Indian Politics and Ass-terity

17 Sep

The entire drama of practicing “Austerity” in Indian politics is exactly what the Indian youth was looking for, with the recent influx of youth into the domain, to be convinced that politics is simply not for the middle/upper-middle/educated classes!

Imagine working your entire life to rise to the upper ranks in your profession only to be told that you’re not allowed to live in a fancy hotel, even if you’re paying for it yourself! That you, as Minister of ABC, Union Govt. of India are supposed to travel Economy, while a middle-range IT professional is travelling First Class.

A pertinent question at this point in time is…. what will they make the politicans do next? Ride an auto-rickshaw to the parliament? Educate your kids at government schools only? No dining in restaurants or entertaining friends?

I was extremely disappointed to read that Sheila’s asking her MLA’s to accept salary cuts. Let us be reminded, Granny, that with the kind of salaries your subordinates are presently drawing are so measly, they’re forced to tap into “other sources” to live a decent life already. I’m confident that they don’t plan to live the Gandhian life, whatever they may say. So how about we reduce their reliance on public funds allocated for other purposes, and draw their entire effort’s worth through legitimate salary?

I’m sorry to say that the entire “Austerity Drive” is simply one gigantic drama, and with no general elections around the corner, there is little to validate its timing. So let’s just stop the act, and let at least our respectable leaders and diplomats lead a lifestyle they deserve, please!

25 Responses to “Indian Politics and Ass-terity”

  1. Karan September 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    I say give them double their current salaries,allowances,reimbursements and just ask them to cut down their monetary corruption by just 1%, that would be enough austerity than the whole Indian Machinery travelling in second class!

  2. Rebel September 18, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    Sorry, but why should I (read the common man) finance first class tickets for MPs and MLAs? They as it is get so many perks (on top of their salary). Why can’t they be expected to fly economy on domestic flights? The average domestic flight is 2-3hrs in duration. To say that they can’t travel in economy class for such a short duration is simply outrageous.
    I don’t see why people have a problem with the austerity drive. As long as it is saving even a tiny bit of money, and it sets an example (that the government is of, for and by the people), I really don’t see why such a huge fuss should be created to prove that it is nothing but a sham.
    And when you say that the salaries these people draw are measly, please do a google search and substantiate your statement with an appropriate reference. (and don’t forget to exclude the perks that they get besides the in-hand cash component)

    • unsungpsalm September 18, 2009 at 10:05 am #

      Common Man should finance the ticket because MP’s and MLA’s don’t have any other professions except for the one job they’re doing.
      Besides, it’s cheaper to finance their tickets than to finance the cost of their security when they travel “simple”. I’m not saying it, the papers quoted government officials confessing the same.

      Besides, why do business execs need to travel Business class for 2-3 hour flights then? “To say that they can’t travel in economy class for such a short duration is simply outrageous.”

      And the “austerity drive” isn’t about saving money. It’s about forcing people to “live simple”. Shashi Tharoor was asked to vacate a 5-star hotel room that he was paying for on his own!
      If this is the picture we must portray of the lives of politicians, then so educated person will want it! Ergo, no youth in politics. Have you any idea how much of the educated masses in this country run after higher pay packages and better lifestyles? Why should we drive them away from the opportunity to professionally run the country?

      Ever imagine senators in the US or any other country travelling Economy? Does it happen?
      Why should we portray our country as one where the highest officials in the government and the legislature cannot even travel in comfort and a bit of style?

      Let us not forget that economy travel and train-travel is for the (Lower) Middle-classes! If politicians and bureaucrats start reserving all the seats on OUR modes of travel, then how are WE supposed to travel?

      • Sheham September 18, 2009 at 10:26 am #

        Well, i am yet to come across an MLA/MP whose family is dependent on the mere salary being drawn by her/him. So i do agree with Rebel, “Why the hell we should pay for business class tkts for (almost) useless MP/MLA.

        My house owner in bangalore has 2 MLA/MP in his family. And they practically own a entire area in Bangalore. Just a few days back, they took their entire family of 20-22 to Shirdi by air. I am pretty sure, it was ‘our’ money… [:)].

        • unsungpsalm September 18, 2009 at 11:34 am #

          Corruption is wrong. But we can’t compensate for corruption by cutting down costs elsewhere.

          Corruption has to be eliminated through steps that strive to do just that.

          Even if an MP/MLA were to say, “Okay, I’ll pay for my own upgrade to Business”, the govt. would say “No! You MUST travel Economy, and be austere!”

          It’s not a drive to save money, but an initiative to portray an image of our country that we just need to get rid of!

      • Rebel September 18, 2009 at 10:36 am #

        We should finance their business class tickets because they don’t have any other profession? Well, neither do I.
        And what you said about it being cheaper to fly business cos of lower security personnel is incorrect. One of the news channels did some calculations, and it does save money, albeit only a little. But that point is irrelevant.
        Well, I have travelled economy a lot of times last year on business. Our bank had changed the policy for over an year to cut costs. And it did make a lot of sense. For short flights, business class tickets are extremely overpriced, and it is stupid to shell out so much more vis-a-vis economy.
        What happened with Shashi Tharoor (the 5-star hotel thing) was sad. I agree that he had full right to stay on in the hotel if he was paying it out of his own pocket. I don’t think anyone should have any say in how he spends his own money.

        And the most important point, you REALLY think that the major deterrent for youth joining politics is low salaries and the fact that they don’t get to travel business class??!!
        Think about it. If asked to list 10 points, I don’t even think that would figure in my list.

        Economy travel is for (LOWER) middle classes?? Bhai, WHICH WORLD are you living in, huh??!!!! 😮

        • unsungpsalm September 18, 2009 at 11:31 am #

          Your profession will eventually finance your business-class tickets. Theirs, as per new policy, will not.
          Politics needs to be treated more like a profession, and not “social service” for people to take it seriously.

          Naturally you’d travel Economy a lot, for business. You’re in your second year at work! Give it time, boy!
          But what about them? They’ve worked all their lives. And now we deprive them of these opportunities?

          “I don’t think anyone should have any say in how he spends his own money.”
          See? That’s where you’re not realizing what the entire “Austerity Drive” is about. It is NOT about saving money. It is entirely about projecting a “Social Image”.
          As per the “Austerity Drive” a politican may not travel Business class or live in a fancy hotel even if his rich Aunt Maria is paying for it.

          Yes, I think a great deterrent for youth from joining politics would be their inability to realize their worth, in terms of their lifestyles, because their job requires them to live a certain which way ALL THE TIME.

          If you made a list of 10 points of anything, I’d only read it for entertainment. Your issues usually differ from everyone else’s, in your age group (and the 2 consecutive age groups above and below yours).

          Middle class, lower middle class… Whatever. It’s NOT supposed to be for the upper classes!
          It’s like the middle-upper class shopping for groceries at a ration shop. NOT justified!

          • Rebel September 18, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

            Politics is a profession. I agree. But not a high paying profession. It ‘is’ more a social service than a regular corporate job.
            I don’t like criticizing politicians (unless it is regarding policy matters), cos I feel I have no right to judge them. I myself settled for a plush corporate job vs taking up politics. But then, I DO have a right to have a say in how my money is spent. One-fourth of the country lives below the poverty line. Do you think politicians should travel first class in a 2-hr flight when the very people who elected them do not even get two meals a day?
            Yes, the austerity drive us symbolic. But what is wrong in trying to drive home the point that MPs are not above the public that voted them into power?
            If you really think that the youth is not joining politics cos it is not a well paying profession, then it is really sad.
            About my bank, well, even my boss and super boss had to travel economy. And why not?! The bank made a loss last year. It makes perfect sense. If you look at the country, it makes a loss year after year (in terms of fiscal deficit). Why, then, should the bosses of the country travel first class?
            If you have enough savings, pay for the business class ticket out of your own pocket! (once again, I feel sad for Tharoor cos he was paying for the hotel out of his own savings).
            And lastly, MPs = Upper Classes? Really?

            • unsungpsalm September 18, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

              You are a first class hypocrite, you know.

              1. Okay, let’s get one point clear. Your bosses are flying Business Class because the company is running losses. Financial reasons. If the company wasn’t running in losses, they’d travel first class.

              Over here, the entire drama is under the pretext of an austerity drive. No connection to finances. The government is not short of money. The government RUNS an airline. They can extract cheap first class tickets for practically no cost to us, by asking for free upgrades when First Class seats are going empty. Or they can offer Economy Seats to the politicians, and let them personally pay for the upgrade, so that it doesn’t cost the tax-payer. But that won’t take place, because the austerity drive is NOT about saving money. It’s about forcing them to adopt a lifestyle, that no decent educated human being is willing to follow in the present times. So there’s no scope for comparison between your company and the Government of India.

              2. You DON’T pay taxes here, so your opinion doesn’t count.

              3. Millions of farmers who live in straw huts voted YSR to power. So was he supposed to live in a straw hut himself?
              Sorry Rebel, pathetic reasoning.

              4. The youth WILL not join politics in the future, if it doesn’t pay them their worth. That’s a fact.
              If you’re willing to work for a salary that’s far less than your worth, then good for you. The rest of us are only human.

              5. Again (and I cannot say this enough times), even if they were paying for Business class out of their own pocket, they’re not allowed to travel by it. That’s what the austerity drive is about. Not about saving money. It’s about enforcing “discipline” in professional AND personal lives of the politicians.

              • Rebel September 18, 2009 at 11:16 pm #

                Hang on…and just WHAT makes me a hypocrite here?
                I knew ‘You are not paying taxes here’ is gonna come up. Read my first comment. When I say ‘me’, I mean ‘the common man’. I am in no way representing the entire population, but I am speaking ‘assuming’ I was paying taxes there. Using ‘you are not paying taxes here’ is an utterly stupid line of reasoning, and quite expected of you to be honest.
                Second, the government is not running short of money. Mmmm…do you even know what ‘fiscal deficit’ is? Do you know the fiscal deficit of India as a % of its GDP? Do you know how that % ranks when compared to other countries? No? Then you shouldn’t make blanket statements, right?
                Yes, the government is running an airlines. AIR INDIA!!! Hello!!
                “It’s about forcing them to adopt a lifestyle, that no decent educated human being is willing to follow in the present times.” -> You mean to say the people who live below the poverty line are indecent? Or the people who can’t afford air tickets are hopeless and should be driven out of the country?
                And “there is no scope of comparison between your company and the GOI” -> LOLZZZZ!!! Precisely my point!! Weren’t you the one who compared the two? Read your reply to my first comment again. And Please, I DO want an answer to this one. Lets see who is the hypocrite now.
                About YSR, no, I am not saying he should have lived in a straw hut. Don’t take things to extremities please.
                I really don’t wanna comment on your take on youth and why they don’t join politics.
                Your fifth point is irrelevant. I have said multiple times what happened to Tharoor was wrong.

  3. v September 18, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    The main root cause of all this is corruption,give all the gov employees and the politician an salary which is on par with current living standards..and make the whole process transparent…

    If in Netherlands and in Singapore they can virtual nil corruption ,and mind u Singapore is an young country only 50 years old however they got more GDP and progress then us..

    Would be able to achieve it … or am i dreaming for real 🙂

    or the is it the best thing to immigrate earn enough ,and atleast do something for the downtrodden like scholarships for the needy and also for people who are supposed to be of middle class strata but got no support…

    the last part wish i could do someday…

    till the time being lets us all have austerity in corruption,hate, jealousy,prejudice….

    but Austerity in what we eat ,how we travel is an biggest bull!!!! .

    can they do this our politicians…why blame them ,say all the corporate head honchos do this like the mayor of london ,he rides bicycle to work and to various functions in london everyday

    • unsungpsalm September 18, 2009 at 10:07 am #

      Riding a bicycle is more with the purpose of sending out the “Go green and slow down global warming” message rather than the “We’re saving public money” intent. So I don’t know if we can draw a comparison here…

      • v September 18, 2009 at 11:12 am #

        usp u r right ,but at least we can learn something…

        and the way people r hounding shashi tharoor..he was paying his own bills.. 🙂 🙂

      • v September 18, 2009 at 11:14 am #

        oh i forgot to mention …he was travelling cattle class even last month…

        people r not ready to take even sarcasm 😦

        • unsungpsalm September 18, 2009 at 11:32 am #

          It was good ole humour.
          As I said… they want to control lives!

  4. unsungpsalm September 18, 2009 at 11:37 pm #


    1. Please do not consider your opinion as that of the common man’s. Really! It’s unlike you to think from another’s perspective anyway, so it’s out-of-sync with reality AND downright unnatural!

    2. Allowing senior politicians an upgrade to First Class will not push the fiscal deficit over the top. Any idea how much subsidy the Indian Railways offers on its loss-making passenger travel? THAT contributes to fiscal deficit!

    3. Yes, the government IS running Air India. What’s your point? All the airlines are running in losses. Air India’s state is not all that worse than others. Please read Praful’s interviews to the media on the same.

    4. People who cannot afford air-tickets at the moment would certainly opt for air travel if they could.
    Poverty is not a choice. If it was, no one would opt for it.

    5. My point in my first comment was that in the professional world, high-end execs are given the privilege of travelling Business at company expense. The same should happen in governance. Running a ministry should not be beneath running a bank.

    Your point was that just because your company’s president took an economy flight, all Indian politicians must do the same.

    6. Again, if I conveyed that the youth don’t join politics because of XYZ reason, I would like to rephrase. I meant to say… the youth WON’T join politics for XYZ reason. I’m looking into the future, not at the present or the past.

    7. What happened to Tharoor is exactly what the austerity drive is entirely about. So if you think that was tragic, then you don’t support the drive either.
    Then again, you say you do. Go figure!

    • Rebel September 18, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

      I think I should back out now. I was presenting my POV, you were presenting yours. This can go on endlessly. But I would urge that you please read my comments fully before replying. For eg, read this “When I say ‘me’, I mean ‘the common man’. I am in no way representing the entire population, but I am speaking ‘assuming’ I was paying taxes there.”

      • unsungpsalm September 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

        Right, so debate ends.
        I read your comments entirely. I responded accordingly.

  5. Pesto Sauce September 18, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    If you want a good doctor, you pay high; but if you want a good lawmaker, then he should be a model of frugality

    • unsungpsalm September 19, 2009 at 1:43 pm #

      Or a good lawyer. Or a good IT consultant. Or a good accountant.

      (I hope your comment was sarcastic!)

  6. Anonymous September 19, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    wow… nice discussion plus debate in progress here. Don’t have enough time to put in my views in detail but I would say… I totally agree with you Unsung…
    Good post!

  7. Alan September 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm #

    Being and elected representative in a democratic society is considered service to the the country and immediate community. Therefore the remuneration is not just monetary – but it is also in kind, i.e. the honor of the responsibilities.

    Unfortunately we do not live in an era of honor and somehow a person’s peckign order in society is decided by the accouterments of life than the substance (or lack thereof) in their lives.

    Finally, politicians are paid by tax-payer’s money – so anything other than austerity in any country where there yet remains terrible poverty (however well hidden from sight) is unacceptable.

    Politics is national service – its not a profession. Instead people with actual professions should be encouraged to volunteer as representatives. It’ll reduce the chaos in politics.

  8. Nikita September 21, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Lolz… That anon comment was from me… I didnt realise that I posted anonymously 🙂

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