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Friday, August 05, 2005

Digging up the dead

The Times of India reports:
The rains may have broken lives, limbs and and homes but they’ve made not the slightest dent in the great bureaucratic machine.

The Thane tehsildar’s office is demanding that the Sheikhs, a poor couple from Mumbra who lost their two-moth-old baby to the deluge, should exhume the body and conduct a post-mortem in order to claim the Rs 50,000 compensation.

This despite a receipt from the kabrastaan affirming the burial and any number of witnesses who watched the shivering, drenched baby die.
So after the one-time disaster of the cloudburst, we have the perennial disaster of the Indian bureaucracy to deal with. And these men, the ones who ask for dead babies to be dug up, get their salaries from the taxes that we pay. What a shame that after 50 years of this nonsense, we still haven't been able to ensure that our money is spent wisely.

5 Comments:

Blogger Saheli said...

Indian-American here. Honestly curious--who are this "Thane Tehsildar's" constitutents? Who are the taxpayers over his head? What's the standard modus operandi for expressing a little outrage? Whom do you have to march on to make feel bad about this kinda thing?

Fri Aug 05, 12:23:00 AM GMT-7  
Blogger amit varma said...

Saheli, the bureaucracy isn't directly accountable to the people, which is ok. The politicians are the interface through which we deal with them. A change in the system requires political will, which simply isn't there, for a number of reasons.

One, elections in this country are fought mostly on the basis of identity politics, and issues, especially non-populist issues like this, hardly matter. Two, it is in the interest of the politicians to keep this vast bureacracy going, because they benefit from it too.

And even if there was political will to reform the bureaucracy, it would fall upon the bureaucrats themselves to implement those changes. As I've mentioned here, that is one of the biggest obstacles to systemic reform.

And while I can't comment on this case for obvious reasons of libel, most official harrassment in India takes place to extort bribes out of the people. So if you had a hypethetical payout of Rs. 50,000 due to you from the government, a payment of Rs 5000 to the official concerned would help you get the job done quickly. Or you could go dig up the baby, and the fellow would ask for proof that it was yours, and not some other baby that you dug up.

Fri Aug 05, 12:52:00 AM GMT-7  
Blogger Doctor Bruno said...

Well Amit,

Rules are framed to be followed....... It is a common rule that any compensation can be granted only if the post mortem has been done and it is proved (by the autopsy) that the victim died because of the same reason that is slated. This applies to death by accidents, or even snake bite (relatives of victims of snake bite can get compensation if an autopsy has been performed)

Of course, there are exceptions (for example during Tsunami 2004) where the State Government ordered the NO post mortem is necessary. Such an order should come from the Health Secretary (with concurrence from Home Secretary) or from Home Secretary (from Concurrence from Health Secretary

These rules are Made to make sure that tax payers money is being spent wisely. You cannot blame the Tahsildhar. There is some thing called as AUDIT in govt. A group of people from AG office will review the accounts even after 12 years. At that time they need a autopsy report to be affixed to the office copy of the compensation papers. If there is NO office copy the money will be recovered from the pay (or the pension ) of the tahsildhar.

These rules are there to make sure that money is being spent wisely.

Please answer this question
Now a man dies takes excessive alcohol and dies of perforated peptic ulcer. ........ If his relatives claim money telling that he died of falling in a gutter, will you immediately sanction the money to him

Regards

Bruno

Fri Aug 05, 10:24:00 AM GMT-7  
Blogger Doctor Bruno said...

Remember that the entire problem was due to evasion of rules by the mumbaikers.....

You bribe the officials and built houses where there should be drains.... then where will the water go.....

MOST OFFICIAL HARASSMENT TAKES PLACE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE official is not victimised at a later date.... Bribe is NOT the first reason

Fri Aug 05, 10:28:00 AM GMT-7  
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Wed Sep 16, 01:35:00 AM GMT-7  

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