An RTI (Right to Information) application by India Today has brought to light that leftist economist Amartya Sen is the lone Bharat Ratna award recipient to have made use of lifetime free air travel on Air India. Sen has reportedly flown 21 times in 4 years revealed the application.
The India Today report on the issue says:
India Today filed a Right to Information (RTI) request with Air India to know when the central government decided to grant this perk to Bharat Ratna recipients, how many times this has been availed by the recipients and what is the monetary value of the perks availed. We also specifically asked about the number of times Nobel laureate and Bharat Ratna awardee Amartya Sen had availed this perk.
Responding to our first question, Air India said, “…the procedure for issuance of free tickets to Bharat Ratna awardees was circulated by erstwhile Indian Airlines on 25/08/2003.”
…On Amartya Sen, Air India said the Nobel laureate has availed this facility 21 times from 2015 till 2019. The airlines said the monetary value of his travels could not be ascertained as the “fare prevailing on time and date of travel is not stored”.
The airlines also highlighted that Sen is the only Bharat Ratna awardee who has availed the benefit of this scheme.
The article also goes on to quote the statement issued by Amartya Sen on the matter:
A spokesperson for Amartya Sen said the Air India travel card was given to the economist to celebrate his Nobel Prize and not the Bharat Ratna as the RTI reply suggested.
“Amartya Sen was given a very special card by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee immediately after he received the Nobel Prize in December 1998. This card entitled him free travel in first-class anywhere in the Air India system. He was also given a special card for free AC first-class travel on Railways,” the spokesperson said.
“The Nobel card was for first-class travel, whereas the provisions for Bharat Ratna awardees, introduced in 2003, was for economy class to be upgraded to executive class. Rather than comparing the frequency of Amartya Sen’s travel with others under that provision, it would have been truthful for the RTI reply to mention that he never benefited from the free travel provisions of Bharat Ratna awardees. It is surprising that the government should provide such an inaccurate description of the situation in answer to a journalist’s question under RTI,” the spokesperson said.
For all their show of socialism, the likes of Sen never fail to take undue advantages of the privileges bestowed upon them. Sen’s name also figured on the list of unauthorized occupants of the land belonging to the Vishwa Bharati University.
(Featured Image Source: India Today)
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