At a time when price hike is pinching the common man, a Bill seeking to increase the salary and allowances of Members of Parliament is on the top priority list of the government in the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning from Monday.
The controversial civil nuclear liability bill and judicial standards and accountability bill are prominent among other measures listed in the priority agenda but suspense continued over the Women's Reservation Bill, which has been approved by the Rajya Sabha.
The Communal Violence Bill, which is currently being deliberated by Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC), is also one of the priority items. Similar is the case of the Bill seeking to raise the reservation for women in urban local bodies from 33 to 50 per cent.
A draft bill is being prepared for the hike in salaries of MPs after a Joint Committee recommended that the monthly salary of MPs be hiked from Rs 16,000 to Rs 80,001, a rupee more than a Secretary to the Union Government.
The last hike in salaries and allowances of 795 MPs -545 of Lok Sabha and 250 of Rajya Sabha was effected some ten years back. The Sixth Pay Commission for government servants came into effect from January 2006.
The Committee, headed by Charan Das Mahant (Congress), has recommended raising the daily allowance from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 when Parliament is in session. Office expense allowances are also recommended to be increased substantially as well as the constituency allowance.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal on Tuesday held a meeting of Secretaries of various ministries and departments to decide on the government business for the month-long session which concludes on August 27.