By T S Sudhir
Dear civil society fellow Indians, may be, just may be, our politicians need not be summarily condemned as a bad lot after all. They may have their heart in the right place. And it apparently beats for our environment. Now say kudos !
I say this after reading a Hindustan Times news report yesterday that said each MP will be given a tablet by the Parliament Secretariat. Or, if they choose to purchase it themselves, the cost will be reimbursed. Burden on the exchequer : 50000 rupees multiplied by 552 LS and 250 RS members. (Take care not to leave out a zero. For guidance, contact Andimuthu Raja c/o Tihar Jail, Delhi)
And now don’t gasp like Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai did when they won the crown in the 20th century. Till last year, the MPs were given 1.5 lakh rupees to buy computers and peripherals. So the country now saves one lakh per MP.
(Just curious : Do Raja, Kalmadi and Kanimozhi also get to take the tablet to Tihar? For some relief and distraction? Or is it because Raja and Kalmadi have heard about the tablets, that they have written saying they want to attend Parliament. Smmaaaart boys, I say)
And there is one more justification. That too from CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury. “The cost of a tablet will be less than the money spent on paper for each MP over his tenure,” he says to the newspaper. Move over Sunderlal Bahuguna. This `stay connected’ is the new Chipko movement !
The news report says the National Informatics Centre has developed applications compatible with Samsung and Apple tablets, “keeping in mind the information requirements of Parliament”. MPs can see by a touch of the button, what the starred questions listed for the day are. But shouldn’t they have found out if MPs are really interested in debates inside Parliament?
And folks, c’mon, isn’t it an honour to sponsor a tablet for the likes of Vijaya Mallya, Jaganmohan Reddy, L Rajagopal. After all these `poor’ MPs are toiling to their last dime in the country’s `larger’ interest. Everyone loves a good tablet, you see.
This comes at a time when my driver’s family of five, with a monthly income of 10,000 rupees, will shell out 400 rupees instead of 344 rupees for a gas cylinder every month. And he is looking to purchase a bicycle, not so much because he thinks it is `cool to be green’, but because he can’t afford to commute in his two-wheeler when petrol sells at 71 rupees a litre.
Now that we are giving these privileged gentlemen and ladies a tablet each, why not we ask them to reduce a bit of our headache. In keeping with their resolve to safeguard the environment, ask each one of them to voluntarily reduce the number of their escort cars and security that has become a sluttish status symbol for their class. All their tablets and more can be sponsored with that cut.
Will they bite the bullet? Nay, the hypocrites won’t.
Can I have a tablet too? I mean an Aspirin, silly.