When the Government here in Great Britain decides to do something, whether foolish or correct, it usually decide that we have to pay for it. The Government extracts direct taxes from every working person, through Income Tax and National Insurance, and indirect taxes through fuel duty, VAT, and a plethora of other taxes. All told it adds to about sixty-odd % of our GNP (Gross National Product), if not more. So it directs the Treasury to fork out so much for Education, Prisons and Justice, these days a lot less on Defence, but you get the overall picture. If the Government decides to do something, it might well have to borrow money to pay for it, but that ‘something’ both gets done, and gets paid for, out of the Public Purse. Its perhaps old-fashioned, but thats the way we have been doing things for quite a while now; and whilst I have many problems with many of the projects and services provided by various British Governments, that is the way we, as a Nation, do things.
Not so for example in India, where stupendous numbers, totalling some 250 million-odd at the last count, are routinely discriminated against to a large if not total degree. The Dalits, or to give them the europeanised title, the ‘Untouchables’, have lived with tremendous discrimination for centuries under the hidden lash of the Hindu ‘Caste’ system. But even the rest of India also suffers through lack of investment in schools and higher education, in a creaking and careworn Judicial system, in a transport system which is set in ways decreed in the days of the British Raj.
But certain areas of Government in India get what they wish, on the spot, and pay top dollar for it. Whether it be brand-new MIG-29s, or a $2.4billion upgrade for their French Mirages, the Indian Government spends the money, even though they cannot afford all those bright shiny new toys.
But wait just a minute, there is a pliant and ready set of suckers who are willing to pay for the educational needs of a fair number of Indians, Untouchable or not! The same set of suckers stand ready to fund all sorts of services to the tune of £245 million in 2009-10 alone. So India can buy their new MIG-29s, and also buy the upgrade for their ageing French Mirage jets, because the suckers are picking up the bill for things which the Indians should be paying for.
The suckers? That would be us!