iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 06, 2010
Carrying the Congress card in the Parliament House will now burn a bigger hole in the pocket. Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) will now have to shell out more for the party fund following a three-fold hike in their salaries, according to an internal communiqué. A circular from party treasurer Motilal Vora has been sent to all the members, asking them to annually contribute R54,000, which is equivalent to one-month’s emoluments, increased recently.

Prior to the August hike, approved by Parliament, party MPs had to contribute Rs. 16,000 to the Congress kitty.

The increase in contribution to party coffers has come at a time when Congress MPs — 207 in Lok Sabha and 71 in Rajya Sabha — have voluntarily decided to forego their daily allowances of Rs. 2000 for the ongoing winter session, stalled over the Opposition’s demand for a parliamentary probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

“No work, no pay,” they had declared.

Congress MPs, for whom the high command’s wish is order, are not complaining.

“There is no problem. Afterall it is for our party,” Hamdullah Sayeed, one of the party’s youngest MPs, told Hindustan Times. Some of them have already deposited the money.

In a move that generated much public scrutiny, Parliament had passed the Salary,  Allowance and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which enhanced salaries of MPs by over three times from Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 50,000.

The Parliament also doubled the daily allowance of members from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000 and constituency and office expense allowances each from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 40,000.

Similarly, pension of former MPs was enhanced from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 20,000 with effect from the constitution of the present Lok Sabha on May 18 last year.

The Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of MPs headed by Congress member Charandas Mahant had recommended a hike in salary from Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 80,001 — one rupee more than that of the secretary to the government of India.