Where Your Taxes Go: 31

In unnecessary gizmos for government bigwigs—especially ones that will keep them occupied during traffic jams. Mid Day reports that Mumbai’s mayor Shubha Raul recently threw a “tantrum” and demanded a laptop.

“Raul liked the additional municipal commissioner’s laptop and said she wanted one like it, but we gave her a better model,” said an IT officer. “It’s the best laptop in the BMC.”

Raul obviously is happy. “Who doesn’t want to get the best in the world? I am no exception. At least now, when I’m stuck in traffic jams, I can entertain myself with the laptop. I have never been tech savvy, but I will learn,” said Raul.

I don’t grudge our mayor a laptop, even if her post is largely ceremonial, but see the one she got. It’s a Toshiba Qosmio G40 costing Rs. 1.65 lakh. That’s like buying a Merc as an official car—it’s simply not necessary. I bought a beautiful Dell Inspiron 1525 a month ago for 45k, and it performs every function the mayor could possibly require—unless she’s editing films or creating special effects for Star Trek .

And see the woman’s gumption. Who doesn’t want to get the best in the world? she says. That’s my money you’re spending, Mrs Raul. Have some shame.

(Link via email from Amol Chavan. For more on how our government loots us, check out my Taxes Archive.)