No Five Star Meetings, travel for Bureaucrats… For GDP!

This is the second time I’m sharing a section from Natwar Singh’s recently released autobiography, One Life is Not Enough. The book appears quite honest on its narration of events, that’s why sharing from it seems logical:

During the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi Government, her son Sanjay Gandhi and his coterie became the de-facto ruler of the country. Indira Gandhi became trusting of Sanjay Gandhi to such an extent that she believed whatever Sanjay Gandhi reported to her. Whenever Indira Gandhi asked Sanjay about the effects of emergency, Sanjay Gandhi used to say — Great… the trains are running on time, Government officials are reaching offices on time, everything is running in a disciplined manner etc.

Now we know that all such reports were far from truth. The people were eager for the regime change and in the subsequent General Elections Congress was shown the door. But interestingly enough, for the Janta Dal Government which came to power on tall promises, such reporting never ceased and this time around it were the bureaucrats who kept reporting such feel good discipline reports. And the proof of this was that, the Janta Dal Government lost peoples’ truth in no time and Indira Gandhi came to power with a more force.

Whenever I hear a Government curl the five star meetings, travel of bureaucrats and Government employees; I find it as yet another attention diverting tactic. I’m not discouraging any intent to curb the Government’s expenditure, what I’m saying is that most of the times it turns out to be another attention diverting tactic. A tactic often used to divert attention from more important issues and wasteful expenditures.

Narendra Modi yesterday, told the media that the Government will curb Government’s expenses. The objective is to bring back the Nation economy back on track. For that among other things, he plans to cut the five star meetings, first class travel for bureaucrats etc.

The steps may look all too noble and God sent interventions to save Nation’s money, but they are not the right things to strike at. And if saving money on five star meetings and first class air travels of bureaucrats can shoot country’s GDP from 4.1 percent to above 8, then even an infant can do that. Obviously, that is not the way forward. Mr. Modi is simply diverting people’s attention, and presenting a picture that much is happening in the country. His PR team knows that people have a dislike for bureaucrats hence any curb on their lifestyle will make them happy. But will that improve country’s GDP to above 8 is unlikely.

There are visible deception in these plans as well. If the Modi Government believes in saving even the smallest of money (as a Hindi proverb says : ‘Boond Boond Se Sagar Banata Hai’) ; then how can it justify the money it’s spending on mega public events, full page advertisements on newspapers & TV channels and larger than life unveiling events. Lets not go too far, in Maharashtra’s new CM Devendra Fadnavis’s swearing in ceremony today, BJP has hired the Bollywood movies set maker Nitin Desai, to design and create the stage. Not ot say, precious money of the taxpayers’ will be spent on organizing, managing and securing the major event. That apart, an Event designers are also being hired to let a big Lotus flower bloom in the Arabian sea. Where is the money for such events coming from?