The Lok Sabha on Friday passed a bill seeking a three-fold hike in MPs’ salaries from R16,000 to R50,000 and doubling two of their key allowances to R40,000 each.
The debate on the Salary, Allowance and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) bill, 2010, witnessed members, including BJP leader L.K. Advani, raise a demand for setting up an independent body to decide on their emoluments.
Around 10 members participated in the discussion on the bill that was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and passed by a voice vote. The bill seeking amendments to the Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, will now have to be cleared by the Rajya Sabha before the hike is implemented.
The raise will be given with retrospective effect since the beginning of the current Lok Sabha, which means MPs will get arrears from May 2009.
During the debate, members sought changes in the legislation in the wake of public criticism. Bansal said there is a need for setting up a mechanism for revision of members’ salary.
Earlier, BJP leader L.K. Advani wondered why there was a four-year delay in setting up the mechanism when the cabinet had approved it in 2006.
“It should be set up soon and be transparent. It is not a complicated issue and the government should announce setting up of the independent pay panel for MPs before this session ends on Tuesday,” he said.
CPM’s Ram Chandra Dome said it was “not dignified” for the members to raise their salaries. He also called for deferring the bill till the independent body was set up.
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said there was no difference among MPs on the need for a hike in their salaries but on how it should be done. He suggested that the MPs should agree to the principle of “no work, no pay” and not accept the daily allowance when house proceedings were disrupted.