Entrepreneurs Care About Corruption – Here’s How to Help Them Fight It.

A friend of mine has been trying to start an artisanal liquor business in a small Latin American country. He learned to ferment fruit, crafted a logo, scrounged for and sanitized several hundred glass bottles, registered his corporation with all the various agencies, and paid all of his initial taxes. After producing his first batch and selling it to a number of small shops, he decided it was time to expand. Unfortunately, when he began to negotiate sales to larger restaurants and grocery stores he ran into a major complication: liquor taxes. The high level of liquor taxation made his business model completely unprofitable. Trying to understand how any other liquor business stayed afloat, he discovered that one liquor manufacturer and importer dominated the market, and didn’t pay any taxes. How? Corruption. In order to stay in business, my friend had a choice: (A) he could stay small, fly under the radar, and avoid paying taxes, or (B) he could navigate the perilous and uncertain process of bribing his way out of paying taxes. He ended up choosing a third option: he closed up shop and went back to his day job.

To access the full blog, please click below:

 https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2017/05/22/entrepreneurs-care-about-corruption-heres-how-to-help-them-fight-it/

 


What is a Smart City?

To understand what and how a Smart City looks,  it is important to establish definition of Smart City with all Services, Solutions and Products. Let’s get a quick zest of Smart City & its comprehensions.

Each city is different. Each city must therefore meet specific needs and challenges. Each city therefore develops its own smart city vision. Consequently, how can a smart city be defined?

It is essential to have a broad definition of a ‘Smart City’ with its different parameters and components around which each city can come up with its own definition depending on the level of development, aspiration and resources as well as willingness to change.

To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system , which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development i.e. institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. This can be a long-term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally. This is important to create a clear understanding of smart City in the minds of the government agencies, stakeholders and citizens who are/ will be involved in the implementation of the smart city projects.

Key Elements:

  1. Define the scope of smart city development in the context of the status of development and availability of infrastructure in the city.
  2. Specify types of products, services and solutions that fall within the scope and ambit of the procurement processes specific to the city.

Performance Indicators:

  1. Specific definition of Smart city based on city dynamics developed.
  2. Smart ways to use information technology innovated.
  3. Smart solutions defined and explained clearly. Few of these solutions can be described as below: –
  • E-Governance and Citizen Services
  • Waste Management
  • Water Management
  • Energy Management
  • Urban Mobility

Targeted Outputs:

  1. The city has a comprehensive development plan, which seeks convergence of services / solutions/ systems for inclusion of institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure.
  2. The city has a master plan that integrates smart solutions.
  3. The city has a clearly stated Vision and Mission.

Challenges:

  1. Any missing stakeholder in this process may lead to the development of a flawed definition , which could result in projects not being aligned with the needs of the city.
  2. City may face challenges when operationalizing and implementing the services and smart solutions as defined in the comprehensive city development plan/ master plan.
  3. City may prove to be difficult to ensure provision of services, as envisioned at the time of planning.
  4. Integrating services and smart solutions into the master plan for the city would involve working with different governance systems, which could be challenging.


Making Master Planning sync with Smart Cities

Are you from a Smart City? The hashtags can well relate to the increasing demand for living in Smart Cities.The United Nations’ World Cities Report predicts that by 2050 over 70 percent of the world’s population will be living and working in cities.

Smart cities simply stand out as a way to make cities more liveable and functional. And rolling out to live in the exclusive IT enabled city a lot of planning takes place. The sync of the master plan for a city to undertake a project of such broad scope is a quite challenging. Many barriers exist. Despite the issues inherent in master planning to tackle smart community initiatives, sometimes the main obstacle is knowing where to start and applying strategic thinking to build a cohesive, long-term plan. By using the information and steps laid by Global Compact Network India – Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET) framework for Governance of Smart Cities out here, putting together a plan to begin the implementation of smart city technologies may be easier than you thought.

Master Planning based on conventional principles has led to a static built environment, which is largely disconnected from the rapidly changing socio-economic conditions in the urban areas of India. To overcome this, disconnect, State Governments resort to changing land use and building regularization schemes to legalize buildings/land use in contravention of existing Master Plans.

Such frequent amendments to land use/ building regulations, even if justified, have unintended detrimental consequences that include encouraging frequent violations of regulations, opening opportunities for rent seeking, making advance infrastructure planning impossible, requiring expensive retrofits and redevelopment programs leading to revenue shortfalls for cash-strapped urban local bodies and preventing innovation in building designs.

Smart city Master Plan will have following areas:

  • City Profile – Quality of life,Administrative efficiency,SWOT, Strategic focus and blueprint, city vision and goals, citizen engagement.
  • Area Based Proposal – Key components, Smart urban form/ solutions,Convergence agenda and its implementation,Risks, Success factors,Measurable impact.
  • Pan city Proposal – Demand assessment,inclusion, frugal innovation, risk mitigation, convergence area, convergence implementation,Success factors, Benefits delivered, Measurable impact.
  • Implementation Plan – Plan, Scenarios, SPV details, Stakeholder roles,convergence, Public Private Partnership framework.
  • Financing Plan – Itemized cost, Resources plan, costs, Revenue and Pay back, Recovery of Operation and Management, Financial timeline, fall back plan.

Read more about Smart Cities Master Plan http://ceget.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/GCN_Smart_City_8Dec2017.pdf


Smart world & transforming lives

With a mission to improve urban livelihoods, the Smart Cities Mission has facilitated an ecosystem where technology companies along with engineering and construction firms are participating to develop Smart City Centre SCCs. Leading international companies are working on these projects, but most of the system integrators are Indian entities. More importantly, the Mission’s focus on innovative projects is a boost for the startup industry – it provides a fillip to the entrepreneurial spirit of urban residents, thereby increasing employment.

Coming back to Smart cities which are no longer the wave of the future. They are here now and growing quickly, expanding and creating impacts in the municipal services around the country.

The concept of ‘smart cities’ are being established around the world & transforming lives through the use of innovation technology & analytics.A smart city is defined by the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) and IoT devices to manage a variety of public assets, while acquiring critical data on an ongoing basis to improve the lives of its citizens.

Let’s dig few innovative technologies that are seen around our smart cities:

  1. Smart Energy: Both residential and commercial buildings in smart cities are more efficient, using less energy, and the energy used is analyzed and data collected. Smart grids are part of the development of a smart city, and smart streetlights are an easy entry point for many cities, since LED lights save money and pay for themselves within a few years.
  2. Smart transportation – A smart city supports multi-modal transportation, smart traffic lights and smart parking. One of the key areas that we have seen a lot of activity on has to do with mobility. Anything around transportation, traffic monitoring, parking are seeing a very fast return on investment. It not only helps to reduce the cost of monitoring parking and making sure that they are collecting fines, it’s also reducing congestion. On the other hand, by making parking smarter, people spend less time looking for parking spots and circling city blocks. Smart traffic lights have cameras that monitor traffic flow so that it’s reflected in the traffic signals.
  3. Smart data – The massive amounts of data collected by a smart city must be analyzed quickly in order to make it useful. Open data portals are one option that some cities have chosen in order to publish city data online, so that anyone can access it and use predictive analytics to assess future patterns. Companies are working with cities to help them analyze data, and they’re in the Startup in Residence (STiR) program for the cities.
  4. Smart infrastructure – Cities will be able to plan better with a smart city’s ability to analyze large amounts of data. This will allow for pro-active maintenance and better planning for future demand. Being able to test for lead content in water in real time when the data shows a problem is emerging could prevent public health issues. Having a smart infrastructure means that a city can move forward with other technologies and use the data collected to make meaningful changes in future city plans.
  5. Smart mobility – “Mobility refers to both the technology and the data which travels across the technology. The ability to seamlessly move in and out of many different municipal and private systems is essential if we are to realize the promise of smart cities. Building the smart city will never be a project that is finished.
  6. Smart IoT devices – And finally, one of the key components that ties everything together in a smart city is IoT devices. Whether we like it or not, sensors and actuators in our cities are here to stay. Fusing sensor information into our daily life and integrating it all with third party social networks will knit the fabric of society closer together, while leaving city leaders to grapple with serious privacy and security challenges.

Read more about Smart Cities ¨http://ceget.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/GCN_Smart_City_8Dec2017.pdf


Future of Smart Vicinity

Captivating a new horizon, the ministry led my Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 3 years ago his vision to set up 100 smart cities across the country.  The mission grabbed more headlines than any of its predecessors and the race began among the listed cities. The 100 smart cities mission intends to promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure.

What is a ‘smart city’?

Descending from level zero, acity equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions refer a Smart City.

With what basic infrastructure

Public information, grievance redressal, electronic service delivery, citizens’ engagement, waste to energy & fuel, waste to compost, 100% treatment of waste water, smart meters & management, monitoring water quality, renewable source of energy, efficient energy and green building, smart parking, intelligent traffic management system.

How a Smart City is funded?

Each of the 20 cities that are selected will receive Rs 200 crore in the first year followed by Rs 100 crore each over the next three years from the Centre. States to contribute an equivalent amount. The cities need to involve the private sector in PPP plans, too. This will be by raising user charges to meet the expense incurred. In the future, there could be municipal bonds as well.

The involvements & step taken

According to a government statement in May, 2018 – 1,333 projects under the smart cities program worth a total 506.26 billion rupees had either been completed or were in the implementation/tendering stage. These projects include the development of roads, water, solar networks and public spaces. For critics of the program, this is not enough. They demand more rapid progress and better utilisation of funds.

The three major issues that have emerged in multiple stakeholder deliberations is the financing of cities, technical capacity of implementors, and the sustainability of the mission beyond the envisaged timelines. These challenges point to a need for pilot projects and model solutions to explore viability and adoption challenges.

As more cities move into implementation, it is important to look at sustainability of the solutions which are getting implemented, multiplicity of financial models and execution strategies, and a solid monitoring mechanism to enhance transparency and ensure accountability.

The Smart Cities in Action

The 90 cities that were approved to be the part of the change only 31 could complete the action. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) leads the chart with 23 completed projects, followed by Varanasi (16) and Raipur (10).

Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET)

Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET) at Global Compact Network India (GCNI) realises that building of Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11) requires partners who are committed to a long haul.

The 10 pillars of GCNI-CEGET Framework for Governance of SmartCities runs through the entire chain of the project implementationand supporting structures as depicted in the Figure below.

  1. Establish definition of Smart City with all Services, Solutions and Products
  2. Develop Smart City Components, Master Plan and Roll out plan
  3. Align with Existing Guidelines and Best Practices
  4. Define and develop sustainable Business/Financial Models/Clarity on funding options and plans
  5. Define and Establish Decision making structures, Responsibility matrix and Accountability with SPV framework
  6. Establish Procurement policies and guidelines, Define Procurement Process and Effective compliance models
  7. Establish clear monitoring and evaluation system – Framework and parameters against timelines and deliverables
  8. Build Capacity of the SPV Officials and Use Project Management Consultant for support
  9. Enable and Ensure extensive industry participation in smart cities with clear deliverables and milestones
  10. Encourage participation and innovation by local industry/Encourage entrepreneurship

Read more about Smart Cities ¨http://ceget.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/GCN_Smart_City_8Dec2017.pdf


How corruption drives inequality, and what we can do about it

From enabling illicit accumulation of wealth by global elites, to denying people access to basic services, corruption – the abuse of entrusted power for private gain – often serves to drive inequality, both within national boundaries and internationally.

http://www.transparency.org.uk/corruption_inequality_what_we_can_do/#.WgFtstWWbIV


Away From The Fighting, Kabul Takes On Another Enemy: Corruption

Afghanistan’s government is mired in a war against a 16-year insurgency that has forced the capital into virtual lockdown, ignited deadly protests, and compelled the head of state to retreat behind the barricaded walls of Kabul’s presidential palace.

But off the battlefield, it is also waging a campaign against another evil: systemic government corruption.

To access the full blog, please click below:

https://www.rferl.org/a/afghanistan-corruption-graft-fight/28540795.html


Fighting Procurement Corruption: the Essential Role of Bid Challenge Systems

Ensuring firms that loose the competition for a government contract can challenge the result is a critical part of the fight against corruption in public procurement.  A losing bidder will have lost the chance to make a profit and will have invested time and money in preparing its bid.  It thus has not only a strong motive for contesting a decision it believes tainted by corruption but the expertise to do so.  Bid challenge systems complement procurement oversight by civil society.  Indeed, they may even be a more powerful tool.  Whereas civil society monitoring typically relies on public-spirited volunteers unfamiliar with the technical aspects of the procurement, bid challenge systems harness firms’ self-interest and technical knowledge in service of ferreting out procurement corruption.

To access the full blog, please click below:

 https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2017/06/07/fighting-procurement-corruption-the-essential-role-of-bid-challenge-systems/

 


Exposing Procurement Corruption: Ten Questions to Ask

No government activity is more susceptible to corruption than public procurement. The process by which government decides what to buy and from whom is lengthy, technically complex, and riddled with decision points that give procurement officers enormous discretion.  Oversight is thus especially difficult.  Moreover, because so much money is involved, the temptations procurement offers corrupt public servants and their private sector accomplices are particularly great.  Some developed countries spend as much as one-third of their budget on the purchase of public works, goods, and services, and the available data suggests the figure may even be higher in developing countries.

To access the full blog, please click below:

https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2017/04/12/exposing-procurement-corruption-eight-questions-to-ask/


Large-Scale Land Acquisitions: Opportunities for Corruption

Recent years have seen a significant rise in large-scale land acquisitions by foreign investors, generally for agricultural or extractive purposes. Many of these land deals, termed “land grabs,” have had injurious effects on local populations who are often pushed off of their land without their informed consent. (For a description of contemporary land grabs and a land grab bibliography, see here.) Foreign companies and governments secure the majority of these land deals in poorer countries, where large tracts of land can be purchased cheaply, and where many of the local inhabitants do not have the means to contest the deals through the legal system. The land is frequently used for agriculture or production of “flex crops” (such as soy or palm oil), which are then sold abroad, rather than to the host country. Therefore, land grabs can result in not only the displacement of local communities, but also the reallocation of these vital resources to external actors, rather than to the inhabitants of the host country.

To access the full blog, please click below:

https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2017/01/20/large-scale-land-acquisitions-opportunities-for-corruption/