Friday, September 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Decline of parliamentary standards: will more pay improve matters?

Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “The decline of parliamentary standards” (August 31) reminds me of my days in the Navy when we on board a warship were trying to snatch an English newspaper published from Bombay with a headlines “Hidayatullah: President no grand Mughal”. In a hard-hitting judgement, a Full Bench of the Supreme Court presided over by Mr Justice Hidayatullah struck down the presidential derecognition order and restored the princes their privy purses and privileges.

The Chief Justice observed: “Neither the paramountcy of the grand Mughal who could give subedarship to his generals as he pleased nor the paramountcy of the British Crown has descended to the President of India”.

What the learned Judges might not have foreseen that our country of beggars has the paramountcy of Parliament to restore the privy purses to please the poor people's representatives as they liked to be pleased. The country is poor only for the poor and very rich for the modern princes, speaking and shouting like street scoundrels. I remember during a debate in the Constituent Assembly in 1946, the late Kamath, an ICS officer who was also its member, had suggested primary pass as the minimum educational qualification for an MLA and matriculation for an MP. Pt Nehru opposed this suggestion saying that if that was done, “who would vote for us ”.

People of my area have not seen their MP during the last three years and they feel that he would appear only during the coming elections and not before that. So let us wait for that occasion and see how many new princes take the oath of office and how many lose their privy purses.



National character: The late Rajaji, on watching the political dishonesty becoming our national character several decades back, had offered a solution in the Swarajaya weekly which is still relevant in today’s chaotic scenario:

“Economic and other natural laws do not wait for us to make our minds. We are in for a very grave future. The hierarchy of orderly work has been totally destroyed. The Chinese are a work-minded, industrious people. They work in spite of political chaos. Whether the government is communist or other does not matter to the Chinese people as they do not give up their essential work-mindedness in spite of the political chaos. The position in India, it must be sadly noted, is very different now. We are not work-minded. We are a lazy people. We are, each one, inclined to make something for oneself at the expense of others. Hence dishonesty has grown and become a national characteristic.”

Lt Col DALIP SINGH (retd), Chandigarh

Insensitive politicians: The writer has written several editorials and articles on socio-political issues like hawala scam, other scandals, corruption at high places, the patronage raj, Tehelka episode, UTI muddle, election reforms, missing work culture, silence of good people, citizens and public offices, family welfare/planning, bureaucracy and the media etc. There has been overwhelming response from readers vis-a-vis these editorials/articles. However, it is noticed that nothing has changed in spite of Mr Hari Jaisingh’s sincere exhortations.

The politicians, the bureaucrats, the government departments/offices and the people in general have become immune to all such noble sermons. They read, hear, pause and then forget and in due course these noble thoughts, sermons and exhortations become “visionary themes”.

I would, therefore, request Mr Hari Jaisingh to now write about socio-economic issues like education, drinking water, pollution, unemployment, cheap and speedy justice, AIDS, inflation, red-tape, women’s problems and poverty amelioration because these are some of the pressing issues facing the common man in the country as he is fed up with socio-political wrangles and false hopes and dreary dreams of the politicians.

O. P. SHARMA, Faridabad

Gandhi's children: Mr Hari Jaisingh's break-up of an MP's cost under seven heads will send shivers down the spines of anyone who has the good of the nation at heart. Mahatma Gandhi preached austerity, shunned ostentation, extravaganza, pomp and pageantry, termed them synonymous with vulgarity. But his children — rather all our netagan, except the Jyoti Basu flock — voted for themselves higher pay and perks.

The nation spends crores on the elected public servants. What do they do for the public? They indulge in sit-ins, shouting from the well of the House; they are locked in competitive yellings and walkouts. The entire system stinks, emits foul smell. It has to change. India needs another Jayaprakash Narayan to cleanse the dirt.

S. S. JAIN, Chandigarh

Let’s look after our MPs

The hue and cry against an increase in the emoluments to MPs to Rs 12,000 per month is unjustified. Consdering their responsibility and the heavy expenditure in attending to constituents who visit Delhi, they should be paid a minimum of Rs 1 lakh per month, but it should be subject to tax at the rates prescribed by Parliament for all citizens. The numerous perquisites of the MPs should be abolished (or treated as income for tax purposes). The MPs should be charged market rates for accommodation of their choice and other functional facilities like telephone.

It is also necessary to introduce a punishment and reward system. For an obnoxious behaviour in Parliament such as disrupting its functioning and causing a huge national loss, there should be a pro rata deduction from the salary of the erring MP. A suggestion made some years ago for British Parliament that if MPs produce a surplus Budget a bonus should be given to them is worth considering. The bonus should be paid after closing the actual accounts two years from the Budget presentation.

It is also necessary to abolish the pension for MPs and the so-called constituency development fund which are a distortion in our parliamentary democracy.

An MP should be given a foreign exchange grant of up to Rs 5 lakh during his/her term to visit a few countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, China or Japan, and at least one country each in Europe, Africa and the Americas. This will be a worthy investment for the nation as it will enlarge their horizons.

Instead of downgrading the position of the MPs, we should look after them well through a transparent remuneration system, educate them and demand good performance.

M. R. Pai, Mumbai

Homoeopathic council

Students experience many difficulties regarding their results in the office of the Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, having its office in Sector 22-D, Chandigarh. It does not make adequate arrangements for the evaluation of answerbooks and preparation of results. A few officers have easy access to answerbooks. Students always remain apprehensive about their examination results. Sometimes poor meritorious students have to suffer and rich careless students gain.

This is one of the reasons why the students want to get rid of the Council and join Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.


Extend “lal dora”

In November, 1999, the Chandigarh Administration had agreed to extend the “lal dora” by at least 100 yards. But till date no decision has been taken. The “lal dora” has not been extended for the last 100 years. The poor villagers are baffled. It appears the administration does not take any step unless protests are made through rallies, chain fasts, processions etc.

N. K. GUPTA, Chandigarh

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