No economy, least of all ours, where half the people lead an existence below the poverty level, can support the middle class dream of unbridled consumerism.  So it has been quick to learn the ropes of the “world of market efficiency with its corruption and dirty tricks” to fulfill its essentially unachievable dream.

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Author's Note: This  story draws directly upon my experience of investigating the targeted Public Distribution programme in Bihar between 1996- 2002. The cost of lost opportunity to the poor in this grievously miscarried programme may have been to the tune of Rs. 3,500 to 4,000 crores. Midway the government divested me of the investigation and handed it over to the Vigilance. Not much has been heard of it since then. A thumbnail version of a larger project - the parable of the well paid public servant - implementation of poverty alleviation programmes in Bihar. The wise Mr Dang has a counterpart in real life as indeed any one who cares to read my post The Poor Must Prevail.

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Some of the comments on my post,

Thanks, but no thanks Mr. Kaushik Basu, have focused more on the scholarly eminence of the author of the idea of "harassment bribe", than on the practicability of its implementation. In an unstated manner, it is also a soft impeachment of my credentials to join issues.

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Dear children,

I have thought long and hard before addressing this letter to you. The protocol department has warned me that it is of utmost importance to be politically correct, while speaking to "your children". They are no respecters of persons - especially, if that person happens to be their own father.

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(This is the second part of the article, The Battle against Corruption etc. But first let me make my position absolutely clear. I am wholeheartedly in favour of this movement that Anna Hazare jee has launched. As the right person to lead this movement he brings up the third element in the triad the man, the moment and the milieu. But we are aware of another movement dissipate itself without achieving most of its objectives as well as and many stringent remedial legislations have proved worse than the disease.  People  tend to apply their own time tested scale of values to events and  I am aware that my thinking may be touched by my professional bias.
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