Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Money Hai to Honey Hai

The fact that I'm a great fan of Govinda has nothing to do with this particular blog that I'm writing. I just plagiarized the title of his movie. Yes, it's true that for a country like India where close to 90% (that's 90 crore) of her population thrives on less than $2/day and close to 45% (45 crore) on less than $1/day, nothing else than money can be sweeter than honey.

Putting it in different words, nearly 180 million households live on an income of less than $10/day and 100 million on less than $5/day. Just for a bitter comparison, even a single Gold Class ticket at PVR is more than what 90% of Indian households don't have at their disposal on any day of the year. Well, 500 bucks is not a small amount when a wholesome vada pao costs less than 10 bucks in Bombay. But there's lot more than just the two meals in a day for an entire family to survive, specially when the head of the family has to pay for the education and healthcare of his/her family from his/her own pocket because our government spends peanuts for both of these necessities. So how do we go about it? Well, there are more intelligent people than me to come up with novel plans to solve these problems. A lesser mortal like me can see the gross things in lives and here is what I see.

It's nothing new that corruption at the highest level is so rampant in India that we've learnt to say chalta hai and ignore. But even the most complacent citizen has waken up from his slumber in the recent past with the spate of news that has snatched even the little spaces alloted to the Spice Girls and Pamela Andersons and Sarkozies. It's long since I've last heard of the latest dimensions of Pammi's breasts because my favorite Times of India doesn't have any space to write about it now-a-days - every micro inch of the paper now is filled with scams. So finally I thought enough is enough, let me find out what all these are about. And here is what I could figure out.
Let me explain it to you too - you may find it interesting in the absence of Pam's boobs!! These are perhaps the biggest scams in India. I've just put them together and presented the numbers in a standardized manner in terms of 2010 USD - this makes the figures comparable. Also I've added the GDP for each of the years of scam so that I get the perspective of how big or small a scam is. Of the top scams of all time two are private - Harsha Mehta's Stock Market scam and Satyam scam. Other than these all the other are done by the ruling governments - three are exclusively done by Congress and another three are group activities where Congress is one of the players. I'd have loved to include the names of other parties but Congress has left no stone unturned - like they have ripped me off my regular Pam-dose in Times of India. Well, along with the scams I've added two government expenditures - on health and education - which I feel are the foundations of India's growth. No doubt our politicians have improved a lot over the year. I really feel sorry for Rajiv and his company - they plundered just a paltry sum which amounts today to $75 million. Silly fellow. His successors have plundered $38 billion in just one of the scams this year. Bollywood is just awesome - they have come up with the jhatkas and matkas of Munni and Sheila when our another set of Mannu and Shiela are rocking somewhere else!!

Anyway, let's see the same figures in the form of a chart - this shows the value of the top scams as percentage of GDP in the year of the scam.

As you can see the enormity of 2G scam is same as the amount that our government has been spending on education - or rather should I rephrase that it's as small as the amount our government spends for educating our countrymen? The value of Telgi and CWG scams could have sponsored government's spending on healthcare for almost two years.

Let me put some more numbers. The 2G scam amounts to $38 billion. Now consider this. There are 180 million (18 crore) households who thrive on less than $10/day. I'm sure that they are not in a position to spend good amount of money for proper healthcare. With the dismal performance of the government health centers most of them have to go to private hospitals. Even it pinches me when I've to go to private hospitals - but I don't mind because I've medical insurance. I'm sure that with a 2K premium per year each of these families can be provided a decent medical insurance that will take care of most of their medical needs. If the government spends 2K per household for a complete term - that's five years - then also the amount (180 million * 2000 * 5 / 46) is less than $38 billion. So this means that if the 2G spectrum was alloted rightfully then the government would have had the money to provide free medical insurance to each of these 180 million households in India for five years.

Now consider this. Even if government spends Rs20L each on constructing a small school and hospital in all the 6.5L villages in India, then the total amount comes to about $56 billion - with $38 billion 70% of the villages could have been covered.

So you yourself can see how much honey our own folks are being deprived of because Munna and Shiela are just mum!!

I know that Dr. Manmohan Singh or Shiela Dikshit may not be directly involved in the 2G and CWG scams. But it's unbelievable that they didn't know a bit when their guys were plundering. No one praises Bhishma Pitamah because he was silent when Draupadi was stripped. No one cares for whether Bhishma supported it from his heart or not. We all know that he kept quiet like an impotent and we don't have the slightest sympathy for him when he lay on the bed of thorns. Here even that bed of thorns is also missing!!