Commonwealth games and the aftermath
Ramananda Nongmeikapam *
Finally, the much awaited Commonwealth Games are over and India has bagged second in the medal tally. In fact it is a matter of pride for every citizen of the country. Though the eve of the games witnessed much criticism by various nations, the opening of the Games was appreciated by millions. Also, 12 days game went with lots of excitement. Yes, India has done really very well in the field of sports too.
But the aftermath of the Commonwealth Games has shown the ugly face of India with large scale corruption at almost every stage of the preparation for the game. It has also sent shock waves across the country and the globe as a whole. We don't really have any objection on spending Rs 70000 crore in the Game.
But we are concerned about diversion of fund that has made the whole world know that the country is flooded with corruption. One question arises every now and then, whether or not India has utilized the whole amount for the game. The answer is a big NO, 99 per cent of the people of India will utter this word "NO" instantly.
It will not be out of place to mention here that, Melbourne Common Wealth Games 2006 spent Rs 5000 crore. Also, the China government spent only Rs 28000 crore to host the world's largest sporting event Olympics 2008. Of course, India has to spend a lot in building the infrastructure, but the amount sanctioned does not correspond to the output.
It is also worth mentioning that, Beijing Olympics and Melbourne Commonwealth Games were equally good as India had hosted CWG 2010 no matter how much amount it spent. It does not really mean that India spending Rs 70000 crore, has hosted better that China and Australia did. There is no iota of doubt that Rs 70000 was not wholly spent at all.
Conducting CWG 2010 to the grandiest extent is in fact a great thing. It is a matter of fact that the output was good but the internal mechanism turned out to be flawed. I would like to quote Mr Jaipal Reddy saying, "If you furnish and paint your house before your daughter's wedding, then the money spent on that cannot be said to be part of the dowry."
He meant conducting the Games would naturally develop infrastructure and make Delhi a world class city. But please remember, Indian society is characterized by poverty, unemployment, wide spread presence of slums, inequality in terms of magnitude of development, income, level of access to basic amenities etc. Giving over emphasis on development of infrastructure of Metro Cities will only worsen the social and economic condition of the country.
India may be proud to be one of the fastest growing economies of the world. But economy is not the only parameter to measure the welfare and development level of the citizen. India ranks 127th in HDI reported in Human Development report 2005 by United Nation's Development Programme(UNDP). Economically weak countries like Sri Lanka, Phillipines have higher HDI rank than that of India.
Yes, I would say India has done a good thing hosting the world sporting event. India has accomplished commendable achievements in many fields be it business, cinema, space research, science & technology etc. Sports have been coupled with human beings since the establishment of human society in some way or the other. Therefore, it is utmost important for the citizens of the country to contribute a bit in the field of sports too.
There is also one good point in hosting CWG 2010. Millions of people were strongly involved in the game. It has also proved that Cricket is not the only game of India, there are many such games where one can focus. Therefore, the monopoly of cricket in India would be tarnished to some extent.
On one side, it is notable that India does not spend a good amount of money in social sectors. For a society to be equally developed , there must be equal spending of money in every sector. And if required, sectors which are considered backward should be emphasized by spending additional money. In fact, India spends unnecessarily in procuring weapons, cricket (e.g. IPL) and other luxurious activities which follow a track that never meets with that of activities relating to social needs.
There are many welfare schemes existing in India. Though many of them are successful there are many too which ended in the midway. The government must focus on why these schemes are not successful; they must look after it through a transparent and efficient mechanism. The intended beneficiaries are not actually benefitted at large.
Sufficient amount must be funded to various poverty alleviation schemes, employment generation programmes , health care, food security and other activities relating environmental issues.There are over 260 million persons below poverty line, food inflation is always in alarming situation. Large number of farmer tends to commit suicide due to failure of crops because of lack of rainfall. Malnutrition and infant mortality rate have always been a social menace.
I would say the society at large was not benefitted by the amount spent for CWG and developing infrastructures. The amount must have been reduced to a level that would develop sufficient infrastructures on one side and improvement of social sectors by spending the rest of the amount reasonably.
To conclude, it is learnt that the amount sanctioned for CWG 2010 was too much in a country like India. Further, the sanctioned amount was not fully utilized. For those who say India should not have hosted the CWG 2010, a message to them is that India has not made a mistake hosting it.
It will be prudent to say India must host world sporting events keeping in mind the rampant social and economic backwardness. Let's learn a lesson from this and let's act on this. Let's be responsible citizens of the country.
"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. "
- John F Kennedy
* Ramananda Nongmeikapam (a resident of Imphal, Manipur) contributes this article to e-pao.net . The sender can be contacted at ramananda_nk(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on November 11, 2010.
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