Govt gives in, MPs to get Rs10,000 more as allowances

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 10:09

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: After a hefty hike in salary and
allowances last week, Members of Parliament today got another
bonanza when the Union Cabinet today agreed to a further raise
in their monthly allowances by Rs 10,000.

The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to increase the office
and constituency allowances of MPs by Rs 5000 each per month.
The meeting was held to reconsider and suitably amend the MPs` salary hike bill, which the cabinet had cleared last week and which seeks to double their perks and increase their salary by 300 percent.

The bill was severely opposed by a section of parliamentarians who were demanding a 500 percent increase in their pay of Rs.16,000 a month.

Sources told IANS that the cabinet gave its nod to a hike in the non-taxable perks but decided not to alter the 300 percent raise in their monthly salary - from Rs.16,000 a month to Rs.50,000.
The decision comes against the backdrop of lawmakers
expressing unhappiness over the increase proposed by
the Cabinet last week.

Their unhappiness arose from the rejection of the demand
that the government accept the proposal of a Joint
Parliamentary Committee to hike their salaries from Rs 16,000
to Rs 80,000. The MPs want their salary pegged at Rs.80,001,
one rupee more than the salary of a Secretary in the
government.

The government had pegged the MPs` salary at Rs 50,000
per month. Besides, it had hiked the office and constituency
allowances from Rs 20,000 per month each to Rs 40,000 per
month each.

Now, the constituency and office allowance of MPs would
be Rs 45,000 each per month, government sources said.

The Lok Sabha had witnessed uproar last week by RJD, SP
and JD-U members over government`s decision with agitated
members of these parties dubbing it as an insult to
Parliament.

MPs` conveyance allowance has gone up 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 now be tabled in parliament - most likely Wednesday to be passed by both houses before the hike is actually implemented.

The increase will be given with retrospective effect since the beginning of the current Lok Sabha, the 15th, which means MPs will get arrears from May 2009.

BJP, RJD, SP and JD-U leaders had a meeting with Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday over the issue after
which the government had assured them to take appropriate
steps.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee moved the proposal for a
hike in constituency and office allowances by Rs 5,000 each
which was immediately approved by the Cabinet. These
allowances are exempt from government taxes.

Political parties have reacted differently to the move.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it is against a "trade union-like approach" to the issue.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said a hike in the emoluments was necessary but the government should evolve an index-based or some other mechanism to decide the quantum and timing of hike and MPs should not be making recommendations themselves to hike their salaries.

"Whatever state the economy is in, the BJP does not want to be insensitive at all. The MPs are not feeling overjoyed. They are uneasy that they have to clear the hike in their own salary," Sitharaman told IANS.

Nationalist Congress Party spokesman D.P. Tripathi welcomed "the long overdue" move. "The MPs need basic facilities. The criticism of hike is not correct."

Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said the government had "found a middle road" to resolve the logjam.

CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia said the party is against the hike. "It is not right for MPs to get the house adjourned for a hike in their salaries," he said, adding that people were already coping with price rise.

-Agencies inputs



First Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 10:09

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