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Aurangabad Municipal Corporation’s Brainwave in The Midst of a Severe Water Crisis: Make Staffers Wear Uniforms

This reflects the national discourse — appearances seem more important than actual performance.

Aurangabad is going through a water crisis, and drinking water is supplied in tankers in parts of the district. After playing Holi some days ago in the city, people were left stranded without water to wash off the colours.

Last month, the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation even ordered that a fine would be imposed on people who wash their cars with the water supplied by the civic body. Times of India reported that AMC has imposed a fine of Rs 100 fine for using the water to wash vehicles, Rs 200 for washing empty spaces outside houses and a fine of Rs 500 for using drinking water for construction purposes.

On Friday, two important water pipelines in the city’s Cidco and Shahganj area broke, further exacerbating the issue, TOI reported. Locals have reportedly staged several agitations because while the water supply is scheduled for every fifth day, the AMC is only able to supply water on every sixth day due to the severe shortage.

Given the circumstances, a look at the AMC’s priorities will leave one baffled. Come April 6, on Gudi Padwa, which marks the beginning of the month of Chaitra in the local calendar and the traditional Hindu New Year in Maharashtra, staffers at the AMC will don a new uniform – light blue shirts and dark blue pants for men and salwar kameez in the same colour scheme for women, with AMC embroidered on the shirt pocket. The staffers are also expected to get the uniforms by themselves. 

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Municipal commissioner Nipun Vinayak proposed this idea in a bid to increase professionalism and level the hierarchy in the corporation. The move is expected to give staffers a sense of pride and enable the people of Aurangabad to identify corporation staffers by their attire.

In Aurangabad, the decision to shift to a uniform was taken after some manner of consultation. Staffers apparently backed the idea of the commissioner, who has reportedly already begun appearing in office in the proposed uniform.

But is professionalism a matter of dress and comportment alone? Is love for one’s work, and an ability to respond with sensitivity as a government servant to those one serves not part of this professionalism?

This shift to a uniform is also reflective of the national discourse. Appearances seem rather more important than actual performance. Quite likely, when PM Narendra Modi donned that Rs.10 lakh suit with his name all over it while meeting US President Obama in 2015, he actually thought he had achieved the very pinnacle of success.

Staffers of the water supply department of the corporation were roughed up by irritated residents. If such problems are not resolved, will donning uniforms help? 

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