March 20, 2012

Sleeping on the Job

There are many known advantages of sleeping. A solid eight hours of it can unleash all sorts of health benefits. Sleep can very motivational as well; you dream and then wake up to work on them. I rarely dream and usually my dreams scare the sleep out of me. Irrespective I have decided to sleep more. I’ll take my chances as it has come to my knowledge that my sleep is really good for the nation.

Like millions of Indians I woke up to a newer, shinier India. You see while we were asleep some 5 cr. people were shifted out of poverty. How the hell did that happen? What the heck did we drink last night? The Planning Commission of India, an outfit that is extremely good at abusing the power of statistics, has kept up its good name and gone ahead to do the impossible. What a million yojanas and sarkari schemes couldn’t manage in successive terms for this government these guys have done overnight. They seem to have taken the diktat of their patron saint a little too seriously. No, I’m not talking about Mama Roma here. She ain’t dead and the living ain’t so saintly. Decades ago Indira Gandhi came up with the novel idea of eradicating poverty and these looney tunes who constitute the Planning Commission simply changed a few numbers to become 5 cr lesser poor.

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What gives a handful of people in air-conditioned rooms enough stupidity to come up with a random number that is very specifically derived from an obscure formula and conclude that Rs. 29 is the new urban cut-off for poverty?  What was the air in their offices conditioned with? If statistics is the yardstick then did they take inflation into consideration? If living is more expensive now, then how in whoever’s name could the cut-off go from Rs. 32, another grossly idiotic claim made by the same jokers, to the new and improved Rs. 29?

The powers be are usually accused of being insulated from the real world and such actions confirm that. These new ‘estimates’ believe that Rs. 672.8 per month is good enough to be not poor in a city like Mumbai or Delhi. Have these babus and specialists like Mr. Montek Singh never been on the streets of any city of India? A few years ago Mr. Singh had trouble living one day as a common citizen of this country. No, it wasn’t the day he came up with the exciting figure that redefined the poor of this country and enraged everyone from the man on the road to the Supreme Court. It was the night Mr. Singh visited the Indira Gandhi International Airport to pick up a few friends. He, like most one of us, was shocked beyond repair at the inconvenience the then under renovation IGI Airport was causing the aam nagrik. That one night qualifies him to be someone who knows what he suggests. By that token you are blissfully ignorant of the future World Bank Chief standing next to you.

With 5 cr people no longer poor, the government would now have more money to spend on those who need help. Wait. So, who are they going to spend on? As it turns out the new magical number excludes many who actually need a host of centrally sponsored social security schemes from the line that would enable them to receive them. How long before one government flunky comes out with yet another startling stat- the government has planned schemes for those who aren’t born yet as this shift has left a slot vacant which would be filled by 5 cr who’d enter this world in next 3.23 months to come. And, of course, this heartwarming scheme would be named after the fifth generation Nehru-Gandhi custodian dedicating his/her life in the selfless service of this nation.

There are a million jokes that define Indira Gandhi’s gareebi hatao campaign. What started as a mission with Mama-in-Law is finally getting some color with Lawless Mama with the 5 Cr. gareeb hataoed! In the late 1990s it was said that Bill Gates made more money while he was asleep as that was the time Asia was awake. I never knew sleep could be so progressive. With millions of us asleep, the government merrily burns us along with it the midnight oil.

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