So it would appear that wisdom is slowly dawning on the idiots that make policy in India. Last week I read that the powers that be have finally come to realize that it is not a good idea to rip off foreign tourists by charging foreigners more for services compared to Indian nationals. (When this discriminatory pricing scheme will be dismantled is of course anybody’s guess given the glacial pace of change in matters bureaucratic.)
I had written about this in Dec 2004 in the post Ripping-off Foreign Tourists:
Another thing that bugs me no end is the differential pricing scheme that they have for entry into tourist places in India. For instance, at the Golconda Fort, an Indian is charged Rs 5 (about $0.10) as entry fee but for foreigners it is Rs 100 (about $2.) It makes you wonder. Are the people who make up these schemes stupid or are they xenophobic or are they racist or all of the above? Surely, ripping foreigners off cannot amount to welcoming them.
Besides, how do they enforce this sort of blatant discrimination? Technically I am a foreigner because I don’t have an Indian passport anymore. So unless they ask people to produce passports, the only way for them to suspect that one is a foreigner is by the color of their skin. Basically it boils down to this: if you don’t look Indian, you are required to pony up 20 times what an Indian-looking person would pay to have the same privilege.
It is morally repugnant to discriminate against people, even if the discrimination is against those who are presumed rich. Not just that, it is commercially short-sighted because people notice this sort of blatant double-standards and it affects the overall tourist traffic into the country.
Which brings me to a broader issue: who are the people who make idiotic rules and regulations? It should be mandatory that to each regulation or rule, the name of the person who is responsible should be firmly associated with it. It will serve as a good incentive for the passage of good rules and regulations. For instance, the discriminatory pricing scheme must have been proposed by some idiot but we don’t know who. If we knew, at least some of us would be happy to heap scorn and derision on him or her for having hurt India’s image.
A bureaucracy that is nameless and faceless has no checks on it. Even now, hundreds of senseless rules are being made. It is time to make it so that people are made accountable for the decisions they make. Unless the bureaucrats are held accountable for their actions, they will have no incentive to do due diligence before erecting bureaucratic hurdles.