The Crunch

People's Review - - LEADER -

Con­trary to po­lit­i­cal claims the na­tional cri­sis has not abated. In­deed, as the prob­lems mount, it will be ex­ac­er­bated. It is good pol­i­tics to try and sweep this un­der the car­pet by al­lo­cat­ing this to the tu­mul­tuous change in the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. The prob­lem is that it is the sys­tem that is the peren­nial prob­lem. Hav­ing al­lo­cated or dis­trib­uted Singha Dur­bar’s cen­tral pol­icy au­thor­ity to the fed­er­ated re­gions and the en­larged grass root lo­cal vil­lage and town agen­cies, busi­ness of gov­ern­ment there must first be­gin by iden­ti­fy­ing the re­sources with which to run their gov­ern­ment. Come time and our newly elected lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are find­ing out that the lo­cal re­sources they have been asked to ex­ploit have largely run dry. Agri­cul­ture as the main­stay of their econ­omy is in­creas­ingly an un­af­ford­able oc­cu­pa­tion in the hills and de­mands sub­si­dies from the cen­ter in­stead. Tax­ing the sale of chicken or goats or a kilo­gram of rice or wheat in what is largely be­ing re­duced to barter trade has al­ready be­gun pro­vok­ing re­ac­tions at the lo­cal level which gov­ern­ment would like to cover up. The ur­ban ar­eas where pre­vi­ously agrar­ian lands must ben­e­fit from in­creased de­mands of hous­ing de­vel­op­ers for land trans­ac­tions are now find­ing their el­e­va­tion to towns or cities ex­pen­sive sim­ply be­cause they are now ex­posed to ur­ban land taxes which of­ten times have proven pro­hib­i­tive be­cause of new eval­u­a­tions not in co­her­ence with land pro­duc­tiv­ity. The lo­cal in­di­vid­ual whose ex­po­sure to cor­rupt gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were pre­vi­ously lim­ited to an­nual land taxes, own­er­ship and cit­i­zen­ship cer­tifi­cates now must ad­just to of­fi­cial­dom in ev­ery nook and cor­ner of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and the joke is that it is not Singha Dur­bar that was brought down to each home and hearth but of­fi­cial cor­rup­tion that is fre­quent­ing the pri­vate in­di­vid­ual. The fre­quency of con­tact be­tween gov­ern­ment ser­vant and the lay cit­i­zen has ob­vi­ous ab­hor­ring con­se­quences at the mass level that is al­ready prov­ing a bane to lo­cal gov­ern­ment where and when it has be­gun. It is this mass dis­gruntle­ment that must be checked for our po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment to sur­vive. Cen­ter—pe­riph­ery dis­putes have al­ready be­gun on mat­ters of lo­cal re­sources when we glean mean­ing from the de­mands for more gov­ern­ment man­power and other in­fras­truc­tural and re­mu­ner­a­tive equal­ity for the lo­cal lev­els. This means ad­di­tional costs and the cen­ter is af­ter all broke. Sell­ing dreams can­not quench the im­me­di­ate need for money to al­lo­cate and use. Prom­ises of pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment and spend­ing have largely been un­met. The new econ­omy is said to mean in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ments in large scale in­fras­truc­tural projects that, we are as­sured, can create em­ploy­ment and thus im­pact on in­di­vid­ual spend­ing to re­vive the econ­omy. This is of course eas­ily said since our track record on gov­ern­ment spend­ing in even the al­lo­cated bud­get sphere is dis­mal. Mere speechi­fy­ing will not at­tract these in­vest­ments as the lo­cal pri­vate sec­tor is aware. Un­less our com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial sec­tor is as­sured, there is lit­tle rea­son for in­ter­na­tional in­vestors to look to our coun­try for ben­e­fits. In the ab­sence of this flow of money, which is as yet the trend, mere good­will and com­mit­ments do not pro­vide the hard cash for gov­ern­ment to run. The pub­lic thus are be­ing run dry and gov­ern­ment now must rely on their mus­cle power to sub­due the dis­gruntle­ments. A will­ing me­dia may cover this up for the mo­ment but the mo­men­tum of dis­or­der is only to gain. The crunch when it comes will prove even more costly.

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