I’m one of the millions of voters who rejoiced when you came to power in a unanimous verdict in May 2014. But I am certainly not one of them who whine about the absence of ”acche din” at every given opportunity. I don’t want any favors from you, and neither did I vote for you because of that. I am not a beggar to vote for freebies. For me, “acche din” means that the extension of East India Co, i.e. the Congress party is out of power for now. Your reforms have been slow but steady, in many cases you have continued the previous government’s programmes or simply rebranded them. But doesn’t matter, you deserve a full term in power and you may get the next if you are smart enough to seize it.
One of your appeals was that all families who have their yearly income above INR 1000000 must forfeit their LPG subsidy for the nation so that the same amount can be used to provide the same facility for poor citizens. Your face smiles at us all in government ads claiming that over 10000000 people have heeded your call and renounced their subsidy.
I wish to state that I do not want to be a part of that one crore club.
Because I am not a privileged person. This LPG subsidy is just one small relief in the boring life of millions like me who are spending most of their waking hours working just to stay a little ahead of subsistence living.
INR 50000 salary, INR 45000 constituency allowance, INR 2000 daily allowance, INR 30000 for secretary allowance, in all, a salary of nearly INR 600000. For what? Not working? Stalling the parliament proceedings? INR 270000 is spent by me minimum per month on each of these MPs via taxes while they squander freebies on their respective vote banks.
Rs 150 monthly fees to avail all kinds of medical facilities. And here I am, just one major ailment away from poverty.
A palatial bungalow as official residence. Every MP is entitled without payment of charges to the supply of water up to 4000 kl per annum and electricity up to 50,000 units (25,000 units measures on light meter and 25,000 units on power meter or pooled together) per annum beginning from 1st of January every year in respect of residence allotted to him in Delhi. The above facilities are extended to a member residing in a private accommodation in Delhi. Other facilities enjoyed by members include washing of sofa covers and curtains every three months; furniture within the monetary ceiling of Rs. 24,000 in respect of durable furniture and Rs. 6,000 for non-durable furniture; and also 25 per cent remission in the rents on account of any improvement or addition made to it or any additional service provided thereto by way of furniture, electrical equipment and other services. People with 10 lakh INR annual income cannot even build a one BHK flat for themselves without spending two decades of their lives paying EMIs.
Rs 14000 per month is given merely for office and stationery expenses. Even for MPs who can’t read or write legibly. I can only think of hundreds and thousands of disadvantaged children who don’t want food as donation but notebooks and pencils, and have to do with bare minimum.
150000 local calls are given free to every MP, and what’s more, even if the parliament is dissolved, the MP is entitled to consume the unutilized telephone calls, electricity units, and water units from the date of dissolution of the Lok Sabha to the constitution of subsequent Lok Sabha.
Further, if a member is re-elected in subsequent Lok Sabha, he is entitled to adjust the excess telephone calls, electricity/water units consumed during the intervening period from the quota for the first year of the subsequent Lok Sabha. I can only laugh at my helplessness as I have to keep a tab on every unit of water, every unit of electricity, every phone call, every megabyte of internet usage to curtail my bill for each of these things.
An MP as well as his/her spouse is entitled to travel by first class in a train at any given time to anywhere. In case of spouse being absent, any other person known to them can take that privilege. I can only laugh at my helplessness hoping that a waiting or RAC becomes a confirmed ticket. And that too when I have paid for the same.
No income tax. Do I even need add the misery of the salaried class here?
Here is the complete list:-
The list can go on and on, and the length of the list is not the topic here, but the laughable premise that the workhorses of the service sector be expected to give up their little comforts but the overlords must enjoy their opulence unhindered.
And who can forget the Indian Aristocratic Service? They too have an accommodation, power all paid for by the exchequer, in addition to vehicles, foreign tours, study leaves. And if one is asked the names of ten IAS officers who have made a considerable difference in the country for the better, one would simply draw a blank. Has all this giant bureaucracy of India produced even one diplomat with one tenth the caliber of a Henry Kissinger or a Vyacheslav Molotov or a Joachim von Ribbentrop (not role models for anyone, but they served their country exceptionally well) ? Which IAS officer has served India to even half the level that the ICS officer served the British crown during the pre independence period? Its no secret that Indian civil servants and diplomats are by and large one of the most inefficient and corrupt in the world. Their most stellar contribution to our country has been the glorious bureaucratic red tape and the useless posts in loss making government bodies created for them by the MPs and MLAs who they collaborate with. Which civil servant has been jailed for a long time for crimes like corruption? Their lobby is so strong that it is literally impossible to dismiss a civil servant for incompetence or illegal deeds. Or get them indicted for the same.
Its these people who siphon off huge amounts of money in salary and perks that are keeping the country poor, not little reliefs enjoyed by people like me. Already the middle class is an orphan, devoid of any political power, 48 hours in jail and we will never get employed anywhere, whereas history sheeters can fight polls (parties are outdoing each other in getting them to join), no MP or MLA will ever represent the middle class, they are merely tax cows to be milked to the fullest.
So those emotionally blackmailing ads goading me to give up my LPG subsidy only make me angry. Yes, you haven’t created this system, but it remains firmly in place. It will take years of work to dislodge it, and huge govt ads and publicity aren’t one of them. You will always have my vote, but I think I don’t become a criminal by holding on to a little bit of relief measure that’s paid out of my own tax money.
A common man