I was just going through the newspaper when I came across an ample number of brickbats in connection to the Indian Grand Prix being held in Greater Noida. The criticizers whose opprobrium was highly venomous argued that the Indian Establishment should stop spending money on such activities as they are western ways of recreation and a status symbol sport for the elite.
They said they should instead spend the money of the State exchequer on poverty alleviation. What I fail to realize is that why can’t these pseudo-poor sympathizers realize that India is aiming for inclusive growth which implies all around development? On one hand we are doing our bit to alleviate poverty and eradicate unemployment by enacting schemes like the MNREGA and on the other, we are trying to showcase our strength and emergence on the global scale by hosting events like the F1. Development is a simple word having positive as well as negative implications. What the establishment has done is going to give way to positive development but such pessimistic takes being published in leading dailies will lead to only ‘negative developments’.
There are an ample number of reasons for the failure of the welfare schemes initiated and implemented by the Planning Commission of India for the poor. The first and foremost problem lies with the identification of the poor. The statistics revealed from time to time by the Planning Commission are erroneously flawed and contradict the figures of many other independent outfits conducting surveys to measure poverty. This error comes into play because since a long period of time we’ve been dependent on a uniform definition of poverty. A uniform definition of poverty cannot rightfully point out towards all those who are poor. For correct and clear identification of the poor we need to have multiple definitions of poverty measuring poverty on multiple parameters. The figures obtained should be further classified and they should plainly put all those afflicted by poverty under different categories.
The first one should consist of all those who are living in a totally deprived state referred to as absolute poverty by economists. The second and third, should shell out the names of those who are poor but somehow are able to meet day to day expenses and who are vulnerable to poverty in the near future, respectively. The second problem lies with our bureaucracy. We’ve created a giant sized bureaucracy which incurs astronomical amounts of administrative overheads. 60-70% of the funds allocated get exhausted by the time all the administrative and management expenses are met, the next 10-20% get swallowed courtesy corruption. In such a scenario only 20% of the funds targeted at the people actually reach them. We’ve got to fix our bureaucracy. This handicap can be outdone by simplifying the procedure of implementation of schemes which will not only ensure cost effectiveness but will also lead to timely execution of the work to be done.
Bureaucracy needs to go through overhauling to get itself back on track in order to ensure that we are able to allocate 70% of the total number of funds allocated for the poor. If these small steps are performed as desired then we can surely achieve planned growth and eliminate poverty. We’ve got to stop concentrating on GDP. It just represents trade. The real growth is in desirously rooting out poverty and in improving the quality of life which is categorized by health, happiness and human resource development. Quality of life should always come prior to the standard of life because standard of life is economic in nature and the numbers game associated with it is can be easily manipulated with the help of the amount of money earned by the super rich. In an economy as unequal as ours it takes a far greater amount of pain to enhance the quality of life rather than the standard of life but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need to enhance the standard of life.