Sunday, April 23, 2006

A tale of two states

Last week I watched two different news stories. First was about the election promises in Tamilnadu election on CNN-IBN and second was an NDTV story on children dying of hunger in Maharashtra.
Tamilnadu's electoral scenario revolves around the promises of freebies being doled out. So if we have one party offering rice at Rs. 2/kg then the other is ready with rice (why don't they offer any other grain?) at Rs. 1.75/kg. The report told that TN government is already paying Rs. 1200 crore as subsidy on cheap rice and if these promises are indeed carried out then state exchequer would be set back by another Rs. 630 crore! As if the rice wasn't lucrative enough, someone is promising to give color TVs to all families below poverty line. The reason: the poor would expand their knowledge beyond their village!!!!
I couldn't understand that why honest taxpayers have to pay for the outrageous promises made by the vote-hungry politicians?
The other story was both heart-rending and shocking. Scores of children have succumbed to the greed of corrupt beaurocrats and politicians. A number of tribal children have died because the ration that is supposed to reach the ration shops of their villages and sold at subsidized rates is being diverted to open market and the poor tribals can't afford it. Complete official machinery (beaurocrats, politicians and even doctors) tries to make us believe that the cause of deaths is disease or anything else, whereas everyone knows it is hunger and malnutrition.
I was just wondering that what a land of disparities this country is. Where will this greed lead us?