New Delhi : There is cause for cheer, if the Planning Commission is to be believed. At a press conference, where sweets were served with tea, Deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia announced that no official working at Yojana Bhawan – the office of the Commission – was now in the BPL category. He said this feat was achieved in the first quarter of this financial year.
Taking reporters on a tour of the office building, Mr Ahluwalia said, “Oh yes, for those of you flummoxed by this, let me explain. BPL is not Below Poverty Line but Below Plush Loos. 50 per cent of Indians do not have access to quality toilets and are therefore according to our categorisation, in the BPL category. So far, this 50 per cent included our officers, even me. But now in one stroke, I repeat in one stroke of my pen, I have pulled them out of BPL. Now they can use loos built at a cost of 35 lakh rupees. This will be a gamechanger.”
Ahluwalia explained the change was necessary because there were too many leaks earlier. “I was aghast when my 27 rupees and 32 rupees figures got leaked. Now there will be no more leaks from Yojana Bhavan. We have flushed out the problem.”
When asked if the money spent on the toilets wasn’t on the higher side, Ahluwalia flared up and said, “Poverty stinks. We know it better than anyone else. Plus we are not just another government body passing this motion and that motion loosely. We are not just passing hot air. What passes out of this body at the end of the day is something solid.”
The Planning Commission’s move has come in for praise from celebrated thinkers like Bangalore-based Ramesh Srivats who said India has proved that it is flush with funds and that it is an emerging susuperpower. Even former IOA secretary general Lalit Bhanot has appreciated the effort, saying this will help Indians improve their sense of hygiene.