385 – Government Spending

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

Government Spending

This narrative is from the life of Shri Kamarajar who was the Congress President and also served Tamil Nadu as its Chief Minister. Kamarajar did not have an opportunity to study in his childhood days. Hence, he understood the importance of education.

During his term as Chief Minister around 1960,  a party functionary approached Kamarajar and proposed an idea of making a documentary film on the achievements of the Government, to be broadcast at all theatres and published in newspapers. When, Kamarajar enquired about the cost of such an exercise, he was told that it may cost around 3 lakhs. Kamarajar was taken aback by the amount required and suggested that, with that amount of money, he can build a school. He said, Government advertising its achievements is analogous to a son advertising, that he has taken care of his mother.

During his tenure, he went about opening new schools at every village in Tamil Nadu. He gave utmost priority to improving the infrastructure in schools, training teachers, providing uniforms etc.  During review of the above scheme, he found that,  enrolment and attendance in schools was not picking up. When he undertook a tour of the villages, he saw children engaged in farm labour and he enquired the parents, for the reasons, for not sending their children to the school. They said they do not have the money to provide them lunch. When he asked them, if they would be willing to send their children to school if provided lunch, the parents immediately responded with a big YES. That is how, the noon-meal scheme was born.

The status of primary schools in the country is pathetic, even after 70 years of independence.

  • Only 6 Schools out of 10 in the country has access to electricity.
  • Only 65% schools have usable toilets.
  • The average students per class, in some schools are around 75 as against the prescribed size of 42.
  • Only 69% of all school teachers in the country have a graduate degree or more.
  • Most of the primary schools have a student strength of less than 60 and hence run without adequate infrastructure or teacher strength. After completion of primary level education, there are inadequate secondary schools to accommodate the students.

The Indian Government through its flagship initiative, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)  which is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented by Government of India in partnership with State Governments, is attempting to  provide elementary education to economically under-privileged. The amount allocated for the financial year 2015-16 is approximately 38,000 crores.

The Central and State Governments spent around 2500 crores on all kinds of advertisement and publicity on an average, every year. Advertisements by Governments are intended to create an awareness about Government Schemes. However, independent observers believe that nearly 50% of the advertisements are in the nature of propaganda promoting an individual or a political party and a waste of taxpayer’s money. Instead, if that money is, allocated on the education of a student under SSA scheme (estimated at Rs.5,000 per student/annum), additionally,25 lakh students can be educated.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 385 says, the responsibility of a king is not only to identify sources of revenue for the Government, in the form of taxes, but to collect them, safeguard them and judiciously utilize them for the welfare of its citizens. The challenge is, in the optimal utilization of the resources.

இயற்றலும் ஈட்டலும் காத்தலும் காத்த 
வகுத்தலும் வல்லது அரசு

Iyatralum Eettalum Kaath-thalum Kaaththa
Vaguth-thalum Valladhu arasu

பரிமேலழகர் உரை:

இயற்றலும் – தனக்குப் பொருள்கள் வரும் வழிகளை மேன்மேல் உளவாக்கலும், ஈட்டலும் – அங்ஙனம் வந்தவற்றை ஒருவழித் தொகுத்தலும், காத்தலும் – தொகுத்தவற்றைப் பிறர் கொள்ளாமல் காத்தலும், காத்த வகுத்தலும் – காத்தவற்றை அறம், பொருள், இன்பங்களின் பொருட்டு விடுத்தலும், வல்லது அரசு – வல்லவனே அரசன் . (ஈட்டல், காத்தல் என்றவற்றிற்கு ஏற்ப, இயற்றல் என்பதற்குச் செயப்படு பொருள் வருவிக்கப்பட்டது. பொருள்களாவன: மணி, பொன், நெல் முதலாயின. அவை வரும் வழிகளாவன : பகைவரை அழித்தலும் , திறை கோடலும் ,தன் நாடு தலையளித்தலும் முதலாயின. பிறர் என்றது பகைவர், கள்வர், சுற்றத்தார். வினை செய்வார் முதலாயினர். கடவுளர், அந்தணர், வறியோர் என்று இவர்க்கும் புகழிற்கும் கொடுத்தலை அறப்பொருட்டாகவும், யானை, குதிரை, நாடு, அரண் என்று இவற்றிற்கும், பகையொடு கூடலின் பிரிக்கப் படுவார்க்கும், தன்னில் பிரிதலின் கூட்டப்படுவார்க்கும் கொடுத்தலைப் பொருட் பொருட்டாகவும், மண்டபம், வாவி, செய்குன்று, இளமரக்கா முதலிய செய்தற்கும், ஐம்புலன்களான் நுகர்வனவற்றிற்கும் கொடுத்தலை இன்பப் பொருட்டாகவும் கொள்க. இயற்றல் முதலிய தவறாமல் செய்தல் அரிதாகலின், ‘வல்லது’ என்றார்.).

Sanskrit Translation by  Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

குர்யாத்³ த⁴னார்ஜனோபாய மார்ஜயேத் பாலயேத்³ த⁴னம் |
ரக்ஷிதம் ச யதா² ஸா²ஸ்த்ரம் த³த்³யாத் பாத்ரேஷு பூ⁴மிப: ||