Thursday, January 17, 2008

A costly president?

So our President Pratibha Patil & her deputy, along with the governors, have got a pay hike. A full 100% no less! Well, one might argue that the job status & responsibilities demand such a thing. On the other hand, don't they also enjoy all the perks associated with the office they hold? Like say, free phone calls, residences, power, travel etc. Not to forget the priority treatment they are accorded on account of them being a VVIP.

But, when you look at it, they really are paid public servants. Our constitution says something to that effect, doesn't it? So, if they are paid (from our tax money) to work for us, shouldn't their performance be judged? In any other service, leave the government engagements; you have to prove your worth during every performance evaluation. And you have to perform well above & beyond your current role to merit a decent pay increase or an elevation. There are benchmarks set against which all of us are judged. But are there any such benchmarks for our politicians? I don't see any, do you? The only time they are at the mercy of the people is when it's time to get re-elected. But sadly, the state of affairs is such in India that the majority of the educated refrain from this exercise. Hardly anyone from the Indian middle class cares to go out & perform their civic duty. Our political brethren seem to realize this fully & address the rural who can be easily wooed by their shenanigans. Most of them do not address the educated lot in their election rallies.

The middle class seems to think that no good will come out of their participating in the polls. But they can make a significant impact if they get involved in it collectively. This is every Indian's civic duty & a very important one at that, one that has the potential to change our lives.

Coming back to the topic, the cost to the treasury is already quite high with all the perks & overheads attached to such constitutional posts. And thanks to their irresponsible ways they not only cost the tax payer a lot more, but also the environment. Read this to know how over 60 trees were chopped to clear the way for our Honorable President. Those trees could very easily be saved with a better plan, but it seems that would have wasted a lot of time. Ironically, Mrs. Patil was there to hand over eco-friendly houses to Tsunami victims. More (over 400!) trees were chopped off just because they were blocking the view! Two government resorts cancelled all bookings without notice during peak business season, to accommodate this VVIP. And all this while the President & her family was on a three day "official tour".

This is in such sharp contrast to the earlier President Dr. Kalam, who brought such respect to the post. We'll have to see how many more trees & the tax payers rupees are spent on such "official visits". And Mrs. Patil has been making a lot of trips since she became the President.

1 comment:

socal said...

Good one, better than what I managed to. Regarding the media: I disagree with your observation. They are big player, and their influence means it has to be taken seriously. Every little contribution that pares their credibility will inevitably add up.