Amid parliamentary impasse, MPs cheer more perks

December 2, 2011

By Annie Banerji

On the way to New Delhi’s international airport, three armed men lean out of the windows of a jeep, furiously waving at the steady stream of traffic to pull over.

As the cars swerve to the dusty edge of the highway, a convoy of a dozen sleek sedans zips past in a blaze of whining sirens and flashing red beacons, breaking all traffic regulations and leaving behind a tangle of vehicles in its wake.

A local politician is late for his flight.

Such situations are likely to become even more commonplace in Asia’s third-largest economy, thanks to a committee that this week submitted a report calling for all MPs to have flashing lights put on their cars to allow them to speed through the country’s clogged streets.

While India’s lawmakers cannot reach a consensus on key economic reforms in parliament (thanks to party infighting) due to shouting across the aisles and drowning out of the speaker, they unanimously rooted for a status upgrade on a list of India’s VIPs.

“MPs have zero work to show on their report card & yet have no hesitation in demanding increase in official status! Earn your increment Mr MP,” tweeted Rahul Kanwal, the executive director of Indian news channel Headlines Today, while “MPs” trended on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Another recommendation was tabled to teach civil servants to be more courteous to politicians, after “recurrent instances” of protocol violations. The committee expressed its “displeasure” at lawmakers’ ranking, which was “much below their status”, the PTI news agency said.

Even as a popular “no work, no pay” chant is doing the rounds targeting the MPs, it hasn’t deterred their enthusiasm to save the planet. The government on Friday sanctioned 50,000 rupees ($973) for each member to buy an iPad — an initiative to save paper.

“Good to hear MPs have got iPads. Now other than all the work they can spend their free time playing ‘Angry Birds’ in Central Hall,” tweeted Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

An estimated $50,000 in running expenses and MPs’ daily allowances is wasted for every hour of parliamentary time lost. But that’s pocket change, corporates and analysts say, compared to the amount the legislature’s failure to debate and pass crucial economic bills is costing the India’s economy.

(Interact with Annie on Twitter at @anniebanerji)


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As much as i’m proud to be born in this country i’m ashamed that these kind of people rule my country.maybe the nation would have been much better if most of these people were never born. :(

Posted by kapilkaushik | Report as abusive

The first thing I want in India is to ban using the late leaders and politicians pictures & names in elections. The candidate has to talk about him and other candidates. Instead it is always they hide behind using the late leaders pictures and speeches. Is this because the current ones have nothing good to say about themselves??

Posted by ksundaram | Report as abusive

No Government can ram policies down the throats with out taking the people in to confidence. This Government is pusing for FDI in the retail sector by the opposition is not convinced, not surprising. Yet it is the Government’s responsibility to address the anxiety of people and allay their fears. This cabinet has some well learned people but unfortunately most of them turned out to be arrogant and stiff necked. – Sai, Chennai, INDIA

Posted by dsaiprasad | Report as abusive

Unfortunately in India, there are no pre-set eligibility criteria for becoming a politician. Unlike other government jobs political leaders need no educational or extracurricular qualifications in order to hold the position of a minister.These are small positions but a politician or minister has huge responsibilities, then why not there is an criteria or exam set to judge the qualities of a political candidate? dnt-there-be-Eligibility-Criteria-for-be coming-a-politician

Posted by contactpkj | Report as abusive