New Delhi: The government Friday cleared a 300 percent salary hike from Rs.16,000 to Rs.50,000 for MPs and doubled their perks, but parliamentarians from various parties were dissatisfied and stalled Lok Sabha proceedings seeking more money.
The union cabinet in its meeting here okayed the bill seeking three-fold raise in the basic salary of MPs. But it is less than the Rs.80,001 as recommended by a parliamentary committee, which had said MPs should get at least a rupee more than top bureaucrats.
The decision triggered protests in the Lok Sabha as soon as it was known. Members of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Shiv Sena and Akali Dal protested the "minimal" hike and demanded that the proposed increase by the cabinet be taken back.
They forced three adjournments of the house, the third one for the day, over the issue.
Dissatisfied over the quantum of proposed increase, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav initiated the protest.
"Hamara vetan waapas lo, waapas lo, waapas lo!" (Take our salary back), the protesting MPs shouted as they walked towards Speaker Meira Kumar`s podium.
Lalu Prasad alleged that the government had "insulted MPs with minimal hike".
The house was first adjourned till noon when members forced a suspension of the question hour. They alleged that the government had "insulted" parliament by rejecting the recommendation of its committee.
"The parliamentary panel (on the issue) had recommended Rs.80,001. This is an insult. This bill should be torn to pieces. How can we sit silent over it?" Lalu Prasad shouted when Meira Kumar asked him to take his seat and let question hour proceed.
The speaker repeatedly pleaded that the issue could be raised during zero hour but the protesters didn`t relent.
Meira Kumar then adjourned the house till noon.
Protests continued after the house met, forcing another adjournment till 2 pm.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day when members reassembled at 2 p.m.
An MP at present gets Rs.16,000 a month as salary; the parliamentary affairs ministry suggested raising it to Rs.50,000 as against the Rs.80,001 recommended by a parliamentary panel.
An MP also gets a daily allowance of Rs.1,000 for each day when parliament is in session or taking part in house committee meetings. This has also been doubled.
Besides, a member is entitled to a constituency allowance of Rs.20,000 a month and an office expense allowance of Rs.20,000 each month. These perks have also been doubled.
Their conveyance allowance has gone from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.4 lakh. Spouses of MPs are entitled to free train travel from their place of residence to Delhi. They also get up to eight free plane tickets from their place of residence to Delhi.
The bill seeking amendments to the Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, will be now tabled in parliament to be passed by both houses before the hike is actually implemented. However, the increase will be given with retrospective effect since the beginning of the current Lok Sabha, the 15th. That means MPs will get arrears from May 2009.