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Driving force

The government seems to be sitting on a volcano and as is the norm with volcanoes, no one knows when it will blow. The volcano is the hired taxi system supplied by government contractors and allotted to ministers and secretaries of the Government of India. After the close of production of Ambassador cars, the Central government shifted to the Maruti SX4. Also, most of the government vehicles are not owned by the government. It has outsourced the renting of cars and drivers. There is a slight difference here. A taxi, usually a Maruti SX4, is hired and allotted to the designated officer. The contractor cannot change the car. It’s like the personal car of the officer, but hired, not owned, by the government. The latter pays a fixed sum for petrol and rent each month to the contractor who supplies the car. Remember Gopinath Munde’s death in a road accident? The driver was supplied by the contractor and the car was also hired. In a changing security scenario, senior officers are worried as there is no reliability or authentication of the drivers and contractors. There was a time drivers employed by the government used to be the most trusted companion of VIP and they knew well what the “burra sahib” like or dislike. Senior officers are now questioning whether it is a contractor mafia which is making the system vulnerable or the government is serious about cost cutting? A senior officer said, “The government has put the entire system at risk with the change. A country which has a trillion dollar economy can’t have their personal dedicated drivers and cars. It reflects a systemic non-performance under the guise of cost-cutting.”

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