Is your electricity supply regular? Is your drinking water free of germs? Do your telephones work smoothly? These questions would evoke a unanimous No from most of us. It is now a widely held belief that most of our public services are marked by corruption and callousness. Now a recent study of three major metropolises, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Pune, explodes the myth that they are cheap. While official fees and user charges for services are indeed low, the costs of corruption and the investments made by citizens to cope with the unreliability of services are significant. The study suggests breaking the monopoly of the government over these services and introducing creative alternatives to instill competition in the concerned sectors.
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