Pune: Clear Communication During Crises

You are unlikely to have heard of the names Schlieffen, or Moltke (the elder or the younger). Unlikely, that is, unless you are as big a fan of learning more about the First World War as I have become. By the way, if you want to learn more about it, allow me to recommend a book and a podcast:

The War That Ended Peace, by Margaret Macmillan

Blueprint for Armagedon – 1, by Dan Carlin

There are others, it goes without saying – in fact, I don’t think there’s even a finite number, but these are fine places to start.

Now, back to Schlieffen and Moltke. Long story short, they prepared between them a plan of almost bewildering complexity about the invasion of France. It was drawn up in mind-boggling detail, and would have put any modern manager to shame.

Except, it fell to pieces, and for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which was communications (emphasis in the excerpt is mine):

The failure of the plan was explained in Der Weltkrieg by showing that command in the German armies was often conducted with vague knowledge of the circumstances of the French, the intentions of other commanders and the locations of other German units. Communication was botched from the start and orders could take hours or days to reach units or never arrive. Auftragstaktik, the decentralised system of command that allowed local commanders discretion within the commander’s intent, operated at the expense of co-ordination.

If we are at war with the coronavirus (and yes, we are), we need clearer communication. It really and truly matters.

Here’s a manual from the CDC about communicating during a crisis. What is shown below is a screenshot of a part of it:

So, if you are a citizen in Pune, and are looking for the first source of information, where should you look?


Pune’s district collector, Naval Kishor Ram has a Twitter ID, and you should be following it. Getting a blue tick would be a welcome addition, especially during these times!

The Divisional Information Office of Pune also has a Twitter ID.

The Pune City Police are there was well, as is the Police Commissioner.

These, best as I can tell, ought to be our  first source of information. Please feel free to reply in the comments, or email me at ashish at econforeverybody dot com if you would like me add additional first sources.

It should go without saying, but it obviously does not:

Please do not take messages you receive on Whatsapp/Facebook/social media as the gospel truth. Avoid forwarding them, as far as possible.

Use the sources mentioned above, and share them far and wide.

If I may make a suggestion: the Twitter page for the Pune Collector’s handle links to pune.nic.in

The website has never once been up since I have been testing it. The link should either be removed, or the page should be updated.

I wrote this piece – what is above – yesterday afternoon (19th afternoon), but am writing this update after listening to Prime Minister Modi’s speech.

That CDC PDF that I linked to above? It also contains this:

The cynic in me might be slightly embarrassed about it, but I’ll be out on my terrace, clapping, come 5 pm on Sunday.

There’s also this:

Test, test, test!



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