“Ahluwalia tells us that an empirical study a few years thereafter supervised by the very well known economist Kirit Parikh, to calculate the percentage of the funds spent on the Public Distribution System that actually reached the poor, came up with 16 paise as best estimate, remarkably close to Rajiv’s assessment”-Wajahat Habibulla, National Herald, 20 August 2019
Last night I came across a Face book post by Dr Manubansh, a former colleague from NDDB dats and later MD of the Barauni Milk Producers Union Limited. 20 May happens to be the the Punya Tithi of late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Dr. Manubansh recalled how participated in a nation wide survey, conducted at the behest of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, to ascertain proportion of money that Government spends actually reaches the beneficiary.
Dr. Manubansh wrote and I quote;
“During mid eighties, the then PM, Late Sh.Rajiv Gandhi, got a survey conducted as to what proportion of the Govt. support reaches the beneficiaries.
The Premier Institution, NDDB with its founder Chairman Late Dr.Verghese Kurien was also entrusted to conduct this survey because of its huge rural net-work of Dairy cooperatives through out the country.
Being posted at Meerut those days, I also had the opportunity to be a part of this enormous exercise in western UP.
The very thing I still vividly remember, even after more than three decades, is a letter of English alphabet i.e. “W”.
This letter was rather in rampant use for referring to a village level functionary of the state Govt. In general, the coterie of so called local leaders and the “W” used to decide that what proportion of the Govt. support would reach in the hands of beneficiaries. Though the details are very lengthy which I would not venture to write but what came out from the mammoth exercise was that ‘hardly 10% of the total support reaches the beneficiaries’.
To-day being the Punya tithi of the late PM Sh.Rajiv Gandhi I thought of sharing this episode with my fb fraternity.
While searching on the net I came across an article in the National Herald of 20th August 2019, written by Shri Wajahat Habibulla which can be accessed at
The following is an excerpt from Shri Habibullas article;
“Yet, the greatest challenge, recognised by Mrs Gandhi who made the need to address it the pivot of her 1971 election triumph with the slogan garibi hatao, was India’s unacceptable level of poverty. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Rajiv Gandhi’s Economic Advisor, describes in his forthcoming book Rajiv’s distress at coming face to face with naked poverty as he raced in his Jonga Jeep across tribal countryside in Kalahandi and Phulbani districts of Odisha. Ahluwalia writes, “He had expected to see poverty, but as he told us later, he was not prepared for the ineffectiveness of the government programmes that were meant to help the rural poor.”
It was shortly after the Kalahandi visit that Rajiv Gandhi made the much reported observation that out of every rupee spent by the government to help the rural poor, only 15 paisa actually reached the target. But this observation rested not on Rajiv’s assessment of corruption levels in government, which many construe as reference, but on his realisation of massive expenses involved in servicing a bureaucratic structure to administer poverty alleviation. Ahluwalia tells us that an empirical study a few years thereafter supervised by the very well known economist Kirit Parikh, to calculate the percentage of the funds spent on the Public Distribution System that actually reached the poor, came up with 16 paise as best estimate, remarkably close to Rajiv’s assessment.”
Has any survey been done after the Kirit Parikh study done some thirty years ago to find out what proportion of the money that Government spent for the poor actually reaches the poor ?
Now a days the oft repeated and accepted word is Direct Transfer to Beneficiaries bank account with no attempt to find as to how much of Government money spent on poor actually reaches them?
If an independent study is carried out to ascertain the efficacy of Direct Transfer to Beneficiaries account it is bound to throw interesting results.
I leave it to the readers imagination to
wonder what is implied by “W” in the FB
post by Dr. Manubansh. Do please write
if you have been able to decode “W” ?
Even today under MNREGA and similar other programmes such things may be happening.
There still is a long way to go for awakening people so that they care for their responsibility and partake only that which belongs to them.
Let me end this post by quoting first verse of Ishopanishad.
ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किंच जगत्यां जगत्. तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्य स्विध्दनम्
īśāvāsyamidaṃ sarvaṃ yatkiñca jagatyāṃ jagat |
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā mā gṛdhaḥ kasyasviddhanam ||
बसा है इन सब में सर्वव्यापी भगवान.जो भी है इस जग में गतिहीन या गतिमान, बसा है इन सब में सर्वव्यापी भगवान. सुख भोगो कर के इन सब का त्याग, मत करो पराये धन से अनुराग
Whatever there is changeful in this ephemeral world, all that must be enveloped by the Lord. By this renunciation, support yourself. Do not covet the wealth of anyone.’