Friday, September 11

What kind of government is this?

Here is a strange spectacle of a state finance minister telling people in media interviews about what needs to be done to revive state economy but pleads helplessness in doing it.

Yes. I am not having my way ( Finance Minister)” he said explicitly in the interview to Ramesh Vinayak in Hindustan Times.

But what the hell is he doing in the ministry then?

The interviewer asked him that a bit more politely. “Why not opt out of the government in which you have no say?”

I don't know if that will serve any purpose,” he responded as he carried on:

  • We are short of 32,000 school teachers. (don't have Rs 300 crore to pay their salary for a year)
  • Spending Rs 4,600 crore a year on subsidies
  • A farmer is getting power for six to eight hours a day. He ends up spending Rs 2,400 a month on running a diesel pumpset.
  • Village school has no teacher and hospital has no medicine or doctor because we have no money for that.

Besides these figures reeled out by the Finmin himself here are some more to ponder:

  • 89% of farmers in state are under heavy debt.
  • In the period 2000-08, there were 2890 suicides in Sangrur andBathinda (1757 farmers and 1133 agricultural labourers)
  • Mandi Gobindgarh followed by Ludhiana are the most polluted cities in the country
  • Subsoil water of 108 blocks has been declared grey
  • Punjab farmers use 184 kg/ha of chemical fertilizers
  • State Infant mortality rate is 42 per 1000 live births
  • high prevalence of anemia among children between 6-35 months - 80.2% and pregnant women -41.6%
  • Sex ratio of only 874 (in 2001, the state ranked 27th among the 28 states of India)
  • Ranks 16th in terms of literacy among Indian States and Union Territories
  • Out of 100 children enrolled in class I, only 22 reach senior secondary level

So what do you do?

Admire the minister for his “plain-speak”?

Or, ask him to get working?