Privatise the Commonwealth Games?

September 24, 2010

A labourer stands in front of boards advertising the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi September 23, 2010. REUTERS/Mansi ThapliyalThere are two reports today that say everything about the fiasco of the Commonwealth Games. On the one hand, while Delhi government cleaners are apparently refusing to clean the toilets at the Games village because they were so “nauseating”, the Games organisers are calling in the help of some luxury private hotels, including the Taj and Oberoi, to help with hygiene.

There you have it. After nearly four years in India, most of the positive headlines I have read have come from the can-do attitude of Indian business or the energy of non-government grassroots organisations. The negative has mostly come from rafts of stories of the Indian state – the skimming of billions of dollars, the failure of basic health and education services.

For all the criticism that is being levelled at India, the most unfair somehow is that this country cannot organise events to the standard of the globalised 21st century. False. Just look at how one businessman, Lalit Modi, set up the Indian Premier League (IPL), which revolutionised cricket with its 20-over format and imported cheerleaders. After security concerns in
2008, organisers moved the IPL — in many ways more complex than the Games because it takes place over nearly two months in different cities — to South Africa within weeks, a huge feat of logistics.

While Modi is now being investigated now for irregularities, the fact is that many Indian executives would probably be happy to organise an event like the Commonwealth Games, just as they have been adventurous enough to extend their global reach to buy up firms like Jaguar or stakes in Hollywood. They must be shaking their heads in frustration when the international media focuses on one organising official who says the problem about the Games village is that foreigners do not realise that India and the West have different standards of hygiene.

The problem is more lack of entrepreneurial prowess. The Commonwealth Games need infusing with India’s Bangalore and Hyderabad IT spirit. Next time around, perhaps we should privatise the Games.

(Click here for Commonwealth Games LIVE Blog)

12 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

“Next time around, perhaps we should privatise the Games.”

Next time????????????

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Privatise the games – They are already privatised.

You should rather call for privatised administration, every other thing was done by private companies only this time also. State machinery was never involved, they was being called now to fix what is non-fixable.

If the company responsible for Commonwealth Games Village could not do a good job, how do you think the private administration will be any fruitful.

These are super-lame solution to the problems. There is no check and balances policy, thats why there was so much of alleged corruption thus this condition.

Posted by gaurav2328 | Report as abusive

Unfortunately neither Suresh K, Jaipal R, Shiela D or any of the top officials responsible for the scam and/or the shameful unpreparedness even after seven years will be pulled up. All will be forgotten on the 15th Oct and the whole process is going to be repeated in some event in the near future.

Posted by Obhi | Report as abusive

Will we really get a next time??

And had it been given to BCCI then I am not sure of corruption but yes games would have gone on smoothly without a single hitch.

“State machinery was never involved”

This is a lame excuse. Who is responsible for games…”Government of India” and that puts full stop to your stupid notion. The companies responsible for Games could not do a good job because those companies were selected by STATE MACHINERY to NOT do a good job but rather fulfil greed of Congress heads in name of Games. Check who?? Companies or how and what companies gets tenders? Government is to blamed fairly and squarely because Games were government’s responsibility and government failed.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive

Yes it can be privatized ONLY if the whole ownership is wrested on a private player and there is no state role.

Posted by ypmhaskar | Report as abusive

Privatisation is not a panacea. I myself have been, like Alistair, been giving the example of the IPL as a counter-argument.

True, the IPL delivered. But then the scales cannot be compared.

To me it is always the people who matter. That was also why the ASIAD 1982 was such a success. People delivered.

Posted by write2kill | Report as abusive

Agree that “For all the criticism that is being levelled at India, the most unfair somehow is that this country cannot organise events to the standard of the globalised 21st century.”

However compared to even two ultra sensitive, mega events the Indian elections and the Kumbh Mela, the IPL kind of pales.

For all the excitement it generates, to my mind it is a McEvent, there is very little in it that is Indian.

If that is the way of the globalised 21st century, we will all be a little poorer in our humanity,don’t you think ?

Also “can doism” is in the eye of the beholder.

If one’s vision of the spirit of hope, striving and adventure is limited to only those fortunate enough to buy up enterprises from depressed economies,I dare say, one is probably being a little blinkered by theology.

A theology that is, if economic events in the West are an indicator, probably in need of some urgent reorientation and refurbishment.

I see exhilarating can doism everywhere, Shri Scrutton.

In the kids that go to school. Often without even the privilege of a pair of flip flops.

Are they being educated for a globalised 21st century? I seriously doubt it.

What about those barely clothed labourers who are ironically making the 21st century happen in India. You saw them toiling for the games. Right on the cutting edge.

Could they not have been properly equipped and treated like their lives mattered?

What about the brave senior police officers of Mumbai who were forced to take on fully equipped terrorists with effectively their bare hands and bodies?

Could they not have been properly equipped and treated like their lives mattered?

If one is fondly indulgent of “irregularities” any where in the system, isn’t one condoning and being complicit in “irregularities” everywhere.

If the Supreme Court judge who delivered the verdict on the Bhopal Gas tragedy is to be believed, even that was a mere “irregularity”.

You appear to find it incomprehensible that the international media would focus on “one organising official who says the problem about the Games village is that foreigners do not realise that India and the West have different standards of hygiene.”

But that and the comment by Shiela Dixit, on the collapse of the foot overbridge, “that bridge is for the common man (aam admi)” and the Punjabi Wedding comment by the Sports Minister M S Gill – incidentally not a ringing endorsement of Indian organising capabilities – express a depth of contempt for the ordinary Indian.

Imagine if these had been blurted out by an exasperated foreigner?

It would have been impossible to deny their racist/ colonial/ casteist, hateful,import.

This hatefulness is not a mere “irregularity” Shri Scrutton. It is a crime. It is corruption.

The dichotomy between the state and private enterprise is probably dated.

Neither a Bhopal or a Satyam or a CWG happens in isolation. And there are a billion corruptions that never show up on the television screens.

It is not for nothing, that corruption has been self indulgently accepted by the ruling class as “a way of life” in India.

I will second to none in my admiration for a truly authentic entrepreneur who will delight India without hollowing its institutions or ripping off its future.

The advent of such a can-do force will truly mark the beginning of promise for the Indian economy and society.

Please visit and participate at http://sathyagraha.blogspot.com

Andhra Pradesh High Court’s Pernicious Rebellion Against The Law .05/29/09

RTI Act 2005 Abuse In Andhra Pradesh- SIC Cheats! Chief Secretary Lies!05/07/09

Prejudiced CIC Laps Up PMO Lies 05/05/09

Compelling Criminality. Divakar S Natarajan and Varun Gandhi Cannot Both Be Wrong ! 01/28/09

And India’s editorial class will not report the story!

Divakar’s Sathyagraha

News and views from Divakar S Natarajan’s, “no excuses”, ultra peaceful, non partisan, individual sathyagraha against corruption and for the idea of the rule of law in India.

Now in its 20th year.

Any struggle against a predatory authority is humanity’s struggle to honour the gift of life.

Posted by divakarssathya | Report as abusive

nothing repeat nothing repeat nothing is going to happen to any indian official or politician connected with organising cwg. the games will get over and within a month we shall forget everything connected with the mess they created and the insults hurled by rest of the world on india. we are a bunch of shameless, spineless, impotent people. mark my words, mr manmohan singh will still be the pm, mrs sheila dixit will still be the cm, mr m s gill will still be the sports minister mr jaipal reddy will still be the misister and mr suresh kalmadi will still be the last word in games and sports(w/o playing any sport in his life) in india. the dda chairman will still be messing up dda and all other office bearers of cwg oc may shift some positions here and there but continue to make money and flaunt their wealth. huh, thats exactly what we are after 63 years of independence, a corrupt,inefficient and impotent country. all authority and no accountability.

Posted by pranab_gin | Report as abusive

It all boils down to accountability!

Typically, the private sector is more productive than the public sector in each and every industry or sector where they co-exist. This is largely because of greater accountability and involvement / initiative of the private sector.

India has generally excelled in spheres where government involvement / intermediation has been minimal – take the success story of IT for example. This has also been established in as mundane an area as garbage disposal in several urban developments.

Posted by lswain | Report as abusive

Strengthen the administration and adjudication of the Right To Information Act 2005.

Extend RTI 2005 to include the media.

The “detergentism”, (my coinage)implicit in RTI 2005, where individual citizens can directly receive transparency and accountability as opposed to old fashioned “draconianism”, is revolutionary.

No wonder India’s ruling class, PMO. Supreme Court and the babudom appear to be itching to strangle it in the crib.

Thanks to India’s corrupt and pacified editorial class, the RTI Act is fast becoming a yet another,bureaucratic bazaar.

Frankly, I find repeated laudatory references to the private sector to be counter factual.

Public or private, they all need to be watched by an informed and vigilant citizenry or whatever is left of it.

Conscientious professionals in the Press need to find ways to support such “doomed” efforts.

Posted by divakarssathya | Report as abusive

this is a sad state of affairs for India. It seems nobody is taking responsibility.A national shame and there is no sense of urgency. We live amidst the stench and filth and squalor and go about our daily routine, like nothing is wrong. There has to be a national upheaval so that everybody is on the same page, while continuing to beautiful our towns, villages and large cities.

Posted by askjeevs | Report as abusive

Interesting article. I agree with you on many levels. Hosting major sports events is very important for emerging economies as they can demonstrate an improved image of the country. The article on included link covers the same topic.
http://point-consulting.blogspot.com/

Posted by Mikael30 | Report as abusive