Somesh Arora: Big babus ‘Guide to tackle Austerity Drive’

In the official life span of a big babu, it is not uncommon to come across a period of time, when it has  to face  the directive to go on an austerity drive made usually by the  Finance Minister. This more often happens when ever the economy goes in the mode of recession or stagflation. While worldwide, recession is required to be beaten through excess doses of expenditure; our economists in India try to do it through less expenditure. May not actually make much of a difference, it is the case of treating a patient with high fever either by soaking his forehead with cold water or giving him quilt. Economists like Doctors have to keep trying to be in the business. Here are however, few tips to beat the usually proposed austerity measures, which big babus can adopt with ease:

            1.         Restriction on car mileage can be taken care of by withdrawing cars of the juniors and using them for own purpose. This will also ensure un-interrupted supplies of far-fetched veggies  to Mem-sahibs and reaching to office early by bada sahib.

            2.         Similarly, telephone bills can be lowered by shifting another connection to own office room from the subordinate`s room.

            3.         No more meetings in five star hotels at Government`s expense, instead some council or association can be asked to foot the bill. The Chairperson of such council or association can be allowed to make his stupid speech to the gathering as a quid- pro-quo and to justify his incurring of expenditure to his flock.

            4.         Restriction on foreign allowance can be met by looking for hotel abroad which provides for breakfast, dinner and lunch in $ 200 made available for hotel stay.

            5.         Excess demands can be made in supplementary budget in September to show saving at the end of the year due to austerity.

6.         Travel economy class by Air-India or Indian Airlines so that seat can be got upgraded from civil aviation or customs friends

7.           Last but not the least, if despite all the above you still end up building access controlled toilets in the building occupied by you at huge expense, then never commit the mistake of calling these washrooms as toilets, instead a fancy nomenclature like` Secret parleys and `P(ee)’ room’ should be adopted.

The duping developers: If next to unscrupulous religious Babas, someone has the capacity to dupe the innocent souls of my country called Aam Aadmi, and then it is the Indian developer. While Delhi High Court has recently sent one to confines of jail for not delivering to public despite being given extra time, one only hopes that it marks the beginning and not the isolated instance. In fact, a number of our Developers have   acquired the expertise of selling houses and land without any water connection, electricity and even development charges for the Governments for  infertile lands and therefore have all the experience to sell the  moon to this world at best of the prices and to still jack it up by 18 percent every year. It makes no sense for NASA or Chinese Space Agency to spend multi million dollars on trying to find water in Moon and Mars and then to think of developing habitation there. Our `unregulated’ developers can do it without much effort by putting acqua blue posters with green pastures of the moon being grazed by desi cows and selling the same as most ambitious projects with an `earth facing’ view. They can even get some Moon Peripheral Expressway to be announced to be made there. And in case of delay in completion of such highway can even arrange for an aerial survey by the Chief Minister of the Moon to give directive for not delaying it further, though the same may not be followed even by the next millennium moon year. And, when through advertisements they are able to bring a boom time even though the world may be experiencing recession, they can even make all the barbers, paanwallas and pansaris in streets of Delhi as part time real estate brokers. A definite way to generate employment and growth during the downturn.

Major shift likely in India`s import basket: What the summer this year in Delhi has clearly signaled is, that despite all the hike in petro prices, ten years down the line, the biggest import for India will be potable drinking water and this import may even overtake the oil bill. No water from neighbouring states as they are all thirsty, cut in supplies even to the VIP areas, 80% samples failing in water supplies to residential areas as being unfit for human consumption, no linking of rivers possible as all states are fighting despite directive having been given by the Supreme Court-- import of water, therefore, remains the only option. Sermonizing by top leaders to public to save water continued in messages, even when nothing flowed from the taps to save. The birds have already fled the land of Indraprastha to provide its residents those extra few drops that they would have taken to quench their thirst, as token of thanks giving for years of togetherness. It is first time in life that I have seen even the toy train to Shimla was ferrying water in Syntax tanks from the point of its origin in Kalka. One really hopes that the Governments and oppositions in Centre and states will take effective steps to overcome this problem of drinking water in the country once they have overcome the more pressing and burning issues of presidential election, who should be the nominee for PM in 2014 elections, who should be the next FM and vice-president, who is secular and who is not, when to start the  next stage of reforms after debating for five years, whether Centre or opposition party in its ruled states has more scams to its debit, whether growth rate is going to be 9% or 5% etc. or else the elections 2024 will be won by the political party which gives more  water bottles  to the Aam admi in return for its votes. For those who do not take neat may have their daru , but no water to put in it.