COVID … Cabinet decides on 30 per cent salary cut for PM, ministers, MPs; Prez, VP, Guvs too agree

NEW DELHI: In the first step forward towards austerity in the wake of the Covid-19 spread in the country, the Union Cabinet on Monday decided to effect a salary cut for the PM, other ministers and MPs across the board, of the order of 30 per cent. MPs get a salary of about Rs 1lakh plus several allowances which will work out to an additional more than a lakh a month. 

The government made it clear the allowances will not be cut. The cut will  be for the entire financial year 2020-2021, which has just begun.

Latest covid figures for India stood at around 4,200 inflictions and 108 deaths, as per statistics released by Union Health Ministry. For the fourth day in succession, India recorded a jump in covid infection cases by around 500 per day, after the Tablighi Jamaat cases pushed the figures.

Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind and vice President M Venkaiah Naidu as also all governors would effect a similar cut in their salaries, on their own volition, and to send a signal to the salaried class across the nation. A similar salary cut might be proposed for central government employees. The President’s salary is of Rs 5lakh and of Vice President Rs4lakh per month.

Global rating agencies had projected the likelihood of India’s growth rate falling from the moderate five per cent to an abysmal 2 per cent this fiscal. This in view of the present three-week lockdown, which might be lifted in a staggering manner over a period of the next three months, and not wholesale in one go after April 14.

The Union Cabinet also decided to suspend the MP local area development fund for this fiscal as also the next fiscal. This is of the order of Rs five crore per Member of Parliament per year, totaling Rs 25crore in a five-year-term. An ordinance to this effect will be brought forward. Allegations are that several MPs are grossly mismanaging the funds. 

There are 545 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 250 in the Rajya Sabha. The term of LS MPs is five years and of the RS MPs six years, the latter being elected by members of various state assemblies, for most part, and some via nominations by President.

The amount that will be saved by the government from the MPLAD scheme would work out to nearly Rs 80,000crore, as per one estimate.

The government has clarified that the pension of retired MPs will not be affected.  While the Congress supported the salary cut for MPs, it expressed itself against cancellation of the MPLAD fund for two fiscals. IHN-NN


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