Common ‘stealth’ games
July 16, 2010 Leave a comment
Even as the euphoria of Spain’s win in world cup is slowly giving away ; Even as we are engrossed in the break-up of Bhupathi’s marriage due to his link-up with Lara dutta ; Even as we are glued to the same rhetoric of Indo-pak talks, a small news item buried in some corner pages of newspaper assumes significant importance.
The news I am talking about is the startling revelation that Rs 744 crores meant for development of the weaker sections of the society have been systematically diverted to fund the mega “non-event” to be hosted by Delhi, the Commonwealth Games, 2010. (Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Rs-744cr-dalit-fund-diverted-for-Games/articleshow/6173912.cms)
Even as we are in the last mile in the run-up to the games to be held in October 2010, opinion on the need to host these games is still very much divided.
At the very outset, despite India’s attempt to prove the contrary, we are still not a very safe nation by international standards. Our already weakened and stretched security establishment, no doubt will be splitting hairs about providing fool-proof security for these games.
India’s assurances of a fool-proof security system is not taken at face value by anyone and a majority of the ‘stars’ are likely to stay away from these games. One can’t blame them ofcourse if one goes by a recent incident : Delhi’s new swanky Airport, Terminal 3, had it’s first 2 visitors – a A380 and a street-side canine !!!
It is a fact that India’s security system is for the elite and the political bosses, damn the citizens. We are clearly not geared up to host games of this magnitude.
Experts from many disciplines are questioning the social impact of these games. While it is obvious that mega-structures are being created, is this a ” right investment” if it were to be, for a poor country like India, home to 8 states whose poverty indicators are worser than some African nations.
Mani Shankar Aiyar, the beef-eating atheist Brahmin from Congress has been revolting against these games for quite some time. While Mani’s need to be seen in mainstream politics after his Lok Sabha defeat could be the real motivation behind his attempts to be the ‘young turk’ of his party, his views are a tad more creditable than those of Suresh Kalmadis.
The Games have been marred by controversy surrounding the preparations. The common wealth authorities were aghast not very long ago about the tardy progress in completing the venues. Though it is not uncommon for us Indians, who revel in the philosophy SHID (Some How It’s Done), the extent of under-preparation was a shocker to those more used to better organizational cultures.
In this backdrop, this revelation, courtesy a RTI application is the ultimate dampener for these games. The diversion of funds is a deep-rooted, systemic malaise that India has been grappling with ever since we won our independence.
India took a major step forward by introducing a Fiscal Responsibility Management bill in which it has committed to a gradual reduction in the Fiscal deficit. But as all good things in India exist on paper, this too has largely been confined to the official gazettes of India.
Even if we can applaud the government for showing an intention to reduce deficit, in the other crucial areas of accountability and tackling corruption, sadly, successive governments have not shown any resolve. Especially the administration of sports bodies in India is as corrupt as possible.
Every sports association is headed by a ‘babu’ owing allegiance to one party or other, with the sole aim of controlling it as their own fiefdom and indulge in all malpractices. Though everyone secretly aspires to get a foothold in the BCCI, the world’s richest sports body, those who can’t console themselves by occupying high chairs in other sports associations.
Suresh Kalmadi for long has been the face of Indian Olympic movement. Though India hasn’t set the Olympic stage on fire, he continues to be at the helm of affairs, rewarded for his loyalty to 10 Janpath more than anything else.
Who cares for accountability ?
The choice of the powers that be to dip into the pockets of the funds earmarked for the weaker sections of the society is a curious one. More often than not, it is the section of the population, albeit the largest, who sadly are least aware of the benefits that they are entitled to. There is no bigger strength for the politicians than their ignorance.
These poor sections continue to toil hard, trying to make both ends meet. They are also among those who actually go out and vote, every time believing the tall promises made only to be disappointed time and again.
There are no obvious prizes for guessing as to why the funds earmarked say for maintenance of Government bungalows which house over-staying ex-politicians couldn’t be diverted. Or for that matter the funds for expensive overseas jaunts of mantris couldn’t be put to use. It is too obvious : Except for political stunts, every party has the same attitude and approach towards the weaker sections of the society.
The weaker, the poorer and the worser the largest slice of population is, the easier it is for politicians to garner their votes. The idea is to keep the “entry barrier” as low as possible so that a mere one room school or a week of power supply would be enough to prove that the neta is the messiah that they have been dreaming about.
With such rampant abuse of funds, one wonders about the credibility of the budgetary allocations and the social impact that they purportedly create. It is time for India to evolve a mechanism to put an end to such blatant abuse of authority. It is no good trying to impress economists with legislation of fiscal responsibility but it is the accountability on the ground that concerns the well being of our nation.
I am very certain that if Delhi were to vote for a change in Government, more skeletons would tumble out of the closet, by the party replacing the incumbent government.
With all the financial irregularities that have been shoved under the carpet, CWG 2010 is a shining example of the fiscal, political and bureaucratic stealth that symbolizes Indian governance.
With such rampant corruption and abuse of power, the success of the commonwealth games means very little to the poor, common indian.