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Whose money is it anyway?

The Politicians & Bureaucrats in India, cutting across all party lines & positions – are only interested in looting and siphoning-off precious funds and financial resources of the state, generated by the Indian Tax Payer. We the common people, as tax payers, neither have the right, nor the intent, nor the time, nor the recourse, to know how our funds are being utilized and if required, question these servants of ours, for their accountability towards this gross mismanagement of our hard earned tax money. We are only busy looking at those complicated and ever-changing sections and sub-sections allowing various deductions and their respective threshold limits etc., to reduce and save our taxes year after year. We are happy & content with a little bit here and a little bit there kind of tweaking of these tax laws, giving us some perceived and notional relaxation. In fact every single government has used these tax laws as Vote Bank instruments. But we as voters have never ever tried to bring a government down for the loot and theft, questioning them where and why all this money has been going all these decades. We never get to look at ways and means of putting a full stop to this perpetual and non-stop laundering of state funds taking place over the last 60 years, so blatantly and so openly.

With every new budget, new schemes and policies are developed and designed in the name of poverty alleviation, education, healthcare, infrastructure etc., which ends up as nothing more than instruments and conduits for siphoning-off money from the system. These so-called Flag-ship Social Schemes – and incidentally there are NINE of them right now – so it is a Naulakha (a necklace made from precious jewels and stones worth Nine Lakh Indian Rupees and hence the name Naulakha). Sounds like very harsh words but unfortunately a crude reality as a quick look at what we have spent on some of these schemes during 2001-08 and their respective results are glaring examples:
SSA – Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for all) – We have spent a whopping INR 60,000 Crores (US$ 12.5 Billion) that is INR 7500 Crores (US$ 1.56 billion) per year and YET 50% of children mostly coming from landless labours, backward classes and other such BPL backgrounds drop out by 8th Standard. This is no mean amount and clearly is not being spent the right way.
MDMS (Mid-Day meal scheme) – INR 33,000 Crores (US$ 6.88 Billion) spent on this scheme during 2001 to 2008 that is INR 4125 Crores (US$ 859 Million) per Year and yet 41% of our children go hungry and underfed. Only 11.74 Crore children are the beneficiary of this scheme so far and further calculation of per child cost would raise unbearable stink.
NREGS – We all know this scheme very well as it has been used as a branding & promotion tool for Rahul Gandhi to get to the right seat. Having spent INR 44,480 Crores (US$ 9.26 Billion) in 3 years (2006-09), it has delivered on an average 48 days of work to only 50% of 100 Million registered job card holders, State-wise results of this scheme are highly erratic for various factors and reasons.
ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) - INR 32,000 Crores (US$ 6.66 Billion) were spent during 2001-08 mainly on food, the quality of which has been deteriorating over the years. The scheme mainly targets nutrition and healthcare for children up to the age of 6 years. Out of the average 20 Crore children in the age group 0-6 years, only about 7 Crores (35%) are official beneficiaries.
NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) – This relatively new scheme launched in 2005 deals with healthcare delivery system for over 700 Million of rural population of our country. While the centre allocated INR 31,000 Crores (US$ 6.46 Billion), states have not been able to use as much as one third of these funds (thankfully so) and hence the total spend of only INR 20,000 Crores (US$ 4.16 Billion) during 2005-09. Achievements? Well, 647,000 accredited social health activists (ASHA) have been appointed out of which only 40% have been trained to level 2 and only ONE percent have completed all 5 levels of training. Only 64% have received the Drug kits. The very logic of appointing ASHA and not providing them with proper training and kits to carry out their duties is beyond any explanation and a perfect recipe for NIRASHA (Disappointment).

I have only talked about jewels above that are worth INR 10,000 Crore plus spend (US$ 2 Billion plus), just to keep it short and sour. The story of balance 4 schemes is no different in terms of the quality of their delivery and efficiency levels.

Also some of the other current issues related to our tax money being flushed down the drains, these examples are more principle based rather than the amounts itself:
- Penalty on non-utilization of committed loans sanctioned by IMF & World Bank: India has been slapped with penalties to the extent of INR 1400 Crores (US$ 291 Million) – out of this as much as half is for the period during 2004-09. This may not be such a huge amount considering the above schemes, but this penalty simply means paying for nothing, without any product or services in return. So it is a straight loss to the state exchequer.
- Mayawati is going around all over the state of UP installing her own statues to seek immortality in stone at a whopping cost of INR 2000 Crores (US$ 400 odd million). A shameless & crude act of spending state funds for purely personal gains & wishes.
- Delhi Civic Body from its total monthly wage bill of INR 207 Crores (US$ 43 Million) pays salaries to 45,000 staff, who do not even exists and this fake employment scheme has been going on for years, right under the nose of the current and all the previous Governments.

These are only a few odd cases to show that small tip of a huge mountain of corruption that is holding India back from unleashing its full glory and moving ahead as the new world super power.