30 Apr 2012
I am aghast that Indian Presidents, Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers are officially entitled to rent free accommodation, transport, staff and office expenses after demitting their office, for life. And now there is the clamour for Governors and the Speakers to claim this privilege, too. And why not?
Former presidents are entitled to pension, free furnished house, private secretary, peon, office expenses, chauffeur-driven car, telephone, internet connection, 12 single journeys in a year by the highest class (air, rail or steamer) accompanied by a companion etc besides foolproof security. Already MPs get a pension and free travel for life.
[Pray what if younger people get to that position and demit the office young! For the life of me, somebody compute the cost!]
How can there can be a justification for such largesse in a democracy? American presidents, we are told, go and work as professors after retirement.
The only possible consideration can stem out of a concern for their security. Fine, as long as ‘status consciousness’ is not counting. They may either opt to take state’s security cover around their own private property or take a state sponsored property. Such property can be a large, decent flat or house, inside an already secure zone, such as a cantonment, or a high security residential complex like that of top bureaucrats residential compound etc. in any one of the notified A-class cities subject to availability.
I may also suggest that such privileges should be scaled down with every passing year. After all their security risk also decreases as time passes.
Unnecessarily glamourizing the office, attaching too many pecuniary benefits to them and casting a halo around their position.. are the surest way of corrupting them. Let there be simplicity, functional decorum and realism.
What sayeth thou, dear citizens?