Monday, September 27, 2010

Development - in numbers..

Over the years we have been seeing development quantified in numbers - more specifically in terms of the amount spent. A more interesting way is to talk of allocation - and that is not even spending !!!

So we hear of around Rs 1.34 trillion allocated for education etc ..or we hear it in terms of percentage of GDP spent. The focus is hence on spending and there are saner and some less saner ways of representing it.

The basic premise appears to be simple : If money is spent , then development or a positive change is guaranteed.

The questions are

1. Is the money well spent ?

2. Is there a mechanism to assess the actual development or change that has been created by way of this development ( basically are the assumptions made at the time of approving the spending tested and verified ?) Are there independant ( politically and economically independant) systems to study the impact of the spending ? ( The key point is Independant - if one arm of the government spends and another arm measures impact and both report to one ministry , it is not difficult to understand how the assessment would be ! )

3. Is there any monitoring and accounting mechanism to see the above

In the absence of these ; or in the absence of the information actually made available widely ( actually , this is the only information desired ), talking in terms of expenditure is meaningless.

Statistics they say, conceals more than it reveals. And spending is not equal to developing.

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