Planning Commission has spent 35 lakhs on renovating two toilets at its offices in Delhi. Five lakhs had been invested on installing a system that would limit entry to the toilets to electronic card holders.
Online and elsewhere, there was fierce criticism of what was seen as lavish expenditure by a body that designs India’s economic blueprint – its five year plans – and which had controversially said that Indians who spend more than Rs. 32 a day in cities are above the poverty line. “The Planning Commission’s toilets should be protected as the eighth wonder of the world,” said the BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Though the explanation presented the rationale for the expenditure, stressing that it had been accounted for in the Commission’s annual budget, critics remained unconvinced.
“There is almost everything that is wrong with what was done and with the justification for it. The Planning Commission represents planning for whom, the poor of the country. And there has been a dispute with their figures because there has been a perception with everyone that within the planning commission they have one standard for the poor and another for the rich,” said Nikhil Dey, an activist.