Well well if it isn’t the infamous planning commission back in news again. Before we dissect the recent ‘achievement’ by the institution of elite Economists; let us look around us for a while or perhaps close our eyes and think about the condition of our country for a bit.
Slums growing in numbers; homeless children running about in the streets polishing shoes or selling papers; infants born to the poor and needy dying for deficiency of nutrition; lack of infrastructure in thousands of villages; droughts and famine; unemployment; shoddy living conditions of the poor; their children dropping out of school out of compulsion; farmer suicides; realty rates overshooting limits; unaffordable food, housing and clothing for many. Too familiar isn’t it? Well these are only a few in the huge ‘To-Renovate’ List that the Government ought to or rather must maintain in order to steer our country towards a brighter future.
When the government’s top brass is ‘preaching austerity’ to the nation, a body of the Government itself goes ahead and spends absurd sum of money for renovation of two toilets in its headquarters. Yes the Planning Commission of India has managed to do it again; managed to cross the limits of being preposterous and nonsensical.
So Cartoons, Petrol and now Toilets- I didn’t know that this day would come. Have you seen the public toilets available for the common man; even in emergencies you would rather humiliate yourself than enter those. Yes that is the condition around India. Except for a few NGOs and private organizations the government has actually lent a deaf ear to the sanitary woes of its citizens.
Think back to the last time you visited a railway station and you had to run to the toilet. I am sure you would have cursed your bowel and bladder movements for forcing you to endure that torture. How many such toilets could the Government have renovated by spending Rs 35 lakhs? I am damn sure it would be much more than two.
The Commission had fixed the poverty line at Rs.28 last year. Yes, ludicrous isn’t it. There is more; the Deputy Chairman undertakes innumerable foreign trips running up bizarre per day expenditures; again of the tax payers’ money and here we have him defending the spend on upgrading toilets at its headquarters at a humungous sum of Rs.35 lakhs. What have they use gold fittings or diamonds perhaps?
Rs. 35 lakhs is such a huge amount. One can buy a 3 bed room flat with 3 spacious bathrooms with that amount of money and they just flush it down two toilets! Is there no value for money? We pay taxes so that the government can use the money for our development not for the interiors of their toilets for heaven’s sake!
Mr Alhuwalia's argument is that the two toilets can serve 10 persons simultaneously so the spend is justified. He says further that the toilets need to be in good condition as foreign dignitaries and officials visit it often and have complained too. Fair enough, nobody would question the intent if the spend was plausible. But isn’t the sum of Rs. 35 lakhs for merely 10 people actually going way too overboard in terms of spending?
Well I do not even want to try and fathom the reason and the cause of such step taken by this department. Going by the track record of our government, this actually doesn’t come as a surprise. Fact is Rs 35 lakhs may only be the figure in papers while much more must have been slipped to various pockets at different levels when ‘no one was looking’. Yes our hard earned money that we pay as taxes is actually being flushed down the drain and there is nothing we can do about it! Wonder what else happens in the background and we common people end up facing the heat for a degrading economy. Well I guess it goes without saying Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys ~ P.J. O'Rourke.