Thursday, June 22, 2006

Developing the army?

The PSDP isn't working and the utilisation of funds remains woefully inadequate, so the government has offered a way out of the quandry: give the money to the army.

Public Sector Development Program - the very words suggest that a project to shift 60 telephone exchanges of the army from the recently privatised PTCL could not possibly be financed by this account. The financing for the project comes on the back of the recent hike in the defence budget. The billion rupee project raises an obvious question: why not just add it to the defence budget? Surely in a year that the defence budget has been raised by 30 billion rupees, another billion would not have caused much of a stir. And using the PSDP just exposes the military led government to further critcism - the military is probably the single most developed institution in the country.

The likely answer is hubris. The same hubris that led to this exchange:

During the course of approval of the project, the Planning Division asked about the economic viability and financial analysis of the project, but its officials were told that shifting the armed forces’ network from the PTCL to NTC was a strategic decision to address security concerns and so the issue of economic viability did not arise.

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