March 16, 2017

Forcing restaurants to open their toilets to the public is a violation of private property.

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn on Medium.

India’s governments have been unable to keep pace with the development of its economy and its society. As I wrote in the inaugural Pragati brainstorm, we have an eighteenth century administration governing a twenty-first century society. Yet, instead of trying to catch up, we often see governments riding on, or worse, appropriating from the private sector to cover up their failings.

Government is unable to use taxpayer funds effectively to run good government schools? Well, let’s force private schools to take in government-selected students. Government is unable to protect women from sexual harassment? Well, let’s suggest they learn martial arts to protect themselves. Government unable to design good roads and keep civic spaces clean? Let’s encourage corporations and citizens to use their own time and money to help’ their government. In all this, the failure and the incompetence of the government is masked under good causes like the right to education, women’s safety or civil society partnership.

The latest in this series comes from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which has decided to force private restaurants and hotels to open up their toilets to the public, graciously allowing them to charge Rs 5 per use. The trifling matter that restaurants and businesses are private property were lost on the great helmsmen that run the municipal corporation. It’s a shame that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation — one of the most well-resourced in the country — can’t build adequate public toilets when the task of Swachch Bharat has the imprimatur of the Prime Minister himself. Instead it has to forcibly appropriate them from private firms. What next? Citizens of South Delhi required to allow people to use the toilets in their homes, and graciously allowed to charge Rs 5?

No, there’s no difference between a home and a restaurant. Private property is private property. Nationalising school seats and restaurant toilets are thin ends of the wedge. You know what that wedge is called?

It’s called Communism.

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