I hope that Mr. Pranab Mukherjee gets to read this open letter addressed to him via my blog.
This morning’s Indian Express has an article that informs its readers that “Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to call a meeting of a dozen top industrialists soon to underline to them that an “ostentatious lifestyle” by CEOs does not reflect well especially when 37.2 per cent of the Indian population is still below the poverty line.”
I read this article only after my post ‘Foreign Aid To India’ went live. Otherwise, what I am about to write would certainly have been included in that. I have therefore taken the unusual step of posting this second post on the same day.
Mr. Mukherjee, you are one of the few Indian politicians that I respect and admire.
The IMF has recently revised its growth projection for India from 8.8% to 9.4%. India’s Index of Industrial Production for the eighth successive month has shown double digit growth. Who is responsible for this sir?
Mr. Mukherjee, as an ordinary Indian, I am not at all bothered with the lavish and ostentatious lifestyles of our CEOs. They fully deserve it. Since they have been unleashed as it were, from the controls of India’s politicians and bureaucrats, they have created wealth for this country, created employment, and most importantly, made India’s presence felt in the world, by acquisitions and mergers and providing value for foreign investors. Share holders and employees of the companies that these CEOs run are extremely happy and wish that the CEOs be rewarded for making it possible for them to prosper too. The ordinary Indian is also happy that these companies contribute to the national exchequer in the form of all kinds of taxes and duties. Many of them also export and enable us to build a healthy foreign exchange reserve and make it possible for India to lend to the World Bank rather than borrow from it. Why would any right thinking Indian deny them a well deserved life style, if that is what they want? They are spending their hard earned money Mr. Mukherjee, not the tax payer’s.
Mr. Mukherjee, you may wish to turn your attention to India’s politicians and bureaucrats who live perhaps more lavish and ostentatious life styles. Have you ever seen a cavalcade of a VIP go past and observe the reaction of the ordinary man on the street? I recommend that you do. Have you heard the cry of ordinary Indians to provide them with security when the answer given is that there are not enough policemen to do that, when we see all sorts of belted security being provided for our politicians? What comparable facilities do the CEOs enjoy at the expense of tax payer’s funds?
Which CEO has accommodation comparable to that of one of India’s ministers in Delhi? Which Indian CEO’s cavalcade causes traffic to be stopped for hours causing problems of movement to ordinary people, sometimes even resulting in tragic consequences like being unable to reach a hospital on time to save a life? Which CEO causes the delaying of trains and planes due to late coming?
“Worthy of the respect of the people are those content with a calm and frugal life.” – Lao Tsu.
Ask yourself sir, if Indian politicians have earned the respect of the people? Please ask your fellow Ministers and the bureaucrats who too have lost the respect of the people to change. May be sometime in the future, both will become worthy of the respect of the people. May be one day, the word Netaji will again become as respectable as it was for your fellow Bengali Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.