Learning the hard way

Updated: Jan 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
For Kerala finance minister K Sankaranarayanan chickens are coming home to roost. While the local media draws a parallel between him and Bihars own Laloo Yadav, Mr Sankarnarayanan says he had no intention to steal a penny from the poor poultry farmers in the state. According to the minister, his only mistake was that he signed a file that a secretary handed over to him and somehow he failed to read what he was signing. While his signature made the state poorer by a few crores of rupees, he has learnt to do his work more thoroughly. The minister now says, I will not sign anything anymore without going through it carefully. But Mr Minister, we thought you were meant to do just that.

Lame excuse
Scuttling privatisation seems to have become a fine art, with new methods to delay, if not prevent, the sale of state-run companies. Recently, the chairman of a public sector undertaking raised objections, stating that he was not informed about an important aspect of the sale. To this, the ministry of disinvestment said that the chairman was fully informed. The chairman responded that he wasnt expected to notice every single detail of the privatisation. In fact, he had seen the documents just cursorily. Only when he was asked to sign the papers did he scrutinise the proposal in full detail!

Wake up!
If anyone is expecting a dream budget from finance minister Yashwant Sinha, think again. Mr Sinha himself has stated that he does not want to present any dream budget this time. Two of my predecessors who presented dream budgets soon lost their jobs. Last time, I too nearly lost my own when I presented a similar budget, he said. So, can we a expect a budget which will wake us out of our dreams...er nightmares