Money saved or Time wasted?

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I have been writing this post in my head for days now but haven’t had the time to type it out.

We had to get our flat registered last Thursday.

*I am not getting into the part where, how and why we bought the flat. That is irrelevant*

I had taken the day off because I didn’t want to spend my Friday which was a holiday on this. We visited the builder’s office who handed us some 3 bundles of papers to sign and place our thumbprints on. The flat is on both our names even though we would have saved money if it was only on my name. I believe in equality. If I wouldn’t pay for a flat on KC’s name, so why should he. I also believe in financial independence and am practical about such things instead of emotional. If tomorrow, for whatever reasons, we have to part ways the finances should not be under dispute.

*Any property bought on only the woman’s name incurs lower registration charge. This rule was probably created so more men would invest money in their women’s (wife, daughter, mother etc etc) name. It has no relevance for women like me*

When the customer executive left the room, KC and I got into a discussion on whether we should get the flat registered ourselves or through the agent. I wanted to save the money we would pay an agent and do the rounds of government offices while KC was very reluctant. Finally I gave in and he called the agent. The agent was busy that day and asked us to come another day. This time I put my foot down. All my casual leaves were being used on the flat and I didn’t want to go to Noida again. KC wanted to just spend the day frolicking and shopping. This argument I won.

The executive was kind enough to give us step by step written instructions along with contact details but it all looked Greek to us. We hailed an auto and rushed to Noida Authority in Sector 33…. spent some 30 minutes running around and submitted one set of documents, met the guy whose contact we were given only to be told… we had to get those documents back and submit it to him. Then we rushed to Noida Authority in Sector 6 where the rest of the afternoon was spent waiting for the witnesses, signing papers and paying bribes.

At 3 pm, we were asked to return after 2 hours and hopefully the lady in the cabin will give her signature. We returned around 5 pm to find the office nearly empty. The file was left on the lady’s table but she was busy in a meeting. Our file was placed right on top on the stack. Then a peon went in and opened our file on the stack. The lady continued with the meeting. Then the peon went in again and placed the open file right under her hand so she would sign it. The meeting ended, the lady signed the file and we left.

The whole experience made me think:

– Are the systems and processes in a government office deliberately complicated so we have no option but to hire an agent? Like, we had to carry an agreement from Noida authority in sector 33 to sector 6 and then a guy from sector 33 had to come for his signatures. Why?

– We spent 1 day, 11k as registration fees and Rs 1300 as bribes Vs paying 25k to an agent for everything. Money saved or time wasted?

– We got special treatment because it was obvious we will pay whatever money is demanded. When I complained that we have come from Gurgaon and don’t have so much time, the guy said “If you have bought a flat, you will have to make 10 rounds of the offices”. Thankfully, we had to make only 2 rounds.

– Nobody thinks twice about demanding money. You don’t even have to ask. And it is not discreet.

– Kejriwal’s effort to fight corruption is laughable. In India, not one file in the government office moves without a bribe. Corruption is the system. All the processes are designed to make things so complicated that you need an agent to grease palms.

I wonder what happens if we all decide to chuck the agents and do these boring, time consuming, mind fucking jobs ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not my first time in a government office but it has been a long time since I had to do this and I forgot how complicated everything this. It makes the bureaucracy of the corporate world look like child’s play.


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