M A I N   N E W S

Cabinet clears pay hike for MPs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
The Union Cabinet tonight cleared the hike in salaries and other allowances of MPs. The salaries of MPs are expected to go up from Rs 12,000 to Rs 16,000 a month. Currently, an MP gets salaries and perks worth Rs 40,000. After the hike, this would become around Rs 65,000.

An MP will also get a postage allowance of Rs 5,000 compared with Rs 1,000 earlier. In travel allowance, an MP will get Rs 13 per kilometre instead of Rs 8 per kilometre. He would get an office allowance of Rs 20,000 from the existing Rs 14,000. Their daily allowance has been increased to Rs 1000 from Rs 500.

Clearing the proposal, the Cabinet approved a Rs 62-crore package, covering all heads under which MPs draw their salaries. The hike is the second such in five years, as the MPs have gone without a hike for nine years now.

After the hike, MP’s pension will also go up to Rs 6,000 a month. Family pension is also being increased.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to set up a regular mechanism for determination of MPs salary and allowances from time to time, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters.

The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

There was a mixed reaction to the hike in MPs salary from parliamentarians. “If our house functions well, not only salaries but all their allowances should also be increased. Look at how the private sector pays and look at how MPs get paid across the world,” said Rahul Bajaj, Independent MP.

“If you are talking about no work no pay, it should be followed here as well,” said Sitaram Yechury, CPM MP.

However, the proposed hikes were less than the increase recommended by the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament through its report on May 22 this year, Dasmunsi said.

While the committee had recommended a constituency allowance of Rs 31,000, the Finance Ministry approved only Rs 20,000. Similarly, the pension was proposed at Rs 8,000, but reduced by the Finance Ministry to Rs 6,000.

The Bill to amend the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 would be brought before the end of the current session on August 25 as the last hike approved by Parliament in 2001 for five years would be effective only till September 14.

Unless the Bill was passed in the current session, the salary of MPs would be reduced to Rs 4,000 a month, the level prevailed before the 2001 hike, Dasmunsi said.

Asked why the government was hypocritical by talking about austerity on the one hand and raising MPs salary and allowances on the other, he said Indian MPs had to bear the maximum responsibility, as compared to their counterparts in other countries, but received the least salary and allowances.

MPs’ remuneration was poor when compared to the pay and allowances of MLAs in some states, he argued.




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