Hi Readers! Here’s a satirical piece on India’s Parliament building that was carried under my column “Tweakonomics” in the Hindu Business Line. You can see it at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/wah-sansad-mahal/article8045876.ece, else read it here directly! Keep reading, keep smiling!
Shah Jahan constructed the Taj Mahal at Agra. Sumitra Mahajan wants a new Sansad Mahal at New Delhi. If the former was an ode to love, justification for the latter is as techno-legal as it gets, ranging from the stiffly legal references of Article 81 to creating technological capacities. Such Parliamentary fervour after such amazing sessions! Really, they quite deceive us, our Sansad members.
Why a new building?
Top reason is Arvind Subramaniam. It’s he who has created this Shah Jahan-minus-the-love aka Keynesian furore in our to-hell-with-growth Parliamentarians. The man claims that the growth forecast stands revised downwards from 8.1% to 7.3%. So let’s make it in India and get the growth rate moving. After visiting nearly all countries that make anything at all, we’ve realized that no one wants to really make much to begin with (it’s a global slowdown, stupid!) and if at all they do, they certainly won’t make it in India.
So let the Government spend some more. On what, is the golden question. Spend too much, and those firangi buggers at Moody’s will give us a downgrade. Spend too little, and Arvind threatens to release a new document with 7.0% growth. Do nothing and the Opposition will disrupt the Budget session. It’s quite a tricky little question.
Hmmm. So here’s the answer. Spend on a project that gets the multipliers working, so that Arvind is happy. Spend on a project that has the capacity to raise its own revenue source, and Moody’s will be happy. Spend on a project that will be used by the Opposition as well, and keep them at bay.
Hurrah! It’s the Parliament! Getting that going will create huge demand for steel and cement and construction material. Welcome, employment. This will push private investments as well, creating the impetus for growth. That takes care of the CEA. Next, impose a Sansad Bachao, Sansad Banao cess. What we really need is Sansad Padhao, but that’s another matter altogether. Surely Moody’s cannot get upset about such a deficit neutral project. What’s more, voters absolutely cannot resist Hindi-named taxes. Hehehe!
As far as the Opposition is concerned, this project takes the cake. They’ll not only support it, but positively beam and urge the Government to spend more. The only condition is that we use Italian marble in the construction. Why, they may even behave themselves in the Budget session and finally pass the GST. Yeah, that the Government may have to re-name it the Great Sansad Tax is another matter altogether.
Apart from the terrific economic benefits of the move, there are also those other, rather important issues that justify the new building. Ms. Mahajan claims that the current building is under “stress”. Being a mute witness to such high-on-adrenalin chair-upturning and yelling sessions does that to the strongest of stones.
Making the new premises technologically capable will make the Parliament a paperless organization. That is truly a masterstroke and will end all possibilities of the Opposition flinging paper balls to disrupt the session. Wish they would make it pepper-free as well. Let’s put nation building on hold. First, the Parliament building, please.