Former Indian Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers do not have to lack creature comforts, judging from the documents made available by the Ministry of Home Affairs to a Right to Information applicant.

Documents accessed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal show the following entitlements: for a former President, a monthly pension of Rs.75,000 (50 per cent of the emoluments of the President), besides rent-free furnished accommodation with free electricity and water, a fully maintained car with driver, two telephone connections (one for broadband connectivity) and a mobile phone with national roaming facility. A former head of state is also entitled to a private secretary, the full complement of secretarial assistance and free travel with a companion in the highest class by any means of transport.

A former Vice-President draws a monthly pension of Rs.62,500, and is entitled to rent-free furnished accommodation with electricity and water, free medical attendance and treatment in both government and private hospitals. He/she can travel with a companion anywhere in India by any mode and in the highest class. The use of telephones in this case is as admissible to a Member of Parliament.

For the first five years after demitting office, a former Prime Minister is entitled to a complement of staff on a scale admissible to the Leader of the Opposition, and is eligible for unlimited office expenses, six return air journeys in the executive class and unlimited travel by train with a companion. He or she also gets government accommodation for life.

In the case of widowed spouses of former Presidents and Vice-Presidents, the pension is half that drawn by the latter, while the facilities are scaled down.

Those currently enjoying post-retirement facilities include A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Janaki Venkatraman, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral.


India shows the way in RTI in South AsiaApril 29, 2010

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