Rid services of VIP culture

The abuse of power in India’s unabashed VIP culture must be documented

It is indisputable that most non-technical delays in flights, particularly of the national airline Air India, can be traced back to people in authority, like ministers and top bureaucrats. Hopelessly manacled as Air India is by the terms of its administration and ownership, it can do very little about VIP culture. However, it is an extremely good development that the PMO has taken note of events of at least two flight delays in the last week and demanded the facts. The abuse of power in India’s unabashed VIP culture must be documented.

In a discussion on the rights of the ordinary fare-paying passengers, the details behind the delays to the two flights become unimportant save with regard to official inquiries. What is of import is that the paying passenger is king. They are the ones who may have missed flights or trains for various reasons but not had the resources to make the service wait for them. Missing a flight is no big deal, and governments have other ways to let important officials catch up with their work.

What our public services need the most is a change of mindset. It should be made structurally answerable to why delays take place, and if they are for extraordinary reasons, like VIP travel, they must be recorded and subject to scrutiny. Intervention by the PMO alone should not spur action although, if the PMO does act in these cases, it would have a salutary effect on airlines as well as its VIP passengers. It is a fervent hope that the aviation minister’s apology is merely a starting point of reform.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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