WHY GOVERNMENT BUSES RUN EMPTY (AND SIMILAR SUCK-CESS STORIES)

Many of my old readers surely know how big a fan I am of Big Government. After all, the tax money collected in the interest of the destitute and the poor needs to be spent on things that are crucial for the poor man on the street. All are agree?, a question Government resolutions are frequently preceded by. Among the various ways our taxes are spent include:
1. Giving employment to unemployable youths.
2. Subsidies to grains, kerosene and sugar so that they can be sold by ration shop owners at a higher price in the open market (after all, the market knows no morals, as everyone knows).
3. Build statues of the great leaders of our country who have saved several billions of dollars of the nation’s monies by transferring them to Swiss banks, thereby ensuring steady and safe growth.
4. Build and run hotels so that the poor relatives and workers of political figures can stay when desire strikes them.
5. Run airplanes that can be used by the poor when regular private airlines are packed to capacity.
6. Pay the bills for helicopter rides and private charter planes that carry our beloved leaders to their farmhouses or mistresses.
And so on. Why rehash this old crap, you ask?
Well, I recently heard of a way whereby another great public service our Government provides us, the Public Transport system, helps us.

bus_delhi
(source: http://www.travelindiasmart.com)

Here is an example:
A State Express bus, traveling around 50 kms from point A to point B, is often found to be, in official records, to be running nearly empty. The puzzling contradiction is how those empty buses are never seen in reality. The mystery has been resolved by a group of inspectors who have found that the conductors of the buses are charging a ‘subsidized’ rate, especially from ‘old (monthly-pass) customers’ and allowing them travel without the need to issue tickets. The money is generally split between the hard working driver and the conductor.
Protesting passengers are discouraged– if necessary by eviction from the moving bus. Needless to say, our paying public has found a way to manage this, and a compromise struck with the employees, many of whom have bungalows and cars and marry off their daughters in non-Governmental style. Role models for our wayward youth, surely!
A similarly enterprising group comprises of workers in various Government Hospitals, especially the large teaching institutes.
india-29-healthcare-488
(source:www.oxfam.org)

A typical example is of a technician in the Radiology Department who performs dozens of x-rays every day, using dyes that are used in the x-ray procedure.
For example, a study called the IVU needs two ampoules of a contrast material (as the dye is correctly called). Now, each ampoule usually contains 50ml. Our enterprising technician uses 40 ml in every case. Every fourth case or so, instead of opening a new ampoule of contrast, he uses the 40 ml of saved material, uses it for the last case, and pockets a brand new ampoule (which has been bought by the last patient).
This ampoule, along with many others that accumulate from his enterprising cost-cutting, is sold to the same neighboring pharmacy from where these patients are asked to get contrast from. Sweet, is it not, how our hard working State employees manage to make some extra money in these hard times?
Extrapolate this to drugs, including third gen antibiotics, anesthesia drugs, suture materials, disposables, implants, catheters, and a hundred other things, and what do you have?
A full-fledged cottage industry of larceny and fraud, complete with 100% tax exemption and 100% job security.
Let us, on this note, dedicate ourselves to Eternal and Enterprising Government!

23 responses to “WHY GOVERNMENT BUSES RUN EMPTY (AND SIMILAR SUCK-CESS STORIES)

  1. There seems to be no deterrence for corruption in this country.

    These “greasy” creatures take everything in stride – suspension, dismissal, loss of social respect, punishment …. Moral fibre is missing to a large extent. Positive change must come from WITHIN !

    They learn this from politicians only. So, ‘Cleansing’ must happen from the TOP (rulers) too. Unless and until, honest people come into politics, corruption will be a part and parcel of our lives. We need role models in politics. Sadly, there are none !

  2. Drives you to despair, doesn’t it? And yet, there are people like Dr. Prakash Amte who work for next to nothing, in horribly inhospitable regions, for people who nobody cares about. Sometimes, the thought that everyone has to die is a great comfort.

  3. Good way to vent! All very light-hearted and punny!

  4. A Hard hitting post on how Corruption runs at every level. People are so used to it, they do it like addiction. This should be treated like a disease and I will send them all to Rambodoc. You can do the surgery and remove the part of the brain that thinks about doing corruption (which means patients will return home with an empty skull).

  5. Doc, as long as we have a spring well of rich, guilt-ridden youth, following the Bengali-Malayali pipers to every venue of the World Socialist Forum, beady-eyed, and singing odes to Peter robbing Paul to pay Mary, there really isn’t any need for giving a call to “dedicate ourselves to Eternal and Enterprising Government”!

  6. The doc is back from his writers block and how ..
    Nice poignant post that from a (free thinking) bongalee (can i call u ?) and that when the Cpi (lmn…) are gunning for more control raj in their election manifesto …Well they are not alone and the Scion of the Paarivaar .. Lady sonya is no different, she apes Indira, with her loan waivers and nregs and subsidy programs, we have manmohan s as finance minister, a 12+% fiscal deficit and without our forex reserves and currency controls we would be pushed back in the 90s era…The other party s including the opposition are no different and i am wondering , does my vote really count?

    Just recently i saw an interesting talk show on lokmat with the famed dr ramani who started first bone bank in India , and i was reminded of u …

    This post reminded me of my uti64 post on how the rot of uti64 started wt the politicians and ended with the fund managers putting their hand in the till.

  7. Ps u forgot politicians making private schools and engineering and medical colleges using their clout to acquire govt land at a pittance and barring competition necessitating a drain of talent and resources to other countries

  8. That was a very engaging read, doc. It is indeed very sad. What’s sadder, is that it’s been accepted as a way of life.

    @Naren: Well said!

    g

  9. good post Doc, it is so sad, isn’t it? all of us think of so many scenarios when we faced corruption but haven’t done anything about it (including me). I am just talking out loud and thinking about a service tax officer who called me at 430 am on my cell and demanded to meet me at his office at 9. My business partner and I were there for over 8 hours answering vague questions and in the end, all he wanted was his ‘portion’. we paid the entire amount that we were supposed to pay but he kept calling and screwing our happiness for a long time.
    There are so many people in Govt dept who have houses, jewelry etc far beyond their means – goli se udaa dena chahiyey.

  10. ..and then if you knew the kinds of fraud, waste and abuse that happens in the systems out here!

    Makes me feel good about what I do, frankly.

  11. Why is there corruption is absolutely every single aspect of our lives? I am convinced that this is due to the Indian mentality arising from decades of ineffective law enforcement.

  12. This happened to me in Kolkata. I was given tickets less than the money I paid. He handed over tickets reluctantly.

    Why are people so corrupt? Initially I thought it was because they were poor. But the biggest corrupt ones are the ministers.

    Happy riding the empty buses!

  13. The Government is at fault. Agreed (funny how agreed rhymes with greed….). Now what about all those private hospitals which procure ‘propaganda (PG)’ third gen cephalosporins in bulk (often with hefty ‘schemes’) and sell them off at the hospital pharmacy at nearly four times the cost? What about private practitioners who write MRI scans at the drop of a hat, in exchange for a 30% ‘cut’? Or all those corporate hospitals (yes, I’m talking about the ones in the private sector), which have an unwritten policy of prolonging ICU stay of patients and often subjecting them to extensive investigations, including 5 ABGs a day for a patient of diarrhoea!
    Just as hatred doesn’t have a religion, greed too is an ethereal phenomenon, all pervading, unabashed and perniciously unbound.

  14. ki kando! tai naki? E maa Jaah! Boley ar ki hobey? Nao baba ebar kheyey dey ghumiyey paro… πŸ˜‰

  15. The day I got a job, I promised myself that I would never travel in a bus ever again! Thank God, those terrible days are over! πŸ™‚

  16. When the famous fodder scam in which Laloo ji was allegedly involved was investigated, it was found that the registration numbers of vehicles in which the buffaloes and cows were transported, were actually the registration numbers of two wheelers. Imagine a cow being transported on a scooter πŸ™‚ I would buy a ticket to see a sight like this.
    Very well written Rambodoc.

  17. Thanks, everybuddy, for the comments. Bus, keep ’em coming!
    πŸ˜‰

  18. Have been following your blog for a long time but a first time delurker.

    There are AC volvo buses plying to the new Bangalore International Airport from all over the city. The bus is well maintained ( all of them are new!), have luggage racks to keep even ur international travel luggage. The fare is not cheap. Starts from Rs. 80, but comparing to the taxi fare of Rs. 350 for the same distance, one cannot complain. I have seen the buses running atleast half full.
    My in-laws took the bus once, the price per ticket was Rs. 150. They were the only passengers in the bus. The conductor took the money, but did not give them the tickets. FIL thought that he would be given the tickets when he got down. But no. When he asked for it while getting down, he was given back Rs. 100 and the bus raced away ! A cool Rs.100 each for the driver & conductor. No wonder we have deficits. I wonder how long the buses will operate.

  19. Akhila:
    Thanks for delurking, and welcome! I know just what you are saying.
    I have a point to make to Shakarotti, who raised the issue of corruption in the private sector. Well, true, the privae sector is also corrupt to varying degrees (unfortunately), but we are not necessarily paying for it, and we also have the option of legal action against the errant party. Fr several months, I have been having a private slugfest with my internet service provider over stupendous (and false) bills suddenly raised. I protested and protested, and finally, got all that waived, and I got an assurance that this would not be repeated.

  20. Sometimes I marvel at the creativity and ingenuity of our govt employees and babus…what if this was channeled in the right fashion!

  21. Welcome back, Mahendra. Now we’ll see you around for what, a couple of weeks?!
    πŸ™‚

  22. Doc, that’s cruel! πŸ™‚

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