Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Think Before You Forward: MP Salary in India (Myth Busted)

There's been a very clever e-mail running around in Indian inboxes for many years. It cleverly exploits multiplication into making people think that MPs are a huge waste of national resources. The mail first is this:

Govt. Concessions for a Member of Parliament (MP)
Monthly Salary : 12,000
Expense for Constitution per month : 10,000
Office expenditure per month : 14,000
Traveling concession (Rs. 8 per km) : 48,000
(eg.For a visit from kerala to Delhi & return: 6000 km)
Daily DATA during parliament meets : 500/day
Charge for 1 class (A/C) in train: Free (For any number of times)
(All over India )
Charge for Business Class in flights : Free for 40 trips / year (With wife or P.A .)
Rent for MP hostel at Delhi : Free
Electricity costs at home : Free up to 50,000 units
Local phone call charge : Free up to 1 ,70,000 calls.
TOTAL expense for a MP [having no qualification] per year : 32,00,000 [ i.e. 2.66 lakh/month]
TOTAL expense for 5 years : 1,60,00,000
For 534 MPs, the expense for 5 years :
8,54,40,00,000 (nearly 855 crores)
This is how all our tax money is been swallowed and price hike on our regular commodities....... 

and then it goes on giving a number of pictures of poor people in India and telling 855 crores could do great for them.

The Myth:
There's more than 1 problem in this claim.

Firstly, the calculation of monthly salary is done by adding the real salary + the concessions the MPs receive for their travels or communication (which they of course must do)

The first 3 lines are quite sound.
Monthly salary, expense of constitution, office expenditure which adds up to 36,000 (the real salary)
The daily salary of 500 for parliament days can also be considered in this.
That's an added 15,000 per month taking the toll to 51,000 (though the parliament doesn't happen in every day of every month)

They then add 48,000 to it in the name of traveling concession (6000 km to Delhi @ Rs 8/km)
Quite agreeable. (Though I could still argue about the need for an MP to go to the capital city. Why do we need MPs at parliaments? Can't they sit at home?)

I add that too and get 99,000. Just under 100 k.

But the mail claims the salary to be 266 k by considering the other concessions the MPs receive.
I don't know how they add, but the concession for first class train fare any number of times, business class plane fare 40 times, free calls, free electricity, and even the rent for MPs hostel at Delhi are all added to the equation.
What is the mail trying to do? The real expenditure is just 100 k. It's made to go to 266 k. And that too by adding pseudo expenditures.
Note that the free calls, free electricity units, etc need not be consumed totally. (Of course they would be used up only if the MPs really work for the country)
And why the bloody hell is the MP hostel if not for the MPs to reside free of cost?

And in between the mail just claimed that the MPs have "no qualification" upon which I do not wish to comment at all.

The train & the plane fairs are the only things that could be told as wasteful because the MPs are already being given Rs 8 per km for travel.
And I don't know how they add up to 266 k per month.

But assume that this is really true. That we spend 266,000 per month for an MP.

So, how much is that? How much money do you need to live per month?
50,000? No?
25,000? even lower?
meager 10,000?
So, an MP "spends" 26.6 times an average Indian.
Considering that there are only 550 MPs for a population of a billion, I can without any hard feelings allow them to spend that.
And that too including all those ludicrous "costs" of rent at MP hostel, free calls, etc.

Now the most interesting calculations.
Imagine you earn 25,000 per month.
That's 300,000 per annum.
Now take 500 people like you.
All of you collectively earn  150,000,000 per annum.
And in 5 years you people earn 75 crores!!! (Not so surprised?)
75 crores would also have been enough for all those poor. So you should be thrown out of the country.

Just know that multiplying monthly salary by time and number of people increases it multi-multi fold.

And to the emotion that made this forward a success, the joy that you receive when you criticize politicians and politics.
It shows only your ignorance in hosting these kinds of stupid ideas.
Politics has of course been corrupted, but only as much as anything else has been.
And our constitution still shines as a beacon of knowledge and justice above everything.
And if you are so good in managing the country, why don't you show what you can do?

If politicians are still corrupt it's only because the voters are still fools.

The best argument against democracy has been and will always be a five minute conversation with the average voter.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Do Not Deserve the Right To Wish You a Happy Independence Day

I won't wish you a happy Independence Day this year.
Not just this year. Henceforth.
Because unless I begin doing something for my country, I simply do not deserve to wish you.
I was notified of this day coming. By the facebook event which asked me to show my love for my country by setting up India's flag in my profile.
Is this how I should show my love for my country?
I was sure I wouldn't be attending the event. I said myself if at all I uploaded anything to facebook it would be photos of how I served my country this I'day.
But till this moment, I have not did anything worthy to be uploaded under that tag.

I'm disappointed at myself.
I'm disappointed at not being able to do anything for my country.
Sure, I have dreams.
But I live only in dreams.
I have written dozens of essays on the role of students in improving literacy (the last one, today morning).
But I haven't taught a word to anyone. When will I? How long will I be a student, to do that?
Not that I didn't have a chance. There was a woman who sold helmets by the National Highway. Just opposite my house. And she had two children. One girl about 10 years, and her younger brother, my brother's age. I knew neither of them went to school. I knew they deserved school as good as my brother and I. Yet I simply walked past them for weeks. Many a times had my hands reached for the paper and pen in my pocket to teach that little boy something. I even planned giving them an apple and teaching them the letter 'A'.

But I never did these.

And I'm angry about that. There is no point in crying now. Because they've had enough sales here. They've gone.

I could have taught that little boy and little girl something. Anything. Anything would have been valuable for their lives.
But I didn't.
What do I lack?
I dream so much about changing India. About empowering lives. If I can't teach a boy of 6 ABCD, how am I going to change India?

I speak so passionately about how dirty politics is. About how we shouldn't vote on the basis of religion, race, caste. But who am I to say that?

I don't even deserve to be a citizen of a country where people like Nani Palkhivala lived and died for protecting the rights of the people. And I don't wish to be one in a country where his name or the names of the thousands of others like him are not even heard.

I'm such a parasite.

Sure I have published a few posts in this unread blog about changing India. And some essays in school competitions that not even the judges care to read. What do I hope to happen? That all of a sudden all the Indians will get motivated and change themselves reading what I've written?
And who is to change India? My readers?
I ask everyone to change.
But I never did.
And I now realize my mistake.

But I knew my mistakes even before. Just that I won't rectify. I won't change. I will continue to be a dreamer. I will get into a nice profession, fill my purse, and eat unhealthy till I die. I will never feed the hungry. I will never enlighten souls.
I will never bring about the change I always speak so high about.
Because I'm such a loser.

What is the point in fighting hunger through facebook? What's the point in feeding children through clicks? What's the point in filling truckloads of paper with essays about changing India, taking her to the heights of development, etc?
What's the point in blabbering about good leadership when you can't be a leader yourself?
What's the point in thinking about action?
Action is physical. Not mental.

Do I deserve to wish you a happy Independence Day? No. I don't.
Because I don't act.
I can't even promise you that I will change myself. For, if I could I would have done something for my country already. I can only tell you that I will try.

And for that reason I do not deserve to ask you to do something either.
And I do not possess the right to express myself. I must shut up. Now.

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