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Re: Reinventing Govt. etc.

Hi All:
It is quite a coincidence that Sanjeev wanted to start a Taskforce on 
Govt - I have been reading and thinking about the same. I am right now
reading a book by Richard Box titled "Citizen Governance - leading American
communities into the 21st century." This books looks at all the reforms that
went into making the local govt. in America what it is today, and postulates
a new approach for making the citizens more involved in governance (as 
opposed to the narrower term "Government"). 
As I think more about it, it seems like we ought to start the reforms more
at the top in India simply because of the different path taken by our 
Nation compared to the US. Here in the US, govt. started in the neighborhood,
and then the small govts converged and formed a union. In the case
of India, the citizens don't seem to have any concept of individual freedom
and rights, and hence it is quite doubtful if we can really start at the 
grassroots and work our way up. So I propose that the Taskforce start with
the central govt., then look at the center-state relationships and devolution
of powers, and finally city-level govt. I am willing to spend some time
in this direction and be a part of the task force. 
I need some help from the knowledgeable ones on this list regarding the
govt. in India. Are there any good books that give a critical account
of the way govt. functions in India? 

One thing that strikes me again and again
as I read about govt. here, is the conscious effort made by these people
to eliminate corruption and patronage from the govt. starting at the lowest
level. The amount of thinking that went into democratizing the govt. is amazing.
There is a lot that we need to learn here, so whoever is willing to work
with me can be assured that this undertaking is a greatly rewarding one.
Anyone else willing to work on this?