Sunday, September 11, 2011

The privileged lot!

After election to Parliament, our representatives become entitled to certain amenities which are intended to enable the Members of Parliament to effectively perform their duties and responsibilities. We, the people of India, pay for all these amenities ------ a salary of Rs 50,000 per month, rent free residential accommodation in prime locations in the nation's capital, free water, free electricity, free telephone calls, free business class air travel, free first class rail travel, constituency allowance etc etc.It has been estimated that if monetary values are imputed to all the 16 components of an MP's package, then an MP's annual cost to the public exchequer  is a little less than Rs 50 lakhs!

If you earned roughly Rs 50 lakhs a year, would you still want a Ration Card that entitles you to buy wheat and rice and kerosene and sugar from Fair Price Shops ? Our MPs do, it seems ----- for the convenience of the Members of Parliament, a Sub-Office of the Delhi Rationing Department is provided in the Parliament House so that the MPs can obtain  Ration Cards.There's also an L.P.G. Service Counter and a branch of Kendriya Bhandar for the sale of essential commodities.

A privileged lot, our MPs ! The tax payer would be well within his rights to ask whether the MPs conscientiously perform the role assigned to them in a democratic nation. Do they attend the Parliament when it is in session? Do they participate in Parliamentary debates and discussions and thus contribute to law making? Do they ask questions and through other means such as Notices and Motions call the attention of the government to matters of public interest? The answer is a resounding No. 

But wait, there is worse to come. Recently, many of our MPs have been arrested on charges of corruption ----Suresh Kalmadi, A Raja, Kanimozhi, Amar Singh, to name a few.Interestingly, they continue to remain eligible for all the amenities that they were were availing of prior to their arrest.

If a Public Servant who is a Government Servant is arrested for having committed any offence and remains in custody for 48 hours or more, he stands suspended from office, and his salary and allowances get reduced to half immediately.If an MP, who is also a Public Servant, is  arrested for having committed  an  offence and remains in custody for 48 hours, should he not stand suspended from Parliament and his salary and allowances curtailed? Hypothetically speaking, an MP could get arrested shortly after he gets elected. For the whole term of 5 years then, he will draw full salary and other benefits even if criminal proceedings against him have been initiated in the competent court. 

One could argue that a person's salary and allowances as an MP should only be disallowed if he gets disqualified as an MP. Well, the law says that a person gets disqualified as an MP only if the court convicts him of the offence for which he was arrested. The criminal justice system being heavily over burdened by cases, this could take several years ! So not only does the MP draw full salary and allowances and other benefits during his tenure as an MP, he also gets to enjoy all the pensionary benefits, notwithstanding the fact that a criminal case against him is plodding its way in the competent court. Surprisingly, the law does not even provide for recovery of the salary and allowances that he has already drawn  if the MP is disqualified upon conviction for a criminal offence.

Its time that we, the people, demanded that the Representation of the People Act, 1951 be amended ----- to provide for curtailment of the salary and allowances if the MP's performance is not satisfactory, or if he gets charge sheeted for a serious offence. 

For more details on the amenities of MPs, please see this link ----  and here is a link to the Representation of the People Act, 1951 ---,%201951.pdf


  1. I congratulate the author for taking up the matter relating to payments to our elected representatives vis-a-vis public servants, while under arrest.

    Another important question that is haunting me is - a govt servant is prohibited from taking part in activities of political parties, leave alone joining a political party. Then how come one of our minister (in the Govt) was given the charge of managing the affairs of Congress(I) while Smti Sonia Gandhi was away for treatment.

  2. Well Placed facts for the debate.. thanks :)

  3. Debkumar Bhadra ---well, all govt servants are public servants but all public servants are not govt servants ----Ministers are public servants, but not govt servants -----but let me check the Constitution and revert! Thanks for raising that interesting point.

  4. Mam it's a nice debatable topic.I am amazed, how can such act sustain for this length of time?
    Moreover,what actually/practically 'WE THE INDIANS' can do about this issue.

  5. awesum.... all posts r superb.... hats off 2 u

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  7. Priya madam, the question that you have raised here is a genuine one. I have seen some people around me broken down into pieces even if they are detained by police even on wrong charges, it takes a good lot of time to resume his service in current system even when proved not guilty. the trauma that he and his family suffers can only be imagined, i think this topic can be debated over and hope somebody is there to listen...

    -Crazy Mind

  8. Once again a good topic.
    The problem is the rule which is against these people-politicians is also required to be framed by them.
    I listen politicians opposing the referendum process also.

  9. well u forgot master of all amenities:: MPLAD fund Rs. 5 Cr (hike recently un opposed in parl). no 1 asks how 5 cr spent nor any account is kept. shame on our system. shame on us we cant fght nor can remove

  10. Very well written. IMHO, a lot of our legislation has to be reviewed and updated since they were last passed when the British were still ruling India. There has been a lot of progress and most of these laws, instead of aiding progress, put a spoke in the wheel of progress

  11. one more comment I like to add...

    Ration card is also one document by which people shows their family relations. But with UID, ration card wont be that effective.

  12. Great Going lady @Priya VK Singh.

    Please Continue the Good Work!

  13. what is in the case of one of the ex minister of kerala now in Jail (by writing, he is out on parole because of health reason) for doing corruption. Is the govt with hold his pension? I dont think so.

  14. " Just For A Thought"

    In view of the latest Bomb Blast In Delhi, their were certain remarks from our leaders...
    1. We will not be able to stop all bomb blasts and terrorist activities...Its practically impossible
    2. Indians are being in habituated to blasts and killing
    .....And Many more...worthless, irresponsible talks.
    My question is !
    Why should we only die in Bomb Blasts....
    Why should only our lives be shattered and crucified....
    Why should only those names appear in list of victims...Who are not leaders, MP's or MLA's
    If these so called privileged ones of our society have guts..and are patriots...
    ...They Should once willingly remove their security cordon...And give them selves a fair chance to die...A shattered, untimely, Brutal us..and ours families for the past so many years...
    Right Now their Probability of being victim is only 544/1 Billion....n ours : the common man 1 Billion-544/ 1 billion(its not mathematics....its just to show...that we are being fooled off....why they dont care....Why they..dont take stern actions..)
    After 9/11..there hasn't been a single incident of terror in America.....and after 9/11..there has not been a single day when We are not terrorized...of moving in a bus, a metro...a crowded place.....)

    Join us....u shameless...irresponsible..White clothed, blood tainted...cowards...
    and lets face terror and death face to face , 1 to true Indians....
    (Us ke baad jo bolna ho tv pe aake ...bolna..mere bhai.....BOLNA....)

  15. It is not at all surprising. When the revered institutions of democracy are packed with criminals, nothing else can happen. Except may be a few who can be counted on your fingers, all others have skeletons in the cupboard and whatever happens in the name of democracy is just mockery of the people.The politican/ criminal nexus is so strong that no meaningful RTI can pose a threat to these people. Every politican is a Dada in his operational area with syndicated goons creatinig rings of terror around him. Having seen world outside the country, I feel so sad that our enrmous resources are put to sheer waste.

  16. .....Sshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... are you not aware, the privileges of parliamentarians are not to talked about in this country!

    Be ready to face a "breech of privilege" motion!

  17. we are fully with you. take up the issue... we will inform anna team and ask them to include it thier agenda.

  18. really eye opening and relevant for India...

  19. Hi All,
    We should fight on the corruption issues and in all means corrupt should be punished whether its Govt Sector or Private Sector. Now Why MP doesnot deserve to get a good salary??? If a college pass out gets 75 lakhs per annum [Facebook hired recently from NIT] then every appreciates him like anything..but with due respect to that guy,who has done nothing to the society but has availed the SYSTEM to reach heights..Now A Politician (not mix-up corruption here] who works 24X7 , 365 days a year then why he is not eligible to get 80k per month!! With the pay revision Comparatively with Govt jobs this is not Great salary.I agree that there should be some reform/regulation in his perks/allowance but that too when you compare with Other sectors its not too much all this is perception!! We should not be Anti-Politicians but to make Political System more transparent and Accountable.If there will be no benefit/salary why anyone will give his whole life?? No kid would dream of becoming a Politician and instead of moving forward we will have ONLY Gunda-Politicians.

  20. its not lokpal bill that needs immediate attention....we need to amend these first, a sort of chipping away at the block.,so soon we will have the block to bits and pieces..

  21. Where ever we go we can see corruption. Behind these corruptions we can see many of the leaders of various political parties involved directly or indirectly in it. Contamination of our soil with the help of Agricultural scientists is a biggest one which will kill next generation with uncountable diseases. The representatives are not selected by the people. They are nominated by the leaders of Parties.

  22. very interesting thoughts ma'am!!
    We surely do need to up the mess of the present genre of politicians and our soo called "honorable" MPs..... but how do we do it? they just dont seem to retire till they die.....
    Retiring ages are clearly mentioned in all job profiles in govt. and private sector jobs.....

    our PM is 70+ and so are most of our other MPs and chief minnisters... Govt is being run by a big bunch of senior citizens....
    its abt time they pave way for the youth.

  23. Once again a very Nice Article. i am not very good at civics but i think i should know the differences for a common people and a politician. I am here just to encourage your thoughts.. Keep posting...

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  25. Ma'am, how about money recovery from those who are in Jail ? Raja/Kalmadi have done scams of huge amount. any action for money recovery as of now? or just a jail with all facilities in it?

    anyone any thoughts?

  26. It is no ones case that the MPs should not be paid well...but they must also perform what they are paid for....if you did at your office what thye did at long do you think you would have a job? What makes them different?

  27. one more issue needs to be addressed ...if an MP is held guilty by a court for an embezzlement of funds(read ghotala)he will get a punishment as per the laws but there is no provision to get back the money that the MP has swindled and after the punishment is over (which is usually negligible as most of the time case is in court and the MP is under arrest he/she is kept in hospital due to "health issues" and is counted as period spent under punishment), he/she is free to njoy the fruits of his/her mischief

  28. This is a matter for which we Indian have to understand that we are victim of outer world. India is a country where everything available but outer world never allows india to understand it's capabilities and using capacity of resources. Congress is looting India since 1947 and they are habitual now. Could P V Narsinmha Rao individually was capable of doing that much corruption "of course not". Gandhi Family knows how to use people sentiments and can act as an artist. Sonia Gandhi had gained undue advantage of political situation and enjoying Indian resources. Rahul Gandhi who is not better than Rahul Mahajan (at least he married to indian) a big womanizer and famous in Spain casino world.In which circumstances Mr Vadhera has come to Gandhi Family ... Gandhi family never revealed...was Priyanka in love with Mr Vadhera or was it a arrnage marriage (lot's of doub't in pubic). Mr Vadhera is also working like a parallel king in country and looting all farm/defence land near NCR.His father income was 26000 /- pm and he is now canging R design/Bentaly and many more cars every fortnight ? .All 20 people who are doggy (including diggy) are brokers and collecting money for Sonia and how much we don't know, may be 5000 cr a day or more.

    They take upto 70 % of country earning and leave country 30 % to run/govern in from remaining 30% they throw 8-10% to poor+ muslims+ obc services in terms of vote bank.

    From top of pyramid ....only thing is ...just avoid congress...then change in Constitution

    .... As Anna says ..Hard Rule ...soft life..

    Krishan Gopal

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  30. An effective solution would be "a legislation that not only recovers the total loss caused but also a good amount of fine on top of it, this will deter people from indulging in corruption." Currently our legislation is in a way encouraging as there are very few downsides than upsides of being corrupt.

  31. Madam,
    Can I translate a few of your posts in Marathi and put it on by blog? Of course, I will place a link to the original post. Waiting for your reply ...
    Ramesh Patwardhan

  32. You have a warped notion about public distribution system, economics, and parliamentary democracy. In a parliamentary democracy, an MP is the citizens advocate, he or she is not a salaried employee. People there are partners, not their employers. The arguments you raise about the MPs can be equally raised about owners of businesses by their employees, as to why should a CEO of a firm earn 50 times more than the clerk although the clerk apparently spends more time in the office working hard. The idea here is that, MPs are paid to represent you. So an mp who is at her constituency most of the time is as effective as the ones who are in the parliament, there is no easy metric to structure the remuneration of an mp. In fact, Indian MPs do not get that much anyway. About the ration system, remember that ration card is the token for the public distribution system to run. So, yes, evev if someone were to earn 1,00,000 rupees a month, he or she would be justified to use the ration card to purchase items as this would optimize his or her spendings, in fact if the pds system were to be widely adopted and creatively used, everyday prices of commodities in India would be much more controlled. There is a reason it's called a ration card.

  33. expressing logical and bitter truth in words ok but if you have courage,sit like anna and then face real truth..fear in heart allows corruption,not itself teaches us not to get into any mess (in words,our politicians have better word power than us).Fear stops us to become politician ,isnt it..i wish i too cud be fearless when something wrong happens with good candidate stands for politician least politicians are not scared so they are leaders (gud or bad)..dnt try to change system when fear is within us.

  34. Mam you are right that first we have to devise a mechanism that who is eligible for privileges and the foremost thing that more autonomy should be given to bureaucrat's so that we can stop the delays which a bureaucratic structure of govt. faces........OP (Civil Services_Aspirant)

  35. Well...Its a thought provoking article...But being a part of govt. machinary you also know that without having right to recall and right to reject..we people cant do anything of these politicians..

    -Durgesh Kumar Dubey

  36. Hello Madam,
    We personally know that our local MLA's are in a run to get the ration card, kerosene etc., But i really dont know that there are stalls at parliament for MP's to get these... I think this should be a great and demanding debut and media should take part in educating people about this, may be they have done but i think not up to the mark ---Last time i was watching a debut that is about ANNA, but the stunning thing they are talking about "shall we treat Anna as second Gandhi:" ---- is this is important?---leaving the factor about anna's movement. But thank you every much for giving a important information