An Open Letter to who-so-ever cares to listen…

It seems, my little one is feeling the pinch these days. The other day her papa remarked casually that he was paying income tax to the tune of some thousands rupees a month which left her agape! The reason being that she had suddenly started feeling the importance of money or the lack of it these days! “But why Papa?” and more importantly she wanted to know “what for?” Her papa tried to put some sense in her dull head by saying, “so that our Government has enough money to spend on welfare of the people, especially poor people and providing us basic facilities that you have become so accustomed of!” It put some sense in her block head and she didn’t grudge it anymore.

But she had a change of heart recently. It so happened that a day or two ago she read in the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar that the office of National Institute of Technology has acquired a table and four chairs at the exorbitant price of almost two lakhs, her curiosity was raised. “God it must be a gorgeous table” she exclaimed and added, “a pity indeed that you have not seen it.” Remembering the day when I had seen the interior of the office of the man-in-question and also having seen a side of his well shielded persona, I shuddered. “Pity to those who see the furniture!” I said non-chalantly! Not listening to my mumbling she continued in her childlike enthusiasm, “He must be a rich man to buy such furniture for his office!” And I looked at the magnificent pieces of furniture, imported from England, lying scattered around me which the English masters could not take with them when they left the place. I laughed aloud at the ironical similarity. “But Ma, how would he carry that back when his tem comes to an end?” she asked a very genuine question. “He will have to leave all that behind when he goes.” I said philosophically. “And it is not his money, it is the Government’s money that he has spent on buying such costly furniture.” Now she was in a dilemma and wanted to know where from the Government gets such amount of money and when I told her about the taxes that we, the honest citizens of India, pay so that the Government has money, she was genuinely surprised. “But Papa says the tax he pays is for the welfare of the people.” And now she was angry. “Why is my Papa’s hard earned money is paid to buy a table and four chairs for a person?”

A genuine question indeed which every citizen of India has a right to know an answer to! Why is public money wasted at the useless and snobbish whims of some persons who have the manipulations to flout rules? I think the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee would do well to answer this question to the citizens of India.

9 thoughts on “An Open Letter to who-so-ever cares to listen…

  1. aarkay

    Well said Ma’am.! Even the Peacock Throne would not have cost so much. Perhaps this lavish, wasteful expenditure could be justified in a self-sustaining, profit earning commercial organization but certainly not in the type of institution you have pointed out especially when good quality similar items could be procured for a fraction of this amount. Unfortunately, such purchases are not need based, but are made simply to cater to the whims and fancies of a few typical ones who make nothing of squandering public money like this. And who knows, some other ‘dignitary’ who comes visiting may take fancy to these items and back in his office may order similar or ( in an attempt to be one –up ) superior stuff – thus satisfying the inflated ego and filling the coffers of the supplying firm at the cost of the tax payer….and this continues on and on. Ironically the emphasis is only on completing codal formalities to satisfy the Audit . All tall talk of austerity seems to fall on deaf ears.

  2. dada

    What you say is right, and it is a sad norm nowadays. But when you quote an example of someone probably you donot like, it appears that this is not from clean heart, it has malice on it, and it looses its impact. You got to move ahead to remain creative.


  3. Despite being independent for all these years our babus are still leaving in the pre-independence era where they still believe that they are squandering the Queen’s money!! It is an horrendous sum if one calculates the cost of running our govt for 7 hours a day (10-5 pm). I also do hope that someone *to whom so ever concerned* pays heed to this. But do we have such concerned people left in our rotten stinking system??

    Nice article Saroj ji. I am tweating this one

    1. Ashutosh

      I guess she did try and system didn’t accept her.
      So learning the lesson from my mom’s experience, I learned. I care a damn for this system and I should move to a place I can find some respect for what I do!

      1. I think only thing that fosters corruption is the ambiguities in the system.

        Solution will be having relevant checks and balances.

        If you haven’t been able to clean up the system so far, I blame your lack of insight to spot those ambiguities and offer valid alternatives….

  4. Ramesh

    Dear Mr. Gupta, “Jo bolay so kundi kholay ” perhaps does not apply here. I tend to agree with Varun in this case. Solution has to come from within and not without- only if we had a thought as to whose money it is and how it is to be optimally used. At whose cost all this luxury and ostentation ?

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