A Suitable Residence for the Once-Mighty
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.