oppn parties There's A Hole In The Bucket

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
  • Shiv Sena not to attend the NDA meeting on 17th November, says break up "a formality"
  • Shiv Sena says that the confidence the BJP is showing about forming the government in Maharashtra is based purely on its expectation of getting numbers through horse trading
  • Anil Ambani resigns as director of the bankrupt Reliance Communications
  • India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 150 rums inside three days in the first Test. Indian pacers excel after Mayank Agarwal's double century
  • Sena-NCP-Congress work out a common minimum programme, will form the government soon and it will last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the decision to withdraw the charitable status of Young India, making it liable to pay Rs 145 in income tax. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are the majority shareholders in the company
  • CBI raids offices of Amnesty International across India
  • Supreme Court quashes NCLAT order against Arcelor Mittal and paves the way for the company to take over ailing Essar Steel
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says concerns of telcos will be addressed and no company will close down
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
oppn parties
There's A Hole In The Bucket

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking before NRI’s, recounted what former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said about only 15 percent of the money sent for development or welfare schemes from Delhi reaching the poor. Although Modi used this to point out that successive Congress governments looted the country and give rise to crony capitalism with the then Prime Minister even admitting it, this is something which has always existed, even during the times of the rajas and zamindars. Two anecdotes show how it works.

Emperor Akbar was once very worried about reports that not all money collected from the people as taxes was reaching the treasury. As usual, he called upon Birbal to find out the reason. After a few days, Birbal asked Akbar to summon the full court. Once the court assembled, Birbal asked the guards to bring a big slab of ice and place it at the entrance. When Akbar asked him the reason, Birbal told him to just watch as it will answer his question. Birbal then asked the guards to pass on the slab to the first courtier and asked each courtier to relay it to the person sitting next to him. As the slab made its journey, it got reduced in size. Finally, when it reached the royal throne, it was almost half in size. Birbal explained to the Emperor that a similar thing happened with the taxes. Although this is the opposite of what Rajiv Gandhi had said, if we reverse the journey of the ice slab, it will show that only half of what Akbar allotted for the poor reached them.

In a different anecdote, a few village sarpanches in Rajasthan once petitioned a block development officer for a rainwater pond. The officer caught on that they were angling for funds, not the pond. A deal was struck: the officer had the funds sanctioned, the booty was shared all around and files and maps recorded that the pond existed. Two years later, the officer needed money in a jiffy. He asked the sarpanches to submit a petition urging the government to fill up the pond as its water had been contaminated. Once again funds were sanctioned and ex-gratia payments made to the “victims”. The loot was again shared. For every big scam, a hundred such incidents take place, draining India’s resources but not adding to its infrastructure.

Direct subsidy transfer (DST), Jan Dhan accounts and Aadhar enrolments have gone a long way in reducing this leakage and have ensured that most of the money reaches the real beneficiaries. Previously, the beneficiary list used to contain fake names and the money was paid in cash citing lack of bank accounts of the beneficiary. Most of this money was siphoned off. The troika of DST, Jan Dhan accounts and Aadhar has put a stop to this. This is not to say that leakages have vanished, but they have been reduced and the government has been able to save a lot of money in the bargain. Scamsters devise newer ways to siphon out development funds and the government has to be on its toes to prevent this.