Montek’s Musings

(Communing with nature on his posh pot at the Planning Commission, we imagine Montek musing on planning, poverty, and politics.)

This country is a mess. Indian people always lack reason and sagacity. That’s why they can’t plan for themselves, and need me to plan for them.

Look at all this fuss over the expenses of my toilet – and my travels! I mean, isn’t it obvious that these are bare minimum necessities for Planners like me? Without a toilet with a smart-card to keep riff-raff out, how can I get the required privacy to plan? And if I don’t make regular trips to the US, where will I get ‘plans’ from? My bosses – at the IMF and World Bank Headquarters at Washington – are there, after all.

That’s where I brush up my economic theories. For instance, it was George Bush who taught me that inflation is all because Indians are eating better and getting more affluent! Every time I see the inflation index soar, I lower the poverty line – because higher inflation means people are eating good stuff, and won’t want the grains you get at the ration shop. Inflation is reassuringly high now. All those chaps spending more than Rs 22 daily must be gorging on gourmet food, that’s what’s pushing up the cost of food grains and vegetables so high!

When was the last time I made a trip in India? Oh, we leave all that slumming to Rahul; he spends a night every now and then in some village, just to keep the TV cameras happy. We still have this petty inconvenience called a democracy, you know, where people can actually vote you out! So poor Rahul has to do some political theatre to keep people from going Greek on us. We’re working on introducing the US model, though, where you need a multi-millionaire ‘smart card’ in order to contest elections.

You need to be a visionary to be a good Planner. Now that Marie Antoinette – she was some Planner! All that riff-raff demanding bread – and she came up with the brilliant solution that they could eat cake instead!

Now, we don’t have luxurious palaces anymore where we can muse in comfort like good old Marie. I manage to come up with my own bright ideas, every morning in a mere toilet, providing some modest comforts and privacy: and it cost the country just Rs. 35 lakhs. Quite austere really, if you compare it with Marie’s palace.

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