Four years ago, the members of Parliament had given themselves a 300% hike in salaries and managed to double their allowances. But that clearly wasn’t enough for them.
Now, a parliamentary panel looking into salaries and allowances has put forward to the government a list of 27 perks — from cheap housing loan to official vehicles to guest houses for lawmakers in all state capitals.
The wish list also includes a further enhancement in constituency allowance of MPs and salary of their personal assistants.
The panel further suggested that MPs should be allowed to travel with “companions” and not just “spouses” in trains. At present, MPs enjoy free first-class train travel anywhere in India with spouse.
The joint panel on salaries and allowances of MPs has so far held three meetings since September on these issues but they are still waiting for the Modi government’s response.
The panel is headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath.
Lawmakers have also demanded security for chairpersons of parliamentary panels when they move outside Delhi, MP’s quota in Kendriya Vidyalaya to be at least 15 seats in a year, enhancing MPs local area development (MPLAD) fund and giving diplomatic passport to former MPs.
Parliamentarians’ salaries and allowances are changed through amendment in the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act.
In 2010, the amendment to the MPs’ salaries act hiked their monthly salary from Rs 15,000 to Rs 50,000. Their constituency and daily allowances doubled from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 and Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 respectively.
The panel, however, now wants “study of salary, allowances, TA/DA etc. of MPs of foreign countries for comparison with those existing for MPs in India.” It also sought a permanent executive mechanism to give recommendations on salaries and perks to the MPs from time to time.
The NDA government is set to bring a bill to hike the pension for MPs from the current Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000 per month. The bill also plans to enhance the rate of additional pension for each completed year in excess of five years and include divorced or widowed daughters as “dependents” of former MPs for family pension.