Karnataka legislators on a China jaunt

So 89 Karnataka legislators (60 MLAs and 29 MLCs) are on a two-week China tour.  Seventy-five more are leaving Bangalore Monday next, according to a media report. The 164-member contingent would be assisted (as if the host country and our Beijing embassy staff wouldn’t) by a team of 13 legislative secretariat officials. 

The China tour, says the assembly speaker, would help our legislators “change their mindset towards development projects and encourage them to take pro-development initiatives”. Such lofty objectives come with a price tag – Rs. 3 crores. Need one stress that this is tax-payers money? Which, you and I would say, could have been put to better use in a hundred other ways.  

But then we are told it is a matter of entitlement. Each legislator is entitled to Rs.2 lakh a year for undertaking study tours within the country. The assembly Speaker is reported saying that legislators would use this amount to visit China. In Karnataka, we are tolerant of such minor variance of use of funds attributing it to the solpa-adjust-maadi .syndrome.  

From an accountant’s viewpoint, there has been cutback in the projected expenses. Initial estimate was Rs.6 crore. The assembly secretariat sought external affairs ministry’s clearance for all 300 legislators – 225 MLAs and 75. MLCs. However, those making the trip adds up to only 164 legislators. The Hindu has it that CM and ministers are not joining the China tour, “apparently realizing the damage it would cause to the image of the government”. The leader of opposition and the state Congress chief also appear to have put the party image before self. Some of the other elected representatives of ours who have opted out of China appear ro have other ideas, if we go by The Hindu report.. Which says some of the legislators will be visiting Europe in batches this November “to study development models there”. 

 Earlier post ; Karnataka legislators for China?  

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