In 2017, when the Union Cabinet decided to disallow the use of the red beacon on vehicles in India, it was indeed a milestone in the prevailing VIP culture. But there’s much more to demolish before India can see a shift from VIP culture to EIP(Everyone is Important) culture.
Some people are bound to have certain privileges, for example, the country’s President and Prime Minister are protected across the globe because they essentially represent the country but not everyone can misuse these privileges, something that has become a common occurrence in India.
Another surprising fact is that India is blooming in VIP numbers with about 579092 VIPs, China with an even larger population than India has only 435 VIPs and other countries like the USA and Japan have even fewer VIPs.
Why is VIP culture a problem?
In India, almost everybody, who’s anybody is protected. The list is impressive indeed: politicians, bureaucrats, ministers, spiritual leaders, judges, criminals, and even the kin of the leaders are the ones to reap the benefits.
They gain access to high security, better healthcare, and travel privileges, something the common citizens can only look at from afar.
In a country that has a deficient police force in comparison to the general public, a large fraction of policemen are still deployed to serve the VIPs.
Their convoys essentially halt the movement of the public, many a time leading to the delay in healthcare assistance to many individuals.
Recently, a car carrying an ill woman named Vandana Mishra in Kanpur was halted because a special train carrying President Ram Nath Kovind was on the way. The woman in the car died on her way to the hospital due to post covid complications.
This isn’t the first time a common citizen had to lose his/her life because of a VIP commotion. In reality, the train should have been delayed or the car should have been allowed to move.
Even protestors make way for ambulances but perhaps such convoys tend to forget the cost of human life.
In India where vaccination slots are very scarce to find, VIPs are forcing healthcare workers to provide their vaccines at their homes.
Reports have also shown instances where justices have been using posh hotels as Covid health facilities. Another failure of the democratic system.
The VIP culture is dominantly prevalent in India only since this culture is significantly absent in developed nations like the USA and UK.
For a country that aspires to have a seat at the global high table, India must emulate the relatively simple style of high-ranking officials and leaders in western democracies.
In our country, the President with several privileges has stated that a large portion of his salary goes into taxes(even though his pay is exempt from the taxes). With such instances, India has to learn a lot from the west.
Contradictory to this, in Canada, doctors protested in Quebec against the huge benefits noticeable in their annual pay by starting an online petition.
They said that their conscience prevented them from accepting a pay hike when working conditions continued to be difficult for others in their profession like nurses and patients were unable to get proper treatment.
The doctors want this extra payment to be used to provide more funds to nurses, other healthcare professionals, and more affordable healthcare facilities for the patients.
There is no doubt that some people deserve these privileges, but it is conveniently forgotten that the special treatment is only reserved for the offices they hold and not for their own. Therefore, to celebrate the true spirit of democracy it is necessary to abolish the VIP culture.