From Bullet Trains To Gigantic Statues: What Happens To Taxpayers’ Money?

In a country where more than 269 million people survive on Rs 27-30 every day, money is not something that should be wasted on unnecessary things. The government must make more judicious decisions during budget allocation. I strongly feel the nation needs to set its priorities straight and act on the issues that are plaguing the country before squandering money in futility.

There have been many instances of taxpayers’ money being spent on avoidable reasons. The central government recently spent Rs. 90,000 crore to build a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Even though this shows signs of development, I feel it was not the smartest decision, as the general public can not afford the tickets and I do not think anybody would reap the benefits of this investment.

An RTI inquiry revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has so far spent Rs 4,343.26 crore for advertisements and publicity through different media. The UP government had reportedly spent Rs 14 lakh to shower rose petals from a chopper on Kanwariyas, and a video showing Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar showering petals created much furor. The Haryana government spent Rs. 3.8 lakh of public funds on 10 copies of The Bhagavad Gita.

The Maharashtra government has is to spend Rs. 3600 crore on a Shivaji statue in Mumbai. The Gujarat government and the Central government spent Rs 2989 crore on the construction of the Statue of Unity. This has led to massive demonstration as many locals had to be displaced and there is absolutely no way that the entry tickets for the statue can generate enough revenue to make up for the cost. The central government also spent Rs. 15.87 crore of taxpayers money on SMSes on Yoga Day and Rs 1.37 crore for repair work at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur.

India needs to act wisely, now more than ever. Funds should be spent where they are urgently needed- agricultural subsidies, waiving farmers’ loans, investing in sustainable technology, etc. It is the need of the hour for the government to act upon eradicating poverty and unemployment and working towards the quality of education imparted to every child. Clearly, if we have the funds required to indulge in the aforementioned activities, we have the money required to improve and even fix a lot of problems that India is currently experiencing!

I would say that there needs to be stricter control on the inflow and outflow of money by an independent committee that audits expenditure for each state and the central government separately to point out unjustified and illogical actions. The public should agree to the cause that their tax money is being spent on. When a large portion of money is planned to be spent, representatives of the community should be surveyed and the general public should be in consensus as to where their taxes are being directed. I feel this will act as a system of checks and balances on the government and avoid outcries when it is too late.

The future of the country relies on precarious and wise decisions. Whether you like it or not, money is a very important aspect especially for those who do not have it, and hence needs to be used more scrupulously by those in positions of power. There needs to be a system of transparency and all the citizens should be made aware of the flow of taxpayers’ money so that there is accountability.

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