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Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri :- “We don’t reap for them to sow... We are the makers of their fate... We destroy their destiny”
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Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri :- “We don’t reap for them to sow... We are the makers of their fate... We destroy their destiny”

Date Added: November 17, 2008 01:09:36 PM
Author: Surender Singh
Category: News

Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri Hony. Dean, Centre For Economic Research and Advanced Studies, IIPM Whenever there are questions as to why is the government of India always sluggish about the state of misery in which the common Indian is living today, the deplorable farmer who is voluntarily pushing beyond the edge of living, the dismal health facilities and the expansively neglected education infrastructure, the historic clichéd response is: The resources are limited, and hence, there has always been a deficiency in investments. Probably this response is one of the biggest conspiracies of our times. Encouraged by this response, various governments have been fooling Indian citizens and allocating miserable sums to various mission critical sectors of the economy. I can say so because persistent researche at our institution IIPM have shown that if there is political intent, resources can always be generated and mobilised (refer ‘The Great Indian Dream’). Well, this time I am referring to a bigger conspiracy. I was shocked when I came across a recent news carried by one of the leading Indian dailies on how most of the ministries have fallen short of spending their allocated budgets (which, as such, are chicken feed, keeping in mind how starved various sectors of Indian economy are for investments). According to me, of all the ministries who do not look like exhausting their budgets by this financial year end, the biggest offender is Ministry of Public Health and Family Welfare, which could spend merely 40% till now, of their allocated budget of Rs.11,670 crore. For the uninitiated, the Government of India spends only 0.9% of the GDP on public health which comes to almost Rs. 200 per Indian per year (making India one of the lowest spenders out of the 175 nations listed in UNDP HDR). This is all that the Government of India spends on those 5 million people who are living with AIDS, 1.8 million fresh TB patients every year, 67% of all children who are underweight, 75% of all infants and 60% of all women who are anaemic among other victims of official apathy in India. The next offenders in line are all the ministries responsible for building Indian infrastructure. Every forum, media house, think tank, among everybody else had been asserting for long the urgent need for investments in infrastructure. Even our honourable Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram stated that by 2012, infrastructure alone would require an investment of around Rs.11,00,000 crore. leaving the rest aside, Rs.2,20,000 crore are needed for national highways alone, Rs.40,000 crore for airports and Rs.50,000 crore for ports. In such a scenario, it is disgusting that the Ministry of Civil Aviation could barely manage to spend a measly Rs.1 crore of the Rs.130 crore allocated budget. A little better though, the Ministry of Railways could spend 67% of its allocated Rs.6,800 crores. What more, at a time when our urban infrastructure is on the verge of collapse (35 Indian cities have more than 1 million population, almost half of the urban population do not have access to sanitation and 50% of solid waste is not disposed) the Ministry of Urban Development could spend only 71% of the allocated budgets till now. The third offender is Ministry of Non-Conventional energy. At a time when the entire world is leaving no stone unturned to secure energy resources and investing crazily in non-conventional energy resources, our ministry ends up spending only 18% of the allocated budget of Rs.597 crore. And the list of such offenders goes on... No wonder the opening page of the Union Budget 2006-07 presents a classical dichotomy. It states “We reap what we sow... We are the makers of our own fate... We make our own destiny” – the famous words of Swami Vivekananda. Though looking at the state of our ministries vis-à-vis the nation and its citizens, most ideally the adage should read like “We don’t reap for them to sow... We are the makers of their fate... We destroy their destiny.”
 
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