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Article written

  • on 07.06.2009
  • at 01:35 AM
  • by admin

A Glass Half Empty 3


A man at the tap needs a glass of water. You pour a glass of water into the system, but the man at the tap only gets a spoonful. What does one do in such a scenario? Politician’s solution to this problem has been to pour a bucketful of water into the system hoping that the man at the tap would get his glassful. Alas!! The man at the tap still goes thirsty because the more water you pour into a leaking system, the more it leaks.

This has been the story of subsidies in independent India. Successive governments have devised new schemes to pour more and more money into the system with pious intentions of benefiting one constituency or another. However the leakages and the holes in our system have kept growing bigger and bigger. The real beneficiaries of this system are an entire gamut of people who cling to governance apparatus like parasites. These people can be freely seen loitering in corridors of power, currying favours to the politicians and bureaucrats alike.

After Rajiv Gandhi’s famous confession that for every Rupee that the government spends, only 15 paise reaches its intended recipient, subsequent studies have shown the figure to be still lower, may be around 6%. Yet there has been no common-sense effort made to fix this problem.

Every day throughout the nation newer scams of loot of government money are unearthed. These scams are then used as a football among political parties for casting blame on each other. Older scams are replaced by newer ones as public memory fades and the judicial system simply labours on . Yet the basic malaise of plugging the holes remains unaddressed.

What we don’t need is just more money into the system, but simply more ‘bang’ for the money that we spend. A start can be made by commissioning an assessment for every subsidy being provided. The exercise needs to be done by independent, non-governmental agencies. Such an exercise will not only expose the quantum of diversion but will also throw up solutions to check the leakages. Hopefully then the man at the tap will get his glassful of water.

Part: 1 2 3

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There are 3 comments for this post

  1. Akshat Rathi says:

    Great post to gather inspiration from. Readers would appreciate if you can provide some links for the facts you mention.

    For eg., “Rajiv Gandhi’s famous confession”, “subsequent studies showing only 6% effectiveness”

  2. John Gray says:

    The example that you have given is great and the post also.
    They are getting more and more thirsty but thirsty never stops.

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