New Delhi: Congress and BJP MPs on Monday joined hands in demanding a hike in their salaries after the Union Cabinet on Monday deferred a decision on it in view of lack of consensus.
"The salary of Indian MPs is the lowest in the world. They are being paid less than a clerk in the government... MPs are above the secretaries and look at the difference in their
salaries," Congress member Rajiv Shukla told reporters outside Parliament.
He said it is "extremely essential" to increase the salaries of MPs.
In the same vein, BJP leader SS Ahluwalia said, "You must understand problems of MPs".
Both Shukla and Ahluwalia are members of the committee headed by Congress MP from Chhattishgarh Charandas Mahant, which made a recommendation to fix MPs salary One rupee more than that of a secretary at Rs 80001.
However, the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry suggested raising it to Rs 50,000.
The Cabinet, which today took up the issue, however, deferred a decision on it.
Members of the Cabinet felt that raising MPs` emoluments at this stage in the wake of allegations of corruption in Commonwealth Games and the drought situation in some parts of the country would be seen in bad light, sources in government said.
MPs currently get Rs 16,000 per month as salary while a secretary to the government gets Rs 80,000 a month. The proposal is to hike the salary to Rs 50,000.
Shukla said that a government secretary, who used to Rs 9,000 earlier is now getting Rs 80,000 but the salary of an MP during this period rose from Rs 4000 to only Rs 16000.
"If MPs are asking for an honourable salary, why is there hue and cry over it. Why is there a `tamasha` (drama) over it," Shukla said, adding that the job of an MP is not of
a permanent nature.
Asked whether there were differences of opinion in the government over the issue, the Congress member said, "I don`t know about any difference of opinion".
Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwary said, "Essentially a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) comprising members from different political parties have made certain recommendations and it is for the government to accept those recommendations or modify them. They have to take a call."
When asked whether the salary should be linked to performance, he skirted the question saying, "I think the issue is within the domain of the JPC and the government has
to take a view on it. So it will be appropriate if you ask the question to them."