Following the preaching of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherji, a sort of race has started among the various central ministers to embrace austerity measures. Some of them are traveling in economy classes of airlines – earlier they used to travel in executive class.
But as it is said, old habits die hard, some of the members in the cabinet could not digest the idea. One of ministers, Shashi Tharoor declared the economy class as cattle class.
As was expected, his statement raised a dust storm with all types of criticism falling on him from all quarters.
In fact, Indian economy is highly uneven. Great income disparity is its hallmark. There is a huge difference of 9 million times between the incomes of the poorest and the richest person in the country. In other words, income of the richest man in the country is 9 million times more than that of the poorest man. It is but natural for the rich class to show off their richness. Whether it is during travelling or merry-making, well-to-do class people exhibit their opulence lavishly.
But our parliamentarians are the representatives of the people. These people include both rich as well as the poor. During elections, it is mostly the poor classes that turn out in great numbers to cast their votes.
They cast their votes in the hope that the leaders they are electing would truly represent them in words and deeds. But what happens?
As soon as the elections are over, our parliamentarians become VIPs. They are allotted spacious accommodation in the VIP areas, they are provided free amenities like water and electricity, and even the furnishings of the MP bungalows are done with government funds. In practice, an MP has to spend no or very little money from his pocket for his day-to-day living. Obviously, the opulent living of MPs and ministers is a heavy burden on the government coffers. Ultimately, it becomes a liability of the nation.
Even then, our ministers don’t seem to be unanimous to follow the austerity measures as sought by the Finance Minister. On the contrary, they can be seen indulged in manipulations as to how to get their wages and perks increased. Country is currently passing through a recession phase. Drought and continuous rise in prices of essential items are adding to the woes of the common man. In such a situation, incoherent behaviour of the ministers does not convey right message to the masses.
omen are inducted into armed forces through short service commission for a maximum serving term of 14 years. Nine women army officers were retired recently from the army. Armed forces are regarded as the topmost service sector in the country. But women face great discrimination here. So much so that they do not get the same facilities after retirement as are enjoyed by their male counterparts. Lady army officers have been raising demand since long to do away with this discrimination and treat them at par with the male officers. But so far their demand has fallen on deaf ears. A male army officer gets permanent commission after five years of service.
Also, at the time of retirement, a female officer gets only 3.5 akh rupees as gratuity — much less than that of a male officer. They also do not get other benefits offered to ex-servicemen, even though females too join the army with the same spirit as the men do. At present, there are about 1100 women serving in the army as officers.
Since long, the Indian Government has been mulling to attract more and more women into Indian armed forces. But short service commission is the greatest hindrance. Occasionally, the government expresses its intent to give the women permanent commission in the armed forces. But it will be limited to two non-combating units only. Number-wise, this move will benefit only a few women.
If we take a look at the service sector, we find women excelling in every field. They are serving in bureaucracy, judiciary, politics, media and hundreds of other fields in full capacity. And their service record proves that they are more devoted and honest to the position they hold. Their working style brings innovation in the fields they are serving in.
It is only in the armed forces that the women are deprived a chance to show their calibre. In a way, such an attitude prevents the armed forces from taking all the advantages that permanent commissioning of women officers could provide.
Continuing discrimination against women in army indicates that armed forces do not regard women physically and mentally fit to serve at the frontiers. It is necessary, therefore, that the armed forces get rid of this mentality first.
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he “word” lifestyle has a very simple meaning according to the dictionary. It is just “the way in which a person lives” and this of course means that each of us has his or her own lifestyle. It’s another matter that the word is now used often as an adjective to mean an expensive, elegant, classy, sophisticated way of living with “lifestyle” exhibitions routinely showcasing “lifestyle” luxury products.
Coming back to the literal meaning of the word, the rich naturally have a very different lifestyle from that of the middle-class and the poor. They wear expensive designer clothes, go for exotic holidays, drive BMWs, Hummers and Bentleys when they are not chartering planes and spend money as if it were water. The middle-class lives carefully, but do not have to go hungry or without adequate clothing
It is better to line in the present than think of past mistakes or have great hopes of the future.
By Kasturi Rangachari
or a roof over their heads. The poor often do go hungry, have to scrounge for clothing and often do not have a roof over their heads that will keep out the sun and rain.
But has lifestyle anything to do with happiness? Are the rich always happier than the middle-class and the middle-class happier than the poor? We all know that the answer to this question is an emphatic, “No!” though the poor always think that those with full stomachs, clean clothes to wear and a permanent structure with a bathroom to live in, must be happy and the middle-class reads with longing details about the lavish weddings the rich have for their offspring and the holiday jaunts they go for and imagine them to be deliriously happy.