We now know that a whopping Rs 24,96,500 was spent on that two day training workshop for MLAs held on June 27th & 28th last year at Taj Vivanta in Panjim. But we need to know how this event benefited our legislators, especially the 19 first time MLAs. 

One wonders why this training could not have been held at the sprawling Goa Legislative Assembly Complex instead of holding it at a five star hotel. And instead of engaging the services of a Mumbai based NGO, couldn’t experts from the Goa Institute of Management, and some of the senior faculty of our Law colleges have guided the MLAs on issues that matter.

The MLAs ought to have been administered a strong dose of Anti-Defection law. The need to be loyal to the party on which they are elected and not to betray the voters should have been drilled deep into these MLAs so also to be always ethical and never engage in criminal acts so that they act as ideal role models. They need to inculcate the right values and not pick up the wrong tricks of the trade.

Very intriguing is that five lakhs was spent just on tea and lunch for the MLAs during that two day event. Was it not possible to find a cheaper Chaiwalla to provide a more cost effective deal? Did our elected representatives suffer from binge-eating disorder? Eating and drinking this quantity in two days could not have left the MLAs any time for any meaningful training.  

Government has a duty to act responsibly and in the best interests of the people and to be prudent with the state coffers by obtaining best value for taxpayers money spent, especially on freebies for MLAs. As taxpayers, who have a right to expect the government to protect our hard-earned money, will we see the results of an official cost benefit analysis to see what value these extravagant costs provided or will it conclusively prove to be money down the drain? To date there is little evidence of a significant improvement in the performance of our MLAs! Trying to create smart MLAs at such extortionate costs is likely to have the same dire results as trying to make Panjim a smart city with eye watering costs!

All said and done, with the government bent on having farcical curtailed sessions of the Assembly, why needlessly burden the taxpayers on training the MLAs. 

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