In US, the primary responsibilities of the local government are free schooling, maintenance of roads and infrastructure, safety and security and overall welfare of the residents.
In India, the local governments share similar responsibilities among many others, which are ambitious but often are caught for inefficiency in maintaining the quality.
For NRIs who are planning to settle back in India, the difference in the quality of the governance is creating huge complexity and problems in normal living.
Schooling up to 12th grade is absolutely free in US and the government schools are called public schools. Where as in India, the standards in the government schools are very poor even when compared with local standards and not to talk about the US standards.
If an NRI wants to join his/her children in a school locally, there is no other option left but to join in the private schools. The popularity of public schools and private schools in US and India are quite opposite. Only a handful of people in US opt for private schools, as they are very expensive. In India, only a few opt for public (government) schools only in the cases of absolutely poverty or unable to access private schools.
Roads and infrastructure maintenance is of best quality in the US. Though we pay road tax here to the local government, the maintenance is not up to the mark, where it is a great hassle to transit. During the recent snowfall in US, the govt. has done its best to make sure that the roads are clear from snow time to time, where as here even a small rain in the evening could make you stranded in the water for hours.
Safety and security – Policing and maintaining law and order in the public places and on roads is almost perfect and absolutely fair everywhere in US. The local governments are particular about the road safety and keep strict vigilance on the lawbreakers whether they are motorists or pedestrians. Police is routinely called to talk to the noisy neighbour or if some teenagers make some nuisance or to stop a late night party.
The primary responsibility of a government is to provide basic amenities a to the people facilitating a smooth living. On icy stretch (sleet), police cars routinely stops ahead with orange lights till road repair/maintenance workers come in and make the roads drivable. Can you imagine a cop on a motorcycle park in front of an open manhole until MCH comes in and takes care of it?
In US, the responsibilities of the government are:
- Protect the borders
- Maintain law and order
- Treat every citizen the same
- Provide quality schooling free of costs
- Maintain/develop public infrastructure – roads, libraries, restrooms etc.
- Create jobs (or facilitate job creation)
- Ensure systems take care of welfare of everyone equally
The need to keep government small and not allowing it to expand its role is very strong and very different. In most American people the realization that government is inefficient in everything else is strongly and widely felt.
Overall welfare – the governments are fair wile dealing with the welfare of the citizens.
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