While Varun Gandhi asked MPs to forgo their salaries for the remainder of the present Lok Sabha’s term to show their sensitivity to rising inequalities among Indians, the Union Budget has answered it in the most insensitive way by proposing to double Parliamentarians’ salaries from Rs. 50,000 per month to Rs. 1 lakh per month!
Though the salary cake of the Parliamentarians is going to get a 100 per cent increase in size, the tremendous icing of the cake in the form of huge perks for the MPs has interestingly not been compromised. Along with high salaries, Parliamentarians will keep on getting cheap, subsidised housing and other perks like free train travel, free flights, free healthcare and etc. and etc!
When our political leaders ask us to give up the benefits of LPG subsidy for a greater cause, must not they themselves practice such renunciation? Must not they act as our role models? Unfortunately, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which analysed the election affidavits filed before the EC, 34 per cent of the new MPs face criminal charges. Thus, 16th Lok Sabha has the highest number of MPs with criminal cases as the percentage in 2009 and 2004 stood at 30 and 24 respectively.
This fact stands in total contrast to the way officers in civil service are recruited. A person with a criminal record is not eligible to enter civil service. Before appointment a thorough police verification (PVR) of the candidate is done. And if a person has any adverse police record then his or her candidature is rejected. Now, the question is ~ why should we have two diametrically different sets of rules ~ one for the elected executives and the other for the selected ones?
We must not forget that our Parliamentarians are our political leaders. They should be the living examples and practice sincerity that can bridge what one says with what one does. They must do it to enhance the electorate’s trust in them. It is time to show that our leaders can really walk the walk and not just like those persons who can only talk the talk.
Sujit De, Kolkata
Salary cake of the Parliamentarians