Flying 'deities' of Indian Democracy

Flying 'deities' of Indian Democracy

In the contemporary Indian political scenario there are three important key positions held by women, i.e. The President, the Chairperson of the Lok Sabha and the UPA Chairperson.

 

By: Saikat Banerjee

Flying 'deities' of Indian Democracy

In the contemporary Indian political scenario there are three important key positions held by women, i.e. The President, the Chairperson of the Lok Sabha and the UPA Chairperson.

Meira Kumar, the Speaker of Lok Sabha who was elected to the post in June 2009 has visited close to a dozen countries since the commencement of her term as Speaker.

Most of her trips are being made in connection with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, costing the exchequer a whopping Rs 100 million, adding a little more than Rs 1.1 million as gifts for her hosts.

The data based on an RTI application filed by activist Subhash Agarwal reveals that the Speaker has spent 146 days abroad since her appointment to the present post. The data also reveals that her visits to Switzerland have been the most frequent. Other countries visited by her include U.S, Panama, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Isle of Man, Swaziland, Kenya and Tanzania.

Kumar was also recently in the news when it was found that the Ministry of Urban Development had exempted her from paying the bill of Rs 20 million due to her, for living in the Delhi bungalow in which her father Jagjivan Ram used to live.

The first woman President of India, Pratibha Patil, since assuming her office in July 2007 till April 2012 has undertaken 12 foreign trips covering 22 countries across 4 continents, spending 79 days abroad costing the public exchequer a whopping Rs 2050 million, a new record among all the Indian Presidents till date.

Patil has so far visited Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Bhutan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Spain, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Russia, Tajikistan, China, Laos, Cambodia, Mauritius, Syria, the UAE, Austria, South Korea, Switzerland, Seychelles and South Africa.

It appears that Mrs. Patil is using the government services and money for personal use which is quite evident when she took her grand-children along with her in the recent 9 day official visit to the Seychelles and South Africa.

A RTI filed by a journalist and RTI activist Ramesh Verma from Hisar, revealed shocking news of Sonia Gandhi’s tour abroad in the last 3 years, burning a hole in the government coffers to the extent of Rs 18500 million, an amount which has not been spent even by the Prime Minister of India.

Ramesh Verma, through the RTI asked the following details: how much has the government spent on Sonia in the last 3 years and were the visits made by her official visits? And if it’s official, then of what benefit was it to the government?

She went to see her mother in New York hospital, which is a personal trip then why were every time four expensive suites booked at Hilton hotel with government money? According to this country’s protocol, only the Prime Minister and the President can use a special plane for foreign trips, but how can an MP be allowed to do so?

Sonia Gandhi is an MP but how did she get to be called the head of the state? The detail of the money spent by Sonia Gandhi has not yet been disclosed.

It is always considered that women are more compassionate and sympathetic towards the problems like famine, drought, hunger etc. of the people.

But after knowing about the above women Indian politicians it appears that the main interest of the above personalities is to enjoy their share of the first class facilities provided from the money of the common people. The question remains that did these women politicians holding their respective positions improve the status of women as a whole in India?

About Author: Saikat Banerjee is a Research Scholar, (M.Phil) at Central University of Haryana

E-Mail: saikattublu2008@gmail.com

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