14 june 2012
Indians on Rs 28 a day, Babus on Rs 35-lakh toilets?
New Delhi: The Planning Commission has been under extraordinary scrutiny as of late, thanks to its declaration that only Indians who spend/earn Rs 28 a day can be technically defined as poor.
Denying that the statistic was out of touch with any reality, the commission clarified that the figure was an average number for all of India.
But several RTIs later, it appears that it is the Planning Commission that is completely out of touch with the situation on the ground.
A report by the Times of India alleged that the Commission decided to upgrade its toilets for a whopping sum of Rs 35 lakh.
The huge amount was spent in ‘renovations’ to just two toilets – including the installation of a high-tech access system that only allowed a select few, with smart cards, to use the facility and CCTV cameras.
Times of India stated that according to their sources, the high-tech system was disabled a few hours after it was installed due to protests by other employees.
The TOI is using the response given to an RTI request as its source.
This gives us yet another sobering glimpse into the world of bureaucrats and government tenders – where large orders are filed, approved and implemented with no consideration given to the finances of the government, the state of the economy, the burden on the common man or even common sense.
Why does a government body even need such a fancy toilet with high-tech security measures? At a time when our streets are barely protected against terrorist attacks a toilet in the Planning Commission needs CCTV cameras?
Were so many people using the toilet that a method, a high-tech smart card system, had to be implemented to allow only a few to use it?
In fact, why is there a sytem to prevent anyone from using the toilet? Is it a senior-officials-only toilet?
Perhaps the biggest irony is the fact that such a ‘renovated’ toilet, built with tax payers money, might just be out-of-bounds for ay member of the public who happens to visit the Planning Commission.
We await an official explanation as to why this amount, equal to the daily income (assuming that income as Rs 28 a day) of 1, 25,000 Indians, was literally spent in an improved methods for flushing things away.