I always believe in the saying, “You are what your Government gives you to eat” (which when paraphrased means exactly the same as it does within the quotes). It is also said that “A Mahatma Gandhi-(fill it as you like it)-Scheme a day keeps Narendra Modi away (from Delhi)”.
So, a couple of weeks ago when the UPA government completed its 9 years in power, it did so not by hitchhiking on the economic intellect of a ghost of decades past, or on the boyish charms of our would-be future, but purely on the basis of welfare schemes and policies that address the grassroot-level problems of our country. While the UPA government has orchestrated and championed many such welfare schemes, there were some schemes which, despite having game-changing potential, did not see the light of the day because of various logistics and external factors. Here are some of them which you may not have heard of, but may get to know about in the near future:
1. Rashtriya Shaukeen Shauchalya Yojana – A project directly under the aegis of the Planning Commission, it was initiated to provide high-end sanitary facilities to the common man. The first such test facility was constructed in the Planning Commission itself with an estimated cost of Rs 35 lakh. The facilities had all the basic features like titanium-coated urinary blocks and a virtual simulation of Madagascar in front of every lavatory block—probably to make the common man forget the deep s#!t they are in. The scheme ran into rough weather after media reports misinterpreted the facilities; but its less logical alternative of providing proper sanitary facilities to the rural areas have been put in place under the name of ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’ .
2. National One Night Stand Scheme – Initially launched in Uttar Pradesh , the scheme mandates every privileged would-be/pseudo/quasi representative of the ‘Aam Aadmi’ to find one poor family and put up with them for a bare minimum of one night. The project was intended to enhance the purchasing-power of rural families, as a family would have to buy mineral water and other luxurious amenities to meet the standards of the visiting guests. The purpose of this scheme was also to give the poor families a taste of the good life (and water) which was promised to be delivered to them bubble wrapped. After a much hyped initial launch, this project failed because neither ‘Rashtriya Shaukeen Shauchalya‘ nor ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan‘ was launched, let alone implemented at that time (which inevitably becomes a prerequisite after a night of feasting). But with the general elections around the corner, the man who orchestrated this scheme might again want to revive this, with talks of 3D holographic projections to address more families in one night also being rumoured.
3. Aap Bhi Gandhi Namkaran Yojana – In a bid to encourage good citizens of the country, the Government had once decided to select deserving candidates, and confer upon them the title of ‘Gandhi’. However, unconfirmed reports suggest that the real aim of the scheme was to unclutter the system of nomenclature of government schemes, and to bring in new names other than ‘Rajiv’ or ‘Indira’ for the upcoming government initiatives. More than 450 schemes, scholarships awards, institutes etc. have been named after the Nehru-Gandhi family and the bureaucrats were having a tough time differentiating between an ‘Indira Gandhi Calf Rearing Scheme’ and an ‘Indira Gandhi Garibi Hatao Yojana’. Although the bureaucrats were delighted with the move, the Congress party workers were livid at the prospect of upsetting and annoying so many Gandhis at the same time, with the main voice of dissent being that of Digvijay Singh.
4. Foreign Direct Investment in the Native Porn Industry – In a desperate bid to appease the BJP who has been successful in disrupting all the sessions of the Parliament, the Government wanted to reach out to the opposition party whose three representatives were caught watching porn in the assembly some time back. In an issue as contentious as Foreign Direct Investment(FDI), the Government wanted to make inroads in the BJP ranks with this scheme. But the issue fell through when private players like Vishesh Films, which is owned by the Mahesh Bhatt Camp, alleged that the Government of India is intruding into their domain. As last reported, the Government was in negotiation with the Bhatts and a possible PPP model (Public Private Partnership) might be the future of the scheme.