Saturday Features

A Trillion Rupee Budget!

  • Maybe, our government should really ask the experts on how to take care of the poor, unemployed and the old instead of promising us the moon and then providing peanuts
- Guffadi

Jun 2, 2018-Our Finance Minister has tabled the budget for the coming fiscal year and it’s nothing new but the same old hisab kitab which makes no sense at all. We can only be proud of ourselves when our government manages to balance its books and hopefully show a surplus someday. Until then, we will be borrowing from our own and the bideshis to run the country while the debt piles up.

I think it’s about time we remind our incompetent government that unless we focus on infrastructure, we are not going anywhere. And it’s about time we got rid of our shady contractors and maybe give all the highway projects to the Army. After all, it seems that our Nepal Army will one day be the richest organisation in town like in Egypt if it gets all the government contracts to build roads, hydropower and many more projects down the road.

It’s difficult for us to understand why the government is willing to spend Rs 45 billion on defense while the ministry for women, children and senior citizens gets less than two billion Rupees. The Ministry of Youth and Sports gets around four billion Rupees. This just shows that our politicians do not think that children, youth, women and senior citizens matter in this land. And they seem to be eager to please our army generals.

Maybe, our netas know something that we don’t and maybe we should just hand over all our hospitals, schools and even transportation businesses to the Army as well. Maybe, they will do a better job than the byaparis. And we are not really going to go to war against the Chinese or the Indians anytime soon. If Mohan Baidya was in Baluwatar then we would certainly be at war with India. Yet, our soldiers don’t get enough rations and have to live in huts while our generals get to have the fun.

It’s not only with the Army; we see the same nataks in other security agencies as well. The only difference is that our IGPs can go to jail while no one can touch the army generals. Let’s hope that one day, the Army will finally be under civilian control. Well, our President is the commander in chief but who really controls the Army?

Let us not talk much about our President. She thinks it’s okay to pardon convicted murderers. So let us not expect all those human rights violators from both the state and the then rebel forces to face the music anytime soon. Maybe, we should just blame Deuba for all the mess and punish him instead.

Our government tells us that we will manage to bring in two million tourists in the next two years. Yes, with only one international airport, let us not even expect a million. And don’t think we will be done with building our international airports in Bhairahawa and Pokhara by 2020. Forget Nijgadh! Maybe, we should promote skydiving so that international airlines don’t need to land, just open the door up there and ask their passengers to parachute down to the TIA! Maybe then we will get mostly adventurous tourists who are also willing to spend hundreds of dollars in this land of ours rather than the usual bhukka tourists we seem to get most of the time.

Our Finance Minister tells us that the country will witness an ambitious economic growth of eight percent this year. Yes, it is possible because we have much smarter folks working at our ministries than the ones at the World Bank, ADB and the IMF! After all, you have to be a local to figure out the math in your own land.

As usual, our MPs will get Rs 40 million for the constituency infrastructure development fund. Well, they won’t get to pocket it all but will have their say on where the money goes. And the dough will go to their coussins and cadres for their pet projects.

Young entrepreneurs should be happy that the government is willing to provide loan of Rs 700,000 at five percent interest if you place your academic certificates as collateral. But you will have to know someone in the office to get the loan and they will probably ask for chiya kharcha as well. And if you have just returned from working overseas, you can apply for loan up to one million Rupees if you can convince our sarkari hakims that you will use your skills in the country. We all know that those with real useful skills will not get the loans while the near and dear ones of our netas and cadres will get it in a jiffy.

Our government tells us that it will manage to increase its revenue by 33 percent. Many of our experts tell us that it is not possible but it will be if we can also tax all chiya kharcha in this land. Yes, for one time, let us grant amnesty to all those with black money like Oli suggested a long time ago. Maybe, we can pay our country’s debt at one go if that happens. After all, we seem to have already granted amnesty to all those who did their thing during the so-called civil war.

Like all previous governments, this one too says that it will create jobs, increase productivity and make us prosperous. I think it’s about time our government focused on making us self-sufficient in food and not in cement and iron rods. We can’t eat cement and we are tired of spending billions of Rupees buying rice, dal and masu from our chimekis.

Maybe, our government should really ask the experts on how to take care of the poor, unemployed and the old instead of promising us the moon and then providing peanuts in the budget for the common folks. And as usual, our government spends more than a billion US dollar on education. Our kids in public schools don’t even get textbooks on time while most of the public school teachers bunk school and still get paid. That’s how it is in our Republic!

Guffadi is a grumpy old man who blogs at guffadi.blogspot.com. You may contact him at maguffadi@gmail.com

Published: 02-06-2018 08:33

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