This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
cup of tea. I believe that every individual has his own needs to satisfy and in this world of money nothing can be achieved without a penny in hand. To satisfy our daily needs we need money so why not politicians? They do have their needs to be satisfied. Without money no one can survive as nothing called FREE is available. Good salary attracts good, passionate and intelligent people to work in any field. As corporate field attracts most of the youth because of its pay package so why not political field should offer a good pay and attract the youth which can create a change I our system. Reasons why politicians should be paid more: Obviously, in the United States, being a politician is a very low paid job, and attracts only those who are unfortunate enough to have not had access to education. The most recent piece of evidence I have for this observation is the following quote from Republican House Representative Shimkus, who called clean energy and climate legislation the “largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country I’ve ever lived through” and claimed that he feared passage of this law more than war and terrorism!! The only was to prevent the proliferation of this nonsensical drivel is to up the pay scale for politicians to attract more intelligent types into the job. Politicians should be paid for results By Iain Pears Published: May 1 2009 12:26 | last updated: May 1 2009 12:26 Amidst all the huffing and puffing about MPs’ expenses, little attention has been given to the issue of how to manipulate their pay structure to ensure better performance. This is surprising, considering that politicians have been obsessed for the past 30 years with using the way people are paid to cajole the rest of the country to work harder. Governments, Thatcherite or New Labour, have started with the idea that all people need to be forced to work. The panoply of the “New Managerialism” – assessments, inspections, sanctions, league tables, promotions, incentives and bonuses – has been deployed to align selfinterest with the interests of employers. The techniques have not been used on politicians themselves, but the current fuss provides the opportunity to remedy that. As I disapprove of managerialism, it would be perverse (although highly satisfying) to recommend subjecting our politicians to the coarse regime they have so cheerfully thrust upon everyone else. But pay and conditions do affect the way people work, so it is right to consider ways in which we
might breed a better MP. Certainly there is a need. The Commons fails dismally to hold the executive to account. This is a pity. When you meet them, MPs are perfectly decent people. But they are demoralised – fiddling expenses is a classic displacement activity, which the private sector recognises as a sign of trouble. So how should the pay structure be changed to restore MPs’ effectiveness? This, of course, was not an issue when the job was unpaid, the entire British Empire could be governed with a handful of new laws every year, and those MPs not already wealthy had enough time to earn their living. But as the government’s geographical remit has shrunk, so its activity has increased. Parliament is now deluged by new bills. MPs are also expected to be interested in their constituents, a novel idea introduced by the Liberals in the 1960s. Being an MP has become a full-time job and the electorate, having been lectured about working hard for so long, now expects the same rules to apply to politicians. This has had disastrous effects. The livelihood of an MP is, after all, not very secure. Turnover is high, security low. A high proportion gets the boot every five years and find, when they do return to the outside world, that their previous career is in ruins. The days when Conservatives slipped into directorships and Labor MPs returned to their unions have vanished. Under the pressure of full-time MP, their professional skills have withered. And nobody thinks that a nameless politician who cannot even stay elected is of much use. Not surprisingly, those who do get in are desperate not to be chucked out again. This requires slavish obedience to the party machines, leaving little space for the back-bench rebel and still less for the old “Commons man”. The critical mistakes of both the current Labour government and the last Conservative one were at least partly due to this. The poll tax that ruined Margaret Thatcher, and the Iraq war that weakened Tony Blair, should have been stopped in the Commons but too many MPs voted against their consciences in their own self-interest. The problem is that MPs draw a salary when they are in the Commons and lose it when they are ejected by the electorate. This applies normal conditions to a job that is very far from normal. It gives an overwhelming incentive not to rock the boat, and thus to perform badly. In the jargon, it de-incentives, and is thus structurally dysfunctional; accordingly, that salary should be smoothed out. After a certain period, MPs should be guaranteed a full salary for 20 years, even if they lose a subsequent election; this would return them to a blessed state of financial independence from party diktat. If they are defeated, they could serve out their term in the House of Lords, thus providing a simple solution to the reform of that institution as well.
Secondly, there is no promotion structure – long recognised in human resources departments as producing a dull and unresponsive workforce. Why do something if no-one notices? An MP either vegetates or becomes a minister. So, bonuses should be offered for working on committees, asking questions that get proper replies and introducing amendments that actually amend something. Pay could be docked for toadying at Prime Minister’s Questions. There should be no second home allowance, to discourage fraternization with the electorate; MPs are supposed to be looking after constituents’ interests at Westminster, not at home. MPs’ salaries would be fixed at a decent level for a three-quarter time job and, rather than being prohibited from taking outside work (which would make them more dependent on the party), they would be obliged to do so. As they have created an economy where much of the population has to juggle several jobs to make ends meet, they should be required to do the same. This would keep them in touch with real life and simultaneously pressure them to limit the amount of legislation. Pay rises would reflect increases in the country as a whole, not among “top civil servants”, and would be averaged out over a number of years to make them consider the long-term interests of the country. In a recession, salaries would automatically fall. To limit the costs, a portion of the salary would be determined by how much MPs manage to cut government spending. This would encourage a greater willingness to scrutinize expensive legislation, rather than passing it on the nod. Considering the huge costs MPs could cut in only a few hours of frenzied voting, the whole package could end up reducing the overall cost of government and the country would, in addition, get a much more independent Commons. As for the MPs, they would be able to stop rooting around for little extras and not only win back the affection of the electorate but also regain their self-respect – which their cringing attempts to justify their little fiddles suggest is sorely lacking Eligibility Article 84 of the Constitution sets the principle qualifications one must meet to be eligible to the office of the Prime Minister. A Prime Minister must be: A citizen of India should be a member of the LokSabha or RajyaSabha. If a person is elected prime minister who is not a member neither in LokSabha nor RajyaSabha then he must become a member in LokSabha or in RajyaSabha within six months of 25 years of age (in the case of a seat in the House of the People) or above 30 years of age (in the case of a seat in the Council of States.
A person shall not be eligible for election as Prime Minister if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments PM pay: Date of established- Jan 20, 09 Salary- 100000(US$2,220) Salary in 2009-100000(US$2,220) The President of India used to receive 10,000 (US$200) per month as per the Constitution. This amount was increased to 50,000 (US$1,100) in 1998. On September 11, 2008 the Government of India increased the salary of the President to 1.5 lakh (US$3,300). However, almost everything that the President does or wants to do is taken care of by the annual 22.5 crore (approx. US$ 5 Million) budget that the Government allots for his or her upkeep. Salary & 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 DA TA during parliament meets: 500 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 call. TOTAL expense for a MP per year: 32, 00,000
TOTAL expense for 5 years: 1, 60, 00,000 For 534 MPs, the expense for 5 years : 8,54,40,00,000 (nearly 855 cores) Eligibility- President; Article 58 of the Constitution sets the principle qualifications one must meet to be eligible to the office of the President. A President must be: A citizen of India Of 35 years of age or above qualified to become a member of the LokSabha A person shall not be eligible for election as President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments. ON MONDAY July 5th Raila Odinga, Kenya's prime minister, rejected the pay increase he was awarded by the country's parliament last week. MPs had granted Mr. Odinga a rise to nearly $430,000 a year, while giving themselves a 25% increase to $161,000. This boost would place Mr. Odinga among the highest-paid political leaders in the world. More worryingly, his salary would be some 240 times greater than the country's GDP per person (measured on a purchasing-power parity basis). Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, tops our list of selected leaders' salaries. He is paid more than 40 times the citystate’s GDP per person. At the other end of the scale, Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, reaffirms his reputation for saintliness by taking a modest sum from Indian taxpayers. Correction: We originally understated the salary of the prime minister of Canada. This was revised on July 6th 2010. Most people don’t earn six figures every year, but they sure would like to. By comparison, members of Congress, in both the US Senate and US House of Representatives, make at least $174,000 a year. And, other federal politicians and presidential Cabinet members earn even more. Are these politicos worthy of the big bucks? What if they were just out in the world, trying to earn a living?
Online salary database PayScale.com has run the numbers to answer the question: How do federal politician and Cabinet member salaries compare to the people with whom they graduated from school? According to PayScale.com, some graduated from medical school and could potentially be earning more than they do today, but others only finished high school and are way above their typical fellow graduates in earnings. Let’s take a look at what PayScale.com discovered. What Federal Politician and Cabinet Members Earn To start, do you know what federal politician and Cabinet members actually earn every year? Here is a Breakdown: • • • • • • Congress Members (Representatives and Senators): $174,000 Senate and House Majority/Minority Leaders: $193,400 Cabinet Members: $199,700 Speaker of the House: $223,500 Vice President: $230,700 President: $400,000M
What Congress and Cabinet Members Would Earn Otherwise There is a mix of results from PayScale.com’s research, but the majority of Congress and Cabinet members are doing better than they likely would in the private sector. Of the 550 US Senate, House of Representatives and Cabinet members PayScale.com studied, 44 earn a paycheck that is less than or similar to the typical pay they could earn based upon their educational background. Of these 44, 15 hold a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree, 24 hold a law degree (JD) and five hold a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree. MDs and graduates of a few select law and business schools, like Harvard, Wharton or University of Virginia, are the only ones to take a pay cut in their elected positions or the Cabinet. According to PayScale.com, the median earnings for people in the US between the ages of 55-64 (which is the median age of US Congress and Cabinet members) who hold at least a bachelor's degree and work full-time is $73,700. This income is far below what Congress and Cabinet members earn. Perhaps a congressional campaign would be a smart next career move. What about Obama and Biden? The commander-in-chief and his right hand man are both paid well, by most people’s standards. Would they likely earn more?
As a Harvard Law School graduate, President Obama has some serious earning power. Obama attended Harvard Law School and graduated with his JD in 1991. For those with the same educational background, the median pay is $198,000, which is much lower than the Presidential pay of $400,000. However, the salary for the top 10 percent of earners who graduated from Harvard Law School at a similar time is over $400,000. Thus, the Presidential pay is a loss if Obama were in the top 10 percent of earners in his class, and as an editor of the prestigious law review you could argue Obama should be. Joe Biden graduated with a law degree from Syracuse University College in 1968. According to PayScale’s research, his classmates from law school are earning, on average, about $132,000 a year. That means that his gig as vice president, where he is paid $230,700 a year, has him earning 175 percent of his likely, average earnings. Congrats, Joe. That’s a nice outcome after a long political career. Do Democrats or Republicans Earn More? Do Democrats outpace their peers financially more often than Republicans, or vice versa? No, it turns out. The results are pretty even: 91 percent of Democrats and 92 percent of Republicans are earning more, on average, than they likely would have outside of being members of Congress. Those with the biggest pay boosts are the 31 senators and representatives who have only a high school diploma, certificate or associate’s degrees. Others earning more than expected are the 13 members of Congress with master’s degrees in social work, education, or divinity. Are you curious if your representative or a particular Cabinet member is earning more or less than they likely would be in the private sector? See PayScale’s list of federal politician salaries and how their earnings stack up outside of elected office. Educated should enter into politics: Education can develop the personality of a person not physically but mentally as well. An educated person can look at a certain issue from various perspectives. A politician has to control over a large community therefore, he needs some extra ordinary skills and the first thing which can make him distinguished, is his qualification. Education can increase his communication and speaking skills. A politician is a social member and his interactions with people are frequent, therefore, he needs maturity and sensibility in his talk and behavior. This is all possible with proper education. A politician is the representative of a nation and he should be the perfect person by all means and education plays an important role in making anyone perfect to a great extent.
Educated, committed people should join politics: Sheila New Delhi | Thursday, Jul 8 2010 IST Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today Urged the educated and committed lot of the Capital to enter into the field of politics. Ms Dikshit was speaking at the release function of a book titled 'Capital Phenomenon --A Political History of Delhi: 1998-2009', written by Mr. Siddhartha Mishra, a senior journalist, at a function organized at Delhi Secretariat here. ''If educated and committed people do not enter politics then others will come and we will be forced to face a different situation,'' the Chief Minister stated. Commenting on the book, Ms Dikshit said, '' The book covers most of the political incidents of Delhi. It is a wonderful history of our times which might have somewhat caused embarrassment to me but I accept it with humility.'' The book came to her as a great surprise and gave her much relief of not being interviewed, she said. BJP leader Harshvardhan, who penned down the foreword of the book, was present as a guest of honour along with MP Sandeep Dikshit. Mr. Siddhartha Mishra, the author, was also present on the occasion. The book was published by Allied Publishers Private Limited, Dr Chandan Mitra could not preside over the function and his speech was read by BJP leader Vijay Jolly. Referring to her friendly relations with Dr Mitra, Ms Dikshit described him as an interesting friend and said, '' There has been no occasion where We disagreed except BRT, however, later on he realized that BRT has come a long way to stay and it has proved to be a better system of traffic management. '' ''Our target of bringing BRT in the city was to give comfort to 80 per cent of population who were either travelling by public transport like buses or pedalling up to their destinations on bicycles,'' she pointed out. ''Metro and BRT are the ultimate answer to our traffic problems,'' India is the largest democracy in the world. In order to run this huge conglomerate, India needs mass support, intellectuals, fresh and experienced leaders and obviously new and innovative political game plans. In this twenty first century, every country is on the verge of becoming a rat race. Globalization and free economy have made the path to progress and success. It's time to mobilize and utilize the mass workforce. It's time to plan the development chart and chalk out the social and economic reformation. India has a very complex and matured political background. There are several political parties with different agendas. Most of the political parties are run by veteran politicians.
Their political activities and party influence have made the politics synonymous with power. Many politicians take advantage of this power and apply it for their own interest. This has created a wave of corruption, deep rooted in the origin of Indian politics. The system has become rigid and matured. NO-one wants to take the risk of changing the way the system works. The ultimate victims are the mass population. The so-called Political heroes are unable to meet the expectations of the common man in India. But this is the time to bring change. A nation needs an aimed and strategic direction to attain its growth. India also shouldn't be behind in this race. Young and educated people form the backbone of a growing nation. Since they are young, their minds are fresh and innovative. They are more prone to take risk and accept challenges. They are less vulnerable to corruption. Therefore their work is inevitable for the growth of a nation. Their spirit and courage can contribute to the development of the society. Today, India needs this youth force to come into politics and take this as an opportunity to work for the system. Starting from year old cast systems to poverty, there are several key issues that need to be focused on in India. The most important step towards progress is rural development. A combined, dedicated and honest plan is required to attain this target and that's where India needs its fresh and young educated minds to come forward. India needs both experienced and young talent to work together towards socio- economic development. In the recent Political election, we have seen the trend of involving more and more young minds in the party, especially the Congress party, under the leadership of Mr. Rahul Gandhi, who has motivated a pool of young and educated people to join politics and work for the benefit of this nation. Youth constitutes a larger portion of the Indian population, and if Indian political parties can inspire this talented pool of resources in the right direction, the world will see a new India under the name "India Inc.". The quality of politicians has long been an issue of great concern in all democracies: A widespread sentiment summarized by the opening quotes above is that by and large the political class is typically not the best a country has to offer. Several recent studies have also documented that the quality of politicians varies significantly across countries, and that part of this variation is related to differences in the electoral system. For example, Persson, Tabellini, and Trebbi (2006) and that in a sample of 80 democracies, corruption of elected officials is higher in political systems with proportional representation than in majoritarian systems. Gagliarducci, Nannicini, and Naticchioni (2008) find that Italian politicians elected under proportional representation have higher
absenteeism rates than their counterparts elected under plurality rule.1 In this paper, we provide a novel explanation for these phenomena by focusing on the recruitment of individuals in the political sector and studying the effects of different electoral systems on the incentives of political parties to select good politicians. We propose an equilibrium model of political recruitment by two political parties competing in an election. We show that competing parties may deliberately choose not to recruit the best politicians both in proportional and majoritarian electoral systems. However, a mediocre equilibrium selection is more likely to arise in proportional systems. In most countries, relatively few individuals start o_ their political careers by running for a public o_ce. More frequently, they first test their political aspirations by holding positions within party organizations, which represent \breeding grounds" from which the vast majority of elected officials come from. The role of party service as an essential qualification for pursuing a political career is especially important in countries with a strong party system, such as, for example, Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the U.K.2 In these countries, the individuals who are recruited by political parties determine the quality of the pool of potential electoral candidates.3 As pointed out, for example, by Strom (1990), among others, political parties are \going concerns" and \successful political parties require extensive organizational capabilities [...] to meet the different needs faced by aspiring politicians under competitive circumstances" While the success of political parties ultimately depends on their electoral success, the very existence and survival of party organizations hinge on the willingness of their members to exert their best effort on the party's behalf and perform a variety of services including gathering and disseminating information, organizing and mobilizing supporters, and raising funds. Given the limited availability of direct monetary compensation, the main incentive a party has to offer to reward such effort is the party electoral nomination. We show that these considerations entail a fundamental trade- of which may play an important role in a party's recruiting decisions. On the one hand, recruiting the best possible individuals may enhance the party's electoral prospects in a competitive electoral environment (competition effect). On the other hand, recruiting a relatively \mediocre" but homogeneous group of individuals may maximize their collective effort on behalf of the party since the presence of \superstars" may discourage other party members and induct them to shirk (discouragement effect). In equilibrium, there will either be mediocracy" if parties choose not to recruit the best politicians, or \aristocracy" if they do.4 In either case, parties never recruit the worst politicians. Because of their winner-takes-all nature, majoritarian electoral systems are more competitive than proportional systems,
thus making the electoral returns to candidates' quality relatively higher and hence mediocracy less likely. Before describing our model of political recruitment, it is important to stress that political ability is a rather vague concept, which is very difficult to define, let alone quantify. While there is little doubt that competence, honesty, and integrity should all represent positive traits of a politician, there is no obvious way to define unambiguously what it takes to be a good politician. In this paper, we adopt a fairly general approach and define political ability as the marginal cost of exerting effort in the political sector. We believe that this definition captures several characteristics that jointly define political ability. Furthermore, we assume that political ability is observable by parties. Indeed, people who are potentially interested in becoming politicians typically begin their involvement in politics by engaging in a variety of voluntary political activities that are organized and monitored by political parties (e.g., student political organizations, campaign teams, party internships). These activities thus provide opportunities for a political party to observe the political skills of individuals it may be potentially interested in recruiting. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, we review the related literature. In Section 3, we present the model. In Section 4, we analyze a simplified version of the model where elections are uncontested. This allows us to abstract from electoral competition and illustrate the discouragement effect. In Section 5, we introduce electoral competition and present our main results. We conclude in Section 6 with a discussion of possible extensions. The proofs are in the Appendix. Related Literature Our paper is related to the literature on the endogenous selection of politicians study the dynamic selection of governments under alternative political institutions (i.e., democratic vs. non-democratic societies) and show that any deviation from perfect democracy may lead to an incompetent government in office being a stable and persistent outcome because of the dynamics of government formation. Caselli and Morelli (2004), Mattozzi and Merlo (2008) and Messner and Polborn (2004) focus on majoritarian elections, provide alternative explanations for why bad politicians may be elected to office, and analyze the relationship between the salary of elected officials and their quality. Caillaud and Tirole (2002), Carrillo and Mariotti (2001), Castanheira, Crutzen, and Sahuguet (2008), Jackson, Mathevet, and Mattes (2007) and Snyder and Ting (2002) study the internal organization of parties and the selection of electoral candidates within parties. None of these contributions, however, studies the issue of political recruitment or the elect of alternative electoral systems on the recruiting decisions of political parties.
Our work also relates to the theoretical literature on all-pay contests. In particular, we build on results by Baye, Kovenock, and de Vries (1993), Baye, Kovenock, and de Vries (1996), and Hillman and Riley (1989) that study all-pay auctions with complete information. Also, a recent paper by Kaplan and Sela (2008) studies two-stage political contests with private entry costs. They analyze a primary election where there is an entry stage and a campaigning stage and show that low-ability contestants (those with a higher marginal cost of exerting effort) may enter more often than high-ability contestants. Contrary to our paper, however, in their model the party does not choose contestants (i.e., there is no recruitment), since individuals can choose whether or not to participate in the contest at a (private) cost and, more importantly, there is no electoral competition. The Model There are two political parties competing in an election and two identical pools of potential recruits, one for each party.7 Potential recruits are heterogeneous with respect to their marginal cost of exerting effort in the political sector or political ability. A politician's ability is observable by parties and affects his performance both as a party member and as an electoral candidate. Parties serve the role of gatekeepers: individuals can only run for public office if they are members of a party and are nominated by their party. After each party has selected its members (the recruitment phase), the new recruits exert costly effort that benefits the party (the organizational phase), and the politician who exerts the highest effort for each party is rewarded by being selected to be the party's electoral candidate. In the electoral phase, the two candidates (one for each party) then compete by exerting costly effort in the form of campaign activities, which affect the electoral outcome. In a majoritarian (winner-takes-all) system, the candidate who exerts the highest level of campaign effort wins the election. In a proportional system, the probability that each candidate wins the election is proportional to his campaign effort. Each party benefits from the total effort of its members during the organizational phase, and also receives an additional benefit if its candidate wins the election. A party member obtains a positive payoff if he is selected by his party as the electoral candidate, and enjoys an additional benefit if he wins the election. We model both the organizational phase and the electoral phase as all-pay contests. The equilibrium of the model determines the ability of the politicians each party recruits, the effort exerted by the parties' members in the organizational phase, the ability and the campaign effort of the electoral candidates, and the ability of the elected politician. The Quality of Politicians
In a recent paper entitled “Political Careers or Career Politicians?,” Andrea Mattozzi and Antionio Merlo ask the following questions: “Who wants to be a politician and why? How do monetary incentives affect the quality of politicians and their career paths?” Naive economic thinking would suggest that if society offers better financial rewards to politicians, it will attract the best talents; much like one can buy betterquality tomatoes, or a better car, if only one is prepared to pay more for them. But Mattozzi and Merlo suggest that the market for politicians differs from the market for tomatoes. Their explanation is based on the assumption that there are two types of people in politics: those who are career politicians call them group A and (2) those who have political careers, group B. Group A (career politicians) are people who “live for” politics: they really care for a cause and/or they enjoy power. These guys only leave politics when they are voted out. Group B people “live off” politics: they are there for the money and they leave politics when voted out or when outside opportunities (in business, consultancy, etc) are better. What motivates each group to join politics? Group A people enter politics because of the non- monetary rewards of being in office; group B people enter politics in order to increase their monetary rewards (when and after they leave politics). What happens if, say, the salary of politicians were to be doubled? For a start, there will be more wannabee politicians. But, the increase in the number of wannabees will come mainly from group B (those who live “off” politics). In a situation of perfect information (i.e. voters can perfectly ascertain the quality of politicians), as the pool of candidates is now larger, the average quality of elected politicians is bound to increase. The problem, of course, is information asymmetry: initially, the quality of a politician is not well-known to voters, only revealing itself over time, if at all. Suppose that there are initially 100 candidates from each group and only 100 in total are elected (thus, with uninformed voters choosing pretty much randomly, there would be, on average, 50 chosen from group A and 50 from group B). Suppose now that the salaries double and, as a result, there are now 100 candidates from group A and 150 from group B. Uniformed voters, choosing blindly, will now elect 40 from group A and 60 from group B. Higher financial rewards have then altered the types of politicians. Whether the average quality of politicians has gone up or not depends on the quality of the new people emanating from group B. Quality can go down if the salary increase leads to too many low-quality group B entrants. The dynamics of the story is also interesting. As time goes by, talent gets partially revealed.
The next time voters go to the polling booth, they have a better picture of the incumbents. Some group B people, who will have revealed their talent, will now be offered better outside options (in consultancy, etc) and do not ask for another mandate. There is therefore some adverse selection at play: only the worse of group B stays. Group A people stay put, as they are career politicians. And new entrants arrive, only to confuse voters. What impact would the doubling of salaries now have on the new set of politicians chosen by voters? Once again, it depends. Two opposing forces are at play here. On one hand, the higher salary of politicians means that more candidates from group B will stay (lessening the adverse selection effect). This has a positive impact on the quality of politicians. But on the other, the initial impact of an increase in group B politicians may still play a negative role. Additionally, any improvement in the quality of politicians depends on the degree to which politicians’ talent is revealed over time. The paper is all very geeky, but the lesson is simple. Increase the salary of politicians and the proportion of a given profile of politicians will rise to the detriment of another, meaning that average quality may either go up…or down. Quality therefore does not go hand-in- hand with price. Then, how does the quality of politicians improve? The usual stuff perhaps: better-educated voters, who have an understanding of the role and limits of government, who disconnect politics from religion, etc. With the fat pay cheques our politicians will now be drawing, joining politics can be a viable career option for the youth. But even before money matters came to the fore, sons and daughters of politicians had taken the plunge. Jaivardhan decides to follow father Digvijay and join Youth Congress The Gandhi family showed the way and others joined the fray. The latest in this bandwagon is Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh's son Jaivardhan. He joined the Youth Congress three days back. "Yes, he has joined the Congress. Come and see the mood of the people at Raghogarh. They are delighted," said Laxman Singh, Digvijay's brother and Jaivardhan's uncle. Jaivardhan, a member of the royal family of Raghogarh principality in Madhya Pradesh's Guna district is the youngest son of Digvijay. He has four sisters. Locally addressed as 'Baba', Jaivardhan studied at Doon School before doing his B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi. He completed his BBA degree from Mumbai and is planning to do his MBA from the UK or the US this year. Jaivardhan's entry into politics was the occasion of the closing ceremony of the two-day state-level wrestling and kabaddi tournament in which more than 650 teams took part.
This year, Jaivardhan not only organised the tournament but also invited his father to flag off the event. There 'JV', as he is fondly called by his father, shared the dais with Digvijay and his uncle, who was expelled from the BJP last month. On August 17, the closing day of the tournament, Jaivardhan expressed his desire to join politics. In his speech he reportedly called upon the young people to take the ongoing membership drive of the Youth Congress to the rural areas, where the country's 70 per cent people live. "We should tell them about the glorious past of the Congress and its policies. Then only the youth would be attracted towards the party as desired by Rahul," he told the gathering. Digvijay watched as Jaivardhan delivered his speech and it is believed that after the tournament he gave his son the go-ahead to join politics. The Congress general secretary has his own reasons to introduce his son to politics. While one being the entry of Rahul Gandhi-many are following him and embracing the Congress-the other is that Digvijay is constantly on the move and has very little time for his constituency. The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister now wants someone who can share his Workload. However, those who have seen Jaivardhan grow up before their eyes refuse to believe that he has joined a political party. "It's difficult for me to believe this. I remember him as a kid asking children of those who had come to meet his father to play cricket with him while his chief minister dad was busy meeting officials. Before his father could come and meet the people, 'Baba' used to collect the memorandum and applications from them and would go straight to his father and demand that he have a look at them," said an official in the chief minister's secretariat. In Madhya Pradesh, Jaivardhan is not the only one to have followed his father into the Congress. In recent years, MLA Ajay Singh 'Rahul Bhaiyaa' (son of former Union HRD minister Arjun Singh), MP Jyotiraditya Scindia (son of late Madhav Rao Scindia) and minister of state Arun Yadav (son of former PCC chief Subhash Yadav) also joined the party. Many in India love to believe that politicians here are “inefficient” and don’t deserve to be paid any salary. But there are others, who feel that the current breed of politicians is the result of poor salaries, before the long awaited hike took place. It is well-known that the corporate sector in India has got the best talent due to the attractive salaries it pays. Now with a steep hike in salaries of MPs, will politics become a viable career option for youngsters? Can fat pay cheques draw them to join politics? Pukhraj Singh, an estate consultant says, “Yes, it will make a good career option for youngsters. A handsome salary and power together will be a favourable combination. After becoming an MP you won’t only get money, but power as well,
which is not possible in well-paying companies.” Since politicians are public servants elected by voters and are committed to serve the country, they should be given the kind of salary and perks that other public servants get, reasons Rajat Goswami, a filmmaker. He adds, “Politics has power, money and an opportunity to govern. In a high paying job we may get paid better, but we don’t have a say in policymaking. But here the government listens to what you have to say.” The prospects of a well-paying job always attract youngsters, even if it means entering politics. “A hike in salaries will definitely lure many to pick politics as a career option, which will provide them good money as well as power. That’s a different thing if power and money corrupts these new breed of young politicians like their predecessors,” explains Akshay Malhotra, a software engineer. But there are youngsters who beg to differ saying that politics is a mechanism to get things done in a democratic set-up and not a profession. “People don’t enter politics for money as there are many other less elaborate ways to do that. People join politics for power and for a sense of leadership. It is high time we scrapped the shadow of something murky, unclean and corrupts with the word ‘politics’. It is not a profession. It is a way of life. What politicians do for their party is politics and what they get paid for is for ‘law making’ and governing,” says Neha Lahoti, a law student. Handsome salaries of MPs can be an incentive, but politics should not be considered a profession like law, engineering and medicine. Aashima Malik, a PR executive thinks that though money is important and everybody goes for the best available package, politics is not a game. “If youngsters start joining politics only for money then they would be no different from the already money making drones. But big money may attract youngsters, who earlier aspired to become politicians, but didn’t take the plunge as it was not well-paying enough,” she says. On January 8, 2011, the All-India Federation of Women Lawyers held the All-India Women Lawyers Conference in Hyderabad. Here, I was one of two women lawyers to be conferred with the prestigious Sthree Vakil Puraskar, an award meant for women lawyers who not only excel in their professions, but also moved on to other fields and made a mark. Although I was unable to attend in person due to illness, I felt an extraordinary sense of gratification at this recognition from my own community of lawyers, as also a deep sense of gratitude. More importantly, it made me think how lawyers in general have contributed to nation-building and enrich both the society and our democracy in innumerable ways. For me, and I know most lawyers will share this with me; the law was never a profession but a passion, not a vocation but an avocation. It is often argued that the educated classes should enter public life and
participate in politics. While this is true for all professionals, somehow it is most true of lawyers. After all, public life, public service, public policy and the entire edifice of public institutions are built on the bedrock of law and constitutionalism. This is our training and, as such, part of what we bring to political life. It is almost an obligation for every educated Indian, and especially every Indian lawyer, to contribute to the larger framework of public discourse in India. What do I mean by this? Am I suggesting that every lawyer should join a political party and contest elections? What I am calling for is active participation by enlightened legal minds in enriching the process by which we make public choices, we decide on the common good, we shape public policy, we anchor our democratic institutions and we make our politics more robust. There is a context, a history and a heritage to my urgings. If we look back at the early years of our nationhood, at Independence in 1947 and at the complex and yet marvellous process by which we built our nation, by which we framed our Constitution and gave ourselves this republic, we will find in it the imprint of some of the finest legal sensibilities. Mahatma Gandhi was trained as a lawyer. Jawaharlal Nehru gave up what would almost certainly have been a glittering legal career to dive into the freedom movement. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was one of the most successful barristers of his age but didn’t think twice before throwing off his legal robes and marching in step with the peasants of Bardoli. The father of the Constitution, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, was among the astute legal brains of the early 20th century in Mumbai. This magical constellation, along with many others, came together in the late 1940s and early 1950s and forged the India that we now have. We could so easily have gone the way of many of our neighbours, or of other developing countries that also became free of the colonial yoke in that period. If we did not, if we learnt to respect the rule of law and if we became servants and followers of the Constitution, it is because those legal scholars brought their respect for and understanding of the law and regard for a society and a system based on rules to their blueprint for the new India. Today’s India is a legacy of extraordinary jurists. My grandfather was in politics, as were members of my extended family. Yet there was no pressure on me to join politics. It was a very personal decision. I was young and inspired by the idealism and freshness of the late Rajiv Gandhi, a person whose essential goodness and honesty of purpose was apparent from even a five-minute meeting with him. Today, I see that essential purpose in Congress president Sonia Gandhi and in our Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh. Yet, there was another reason for my joining politics and particularly the Congress. This was a party rooted in constitutionalism. It had been
born and created and nurtured by legal postulates and principles, by demands for a rule-based political system and public space, by the gradual expansion of the ambit of freedom, in accordance with the law and with legal reference points. Politics is the natural home of the public-spirited lawyer. At the end of the day, the legal profession and a lawyer’s mandate is about the pursuit of justice. At its best, politics is not very far removed. On many occasions, legislatures and politicians set the path but the real journey of justice is undertaken by determined and upright lawyers who fight for their clients, or sometimes for deprived sections who cannot even afford legal fees, and actualize the intent of the law or of the provision to ensure access to justice for the ordinary women and men of our country. That is why I say there is a symbiotic relationship between lawyers and politicians. The issue of access to justice — or the many forms of justice — is central to my personal political beliefs but much more than that, to that of my party and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The Right to Education Act, the Right to Information Act, the upcoming Food Security law — all of these are manifestations of that quest for perfect justice, that endless quest perhaps, that our founding fathers enjoined us to undertake. To realize this quest is as much the moral duty of the politician as it is the civic obligation of the lawyer. At the same time, lawyers should consider their role in evolving society. Just as business corporations are now concerned with the concept of the triple bottom-line — of caring for people, planet and profit — and just as they invest resources in corporate social responsibility, is it time to institutionalize a lawyer’s social responsibility? I am not recommending any external imposition; this is a call that has to come from within. I would urge that all of us, as lawyers, set aside a certain part of our professional time every year in pro bono work. This could relate to cases about gender and social injustice, about deprivation of rights for the poorest or most disadvantaged, about environmental activism and the greening of our planet — any cause that moves or shakes the conscience. In doing this, lawyers will be serving our country and people and contribute to the greater public good. Jayanthi Natarajan is a Congress MP in the RajyaSabha and AICC spokesperson. The views expressed in this column are her own. India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, epitomized liberal values and separated religion from politics. His worldview was shaped by the ideals of democracy, secularism and equality. Today, these values have emerged yet again as the defining features of not just liberal thinking, but also for policymaking and legislation.
If we can define liberalism as the belief that individuals can pursue desired goals, as long as they do not infringe on the equal liberty of others to do so as well, then liberal values have certainly become dominant in the Indian socio-economic space, whether it is political rights, economic rights or social pursuits. Liberal values are also influencing our perception of economic development. While the importance of rapid economic growth is undeniable, “new India” wants a balanced approach. Mindful of this, a new mining and minerals legislation has been drafted by the government to give local people and communities a stake in projects that have a direct bearing on their rights and way of living. While some may understand economic liberalism to mean uncontrolled markets, we in India are leveraging the scope of the market to benefit the masses. A key instrument in this endeavour is the use of ICT to ensure more effective, efficient and transparent government. With rapid mobile penetration in rural areas and broadband connectivity, government services and other services are being delivered at the doorsteps of citizens in rural and remote areas. Conservatives tend to resist such changes as it threatens their paternalistic privilege to define what is good for the people they govern. Yet, they forget that a true democracy ensures that those who are not always in a position to fight for their own rights are empowered and protected. Conservative thinking protects the elite and stifles free thinking, creativity, entrepreneurship and equality of opportunity. Education for all is one way to ensure that this does not happen. The Indian Parliament realized this when it passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. For the first time, access to education has become a right, and the future generations of India will not be constrained by where they were born, and to whom they were born. Liberals espouse the importance of human rights, individual freedom and the rule of law. These ideas found a champion in India’s judicial system that last year decriminalized homosexuality in a landmark judgment. Similarly, the government is working to end honour killings in India. The writing on the wall is clear. Young people, who defy the selfproclaimed moral code of orthodox groups and desire the liberal values of personal choice and freedom, have to be protected.
India is firmly committed to the ideals of basic human rights, equality, rule of law, freedom of choice for the individual, economic and social freedom, and the right to private property — all critical elements of a true liberal democracy. The fate of political parties in recent times is evidence that those who deviate from these ideals will be punished by the voters. A new crop of young leaders, politicians and professionals are working everyday to accelerate the adoption of liberal values and thoughts in policies and legislation in India. The resilience of the Indian democracy and liberal values is finally paying off, and narrow stereotypes will no longer stick. The ballot and the influence, both, will belong to those who will accept the plurality of thoughts and actions. This is the New India. Salary of the members of Parliament is not likely to be popular. Over the last few days, the electronic media has relentlessly flashed stories regarding the proposed hike of salaries and allowances of MPs. Most of the coverage has been brutally critical and in many instances, cynical and pejorative as well. MPs have been Portrayed as, and demonised as, some kind of predatory, utterly shameless, ruthless mercenary louts who do not have a single thought in their head apart from the worst kind of rapacious looting from every available source. The leaders who openly advocated the raise in MPs’ salary, like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav, have been pilloried and ridiculed. The parliamentary committee which went into the question and made the recommendations has also been criticised. The loudest argument has been that legislators should not have the power to decide their own salaries. That, in fact, is the only argument against the proposed hike in salaries and allowances of MPs. In my view, all other arguments against the proposed hike have been born out of prejudice and misconception. An objective look at the facts would reveal a great deal and also correct slightly the distortion which is created in the mind of a viewer when TV headlines scream that MPs want to vote themselves a 300 per cent salary increase when people are suffering from inflation. That MPs live in sprawling two-acre bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi, which in themselves are worth many lakhs by way of monthly rent. That they have free airfare as do their spouses. They have 30,000 free phone calls. They are paid `1,000 a day as sitting fees in Parliament although they never actually sit in Parliament. Well, all the above is actually true. The reality lies in the manner in which the issue is considered and whether it is considered in a rational
manner, free of prejudice, which obviously is well nigh impossible when the subject of discussion is the universally-hated politician. My submission is that the media and public perception of this issue is seriously distorted by prejudice and is, by no means, a balanced consideration of the facts on hand. Admittedly, politicians have themselves almost single-handedly been responsible for the lack of public respect for them and the normally jaundiced perception of the average citizen. It also needs to be straightaway conceded that there are several politicians and MPs who have manipulated the system, misused their official position, been guilty of corrupt practices and totally betrayed not just the trust placed in them by their constituents, but also the oath of office they themselves swore by when they assumed office. Not withstanding all the above, the fact remains that an MP represents roughly 15 lakh Indians. He or she is elected after a grueling election and intense travel over a huge constituency, the geographical spread and population of which is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Thereafter the MP is at the beck and call of each and every constituent, has to answer calls, reply to their letters, incur expenses on postage and addresses their legitimate concerns. He has to travel the length and breadth of the constituency, and also back and forth from Delhi to constituency, and, insofar as my own constituency/home own Chennai is concerned, it is not only one of the longest domestic air journeys in the country but also among the most expensive. In addition, LokSabha MPs in particular even run up huge bills serving just tea and snacks to their constituents. The other duties of an MP are too varied and diverse to enumerate here but even the most basic functioning of an MP requires tremendous expenditure. Those who assume that MPs do no work only display their ignorance and prejudice in addition to insulting the intelligence of the Indian electorate. No elected MP can hope to remain in office if he does not fulfil the demands of the constituency, whether they range from building bridges and roads, factories and houses, getting jobs for unemployed youth or ensuring proper medical and education facilities in their constituencies. With our budget and resources being scarce, every MP has to fight tooth and nail to address the development of his or her constituency. Contrary to public perception, MPs do not spend their time in the lawns of Lutyens’ Delhi dancing with the peacocks. They only come to Delhi when Parliament is in session and only ministers and a few fortunate MPs live in bungalows. Most MPs live in old, leaky crumbling flats in North and South Avenues, depending upon the temperamental CPWD to carry out repairs. Some of us live in more modern flats but nevertheless still flats since we can hardly live in dorm rooms in Parliament House. Bureaucrats who have passed one examination at the age of 25 and
who never again face public scrutiny until retirement live in large houses in Lutyens’ Delhi and get paid `80,000 per month. All their travel is free and they also get staff at the office and at home. Their pension and benefits have been linked by various Pay Commissions which too have been set up and manned by other bureaucrats to be on par, not just with the cost of the living index, but to more than amply cover their comfortable retirement. That is, retirement for those bureaucrats who have not snagged post-retirement jobs in foreign companies or the private sector. In fact, most IAS officers who retired a few years ago receive more by way of pension today than the emoluments they received at the peak of their career. It is, therefore, perfectly reasonable for MPs who are above the bureaucrats in terms of rank and precedence and who work as hard as any bureaucrat, if not harder (politicians certainly don’t get weekends off or go on LTC paid leave every year), to ask for a salary which is at least equal to the salary of a bureaucrat. The demand is honest and should be viewed without prejudice. If nothing else, the salary hike will at least enable honest MPs who do not possess illegal funds to carry out their duties more efficiently. The truth of the matter is that almost all MPs believe that the salary hike is justified and necessary. The Left parties who oppose it have the option to return their own salaries to the government and ask that the funds be used elsewhere. There is something to be said for public perceptions. Everyone is agreed that rising prices have hit people hard, and wage-earners asking for a raise are looked upon with sympathy even if their demands are likely to be turned down. The sympathy seems to evaporate, however, when the “wage-earner” seeking a rise in emoluments happens to be a member of Parliament. Ire then replaces understanding. This draws from the low esteem in which politicians have found themselves in public estimation in recent decades. MPs — since most are politicians — are apt to be asked: do you do an honest day’s work (like those of us lucky to have a job — any job)? It is insulting for a hardworking man to hear senior political figures and prominent MPs say when they plead for a pay hike that their salary is less than that of a clerk in the government. Why should it not be? The real point is — why do MPs presume superiority over the clerk. Like other white collar employees, a clerk puts in much longer hours that an Indian MP. In any case, if perks are taken into account, MPs are not worse off than senior professionals in any field. A house which is almost rent-free in Lutyens’ Delhi, huge numbers of free phone calls, passes for the railways and air travel for themselves, their spouse and frequently hangers-on, not to mention subsidised canteen food and top-class health facilities which are free, besides a clubhouse. All this adds up to quite a bit to the national exchequer. Thus an MP’s cost-tocompany (which is how earnings are calculated in the private sector) is
nothing to sniff at. In addition, of course, there is the daily allowance for each day of Parliament attended — despite the face that many MPs, after signing the register, then skip out. In any case, as far as perceptions go, the work of an MP is to exercise his/her lung power, and little else. This is a pity and shows lack of understanding of the complexities and subtleties of political activity. But it cannot be gainsaid that even in terms of scheduled parliamentary sessions, the number of days that our MPs work is way below the average in most functioning democracies, particularly those in the West. Our MPs have demanded a threefold increase in their pay, which will take it to Rs 50,000 per month. The Union Cabinet is divided over this. This has made the MPs cross, and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav exemplified this when he took up the matter in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It was also amusing to see Rajiv Shukla, a media baron-cumMP, expound the cause of his politician brethren with glib efficiency, if not necessarily with feeling. Vijay Mallya, who owns a liquor company and an airline, among other things, and is a member of the Rajya Sabha, was at least not greedy when he said he wasn’t complaining (in the matter of salary). The Left parties quite rightly think MPs should not plead the cause of salary raises for themselves in Parliament. Instead, as Sitaram Yechury put it, there should be an independent commission — along the lines of the Pay Commission for government employees — that will automatically index their salary hikes to rises in cost of living. This is a more graceful way of pleading the MPs’ case. What the government might consider doing is to give MPs a raise while whittling down some of their perks so that there is less outgo of taxpayer funds than might otherwise be the case. Once an exasperated Jayapraksah Narayan had said that the IAS was the most powerful trade union in the country! Now it appears that the baton has been passed on to our MPs. London: Iraqi lawmakers have raked in more than $1,000 a minute for working just 20 minutes this year, enjoying a fee of $90,000 and a monthly salary of $22,500 and relaxing in a luxury hotel in Baghdad, a media report said on Tuesday. Their lavish perks and salaries came to light as the 325 lawmakers prepared to hold a second parliamentary session since the election last March, the Daily Mail reported. They get a salary of $22,500 and free night stays in Baghdad's Rasheed Hotel as perks, regardless of whether parliament is in session. Besides, they also collect $600 per day while travelling inside or out of Iraq.
A mid-level government employee in Iraq makes around $600 a month and ordinary people lack basic services like water and electricity, the report said. A politician's basic monthly salary is $10,000 - just $4,500 short of that of rank-and-file members of the US Congress. In addition, an MP gets a $12,500 monthly allowance for housing and security arrangements, for a combined total of $22,500. Once out of office, they get 80 per cent of their salary for life, and for eight years they can also keep the diplomatic passports issued to them and their family members. Since June, when the lawmakers first met for 20 minutes, Iraq's second elected parliament since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime has failed to convene. Sharp divisions among political blocs have prevented the formation of a new government, and not a single law has been debated. But the government decided to leave the session open which allowed MPs to pick up a $90. 00 fee to cover their expenses for the next four years. In a mosque sermon, an aide to Iraq's top Shiite cleric urged parliament to lower their salaries when they next meet. "Instead of working hard and doing a good job, they are enjoying a paid vacation," said Jalal Mohammed, a retired clerk for the administrative council in the southern city of Basra. "I think the parliament members should only be paid if they do something useful for their country." Lawmakers justify high salaries and benefits saying they risk their lives participating in the political process. "We are exposed to violent incidents in our houses, on the streets, and even in parliament," Sheik Haidar al-Jorani, a Basra lawmaker with the prime minister's State of Law party, was quoted as saying. THE prime minister’s loyalty to his friends looks to be ever more a fault. This week parliament grilled Manmohan Singh over his latest failure to fight corruption and his habit of sticking with compromised allies. The grilling concerned P.J. Thomas, the man Mr. Singh appointed to lead India’s fight against corruption.
Mr Thomas was, to put it politely, an unorthodox choice to lead the national “vigilance” commission. A former official in the scandalbesmirched telecoms ministry, he faces a longstanding charge over an import scam. He has done himself few favours by pointing out that 28% of sitting lower-house members of parliament also faces criminal charges or inquiries. Worse was the government’s claim that a vigilance chief need not have an impeccable character (presumably on the grounds that it takes one to know one). On March 3rd the Supreme Court forced him out. The prime minister fended off opposition demands that he should resign. His poor judgment over Mr. Thomas fits a pattern. Nobody says the prime minister is personally corrupt. But he looks weak by seeming to let others steal. Last year the Supreme Court ticked him off and the opposition called for him to quit over the government’s failure to look into suspicious licensing of the 2G telecom spectrum. Now the Central Bureau of Investigation is starting an inquiry into corruption at the highest levels over the shoddily run Commonwealth games. Mr Singh, again, is bound to be embroiled. The Supreme Court has its tail up. Its rulings refer ever more often to corruption—over 50 did so last year. Now it lambasts the government for failing to take on crooks who funnel “black money” overseas. Some say that $450 billion of ill-gotten gains or untaxed earnings are sitting in foreign banks. The court seems to imply that the Congress party, which heads the government coalition, has protected powerful friends. On March 7th the hyperactive Supreme Court justices scored another victory, with the arrest of Hasan Ali Khan. A flamboyant horse-owner, he has been charged with money laundering, which he denies. He is alleged to have $8 billion stuffed in Swiss bank accounts. India’s “season of scams” was launched late last year, thanks to the breakdown of an unspoken political truce in which no party fussed too much about corruption, allowing all to prosper from it. Now the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has broken ranks, betting that it can tap into widespread fury over corruption and so dent Mr. Singh’s clean image, if not topple him. The BJP may be on to a good thing: over 80% of Indians tell pollsters that graft is worse than ever. Though a general election is not due until 2014, and despite facing corruption scandals of its own, the BJP is pushing on. By boycotting parliament, it closed most of the winter session, until it won the inquiry into graft that it had demanded. In turn the press, the courts and street protesters picked up the campaign. The opposition may be keeping in mind an earlier defeat for Congress, in 1989, when voters punished the
party over huge kickbacks that flowed from an arms deal with Bofors, a Swedish company. In response, Mr Singh and his (and Congress’s) boss, Sonia Gandhi, say they will soon announce sweeping reforms. These may include state funding for political parties, the removal of discretionary powers abused by politicians and civil servants, and the ratification of a UN corruption convention. They might do well to look, too, at Bihar state, where elected officials and civil servants must now publish a list of all their private assets. Even more importantly, they could push on with cleaner ways to help the poor. By one estimate, two-fifths of state paraffin subsidies are stolen, earning a “fuel mafia” $2 billion a year. In Uttar Pradesh reportedly over $40 billion of food and other subsidies have been bilked over five years. From the grassroots up How all this will shake out at the polls will become clearer next month, when four states—West Bengal and Assam in the east, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south—hold assembly elections. Perhaps voters will punish dirty politicians. Too often, though, for all their harrumphing about ghotala (Hindi for scams), voters are swayed during election campaigns by candidates’ gifts of rice, rupees, saris and television sets. Yet hopeful initiatives do exist among those truly fed up with corruption. Technology looks to provide especially promising solutions. Last year Swati Ramanathan helped to found a website, www.ipaidabribe.com. Indians post details of how they are forced to bribe. “Rather than moralise about corruption,” she says, “we need first to know the details of what is happening, and uncover its market price.” In seven months the site has lodged 5,000 reports of paying bribes. On March 9th, for example, someone in Belgaum, Karnataka, admitted shame after giving 200 rupees ($4) to pass a driving test. In Mumbai it costs 1,000 rupees to register a baby. Bigger bribes are usually paid when land is at stake. Perhaps when Indians are better informed they will feel more empowered and refuse to pay. Reportedly, Bangalore’s transport commissioner likes the site too, as it lets him see how corrupt his junior officials have become. More hopeful yet are reforms that take away the chance for officials to behave improperly. Gujarat’s anti-graft commissioner, Manjula Subramaniam, praises a tendering system where companies bid online for public contracts, for example for road-building. This helps her anti-
graft department spot anything suspicious. She can also watch funds that sit unused in state coffers, and move them before any lightfingered officials get there. For ordinary people, more obviously valuable is a four-year-old system for homeowners to assess property tax online, rather than have crooked inspectors visit their homes. And the benefits of technology are spreading fast, as every village in Gujarat has been hooked up to broadband and to state databases. In one of them, Uvarsad, a farming district, a privately managed local e-government office allows Suryakant Patel to print off the title deeds to his 20-acre wheat and rice farm. It takes two minutes and a tenrupee fee. Then he walks around the corner to a bank, to raise a loan to buy a new irrigation pump. In the past, he says, getting the deed would have taken days, and might have depended on the whim of a civil servant. Change can come fast. I wonder, why don’t people aspire to join politics? At the same time I also wonder as to why people at large abhor the career of a politician. I can understand that such feelings can emanate from those enterprising people who want to make a difference in life in their own way, but what I don’t understand is why the lazy and disillusioned ones also nurture similar feelings. What more would anyone want than access to some unwarranted luxuries and perks of life absolutely free of cost! On top of that, there aren’t any defined job profiles or descriptions, no constraint of age, education, no accountability, no discipline, no reporting and voila! – you get paid for all this, and get a raise too!! Unlike other jobs done by employees under the federal government, work done by MPs neither call for expertise, nor for education, qualifications and the irony is that still people prefer other jobs over politics! Not to forget, in other jobs, there are the risks of recalls, removal, arbitrary relocation, reporting, halt in increment and also face the risk of Annual Confidential Report (ACR). MPs unlike other employees have full immunity for their act inside their offices (Parliament) which can’t even be challenged in the courts!! What more, there are no rules with respect to working hours, no compulsions of participation in parliamentary debates, no mandatory attendance and no objectively-measured-system to find out their productivity. To top it up, there is no promotional and removal clauses. Thus, works done by MPs are neither normatively defined nor is objectively measurable and yet they get paid handsomely and get a raise too,
which is comparable and equivalent to bureaucrats, and yet no one opts for politics as a career. Now the question is that if all this is true then why in the first place an MP should get paid? Call it utopia — But joining politics was meant to be fundamentally a public spirited voluntary decision and less of a conventional mode of not working and yet earning a living. Since the beginning of human civilization, people who wanted to serve the society and transform them, opted for such career without an aim of upgrading their own economic stature. But then, what we observe is just the converse! Today, the biggest entry barrier to politics is the amount of investment that one has to make. And this is a glaring reality of our political system today. Or else how does one justify that the collective assets of 543 MPs elected to the LokSabha are worth more than Rs.3,000 crore!
This means the average asset size of an MP works out to be more than Rs.5crores! Going by this again, I wonder why should they be paid as what difference that little money that they get in the name of salary, make to them! And worse, our MPs on an average make nine times the national poverty level which is again too high compared to the US or the UK, where they are just five and three times respectively. In the US, Senators are not allowed to earn more than 15 per cent from outside of their Congressional salary while in India, the average asset value of MPs is found to have increased by a staggering 300 per cent over the last term! In Germany, the elected federal members get enough remuneration to ensure their basics, while Switzerland parliamentarians do not get any salary but just paid leaves from their employers on the days of parliament session. MPs in Mexico can’t practice any profession and be office-bearers of any political party. As I said earlier, though it might sound utopian, but politics was and should be meant for individuals willing to participate with just public serving spirit! Till the time this remains an utopian dream, at least they should not be paid. Observing people has always been an abiding passion for me. So one day, I sat beside a scenic boulevard, enjoying the morning air to take a shot at this enigma. I strained my eyes, and the first person to cross my line of vision was a reporter who stood in front of a camera and was very animatedly speaking to it. Then an elderly person in a black suit driving a car caught my eye. He was a judge, I realised. After which my eyes were greeted by a very well known businessman in a rush to beat time. And the endless stream of
passers by streamed in and out of my sight from time to time as I sat there, but these three became special. To say that this highly common sight, of a media person with a camera, had little meaning for me would be a lie. India’s future rests in the hands of these men. The media is something without which the people would lose their right to expression and deprived of the fun of give thrashing to an incumbent government every now and then, reminding them that this great country is after all a democracy. Likweise, there are the businessmen, without whom a majority of us Indians would be left unemployed, something that would lead to the financial collapse of the country. After all, pundits say that the largest portion of the GDP pie has come from investments in the private sector, especially in the service segment of business and of course, there is the judiciary, without whose iron fisted discipline; India would be crippled by crime and sink into a mire of lawlessness. I am human and drawing comparisons is a human nature. Which of them is of the most importance? The answer came from the multitudes spread across the boulevard. Aha! Politicians, hoodwinkers, conmen, and similar synonyms to describe the same entity. A smile broke across my face. It faded as soon it had come. I hesitated. Was it cynicism which made me smile or was it just my sheer helplessness? I found no answer. Despite the current scenario, I have - ironically - some regard for politicians. I believe that eventually they would be pioneers of the great Indian Revolution to take it to lead the world. On my journey back, my mind was kept occupied by these thoughts: why do I regard Indian politicians, despite penetrating clearly seeing through their fade. The Nehru-Gandhi family has been carrying the beacon of Indian politics ever since India became independent, barring a few years here and there. Even before them, Mahatma Gandhi had been an ideal politician for me. He was young, dynamic, assertive and decisive. He took our nation to new heights. Come Indira Gandhi, albeit not from the Gandhi but Nehru stock and India entered the global arena, fighting and winning a war and liberating Bangladesh, leading the non-aligned movement. Her son Rajiv is a household name even in the remotest villages. Now we see sparks of brilliance in Rahul Gandhi whose talks little and works most of the time, following his grandmother's advice. Politicians are after all the spine of the democracy we take pride in. They voice the people’s needs. If only we had a better designed democracy, we wouldn’t be maimed by vote bank politics as we are now. Stained by corruption, politics is in a ditch today, from where there is no way out unless it claws it’s way back to what it was meant to be. The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. It’s we who have to answer for the fall of Indian politics. Young India has to carry the torch and lead. The one dimensional, money-making thought process is an
easy way out but to fight for the cause of India and win it back democracy and clean politics from today's silver haired hounds is a tugh lot of work. The choice is yours to make. I have made mine. In the backdrop of the Mumbai terror attacks, there has been a lot of talk about the need to go and vote... the need to elect the right government... the need for educated youth to come up and join politics and the need for a new political force that can bring about the real change. This topic is something that’s very close to my heart, as ever since I can remember, may be since I was eight years old or so, I remember my father always told me that it is not politics which is dirty, but the people in politics who have made it dirty; and that politics is the biggest service to a nation that one can think of; something that able and educated men with leadership skills should always think of keeping in the forefront of their ambition list. As a response to my workshops on the Great Indian Dream, as well as to my editorials � especially the ones criticising the government, and more especially the last two on the Mumbai blasts many people have sent me messages: why criticise; why not try to be the change! Yes, the truth is, I have personally always believed that politics is where the educated youth should be. Some of my published interviews, which date back to as early as 1997, stand testimony to the fact that I myself had wished to be a part of the political process sometime in my life my students from the 94 batch and onwards would vouch that that is the truth, because they have heard me say so time and again. What’s also the biggest truth is that, year after year, when my students come and ask me where I should want to see those fifteen years or so down the line, without an iota of doubt, this has always been my answer in politics! And parents of our students who have heard me speak at the orientation programme or at the convocation programmes know that that has always been my advice for their children... for I know one of the biggest strengths at is our super combination of entrepreneurial and management education, along with sharp and incisive education in economics some things our politicians have always lacked! Either our leaders have been great managers with no understanding of economics leading to disaster, or our leaders have been great economists with no clue about management and leadership, and, therefore, have spelt disaster. To me, one of the stories that unforgettably describe India’s tragedy is about. The mother of India who had two sons. One knew how to run (the country, that is) but went to fly and met his end; the other knew how to fly, but went to run and met his end. Symbolically, that has always been India’s problem misallocation of resources and incapable leaders at the top; and that’s why I have always considered our students to be great resource material as future politicians of this country with the perfect mix of education for management education doesn’t always mean only focusing on how to maximise private profits. That’s not to say others
aren’t capable, but just because I am personally involved with teaching IIPM students, through them, I want to show my faith and passion in my belief in the role of youth in politics. Well, having said how passionately I believe that the clean and educated youth in India should be a part of politics, I must also say that unfortunately, the government has created a system that is non-conducive for clean people to enter politics. It doesn’t allow the youth with the passion and education to just jump in and start making the change; because if they were to do so, they would only end up being disillusioned; or worse, a part of the corrupt system itself. It’s because elections in this country are neither fought with passions and policies nor with candlelight processions. Elections are fought by motorcycle brigades with guns in hand. The truth is that Indian politics is not fought with ideology, but with muscle power and ruthless rigging in the interiors. Indian politics is a hierarchy of criminals and goons. At the grassroots, a local MLA wins through a bunch of goons. On top of a few such MLAs sits the MP; and on top of such mostly criminal and corrupt MPs sits the Prime Minister. And that a man sitting as the Prime Minster could be a poet, a literary genius, who knows 17 languages or an economist, but the reality is that he sits there because his party has a hierarchy of criminals; and the stronger this criminalisation is at the grassroots level, the tougher it is to defeat them West Bengal being a case in point. You can be a big leader say an Uma Bharti but the moment the system of criminalisation that you sit upon and win elections with is gone, you are reduced to a nonentity. Even a cosmopolitan state like Delhi has no place for educated, clean people. Only those who get key party tickets have won over the years. Yet, we know and should believe that one day, the educated must take over this system... One day, the youth must come forward and make the difference... But before clean and honest youth can come forward, we need to give the youth the environment to fight on the basis of policies and passion and not on the basis of guns. And for that to happen, we need a very very strong and powerful judiciary that is alive and not paralyzed... A very strong judicial system that stops criminalization of daily life and weeds out the criminals from the system, and sees to it that criminals cannot fight elections or win them through rigging... and instills fear in the minds of the criminals through a quick process of justice! But surely, not the way it is today a process of endless delays and inefficiencies! And these are issues we at TSI have been relentlessly lobbying for since our inception. The other option is, of course, a Constitutional change that brings about a Presidential system in India again an issue we at TSI have lobbied for in the past’ so that like in the USA, the Indian leadership can also be determined on the basis of debates and policies. Until we can achieve either of the two, the need for educated and clean people to enter politics will unfortunately remain more of a slogan; for the environment is, I repeat, unfortunately not conducive
for them to make any dent. Yet, I must say, they must not give up the hope. They must come forward and lobby for the right changes and a strong judiciary is what should top their list and agenda. And if they keep their focus right, and fight for the correct causes, they will one day make the system conducive for the big change. I have personally always believed, If you think you can, you are right! I am sure the time is not far when one amongst the educated and clean people will be bringing about change in this country... a change that we too can believe in... And at TSI, we will keep lobbying and doing our bit to make that change a reality. Whenever an issue of immense national concern has arisen, it has been our endeavour to keep focusing on that relentlessly, so that people don’t just forget and move on. Keeping up with the same ideology, after the Mumbai killings and terror attacks, thanks to our shameful political class, I have decided to write five consecutive editorial articles focusing only on our political class and the need for change. After my last editorial, a significant lot of people wrote to me through emails, text messages, etc, confirming that though they would themselves want to contest elections, they couldn’t even dream of winning in India when the masses have no clue about what were the issues, and whom to vote for. Thus, with this fourth editorial of mine after the Mumbai massacre, I want to answer these. Why is it that people in India don’t vote for policies and fall for sloganeering instead? Why is it that an educated citizen in this country is in a dilemma about whether to vote at all or not, in the first place? And what is that key change, apart from judiciary as highlighted in my previous editorial that we, as citizens of India, need to fight for, so that even an educated, passionate man with the right thoughts and policies has a fair chance at elections? Well, just as elections in India are won with muscle power, so they are with money power. That’s not to say that elections in other countries don’t require money. Of course, they do; but, for example, in a mature democracy like USA, money flows towards the right policies and thoughts. Thus, as Barack Obama kept winning debates and his popularity increased, more money flowed in for him... However, in India, that’s not how it happens. Often, bottles of alcohol, which get distributed the night before elections in various slums, determine who these people vote for. Money in India can almost buy votes. And the sole reason for that is the lack of education amongst the masses in India. The masses in India don’t even understand what is good for them and what is not! They are kept at such a subsistence level that they keep fighting to make their ends meet and never think beyond. Thus, the slum dweller or the village illiterate never questions, for example, why should young India be ruled by a bunch of opportunistic and corrupt ageing people whose only motto seems to be to hang on to power till their last breath. These people, therefore, can be
easily swayed away by the lure of goodies, or even one extra meal, or simply a few hander bucks for which they can do anything... from going to vote to going to attend election rallies! The only method to break this and encourage people to come out and vote for the right policies is to give them education, so that they can differentiate between what is beneficial for them and what is not. And education is the cheapest social service that any government worldwide can provide to its citizens. Yet, we in India have kept our country illiterate. And that’s not because we did not have the money. It’s because we never had the will... because it serves the interests of the political class. It’s only when people remain illiterate that the illiterate can rule, and become Chief Ministers to Prime Ministers. Can you imagine any American or British politician, who is similar to about eighty per cent of our ill-educated and illiterate politicians, standing even a remote chance in his country’s elections? Obviously not! Politicians win elections here by keeping the masses illiterate, so that they get swayed away by silly slogans and election songs made on the tunes of hit film music. Keeping masses illiterate, even in the twenty-first century, is a well designed ploy of the ruling governments in India ever since Independence for our ruling class knows that once masses get educated, the people who will be the first to get the boot will be themselves. Thus, if the educated in India ever want to be a part of honest politics (well, they can always be a part of mainstream filthy politics as the political parties are always looking for a handful educated brand ambassadors like Shashi Tharoor, for example for some key posts etc), the second thing along with a functional judiciary that they need to force the government to give is education... education for every Indian... Unless we have an educated India, the honest educated Indian will have a very little chance in the election battlefield. And the least we should have expected from perhaps the country’s most educated Prime Minister ever, Dr Manmohan Singh, was to leave behind a legacy of education. A recent report by the name Refurbishing of Personnel Administration brought out by the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) of India has suggested a scrutiny of the track record of bureaucrats after 14 and 20 years of service and if found inadequate, they should be summarily dismissed. This no doubt sounds like harbinger of good days coming a long way from the days of license Raj and babudom, which is deeply entrenched in the corridors of power. Yet in the hindsight, for all the semblance of better days of administration to come with very concept of bureaucracy possibly going to have a dressing down, one wonders if at all such an initiative would actually have any impact. In the first place does anyone need to wait for 14 or 20 years to see if someone is performing or not? In
today�s fast paced world professionals in every field are literally judged by their everyday performance, forget about a decade. In the corporate world, decisions by people higher up in the ladder can make or break a company in a matter of days. By all these standards judging a person after one and half decade of work, for those who are mandated to run not a company but the nation, is like not judging at all. One has to accept the fact that India over a period of last thirty-forty years has completely sidelined the technocrats and replaced them with bureaucrats. And the bureaucrats themselves have had a key role to play in this endeavour. Even within the bureaucrat pedigree, those belonging to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) cadre have always dominated the rest. Unfortunately the entire system, systematically cultivated inadequacies at the helm of affairs. Someone who used to be say a municipal commissioner or chairman of a development authority, suddenly by virtue of seniority becomes home secretary, which is an extremely specialized job. And the men at the helm of affairs, be it the home minister or home secretary, if they remain novice, then what the result can be, this nation has just witnessed. No amount of scrutiny would help this country unless we make it a point to have specialised professionals handling specialized departments. Just like a veteran and a decorated Indian Police Service (IPS) is far more suited to become a better home secretary, a veteran and decorated army officer would perhaps do more justice to the position of defense secretary, than what an IAS officer would do. All the more reason as to why many of the Public Sector Units (PSUs) in spite of their intrinsic potential find it difficult to compete against their more agile private counterparts. A private entity would always have professionals running both day to day as well as strategic affairs rather than protocol driven bureaucrats. In countries like the US, incumbent presidents bring their own administrative teams to run their tenure who are mostly professionals from the industry with chequered career track records. No wonder then that successive US administrations, across all departments, have been far more competent and proactive than what their counter parts in India have been. A decision of scrutiny of every 14 years or 20 years might be too little too late for India. What it requires today for better tomorrow is a complete overhaul of the India administrative system and weed out the very bureaucratic mindset and replace it with technocracy. Only then real changes for a better tomorrow would be possible.
Case study: It's been a year of scams for India: New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) began interrogating a former telecoms minister A. Raja on Friday in the country's biggest corruption case, a move the government hopes will help ease a crippling political row with the opposition. Here are details on four major scandals that have broken out recently: TELECOMS LICENCE ROW India may have lost up to $39 billion in revenue when the telecoms ministry gave out lucrative licences and radio spectrum in 2007/08 at below-market prices, the state auditor has said. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India's (CAG) report last month also said rules were flouted when the licences were given out which led to many ineligible firms getting licences. While nobody has been charged, investigations have focused on the telecoms ministry, firms and lobbyists. Telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja was sacked after the report was released. Raja has denied any wrongdoing. The top anti-corruption official's credentials have also been questioned by the Supreme Court, as he was the senior bureaucrat in the telecoms ministry before his elevation and has a separate corruption charge against him. The scam has led to the opposition stalling the last session of parliament which ended this month, demanding a joint parliamentary probe. The government has rejected the demand, saying separate investigations are underway. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating allegations of corruption in the ministry and the government has said it is willing to have the Supreme Court monitor the probe. The CAG report says units of realtor Unitech were given licences despite not having adequate capital. The units are now part of the India operations of Norway's Telenor.
Swan Telecom, which has since been bought into by UAE's Etisalat, was given a licence despite being disqualified as No. 2 telecoms firm Reliance Communications owned more than 10 percent in it, the auditor said. Reliance Communications was also given undue benefits as it sought permission to offer services under the more popular GSM technology, the auditor said. All firms have denied wrongdoing and have said they complied with all rules when licences were given. Authorities have questioned Nira Radia, a top lobbyist who represents companies like Tata and Reliance Industries, as part of an investigation into whether money laundering and forex laws were broken when the licences were purchased. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been criticised for sitting on a request to grant permission to charge Raja with corruption, and been forced to answer questions from the Supreme Court. LOAN BRIBERY SCAM Top officials of Indian banks, lenders and financial firms have been accused of taking bribes to grant corporate loans. While the size of the scandal is not known, local media have reported it could run into millions of dollars. The CBI, India's federal investigative agency, arrested eight people in November, including the chief executive of LIC Housing Finance and senior officials at state-run Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of India. The bribes were allegedly paid by private finance firm Money Matters Financial Services, which acted as a "mediator and facilitator" for the loan beneficiaries, the CBI said. Three Money Matters executives, including the managing director, have been arrested for offering bribes. Several leading Indian firms were named in court documents filed by the CBI, including wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy, infrastructure company HCC's Lavasa unit and real estate firm DB Realty (DBRL.BO). All three have denied any wrongdoing. A CBI source has said the probe will widen to look if other banks were involved.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has asked investors not to panic over the case, following up on comments by other officials that this is a case of individual wrongdoing and not a widespread scam and that the banking sector will not be affected by it. COMMONWEALTH GAMES The sporting extravaganza in October, which cost up to $6 billion, was dogged by several cases of alleged corruption, including the purchase of equipment and issuing contracts. The anti-corruption watchdog has identified more than 16 projects with possible irregularities. The ruling Congress party sacked Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the organising committee, as secretary of the party's parliamentary wing. Three of his close aides have been arrested and local media has said Kalmadi too could be arrested. His homes and offices were raided by the CBI on Dec. 24. The allegations include manipulations of tenders in the building of stadia and other games infrastructure, and inflating bills for equipment such as treadmills and toilet paper rolls. Several bodies, including the anti-corruption watchdog, the state auditor, the CBI and a special committee set up by Prime Minister Singh, are probing the allegations. The CBI has also raided the homes and offices of the Games organisers, part of a probe into $21.7 million of misplaced HOUSING SCAM Congress party politicians, bureaucrats and military officials have been accused of taking over land meant to build apartments for war widows. After the story broke in local media the government sacked the powerful chief minister of western Maharashtra state, who is a member of the Congress party. The Arabian Sea-facing block with 103 apartments in an upscale Mumbai district that is among the world’s most expensive pieces of real estate is also being investigated for several violation of norms, including environmental and land-use rules. Apartments were sold for as little as $130,000 each, while local media estimated their value at $1.8 million each.
Since the scandal broke, the government has effectively taken back permits allowing owners to occupy the apartments, leading to the disconnection of water and power supply. The CBI has begun investigating the case.
2G case: CBI to be under close watch: The first charge sheet in the 2G spectrum allocation case against former communications minister A. Raja and eight others was filed last Saturday, 60 days after Mr. Raja had been taken into custody and interrogated at the pushing of the Supreme Court. The Central Bureau of Investigation, to which the case has been entrusted, just managed to beat the deadline. If the country’s premier investigating agency had taken even a day longer in filing the first charge sheet, Mr. Raja would have had to be released on bail. That is apt to have sent a message of the government being lackadaisical about dealing with what is arguably the worst case of corruption in a government department since Independence. In the event it would have damaged the reputation of the Manmohan Singh government even further by leaving the impression that it was not serious about seeking to punish the guilty in spite of monitoring by the country’s highest court. There is another aspect to the matter. Had a delay occurred, many might have concluded that the government was going out of its way to postpone the inevitable until voting had taken place for the Assembly election in Tamil Nadu so that the Congress’ partner, the ruling DMK, may escape at least some of the prejudicial outcome of Mr Raja’s actions that are under investigation. Other than Mr. Raja, the charge sheet takes in eight others, including two officials deemed to be close to the former minister in running the alleged racket of allocating 2G spectrum in return for huge monetary favours. Besides, a clutch of real estate companies that were alleged to be in cahoots with a well-known industrial group to deprive the exchequer of thousands of crores of rupees have been brought into the net through the chargesheet. It is evident that the muck that will be raked involves very influential corporate personalities and their accomplices. This essentially means that every effort is likely to be made by those thought to be guilty to use top legal brains to browbeat the system. Thus, the CBI is required to exercise considerable vigilance in dealing with this case. This can effectively happen only if the investigators build a case that is solid. They are wont to do the opposite so that crooks, especially those with political backing, get away. Therefore, the CBI’s political masters will be under public scrutiny to ensure that the 2G case is not scuttled for want of diligence
and application. The chargesheet that has been filed does not embrace RajyaSabha MP Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK supreme M. Karunanidhi. Some of the information on the 2G affair, which is in the public domain, has made some uneasy that Ms Kanimozhi may have been a beneficiary in the 2G case through Mr. Raja. The young DMK leader has challenged the aspersion cast on her and has publicly stated she would stand up and fight to clear her name. It is just possible that she is being unfairly targeted by her political opponents. But that does not mean that the CBI must not strain every nerve to look at any information pertaining to her possible involvement. The agency would be earning minus points if it gave the impression of not acting in right earnest unless the Supreme Court gave it a piece of its mind. Several speculative figures had been suggested as to the extent of loss to the national exchequer on account of the 2G scandal. The highest of these was `1,76,000 crores. Discrepancies are fundamentally on account of the methodology adopted. The first CBI chargesheet suggests a figure of around `30,000 crores. This is no mean sum, of course. While examining the material furnished by the CBI, the Supreme Court will need to pay attention to this matter as well. Wings of the Youth: History proves that whenever people have needed to throw off the shackles of oppression and tyranny, they have turned to the youth. And when the young people have done their job, the older generation has stepped in to govern and form policies. So for revolution it’s the youth, for politics, the grey heads. In India it has often been seen that a section of the youth have decided to start their own political parties instead of just being members of “youth wings” of the bigger ones. However, these parties have hardly ever managed to go the distance and this gives rise to the question whether there’s space in the Indian political system for such political parties to coexist with the biggies. With Rahul Gandhi promoting the participation of youth in politics, and politicians down South stressing on the power of youngsters, youth groups and election initiatives have enveloped the political scenario — but its extent and sustainability is questionable. The list of youth parties is long, there’s the National Youth Student Union of India, the All India Democratic Youth Organisation and many others but while it has been noticed that student unions are highly politicised in terms of agenda and action, experts highlight the dangers of the youth entering politics with the sole motive of accessing power and money. “Students entering politics is a phenomenon that’s been in the society ever since 1950s. However, post 1955, the groups began politicising
their agenda and college campuses were being treated as Parliament sessions, which is not ideal. From the greed for power to the thirst for money, young minds are more inclined towards the ‘political’ aspects rather the betterment of society, so it’s better if such unions are not formed,” opines Cho Ramaswamy, expert in state politics. Politics is not just about holding banners and promoting campaigns, and anti-corruption groups feel that it’s not just about spreading a message — it’s about cleaning up the system from the grassroots levels — a long lost agenda. “Politics is way beyond holding a banner or supporting a protest. What needs to be done is working at the grassroots level and clearing up the corruption and mess that has enveloped the Indian political scenario today. It will not suffice to form a politically-charged group and move from one city to another inflicting the agenda of the group on society. One needs to understand the problems of the poor and figure out ways of how to deal with these issues. Greed for power and money will only lead to the fall of the Indian democracy, which is the core of the system today,” says Banu Kumar, president of the anti-corruption group, Fifth Pillar. Politicians opine that when a youngster enters the political system, the idea of “I want to make a change” is overshadowed with the greed of power and economic status and in the case of amateur unions, ego clashes often lead to the fall of such groups. “Youngsters are a reflection of the society. Youth politics is a welcome change in the country. However, aspiring politicians must embrace the problems of the poor and not ridicule them. One needs to live like the poor, mix with every stratum of people to understand the problems and only then an able leader will evolve. More than 60 per cent of the people in India live below the poverty line. This fact has to be taken into account while forming the principles of the party. Another point that ought to be kept in mind is that the youth union or group should not be a replica of the existing parties. Most often, the youth get carried away for want of power and money and tend to deviate from the actual problems. It is not mandatory to form a party with educated people only. Even the weaker society has to be given a chance. They’ve lived with the poor and understand the nature of the issues, so they are a great source of strength to the party. Ego clashes are yet another common problem that surrounds youth unions. However, if youngsters work with the principle of serving the country and not ‘self’, such initiatives are bound to make a difference,” says E. Sarath Babu, independent candidate in Chennai. Some feel that youth politics is a welcome change, as the youngsters tend to idealise their vested interests. “Youngsters are idealistic and they realize their vested interests. They also enter the field of politics with soaring expectations. However it is important that young minds concentrate on studies and not take to politics until they complete
basic education. Youth campaigns and initiatives help spread awareness amongst people and it's from these groups that good leaders are elected,” says Nalini Chidambaram, prominent lawyer and wife of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. With our country being one of the few that allows women reservation in Panchayat elections, leaders of such youth groups opine that youngsters ought to take advantage of such provisions. “Only in India, there’s 50 per cent reservation for women in Panchayat elections. That’s how I could contest in elections when I was just 21 and fresh out of college. Youngsters who are out there to create a change in the system, must make full use of this opportunity. However, the problem is that the existing political parties don’t allow the independent candidates to grow much. For example, in countries like the USA, college students are allowed to volunteer in election campaigns for the Republicans and Democrats and in the process, they get to learn about the entire election process. This helps in providing an understanding of how the two political groups work. Such opportunities are few in our country. Today, if I want to start on my own, I would not know whom to approach as the leading political parties will overshadow my intentions,” says Jothi Mani, national general secretary of Indian Youth Congress. Politicians opine that youngsters have two choices: proactive volunteering or dutiful voting, and one can’t hope to make a difference without getting involved in the political scenario. Says K. Pandiarajan, member of Dravida Munnetra Desiya Kazhagam (DMDK), Youth cannot be indifferent to politics and yet hope to make a change. They ought to be proactive in terms of building a strong political base even if it’s an individual party and there is bound to be friction from the existing parties because our country has always had dynasty politics. To be a leader requires utmost maturity, grit and perseverance and to survive in the present system, it takes more than just leading a campaign.”
http://virtuphill.blogspot.com/2009/04/reasons-why-politicians-shouldbe-paid.html http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fddc24b4-35af-11de-a99700144feabdc0.html#axzz1HyxH0oxZ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister_of_India
http://www.economist.com/node/16525240 http://www.wowdelhi.com/CityLife/CityNewsView.asp? NewsType=IiaNews&newsid=5493 http://www.helium.com/items/1469634-indian-youth-in-politics http://www.ssc.upenn.edu/~merloa/wpapers/mediocracy.pdf http://blogs.payscale.com/content/2010/11/congress-averagesalary.html
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.