I have got the following message forwarded to me again and again via email, and I thought it’s time I responded to it, once and for all:
Salary & Govt. Concessions for a Member of Parliament (MP)
Monthly Salary : 12,000
Expense for Constituency per month : 10,000
Office expenditure per month : 14,000
Traveling concession (Rs. 8 per km) : 48,000 ( e.g. for a visit from Kerala to Delhi & return: 6000 km)
Daily DA /TA during parliament meets : 500/day
Charge for 1 class (A/C) in train: Free (For any number of times)
(All over India )
Charge for Business Class in flights : Free for 40 trips / year (With wife or P.A.)
Rent for MP hostel at
Electricity costs at home : Free up to 50,000 units
Local phone call charge : Free up to 1 ,70,000 calls.
TOTAL expense for a MP [having no qualification] per year : 32,00,000 [i.e . 2.66 lakh/month]
TOTAL expense for 5 years : 1,60,00,000
For 534 MPs, the expense for 5 years :
8,54,40,00,000 (nearly Rs. 855 crores)
AND THE PRIME MINISTER IS ASKING THE HIGHLY QUALIFIED CEOs WHO PERFORM OUTSTANDINGLY TO CUT DOWN THEIR SALARIES.....
This is how all our tax money is being swallowed and prices hiked on essential commodities.
And this is the present condition of our country:
855 crores to make their lives liveable !!
Think of the great democracy we have..............
PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO ALL REAL CITIZENS OF
Now I could write a book on this subject, but I hope light will dawn after reading just the following observations:
1. When you call an MP ‘unqualified’, you not only ignore the fact that he has become an MP by fulfilling all the qualifications laid down by Parliament, but that he has been voted for by several lakh, or even million citizens. By insulting him, you insult the judgment of so many of your fellow-citizens! Are you so stupid that that never occurred to you? Or do you consider yourself vastly superior to all your fellow-citizens? If so, why?
2. Besides, who told you that all MPs are unqualified, even academically? How many MPs do you know? Let me name a few – Manmohan Singh, P. Chidamabaram, Pranab Mukherjee, Somnath Chatterjee, Lalu Yadav (IIM Ahmedabad students felt like little ignorant children when he lectured them – don’t you even read the papers?), Arun Jaitley, Subramanyam Swami, AB Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Ajit Singh, Montek Ahluwahlia,… have you ever bothered to find out about their qualifications? I could name dozens more. (Oh, I forgot to say this: many big-ticket CEOs are MPs too, Anil Ambani and Vijay Mallya for example. Does that automatically make them 'unqualified' and 'corrupt'?)
3. And at the same time, who told you that all CEOs are very hardworking, clever and highly-qualified people? Again, read some papers and magazines. Many CEOs become CEOs simply because they have very well-connected parents (often the founders of their companies: look at the Ambani brothers) – many, after somehow managing to scrape through their school finals, bought an MBA from one of hundreds of (even well-known) B-schools around the world which gladly give such degrees to duds in exchange for a couple of million dollars. Grow up! And when those CEOs sink their companies, they always run to the government for help – look at all the bank CEOs and carmaking CEOs in the
4. And what exactly do you mean by ‘qualifications’ anyway? How ‘qualified’ were Edison, Bill Gates, Jamshetji Tata, Tagore, Vivekananda, Ramanujan and Satyajit Ray? How qualified was Akbar? How qualified were some of the greatest presidents of the
5. And now, coming to the issue of pay: a mere bank clerk has a basic salary greater than that of an MP. You sure Rs. 12,000 a month is too much? How much responsibility and risk does a bank clerk or call-centre employee or airhostess or hotel receptionist carry compared to an MP? (are you sure you even have any idea at all about the work that an MP has to do?) What sort of basic salary would you ask for in order to want to become an MP? We both know the answer, right?
6. Even if the total (Rs. 32 lakh) expense on an MP per year looks big, think: much of that goes on phone bills and travel bills and office expenditure. Are you sure it’s not actually too little? Have you any idea how much an MP has to travel and talk just to keep in touch with both parliament and his own constituency? And if you were an MP, would you honestly volunteer to travel second class instead of a/c., or pay for those thousands of phone calls every month from your own pocket? Why are we all so hypocritical, ignorant as well as silly?
7. Finally, if the total expenditure of the country in five years on all MPs taken together (Rs. 855 crores) sounds big, compare that with a few facts: Indians spend more than a thousand crores each year on private tuitions for schoolgoers, smoke and drink several tens of thousand crores every year, a single year’s defence budget is over Rs. one lakh crores, and our 100 biggest companies spend almost that much together on office parties in a year, as any tax-official will tell you. Compared to that, we spend Rs. 855 crores on about 800 people who are literally responsible for the lives and deaths of 1100 million Indians (it’s the same in the
Of course it is not my case that all our MPs are learned, and wise, and hardworking and dedicated to the progress of the nation. But if a lot of them are worthless and crooked, I insist we think about these things: that a) they reflect us, all of us with nice self-images who think nothing about cheating in examinations and stealing office stationery and spreading nasty gossip and defrauding our own relatives and submitting forged certificates to get jobs and promotions, b) if the political world has gotten filled with incompetents and crooks, it’s because all the ‘good’ people have chosen to play safe and stay away, simply because deep inside they know perfectly well it’s too much risk and trouble and hard work for too little, c) there’s nothing sacred and holy about businessmen/CEOs, for heaven’s sake. They are out to make money out of you, period. If a businessman can make money by selling penicillin, he’ll do that; if he finds he can make more money by selling water in the name of penicillin, he’ll do that instead. It is for politicians and the government to see that he can’t make money by being crooked. The father of the modern free-capitalistic economic ideology, Adam Smith himself, wrote that businessmen never get together, even for relaxation and merriment, but the conversation ends in some contrivance to raise prices or some trick to fool the public! More than 200 years later, the new President of the
One last thing. The private sector of ‘great’ businessmen is not only full of crooks but loaded with incompetents, as I can vouch from a lifetime of disgusting experience. Lots of back-office boys and girls, armed with MBAs and working for this bank or that mutual fund, can’t copy my name right from a cheque that I have drawn, they get paid 15-30,000 rupees a month for doing precisely that sort of job, and they dare to call themselves educated hardworkers. And I have been cheated by my own ex-student who fobbed off a bad insurance policy on me by counting on my trust, so that the commission may go into the down payment on his new car. I tremble to think of what is going to happen to this country when these duds and frauds become CEOs. Think about it, all.
[P.S., Jan. 24: I couldn't resist adding on this relevant link:
For those who mightn't know, Sunanda K. Datta-Ray is a veteran journalist, one-time editor of The Statesman, and now a respected columnist with wide international experience of business and politics.]
P.P.S., Feb. 01: And it's not just our PM, either. The world's political leaders currently gathered at Davos, Switzerland, to discuss a rescue package for the world economy, have not bothered to invite corporate bigwigs this year - it being now understood once more that such people are only good enough to swindle us out of our money in good times and hide behind government nannies in bad times! - and President Obama has snarled at financial fat-cats in the US, calling it 'shameful' that they extend the begging bowl to government with one hand and reward themselves huge pay packets with the other...