Thursday, November 22, 2012


We need to read the ‘fine print’


When one wants to buy something of high value (especially a machine), we look through a catalogue or a manual. Many ordinary mortals often skim through these without reading the fine print. We are often attracted to jingles in a commercial, the curvaceous figures that attempt to sell a car or by the sheer gloss or hype of the advertisement. It is a human frailty and one cannot be faulted for  this!
But the fact remains that if we pay closer attention to the ‘fine print’, we may not be so hooked to the hard-sell.
The same holds good for the so called ‘vibrant’ Gujarat; myths, lies, half-truths and glossy ads try to proclaim that ‘all is well’. But let’s attempt to read the fine print. An application regarding Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavna Mission filed under the Right to Information revealed that the Navsari Collectorate had purchased 28,000 skull caps (normally worn by Muslims) and distributed among Hindus to give an impression of sadbhavna in Gujarat. It is well-known that similar activities took place in other sadbhavna programmes across the state.
    Meanwhile, the much-hyped Nano project which made heads turn some years ago has apparently gone sour. Only time will tell the extent of damage caused by the project to taxpayers in Gujarat because of this project. Gujarat Housing Board’s callousness has cost the state over Rs 600 crore; Gujarat Governor has sanctioned the prosecution of a key aide of the CM in the Rs 400-crore fisheries scam. These cases are only the tip of the iceberg and one is aware that the government is doing all it can to prevent an impartial and honest lokayukta being appointed for the simple reason that he will open a ‘can of worms’.
    It is also common knowledge that hardly 25 per cent of the MoUs made during Vibrant Gujarat jamborees have been realised these past years. The total public debt of Gujarat in 2012 has risen to Rs 1,34,000 crore from a measly Rs 32,000 crore in 2001.
    Plenty of money is being spent on big hoardings, on false advertisement all over Gujarat and in contracting high-profile publicity groups. The fact is that we need to read the fine print now and therein lies the truth!

Gujarat EDN
AM 24AUG2012