We always read about how the Scandinavian countries are so far ahead in terms of quality of life. Always, they top all the “good” lists. And given the chaos that we live in, we cannot help but wonder if they come from another planet!
Like take this VIP culture in India. A politician has a sense of entitlement to everything, they want to be treated like royalty and that too free of cost! PM Modi might be saying that we need to do away with the VIP culture but it’s near impossible. Not just politicians in office and their relatives, even those retired continues to enjoy the VIP pampering.
Maybe we could learn a thing or two from Sweden. It gives no luxury or privileges to its politicians. They have no official cars or private drivers, Swedish ministers and members of parliament travel in crowded buses and trains, just like the citizens they represent. And these are not retired, these are currently serving as ministers. They do not get any right to parliamentary immunity, so they can be tried like any other person. They have no private secretaries at the door and their austere parliamentary offices are as small as eight square metres.
Politicians who dare to spend public money on taxi journeys, instead of riding the train, end up on news headlines. Even the speaker of parliament receives a card to use public transportation. Only the prime minister has the right to use a car from the security forces on a permanent basis.
Swedish parliamentarians live in tiny apartments in the capital, where they wash and iron their own clothes in communal laundries. Their salaries? Approximately two times more than what an elementary school teacher earns on average. And those working with the municipalities? They do not get even a salary and have to work from home.
And we wonder about motivation when pay is low and no perks. Its more about a sense of serving the nation, very deeply embedded and not worn like a flag on the arm. Despite no VIP culture, Sweden is one of the wealthiest, most socially just and least corrupt countries in the world, where nobody is above anybody else. Where are we?