Salary Cut- A welcome move by the government

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By Lalit Garg

The definition of ideal leadership is, “Taking everyone together, decision-making ability, right solution to the problem, equality of words, faith in people, foresight, participation in public grief, imagination and creativity.” If that is so then, the Parliament of India has made it worthwhile by unanimously passing the bill to cut the salaries of the Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs to reduce the economic crisis associated with the Corona epidemic. Ideal leadership is neither in favour nor in opposition, but in such sensitive and persuasive decisions. There was an era when the Emperor or the King used to protect his kingdom and subjects by fighting with the power of his arms and sacrificed his life for this duty and ideal. In this regard, with a view to providing permanent relief to the country that is struggling with great financial dire, this bill of salary cuts passed by Parliament is not only welcome, but also exemplary.

It was necessary to send a message to the country by the top leadership of democracy that if everyone’s earnings in the country have decreased, then they should also include MPs. It is also a critique of morality and it is also a need of the hour that MPs go ahead and take a cut in salary. This inspiring initiative shows that MPs are aware and sensitive about their individual contributions in times of the Corona epidemic. The salary has been reduced by 30 percent for a full year. Even though no huge amount of funds will be saved due to the reduction in the salary of MPs, but their moral strength towards contribution to service will definitely increase, national character and strength will be strengthened.

Thirty percent reduction in salary was implemented in April itself, thinking that the corona-period will not last long, but now in September also clearly it seems that this bad time is going to go ahead. In view of this catastrophe, the Parliament has presented a unique example; such examples have been presented before. India suffered a lot in the 1962 war. To take advantage of this, Pakistan waged war in 1965. But the Indian Army, led by the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, defeated Pakistan by giving a befitting reply. The financial crisis in India deepened during the war. In such a situation, Shastriji had appealed to the people from Ramlila Maidan that everyone should give up their unnecessary expenses and must keep a fast once a week. Due to which India does not have to buy more wheat from America and India can get out of the financial crisis quickly. So he himself started fasting a day. Not only this, he had also refused to take his salary to get the country out of this financial crisis and to be an inspiration to the countrymen. It is also said that once Shastriji’s dhoti was torn, he ordered to sew the torn dhoti instead of getting a new dhoti.

Many such MPs have become symbols of light in the present era. The great cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has become an example these days by depositing nearly 90 lakh rupees in the Prime Minister’s Fund as a Rajya Sabha MP in six years. Lata Mangeshkar, who was awarded the voice queen and Bharat Ratna, had not even touched the check of salary and allowances. Lata Mangeshkar has been a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005. During this time she neither took salary nor allowances. Not only that, when they were sent checks, they came back from there. Lata Mangeshkar has not even applied for pension. A detail of any former member who is not taking pension is unavailable. In fact, the bigger the singer Lata is, the greater is her moral strength and heart.

Those who have come forward for deduction of salary and allowances include the President, the Vice-President and the Governor. All the states of the country should take steps towards such cuts. The government is rightly saying that service starts from home and it is the responsibility of the MPs to implement the model at every level and present the idea before the country. Along with salary cuts, the government should also reduce its expenses with priority, without which work can go on. Along with preventing extravagance, it is also very important that the money being collected in the name of Corona reaches only the hands of the needy. The responsibility rests on the government, as much as on all MPs, so that the finances of the country are fully utilized at the time of Corona. However, at the time of Corona, some such allowances of MPs could also be cut, whose need has reduced with time. MPs’ interaction with people has been less than before, most meetings have become virtual, and this is fair. In such a case, allowances cuts should be considered. Along with MPs, it is also necessary to reflect on the salary and allowances of high officials and employees. The decision to suspend the MP funds for regional development for two years is also timely. Each MP gets five crore rupees every year in the form of MP’s fund, so that he can spend or get the required amount in the development of his area. Many opposition leaders have termed the suspension of “MP Nidhi” as unnecessary. They believe that the responsibility of MPs has not reduced at the time of the epidemic, people will expect them as before, but in the time of the epidemic, the expectations of the people have increased. At such a time, strong arguments are being made in favor of complete or partial restoration of MP funds. But in the economic crisis arising out of the Corona epidemic, basic requirements related to common life are more important than development work. If the savings due to non-spending of MP funds are merged with the savings due to 30 percent reduction in salary, it is estimated that the government will save Rs 7,930 crore. It is the intention of the government to spend this amount in the fight against Corona and it cannot be considered wrong at all. Decisions in salary cuts and suspension of MP funds will prove to be new and an important step to give new direction and force to the fight of the Central and State governments against Corona.

Parliament is expected to take concrete steps in the context of trade, employment etc. which have been disturbed due to Corona. The life of the budding artisans and workers, who were the basis of making urban prosperous life convenient and happy, is also no less valuable for us. This waste has occurred in many dimensions. Its biggest dimension is the disappearance of business and the purchasing power of the common man is minimized. To improve this, such suggestions should come through the Parliament itself, so that the people of this country feel that their representatives sent to Parliament are doing their work honestly. This sincerity will have to be shown to the MPs on both the power and the opposition as MPs of both the parties are elected by the votes of the general public. There is a need to give a new dimension and sensitise the system of kings and subjects, Rulers and those governed. We thank and wish the present top leadership that they live and live on the strength of emotion, love and compassion, not on the strength of the common man. Because when there is no tomorrow, there will be no today.

(Lalit Garg is a Journalist, columnist, writer and member of Rajbhasha samiti, Ministry of Home Affairs. He can be reached at lalitgarg11@gmail.com)

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