Where’s the party tonight, and tomorrow night?

On the day the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was announcing a 27.5% drop in poverty ratio, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was okaying a 200 per cent hike in the emoluments of the titular heads of Indian democracy.

# President’s salary: currently Rs 50,000 per month, raised to Rs 1.5 lakh per month.

# Vice-president’s salary: currently Rs 40,000 per month, raised to Rs 1.25 lakh per month.

# Governor’s salary: currently Rs 36,000 per month, raised to Rs 1.10 lakh per month.

The hikes will take retrospective effect from January 2007.

Ours is not to ask why, but a 200 per cent jump in an era of 13 per cent inflation, without any signficant promise of improvement in “return on investment”?

Deccan Herald reports that the last hike in salaries of the above mentioned worthies came just eight months ago, in January this year. Do even cash-flushed private companies allow their top executives such hikes, so often?

What the hikes show is that governmental austerity is the most bogus thing going around. On the one hand, the Prime Minister does a big bhangra about tightening the belt, limiting foreign trips and all, and on the other hand….