Sunday, October 2, 2011

Some foolish questions for the erudite Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Dy. Chairman, Planning Commission, in regard to the very illuminating definition of the poverty line


Dear Sh. Montek Singh Ji,

I confess at the very outset that I am no economist and my questions are bound to be naïve and unlike the difficult questions the likes of you have to field at national and international forums of enlightened economists. My questions are very simple and here they go:

1.      When did you last visit a neighbourhood grocery – not a Mall, they tend to be a tad expensive – to buy your daily necessaries?

2.      When did you last travel cattle-class – this was an expression used by an erstwhile minister in the UPA government for the likes of us who travel by buses and in second-class coaches in Garib Raths – and pay for your meals and Rail Neer?

3.      When did you last meet someone managing to live with less than Rupees 32 a day in a city? Sir, I am not talking about clothes, shoes, education and other such accessories which one may not require for being alive. My query is limited to managing food with Rupees 32 to keep body and soul together, provided of course, the Planning Commission makes for some allowance for such people having a soul at all!


4.       When did you last pay for your stay or even one meal at a Five Star hotel which free-thinking economists like you often patronize? (Forgive me for my ignorance about the existence of any hotels with more than Five Star rating.)

5.      I don't know, but I have been told that at such hotels even a bottle of water costs more than Rupees 32. Perhaps you would know better?


6.      Why is it that since the day the Holy Trinity comprising you, the suave Sh. P. Chidambaram Ji, and our eminently honest P.M. Sh. Manmohan Singh Ji has started guiding our economy to dizzying heights of close to double digit growth, our country has slid below Bangladesh and Nepal on all indices of Human Development?

7.      Why has the agrarian crisis exacerbated despite all that you and your team have done for rural uplift?


8.      Last but not the least: does being a blue-eyed boy of our P.M. entitle you to insult those who are today's God's lesser children (read liberalization, privatization and globalization for God since I believe we are living in a godless world, if God is understood in a conventional sense)?

Sh. Montek Singh Ji, lest you should misunderstand me, let me tell you that I do not belong to that novel BPL category you have recently defined in your affidavit to the Supreme Court; people who belong to this category don't raise such questions, they just cannot. I enjoy my middle-class security for which I am rally grateful to the system. But as a concerned citizen who buys his groceries daily and who knows the immeasurable value of Rupees 32 and what this huge sum can buy, I believe I have the right to ask you these questions.

Naively yours
Swaraj    

4 comments:

jaibir said...

beautifully compiled questions.....my take sir...when i read this 32 rupees thing in the paper i too was shocked.....but then i calculated........for a 4 member family it comes out at 3840 Rs/month.......so surviving at this amount is possible if only nutrition is the criteria (poverty line).......the planning commission is wrong where they cluster the entire range of human activity into those 32 RS.......

NewsViews on Racism said...

Excellent piece of work. Once I told at a Conference while the Govt. moppets and poppets were releasing India Development Report, "We should toast it with a glass of water from country side rather than mineral water". They were speechless.

Rk said...

Swaraj ji .. these are the very basic raw issues which the so called .."Socialist Republic" of India has been been dealing with a "deaf & dumb" attitude for long enough ..putforth by you barefaced and soulfully, even though.. as rightly pointed out by u .. poverty has no allowance for soul ..and i would say neither does richness ..its the middle class like u and me, whose never dying soul is torn apart in its attempt to nourish the "majboor" body and soul of the poor and awaken the soul in the rich thru various methods .. as strived by u thru this article...the attitude of the proudly emerging novel rich face of pseudo indian society has no room for a thing called "soul".... and soon there is going to be another oncoming threat to the emerging rich face of poor India, the enigma of the "Next Society" .. at the hands of the developed world and their business ordeals ..Indian leaders are fine tuned only to MNC culture now and the parade of posing at par with the developed economies..working solely along their dictates...boasting of India as a fertile business field...with zero courage to admit and portray the reality of the majority poverty stricken India, nationally or internationally..Finally I would say ..on its road to so-called economic development India has infact drifted away from the duties and obligations of a welfare and socialist state towards its less fortunate citizens ... Hail thee ..Rich India with a poor soul.. the land of the generous, where there is only a Rich-focussed scale available to the planners.. hence don't blame them for being unable to decipher the poor man's minimum wage requirement !!!

Anonymous said...

The economics preached and practised by the scholarly Dr.Montek Singh may hold good for schools and colleges.Economic management of national resources cannot be achieved alone by tweaking interest rates when a whole lot of factors are influencing the commodity prices.

Rampant misuse of PDS,huge subsidies for farmers (which the farmers never get and eventually are forced to end their lives due to high debts),large scale hoarding of food grains,diversion of investments meant for social welfare, employement generation, health,education,rural upliftment, opportunities for rural employment,infrastructure by corrupt politicians and officials has made our country weak.

But this will not continue forever because elections will soon come and for some period just before the elections food prices will miraculously come down as would have been forecasted by our erudite panel of economists.

Immediately after the elections there would be a sharp hike in petrol, diesel and LPG which would have a cascading effect on prices of all goods and services.

Im reminded of a joke which appeared in a movie and this would definitely be of interest to Dr.Montek Singh as Chairman of the Planning Commission.

An old man was receiving a monthly pension which was enough for his needs. He looked forward eagerly to collect his pension every month. One day when the old man was on his way to the pension office, a prankster tells him that the Govt.has stopped giving pension.The old man is dumbstruck. The prankster explains that since the Govt. cannot lay down rules that "Old men cannot live beyond a certain age", the govt, has decided to cancel the pension scheme.Hearing this the old man has a massive heart attack and dies on the spot.