India Uncut

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Hey, that's my money!

Mid Day reports:
Government officials in New Delhi are incensed that Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra were paid to perform at the closing ceremony of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

While individual fees charged by the stars could not be confirmed, it is believed to be between Rs 1 and Rs 2 crore.

The Indian government spent approximately Rs 29 crore, which included the stars’ fees, air tickets, stay and meals of the stars and the five accompanying government officials.
Now, I have absolutely no issue with the stars in question charging money to perform. They have a right to demand whatever professional fees they feel they're worth, and the other party can turn them down if they feel it's not worth it. What gets my (constantly aggrieved) goat is that the Rs 29 crore comes from the taxes that I pay, and is also drawn from indirect taxes paid by millions of people too poor to even buy the ticket for a Saif Ali Khan film. This is a shocking and unnecessary use of public money.

I don't mind paying taxes as long as they're used efficiently for necessary government services, but it is outrageous that the government should spend so much of my money on such a wasteful activity. Sadly, our system of government is set up in such a manner that accountability for such wastage of public money is a pipe-dream. Indeed, as Parkinson's Law states, bureaucrats are always seeking to expand the scope of their power, and the increased spending of public money is both a means of achieving that as well as a consequence.
amit varma, 3:08 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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