After a free sarkari ‘bungla’, sarkari gari and sarkari travel allowance, it’s now free tablet computers, aka tabs, for our Members of Parliament.
But don’t think these tablets will be some low-end tacky stuff developed by our hugely talented bunch at public sector info-tech companies.
Each of our 790 leaders — many of whom are not even tech savvy — will get Rs 50,000 to buy either a (now, don’t break your cheap, black keyboard) cool Apple iPad or a snazzy Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Apparently, the Parliament’s secretariats thought about this scheme because they reduce paper usage and also to help the MPs access past debates and question lists effortlessly.
The money earmarked (Rs 50,000 per tab) is at least Rs 10,000 more than the price of the best-available tab in the market. We don’t know yet who decided on the allocation amount and why no special Buy-a-Tab discount was arranged for our special leaders. Or why they can’t go for cheaper versions available in the market.
Even at the risk of sounding jealous, we still don’t understand what these tabs will achieve when some MPs don’t even want to touch computers.
Now do you really see one of those voluble MPs (you know the types we are talking about) come to Parliament carrying a tab in their starched kurta pockets and then looking at it gravely and reading out their questions from it or wave it at the Speaker and treasury benches during debates after making their point?
Or, who knows, this could be a lollipop to make the House proceedings attractive and ensure attendance? If that is the case, the gift is a mighty expensive and juicy one at that.
And why stop with normal proceedings? We want to see the finance minister reading his budget speech from a tab and the Prime Minister making his August 15 speech from from it at Red Fort.
As you have got it now, we will keep a tab on your tabs.