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Scrutiny
  
Now pay for what you “don’t” eat
Indian politicians make us proud again; we pay for unused moneys
19/03/2009

The Hayashi Ya Japanese restaurant on the upper west side of Manhattan (857 9th Ave; no, we haven’t been there) is quite amusing in that it charges patrons for any food they leave on the plate. They have no idea how close to aping them are the World Bank and ADB. While a majority of India Inc. is facing problems of a huge credit crunch, India is also shockingly having to pay ‘obligation charges’ to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for unused sanctioned foreign assistance – India is sitting idle on nothing less than $15.6 bilion (Rs 78,000 crores).

Despite the Comptroller and Auditor General’s various frailties, thanks to the agency that media and even our so-called policy makers have come to know about this ignored amount. The government has had to pay Rs.124.54 crores to the World Bank and the ADB as commitment charges. The biggest chunk of this unutilised foreign aid (about 37%) was meant for infrastructure development like the urban road development. This fact is even more evident after scrutinising of the performance of the incumbent UPA government when it comes to construction of roads. Agriculture, environment & forestry, power & sanitation account for a further 30% of the same unutilised foreign aid. Ergo, the underutilised foreign assistance seems ironic given India’s present economic condition (India’s forex reserves have come down by $60 billion in 2007-08. Even the fiscal deficit in the current fiscal has been about 6% of GDP against the planned 2.5%; and of course, the GDP’s paining too). India needs huge investments and in quick time. But lousy government attitude is reflected at both the central and state levels, especially in the ‘planned’ lack of cooperation between them. Paying a penalty during these times should be considered nothing less than a criminal offence. Er, why’re we not surprised that no politician is worried about being accused of a criminal offence?

By:- B&E
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