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MPs' spouses get free train travel benefit

Spouses of Members of Parliament (MPs) have now been permitted free travel in AC-I or the Executive Class of any train from any place in India to other. Srinanad Jha reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2010 23:39 IST
Srinanad Jha

Spouses of Members of Parliament (MPs) have now been permitted free travel in AC-I or the Executive Class of any train from any place in India to other.

Members without spouses have been allowed to take a person of their choice in place of the spouse, when they travel by train.

According to a railways ministry circular of November 19, spouses have also been provided the option of splitting up their travel plans into rail and air travel.

During periods when parliament sessions are on, MPs' spouses can undertake journeys partly by air and partly by rail, provided that the number of air journeys does not exceed eight a year.

MPs, who are visually or physically challenged will be allowed to take an attendant in the same class of rail journey in which he/she is travelling. This will be in addition to the spouse already allowed to accompany the member in the AC-I/Executive Class.

These decisions flow out of the provisions of the newly amended MPs Salary, Allowances and Pension Act 2010.

On her part, railways minister Mamata Banerjee has remained opposed to moves of the political class to corner privileges meant for the common man.

In one of her first decisions as railways minister on June 12 last year, Banerjee had revoked her predecessor Lalu Prasad's orders expanding the entitlements of travel for ex-railways ministers.

"Ministers and high-ups must not corner facilities meant for common people," Banerjee had said.

In keeping with her spartan ways, Banerjee has not once travelled in a railway saloon during the 17-and-a-half months of her current tenure, and has also placed restrictions on overseas travels of ministry officials.

"I have saved Rs 1500 crore on account of austerity measures," Banerjee had said recently.

Soppy tale
* During periods when parliament sessions are on, MPs' spouses can travel partly by air and partly by rail
* However, number of air journeys must not exceed eight a year
* Visually or physically challenged MPs will be allowed to take an attendant in the same class as he/she is travelling in addition to his/her spouse.