Digital Cabinet

Polevaulter Donkeyman's rants, raves musings and flame wars

Why does the Government have to do all this?

with 3 comments

  1. venkatananth
    @shashitharoor Can you please help P Kunhimohammad and Joseph Abraham make it to Colombo for the Olympic qualifier? Rs. 30k for travel.
  2. I gather that the above tweets refer to the news story below:
  3. My question is (as asked in the headline): why should it be the government’s responsibility (and thus in its power) to send Indian athletes to the Olympic Games? And why do Indians believe that MPs should spend their time in such one-off highly targeted initiatives which, as far as I can see, do not have any tangible long lasting effect. MPs are elected to Parliament as representatives of the people to hold government to account when it fails to improve the general welfare of the people it is supposed to serve. Sending an athlete to an Olympic qualifier does not qualify as improving the general welfare of the people. 

    The frustrating thing about this is that people believe that the government is there to solve all problems. An athlete can’t get to a qualifier? Petition the government. Autorickshaws charging exorbitant rates? Petition the government for more regulation (subject of a later post). Animals dying of heat stroke in India? Petition the government to open animal shelters.

    The cost of sending P Kunhumohammed to the qualifiers in Colombo, Sri Lanka? Rs. 30,000. Not such a huge sum even by Indian (upper middle class) standards that 50 to 100 people cannot come together to contribute. The linked Indiatimes article had > 300 comments (last I checked). If each of them contributes Rs. 100 the required sum will be raised.

    This is a problem which does not require government intervention to solve. So why do people still think that the government should be involved? Maybe because 50 years of socialist rule, where the government did everything, where the sarkar is the mai-baap, civil society has atrophied to such an extent that people cannot conceive of solutions which do not require any government involvement. 

    And this is the biggest hurdle in India’s progress and growth, in the growth of India as a free-market liberal nation.

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Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

July 5, 2012 at 22:30

3 Responses

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  1. totally with you on the larger point that govt. should completely stay out of all this…the problem in this case is that the govt. (or the athletics association) has given itself a monopoly in managing the athletes….in absence of free markets, it is the monopoly’s duty to ensure the best athletes are able to participate…

    Democracy4India

    July 10, 2012 at 01:16

  2. D4All —

    My point is, if the people care so much that they think the government should get involved in this, why don’t they do the job themselves? As I pointed out it wouldn’t take too many like minded people to pool together money to send the athletes to the qualifying. What I trying to highlight is that the first response of anybody to any problem is becoming to petition the government. It is not as if the government is doing a great job of its core responsibilities that one should think it would do a good job of extraneous aims. This dependence on govt aid has been created by the 50 years of socialism and there will be no progress until this mai-baap attitude towards govt is not abandoned.

    As regards the “monopoly” argument and that the government should intervene in it, I am not so sure if this should be essential govt function. The monopoly that the IOA has is not a monopoly on any essential service for the benefit of society at large. I understand that one of the motivating factors for calling on govt intervention is the govt support to the IOA. But the correct response is not to ask the govt to do more. It should be to call on the the govt to do less and cancel all govt funding to the IOA.

    From April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2011 the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has given the IOA grants of Rs 12.3 crores of which the IOA has spent Rs 23 lakhs on IOA lapels pins and ties.

    Sources: 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011

    Polevaulter Donkeyman

    July 10, 2012 at 19:54

    • i agree with you…all govt. aid to the associations should be withdrawn…even govt recognition of these associations as ‘national associations’

      Democracy4India

      July 12, 2012 at 11:57


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