A Suitable Res­i­dence for the Once-Mighty

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

One of the perks of hold­ing very high pub­lic of­fice in In­dia is surely the envy of sim­i­lar in­di­vid­u­als around the world: free post-re­tire­ment ac­com­mo­da­tion and fa­cil­i­ties. Luck­ily, our VVIPs, un­like re­tir­ing pres­i­dents or ousted prime min­is­ters else­where, do not have to scan the mar­ket for suitable bil­lets once the lease on their of­fi­cial abodes run out. Some in­vest­ments de­ci­sions shown in US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s lat­est tax re­turns pub­lished this week point to this con­cern. Hav­ing an­nounced his fam­ily’s in­ten­tion to stay on in Wash­ing­ton DC at least till his younger daugh­ter fin­ishes school, even the most pow­er­ful man in the world will have to buy or rent soon. Bri­tish prime min­is­ters also face sim­i­lar dilem­mas post 10 Down­ing Street. As In­dia adopted many prac­tices from Bri­tain, it is cu­ri­ous this cus­tom was not con­sid­ered for adop­tion. In­stead, In­dia has shown an amaz­ing de­gree of em­pa­thy for au­gust per­son­ages when they’ve to demit not only their grand of­fices but also res­i­dences. They are gra­ciously given near-com­men­su­rate govern­ment ac­com­mo­da­tion, in many cases for per­pe­tu­ity. This unique largesse that In­dia rou­tinely ex­tends is rare, and yet has not been em­u­lated by other na­tions. Even more cu­ri­ous, of course, is the fact that In­dia has not de­cided to change to global norms on this is­sue ei­ther.

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