Salary hike issue: Congress refuses to take a stand

Congress today refused to comment on the issue of MPs` salary hike.

New Delhi: Congress today refused to
comment on the issue of MPs` salary hike saying it`s a matter
between Government and the Joint Parliamentary Committee,
which had recommended that the members should be paid one
rupee more than that of a Cabinet Secretary.

"JPC has given its recommendation. It is now for the
government to take a view. It is a matter between the JPC and
the government. Congress essentially does not need to take a
stand on the issue," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told
reporters here.

Asked to comment on reports of differences in the
Union Cabinet over the issue, a party leader on the condition
of anonymity said there is "no squabble" about whether or not
to hike MPs` salary but "its timing" has to be considered.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said in Lok
Sabha that the government was trying to bring a Bill in this
regard in the on-going session.

"This has to be done through a legislation. A Bill has
to be brought to amend the Salaries And Allowances Of Member
Of Parliament Act, 1954... We are trying to bring the
legislation in this session," Mukherjee said.

His assurance came after members created uproar over
the Union Cabinet`s deferment of a decision on a proposal to
increase the salaries of MPs three-fold from the current Rs
16,000 per month.

"We are fully aware of the sensitivities of the
issue," Mukherjee said.

The Finance Minister said the legislation would "truly
reflect" the suggestions made by the Joint Parliamentary
Committee in this regard.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who has spearheaded the demand,
asked Mukherjee not to beat about the bush but give concrete

"We are ready. Bring the Bill tomorrow, we will pass
it in two minutes," he said leaving Mukherjee smiling.