In Indian currency, the annual salary for the First Citizen of the world’s largest economy translates into about Rs 2 crore per year or about Rs 16 lakh per month, excluding any perks and allowances.
Barack Obama was elected as 44th President of the United States earlier this month and would replace George W Bush in the Oval Office on January 20.
The US government provides for its President an aggregate compensation of 400,000 dollars a year, to be paid on monthly basis during his or her term. In addition, he gets an expense allowance of 50,000 dollars toward costs related to discharge of official duties and any unused amount under this head needs to be reverted to the Treasury.
The Indian government, earlier this year, raised the emoluments to be paid to the President to Rs 1.5 lakh per month, which translates into an annual figure of Rs 18 lakh.
At a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the new emoluments to be paid to the The President, Vice President and governors, raising the pay package for the Vice President to Rs 1.25 lakh and the same for the governors to Rs 1.1 lakh.
Earlier in January, the government had double the President’s salary from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh per month. Prior to that, the President salary was revised in 1998 to Rs 50,000 per month from Rs 10,000 per month previously.
However, compared with the top-paid corporate executives, the salary of the US President is less than not only those in America, but also in India.
Business magazine Forbes, earlier this year, ranked IT major Oracle’s chief Larry Ellison as the top-paid CEO in the US with an annual package of 192.92 million dollars. Besides, there are said to be over 500 corporate executives in the US drawing an annual salary of more than one million dollars.
In India, the annual salary of Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani, believed to be the top paid executive of India Inc, swelled last fiscal to Rs 44.02 crore — which is nearly 20-times of the emoluments paid to the US President.
There are more than 300 executives working with Indian companies with an annual salary of more than Rs two crore and include Mukesh’s younger brother Anil Ambani, P R R Rajha, Kalanithi Maran and his wife Kaveri Kalanithi, Sunil Mittal, Malvinder Mohan Singh, Sajjan Jindal, Navin Jindal, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Pradeep Jain, B M Munjal and Pawan Munjal.
The salary of the US President was doubled in January 2001 from 2,00,000 dollars to 4,00,000 dollars. Prior to that, the salary was doubled from 1,00,000 dollars in 1969.
The previous revisions were in January 1949, when it was raised from 75,000 dollars, in March 1909 when it was raised from 50,000 dollars and in March 1873, when it was doubled from 25,000 dollars — the level fixed in September 1789.
The First US Congress on September 24, 1789 had approved the salary of George Washington at 25,000 dollars, which would be worth more than 5,50,000 dollars at current value.
In pre-independence era, the Rashtrapati Bhawan used to be the residence of Viceroy of India, who was said to be among the top-paid people in the world. When Lord Lansdowne was appointed Viceroy of India, his annual salary is said to have been 20,000 pounds — an amount whose current value would be over 10 million pounds (about Rs 75 crore).