The Ultimate Free Lunch: MP Salaries Hiked!

Posted on August 26, 2010 in Politics at Play

By Sukrit Aggarwal:

Energy is conserved. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. To win some you got to lose some. The Universe is balanced, always; that is to say that there are No free Lunches in This World. Atleast that is what we were led to believe while growing up. A lot of people, myself included, have held this as our sacred principle, amidst a myriad of inconsistencies, the permanency of change; the obstinacy of hard work has been our firmest virtue.

Poor kids rich kids all alike, have always been taught to work hard if they wish to make their way through the world. But this lofty position is now being redefined, not just by anybody but our most innovative of species- The Indian politician. If you still haven’t got the hint, I am referring to the doubling of the salaries of our Indian politicians. Now there are many despicable things associated with this new legislation. Let’s tackle them one at a time.

Let me dish out a few facts first. The new legislation revises the salary of our MPs. Including the various guises under which money is distributed to these politicians, my reckoning is that their annual pay is upwards in terms of Rs. 20 lakhs. This does not include their house rentals, traveling costs, phone bills and the reimbursement given to them to wash their sofas and curtains (yes the legislation uses these precise words). Suddenly being a politician is a lucrative career, isn’t it?

But this is not my primary objection to it. Sure their salary is better than most corporatists, but one can overlook that for the moment. What can’t be overlooked is the way this legislation has been brought about. Just for arguments sake let’s accept the premise propounded by politicians that they ought to be paid at par with corporatist. Fine. But then what about the severe scrutiny that most companies subject their employees to, the constant evaluation of their work? If our politicians want a higher salary they must earn it. Evaluation of their work must be carried out. And instead of an increase in basic, that same magnitude of differential should be kept as a variable bonus component.

The basic underlying problem is the absence of any sort of a supervising body. MPs are overlooked by the parliament which is run by the MPs themselves. Hence the parliament of the country is subject to the whims of these politicians. This was very obviously apparent by the nautanki carried out by the opposition recently. BJP MPs in concert with other opposition parties staged a “mock parliament” (to be taken literally). Gadkari, the BJP President actually occupied the Speaker’s Chair, and other members passed a resolution affecting the salary hike. Whether their demand is justified or not is irrelevant, but this is no way to conduct parliamentary business. These leaders have made a mockery of the rules and traditions of our country, and then they expect us to pay for washing their curtains and bed sheets.

These so called public representatives are supposed to act as our role models. They are not even worthy enough to be respected within their own circles, let alone by the general public. No wonder the youth of today does not wish to be a part of the electoral system.

Forget a salary hike, if it were up to me I’ll suspend their salaries for a year; citing contempt of parliament. But would that help? These same people will somehow manage sabotage the parliament again.

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