No longer outsiders

Post retirement benefits

The controversy over the allegation that General V K Singh's phones were tapped has brought attention to the fact that some retired army chiefs remained for long periods in fully furnished army bungalows in Delhi with nearly the same facilities as they had received when they headed the force. Technically, the earmarked house can be retained only for three months after retirement, but some generals extended their stay for almost a year with one continuing for a year and a half. The practice of a post-retirement bungalow in Delhi for a retired army chief was introduced two decades ago. Not only does the retiring general get his own telephone exchange set up by the armed forces communication network but he has a large staff working for him round the clock and also retains high level security. A former army chief had even spent over a crore on furnishing the house.

Politics vs finance

The Rs 200-crore package to bail out the sick PSU, Scooters India ,which was cleared by the Cabinet on Thursday, is part of Rahul Gandhi's project for reviving industry in Uttar Pradesh. Earlier Minister for Heavy Industry, Praful Patel, had put forward a plan for disinvesting the Lucknow based factory, which has been in the red since 2003, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had vetoed the proposal. Surprisingly, at the Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister P Chidambaram resisted the revival package saying he was against such measures in principle. Patel threw up his hands and observed that they seemed to be a division within the Congress. The prime minister had the last word, remarking that one could not keep closing down factories.

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