An Open Letter to the Prime Minister
By SUMITH S. RAO
You have asked the rich and affluent people of India to waive off their share of subsidy on gas cylinders used by them in their homes and help in nation building.
I, for one would definitely prescribe to your view and gladly do so. In return, I would like all of you esteemed gentlemen and ladies who run our great country to also reciprocate our generous offer.
If only, every corporator, MLA, MP, and Minister could also waive off his gas subsidy, we the people of India would be very proud of you and salute you. You would be setting an example to the citizens of India.
Most of you have declared incomes running into a few crores while contesting the elections. When will the day come when you will think of our poor brethren and waive off all the perks that you enjoy because of your position. When will you stop voting unanimously for a pay hike for yourselves, while bitterly fighting against all other issues in Parliament? When will we see you act as responsible citizens and fight over issues rather than take party based decisions?
Let me tell you, dear Sir, the Chancellor of a super power like Germany Ms. Angela Merkel rides on a public train to work, whereas in our country everyone from the Prime Minister, to the Members of Parliament, even down to the Zilla Panchayat President is allocated a car which is paid for from the coffers of our country which is filled generously by the tax payers money.
You incur thousands of rupees worth of telephone bills, electricity bills, free accommodation in luxury bungalows, avail free travel on public transportation, go on foreign jaunts on flimsy excuses and we the people of India pay for it. When will you be a proud Indian and pay for all these facilities availed by you?
You get admitted to luxury hospitals for even a headache and especially when a probe is launched against you for any misdemeanor. Even there, you get the best beds and facilities free of charge. Pray, tell me, Sir “When will you pay for these privileges?”
You travel in air conditioned railway coaches and fly first class in planes even when you are not on official duty. It is us, the citizens of India who pay the fare for you.
Everyone, who is anybody, stakes his claim to fame by clamouring for “Z Class” security when the actual risk assessment for that person is zero. We, the people of India pay a fortune for your security. Alas, what a travesty of our times. That you who should be protecting the nation are being protected by the common man at his cost.
There are people in India who cannot even afford one meal a day and do not even have the strength to complain about it. Sadly, while you enjoy a cup of coffee bought at a princely sum of Rupees One or a full meal at Rupees Twelve at the Parliament canteen in air conditioned comfort and cannot be bothered about these trivial issues. When shall you pay the full cost of a meal without passing on the bill to your countrymen?
Sir, I am just an ordinary citizen of India who dutifully pays his Income tax, Service Tax, Value Added Tax, Wealth Tax, Corporation Tax, Automobile Registration Tax and Property Tax which goes up to nearly 50 percent of our hard earned money while you enjoy the benefits of these taxes and live a privileged life because every citizen of India pays for your privileges.
The day all of you forego and waive all the unnecessary perquisites bestowed upon you by laws enacted by you would be a proud one in our nation’s history. The day, you gentlemen who have been elected to power by the people to govern our nation become responsible citizens of INDIA will be a milestone in our history. That day, all of us will definitely waive off our gas subsidy.
An honest and dutiful citizen
Sumith S. Rao is a well known city based businessman and a former President of the District Small Scale Industries Association.