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Do you know what your MPs are being pampered with? 5 perks of being an MP!

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Image Courtesy: Rediff.com

By Shilpika Srivastava

Why are our MPs so rich and the janta so poor? A question that has silently crept in the hearts and minds of millions of other citizens! Unfortunately, the reverberating hum of such silence has always been neglected by those who are actually appointed to shoot the answer.

No, we are not at all against the wealth! Everybody fancies a social establishment, which confides in capitalism and offers everyone a fair chance to build and accumulate the moolah.

So what if they have some undeclared assets cinched away in benami corporations and tabs where some distant nephew of the cook’s uncle is the declared owner.

Do you know that about 82% of the MPs in Lok Sabha 2014 are millionaires? Well, nothing to be surprised though. But, it’s like the Riches fighting for the Poors; and we all know what happens in the end.

In 2014’s Lok Sabha elections, there were 2217 candidates (27%) who entered the battlefield of politics. What’s more surprising is that almost 82% of the candidates, who were declared as the winners in the polls, were millionaires.

And, it’s not just the hunger for power that these candidates do not leave any stone unturned to grab the seat, but it’s also the greed for enjoying the facilities that they would be pampered with once they’re declared victorious. It’s like the Riches getting ‘more rich’!

So, here are surprising 5 perks that you didn’t know your MPs are being pampered with. (After reading this, many of you might consider joining politics as a full-time career.)

1. Your MPs get Rs. 2,000 per day for each day of residence on duty. So, how much annually? Now, you do the maths! In addition, they also receive Rs. 45,000 per month as constituency allowance. You know, how much they spend on their constituencies, right? And, their office expenses sum up to Rs. 45,000 per month.
2. Your MPs get exciting travelling allowances and travel facilities. A Member of Parliament is entitled to innumerous journeys via rail, air and road. The Constitution of India allows these facilities and allowances to be performed for attending a Parliament Session or meeting of a Parliamentary Committee or for the purpose of attending any other business connected with the duties as a member. The allowances are given from the place of usual residence to the place of duty and for return journey from such place to the place of usual residence.
To add more, every member is given the facility to avail 34 single air journeys during a year with spouse or any number of companions or relatives.
3. Your MPs also enjoy facilities such as, their sofa covers and curtains being washed every three months, furniture within the monetary ceiling of Rs. 60,000 in respect of durable furniture and Rs. 15,000 for non-durable furniture.
4. Your MPs could literally talk for free on a phone. Trust us, they won’t have to spend even a single penny out of their pocket. A member is entitled to have three telephones.
Just like we buy free local or STD minutes from our mobile phone operators, a member gets free 50,000 local calls during a year at a cost of being an MP. What’s more? These 50,000 free local calls can be clubbed together, which totals to 1,50,000 local calls in a year.
5. In this era, where there is so much hue and cry over electricity bills, your MPs are entitled to 50,000 units (Yes, 50,000 units) of electricity per annum for FREE!

And, those 5 points are just a tip of the iceberg. Do you think the angst and agony of a poor can be understood by a person who is showered by tons of facilities and allowances by our very own Constitution? Don’t you think their ‘increment’ should be based on their ‘performance’? We are waiting for your opinions!

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)