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Parliamentary mores

india Updated: May 06, 2010 23:07 IST

Ah, the strings attached to hierarchy. Make that purse strings. It stands to reason that the boss brings home a larger slice of the bacon than his or her subordinate. But imagine the torturous situation that our honourable MPs have to bear day in, day out knowing that the secretary who brings in and takes out the files and smiles weakly is getting nearly double the salary of the parliamentarians. Quite clearly, what cuts deepest isn’t so much that the Rs 45,000 a month barely allows a subsistence living for our powerhouses — so what if the perks are extra? — but the fact that the babu, untied to the causality of being elected or nominated gets almost double the amount.

As recent studies in social behaviour have shown — and something that human resources chappies since the Stone Age knew instinctively — employees find it unbearable when a colleague is getting a paisa more. The usual bloke — VIP or not — would be happier if he’s paid minimum wages as long as his colleague in the next cubicle gets paid ‘even less’ minimum wages.

Which is where the outrage from our MPs stems from. And which is why the sweet plea to have a salary that’s even one rupee more is a touching human story, rather than one about wanting ‘More, more, more!’