there to join. He was later posted as a clerk in Mumbai, the tinsel town.
He tried to get a break in films remaining in his job. Kalyanji - Veerji Shah gave him first opening in ‘Chandrasena’ (1959) and Lata Mangeshkar sang his very first song ‘Main kya jaanu kahan laage yeh saawan matwala re’
He tasted his first big success in film ‘Satta Bazar’ when Kalyanji – Anandji’s musical score gripped the audiences all over the country. ‘Tumhe Yaad Hoga Khabhi Ham Mile The’ from this film is still rage among music lovers.
It was during the making of this film that the film’s distributor Shantibhai Patel christened him ‘Bawra’. He was very impressed by his lyrics but could not reconcile their excellence to the typical young man in his twenties who wore a rather colourful shirt. He said, 'Main iska naam Gulshan Bawra rakhoonga. He looks like a 'bawra' (madman).'
He eventually left the Railway’s job 1961 joined the tinsel world. Stastically he wrote only 240 songs in a 42-year career because he was always selective in doing films not allowing himself to turn into a song producing machine.
Almost half of his total number of songs had been with R.D.Burman. His last release was Zulmi (1999) and his last hit was ‘Le pappiyaan jhappiyaan paale hum’ for Haqeeqat(1995), which landed him in his only controversy - of writing a vulgar song.
Bawra, who did comeo roles too in a few films was on the board of the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) for the past seven years.
Film historian M.D.Soni had talked with the lyricist two months back for inviting him to a meeting of ‘Suryatra’ , a group of film music buffs in Jaipur. Although he was ill but enthusiastically assured that he would come to Jaipur after two or three months for rekindling his childhood memories. But fate decided otherwise.

(The piece appeared on page one of HT Live of Hindustan Times on August 8,2009)