It has been interesting to see the Government at work. And, although there is a tremendous amount of twittering (as opposed to tweeting) and sniggering – austerity not a bad idea. With the kind of National Debt that we are carrying, and with the kind of expenses we are gonig to incur – it’s a good idea to cut down on ‘unnecessary’ expenses.

Just after the last crash – the dot com crash – the company i was working for faced a down turn. a memo went out requesting  all senior personnel to cut down travel and fly economy when they had to. Most people cribbed, cringed and flew business – till they saw the founder Chairman traveling economy. From the next day everyone fell in line. But, this was not about just air travel or 5 star stay – it was about cost cutting across the length and breadth of the organisation – including slashing budgets and  shedding jobs. It would have been difficult to achieve those in a smooth manner – if the more visible symbols of spending were not pruned.

At around the same time – i had a conversation with a friend of mine who is in the armed forces. We were both in Hyderabad at that time. I was at a place called Amruta Castle and he was at one of the Taj properties. We bumped into each other when he came to collect his ‘men’. He was amused that a Head of Business fora large media company would be staying in the same hotel that non commissioned officers from the armed forces were put up. He was even more aghast when i told him that my CEO stayed there 🙂 It was OK for him – he didn’t have to pay the bill. What was surprising was the sense of ‘entitlement’ – i found that kind of odd !

In all our ‘worship’ of things that are powerful and our acceptance of all sorts of ‘entitelment’ – we forget that governments are also organisations. in tough times, they have to cut costs, freeze pay, slash budgets , cut expenses. Also, with drought looming -spends in other areas are going to rise. Drought relief, food procurement, health – etal are going to see increased spending. Like any good organisation – Government too has called for belt tightening. And it starts with ministers and MP’s. They are “leaders’ and it is about time they led from the front. It is not about air travel or business class – it is a message that will, hopefully, go down from top to bottom across the board – from the judiciary, to the armed forces; from the bureaucracy to the PSU’s – stop wasting our money on non-essentials.  Whether it is paper wastage, electricity, water, fuel, phone – whatever – cut costs – because the money is going to be used elsewhere. Let’s not knock symbolism – it has an effect.

To Ministers – travel economy.

To Rahul G, the advice would be follow Gandhiji and travel second class (non AC) – preferably unreserved – if you really want to see India !

And, to Jayanti Natarajan – sweetie – austerity on expenses does not mean austerity in humour 🙂 get a funny bone. I can almost see your pursed lips when i read this :

“The party strongly disapproves the statement of the minister. It is unacceptable, not respecting political or any other sensibilities,” said Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan.

This primness was in response to Shashi Tharoor – who shot his mouth off on twitter – little realising that it i s a public forum, in a nation without humour – to a journalist, 🙂

On the micro-blogging site Twitter, veteran journalist Kanchan Gupta of the Pioneer asked Tharoor: “Tell us minister, next time you travel to Kerala, will it be cattle class?” Tharoor replied: “Absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows.”

While the exchange is cute and all that – there is no ‘off the record’ on platforms like twitter – next time you want to be smart use SMS 🙂

And, finally finally – wouldn’t it be nice if the Congress laid down a dictat – and imposed it with an iron hand – no corruption till the drought is over.

News Reporter

4 thoughts on “Austerity 09 – Random Thoughts

  1. Congress probably believes that phoney manufactured tears for aam admi can masquerade the abundance of super rich and mightily moneyed folks in its rank.This austerity drive is manifestation of guilt trip of an aristocratic supermoneyed Cong leadership professing to represent impoverished aam admi.This is precisely the kind of empty rhetoric &sickening symbolism that pretty much sum up what Congress essentially epitomizes and means by which it manages to hide its shameful record of governance.

    By some distance this is the richest Cabinet in the history of independent India.Collective assets of this Cabinet which includes likes of Pawar/Praful/Azhagiri/Maran/Raja/Krishna/Vasan
    /Vilasrao /Deora/Sonia will add up to astronomical sums- collective wealth of cabinet would probably be equal to the wealth of the bottom 30% of aam-admi.

    This entire charade of UPA government safeguarding some alleged creature named aam-admi is probably the greatest charade that has been prepetrated with the active support of suppliant media.And of course it also helps having faithfuls like you to help finding nobility in these type of cynical acts of public grandstanding

  2. in a country with a strong conservative party, fiscal prudence will be a political brownie point. ofcourse our rightwing party is a fascist one which hardly ever talks about economics. little wonder we have to use gandhian if not utopian words like austerity.

    while I wud call the Gandhi family nautanki for what it is, less spending shud be a mantra everyone can agree with.

  3. Gargi Madam, your random thoughts are also very well focussed on the subject… 🙂

    There is an acute comment by my friend “hathi ke dant khane ke aur dikhane ke aur…” or like this one by cartoonist “?? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ??? ??? ????.! ????? ??? ??? ?? ????”

    There is a limit of cynicism. Balaji and Prasanna are correct with valid reasons but a very small step is better than years of inaction and corruption. They are the most optimum solution as a governance in all available options. Hence, I don’t have complain with them. And it should be welcomed positively..

  4. I fully agree with Prasanna , and find this whole austerity thing an eyewash… and a stunt to portray the first family of cogress as a holier than thou entity
    Congress and corruption (well all partys actually) go hand in hand especially if they believe in free electricity, free tv, 2Rs rice distribution(some of which land up in lamington rd for sale) etc

    if they were so sincere why did they not give up their Lutyen’s Delhi bungalows? why dont they do away with their security privileges and jump security mainly inconveniencing aam passangers.
    When Rahul baba travels second class does he not make life hell for other passangers thanks to his Zplus god knows what security?
    – no eu leader has such unprecedented security.
    Infact before she took her post as chancellor, Merkel went shopping in Berlin (someone i know personally told me as she was in a queue besides Merkel)
    the security detail of a Vice president is shockingly massive and he is just a constitutional (non)entity.

    the facts are
    Of late, in reply to an RTI plea, the government has conceded that around Rs.100 crore was spent during the last five years towards upgradation and maintenance of the bungalows occupied by the MPs and Ministers. This is a whopping amount spent on repairing jobs, whereas the furnished bungalow occupants only pay Rs.105 per month as licence fee, if they are the Ministers and MPs. Is it not cheating the exchequers?

    Eight former ministers of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) are still living illegally in their Government bungalows after losing elections while others from bjp and athavle were recently evicted.

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