Sunday, November 20, 2011

The cost our leaders extract from us for the job of leading us

My very ordinary mind tries to grapple with the figures that our Esteemed Leaders take away from us and then give some back to the society. Mind you my subtraction skills are adequate enough to realise that the difference is a huge one obviously in favour of what they charge us in return for leading us as a country (is that right?)

The numbers game was triggered by a news article yesterday (a small one on Page 12 of the Sunday Times of India). It read that the entre has declared Rs 6000cr sop for weavers in UP. Is that UP alone or for the entire handloom sector in India? It has the stamp of ‘authorship’ of Rahul Gandhi ahead of UP elections and has left little doubt that the package is his ‘personal gift’. Personal you say? Then I have no problem because I am not middle class and ordinary to not the know the difference between public money and personal. So it means that Rahul Baba overcome with sadness for the plight of weavers has pledged money out of his personal fortune for the betterment of the weavers. Still 6000k crore must be a pretty big sum……

It is not big as the sum quoted by the CAG caused due to the 2G scam and that stands at 1,76,645 crores. Or the commonwealth games scam that hurt us to the tune of 8000 crores.
Ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousand, lakh, ten lakhs, crore, ten crores…..my counting abilities stop here and I cannot even for the fear of a hundred lashings imagine a thousand crore. Can you?
Liquor scam cost us 3600 crores where IT officials raided distilleries and discovered that excise duty evasion amounted to 3600 crores and It is believed that 5% of the total excise duty thus saved is paid to political patrons. India lost a stagerring 452 billion dollars due to illicit financial flows due to tax evasion, crime and corruption post-Independence, according to a report released by Washington-based Global Financial Integrity.

Now compare that to what our mai baap gave us- Two things come to my mind as of now because I live in Chennai and these figures are pretty recent and appeared in The Hindu-

Amount spent on Anna Centenary Library- 172 crores
Cost of improving Aanganwadis in Tamil Nadu state- 98 crores
You think my mind is like a headless chicken? Well I will dwell on one more fact before putting my head back on and then trying to walk on the straight line of logic and reason.

Try this-The financials of the Nehru- Gandhi family. Theirs it the bluest of the blue blood. Rahul Gandhi is in his 40s. He has never worked. Rajiv Gandhi worked as a pilot in the Indian Airlines but that was a long long time ago. His Mother, Indira Gandhi also never worked except the 14 years that she was the prime minister of India. His grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was in and out of prisons during India’s freedom struggle and then became PM from ’47 to ’64. His father Motilal Nehru was the only person who actually used his law degree to run a practise. So I am wondering how such a family like the Gandhi survives in these very hard times- costs of vegetables, petrol, housing, interest rates, gold, milk and bus fares have all gone north.

These questions have always plague me. And the same goes to all politicians like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Advani, Sharad Pawar (to name a few but most of our political leaders fit the bill in my line of questioning) who have come so far on very very meagre earning. And mind you they are all octogenarians (Sharad Pawar is approaching that zone soon). My grandmother-in-law too outlived her husband by a good thirty five to forty years but then she lived frugally as well and he was a doctor with a flourishing practise, not a political leader!
Folks, this is something to think about- Our Leaders give with a closed fist but take with shovel and a dump truck!

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