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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.

Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

We Live in an Age of Bullshit

A slightly shorter version of this was published as the 14th installment of The Rationalist, my column for the Times…

Wave Goodbye

This is the 88th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my occasional set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

The Indian State Is the Greatest Enemy of the Indian Farmer

This is the 13th installment of The Rationalist, my column for the Times of India. The late farmer leader Sharad…

Understanding Consent

This is the 87th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my occasional set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

One Bad Law Goes, but Women Remain Second-Class Citizens

This is the 12th installment of The Rationalist, my column for the Times of India. This has been a year…

20 March, 2007

Where your taxes go: 18

Advertising campaigns for governments.

It’s quite possible that Amitabh Bachchan did the ads for UP for free, but my contention is that the government shouldn’t be wasting our tax money in producing and broadcasting advertisements for itself.

(Update: Reader Hemant brings my attention, via his comment below, to an Amitabh quote in the article in which he says that the ads were funded by the SP. If so, then this is clearly a wrong example, as your taxes may not be involved in this particular case. My bad, sorry! My larger point about government advertising, though, remains.)

A government should not need to advertise, its efficiency or inefficiency will be evident to all the people it governs. By all means, let a political party advertise its achievements with its own money, but to spend taxpayers’ money on it is a waste.

(Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Also see: 1, 2, 3.

My essays on taxes and government: Your maid funds Unani, A beast called government.)

Posted by Amit Varma in India | Old memes | Taxes | Politics

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Actually, the article says that the ad was funded by Samajwadi Party.

#1   Posted by Hemant Kumar on Tue, March 20, 2007 at 3:55:33

No it doesn’t.

#2   Posted by blr bytes on Tue, March 20, 2007 at 4:25:10

Hemant, thanks, clearly my mistake, Amitabh is quoted as saying in the linked article as saying that SP funded the ad. If that is indeed the case, I have no complaints about this particular campaign,. My bad.

I’ll update the post accordingly now.

#3   Posted by Amit Varma on Tue, March 20, 2007 at 4:35:11

About the UNANI, I would like to point out that it not for “Study”

There are scores of hospitals in various states run by government. There are even Medical Colleges that are being run by the government

This amount is going to be spent on

1. Construction and maintenance of the hospital Buildings
2. Buying Drugs
3. Buying Other Items necessary to run a hospital
4. Salary

I hope that you get the picture now.

#4   Posted by Bruno on Wed, March 21, 2007 at 12:59:20

Bruno, yes, but they’re all alternative-medicine hospitals. If they’re profitable, the government does not need my taxes to be spent on it. If they’re not, that means there is little demand for it. It’s not an essential service that you can justify taxpayers’ money spent on it.

Of course, if you feel that all of those things are a worthy cause, then by all means fund them yourself with your money. Why demand that the hard-earned money of others be used for purposes you support?

Unani is off-topic for this post anyway. Feel free to email me if you wish to discuss it further.

#5   Posted by Amit Varma on Wed, March 21, 2007 at 1:13:36

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#6   Posted by huxkythy on Thu, November 01, 2007 at 6:10:13

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