As the country faces the long, tiring and deadly fight against COVID-19, the government, by its recent decisions has shown that its priorities are misplaced.
We are hinting at the projects and purchases worth thousands of crores, which could have been put to better use by helping citizens. Here are some examples of the same.
1. The Central Vista revamp that will cost the government ₹20,000 crores.
One of government’s most ambitious projects, the Central Vista revamp, aims at changing the complete look of Lutyens’ Delhi with new buildings, a triangular Parliament beside the existing one, and new residence for the PM.
The project is estimated to cost a whopping 20,000 crores and the land use change for the same was given a nod, right before the country went into its first lockdown.
Later, the Supreme Court ruled that no construction will happen during the pandemic, but refused to stay the project.
Just to give you some perspective, 7 lakh ventilators could have been bought with the same amount of money.
The Centre’s plan to construct a new Parliament building by August 2022 is on track and the tender for the project would be floated after the lockdown is liftedhttps://t.co/ORcvTOigOb— The Hindu (@the_hindu) April 13, 2020
2. A virtual campaign for Bihar elections, which has cost BJP an estimated ₹144 crores. Till now.
The government has gone big with its plans to reach the voters in Bihar, and has put LED screens/ TVs at 72,000 spots across the state.
This has led to an expense of a whopping ₹144 crores, money that could have been easily used to help distressed/starving migrant workers.
When joblessness is at an all time high, economy is at an all time low, when migrant labourers and their families are struggling to have one meal a day…— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) June 7, 2020
BJP had organised 72,000 LED screens for Amit Shah’s virtual rally to start party’s election campaign in Bihar!! pic.twitter.com/8w3kVlv50v
3. Two swanky Boeing 777-300 ER VVIP aircrafts worth ₹1,200 crores .
In a first, the Prime Minister and the President of the country will fly in aircrafts that have self-protection suits with countermeasure dispensing systems and missile warning sensors.
These planes, completely new in look, will be handed over to Indian government by the US-based Boeing in September.
Two custom-made B777 aircraft, which will be used to fly PM Narendra Modi and other top Indian dignitaries, are likely to be delivered by Boeing to Air India by September, say officials— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 8, 2020
While the deal was made a few years ago, they are expected to be in use from this year. That makes the timing absolutely horrible, with thousands of migrants walking home on foot and later, dying in trains with no proper facility, including food.
Not to mention this comes at a time when the government is promoting aatmanirbharta and usage of local products.
This is the first photo I have seen of @PMOIndia ‘s new ride – one of two converted Air India Boeing 777-300 jetliners, both brand new. Extensively modified with defensive countermeasures and encrypted comminication systems. pic.twitter.com/s7y2z2BPdb— Vishnu Som (@VishnuNDTV) June 3, 2020
4. Individual Facebook advertisements costing lakhs to let everyone know about the charity work.
Earlier in April, 2 BJP leaders: Sunil Deodhar and Pravin Darekar featured in the Ad Library Report, after they spent ₹2.39 lakhs and ₹1.35 lakhs on Facebook advertisements, respectively.
Ironically, most of their posts were about helping the people during the pandemic.
Why was it so important to put the ads when the same money could have been used to feed more people, get them home?
I wouldn’t have an answer for that.
Meanwhile, a report suggested that 198 migrant workers lost their lives in road accidents during the lockdown and at least 80 due to starvation on shramik trains.
Unlike everything I mentioned before, these are not merely numbers though. These were living, breathing humans whose only fault was that they were poor.