PAR … Bill in Parliament to cut salaries of MPs by 30 per cent in view of Covid-hit economic mess

NEWS MPs SALARY

NEW DELHI: A bill to cut salaries of Parliament members has been introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday, the starting day of the fortnight-long Monsoon session. This is to meet exigencies arising out of the difficult Covid-spread situation, Parliamentary Affairs minister Prahlad Joshi said while introducing the bill.

The Union Cabinet has cleared the proposal in April last, and waited for the Parliament session to get the stamp of approval. The Lok Sabha has 543 members and the Rajya Sabha 245.

The salary of an MP is in the range of Rs 1 lakh; to which is added allowances of over 1.7lakh. This includes a constituency allowance of Rs 70,000, Rs 60,000 as office allowance, Rs one lakh as furniture allowance, and additional huge allowance for travel by air as also for office staff. They would get a monthly pension, after end of term, of Rs 20,000; and after their demise, the spouse or other dependant will get half this amount.  

Meanwhile, government employees who mostly did not report for work for months, in the context of the lockdown, continue to get full salaries. Other than for police, security forces and health workers, government employees as also teachers remained without work for several weeks or months during the six-month lockdown, but governments are hesitant to reduce their salaries, for fear of a political backlash from them and their families in the future elections.

Government employees form a small per cent of the population. Central government employees number nearly 45 lakh while the number of central government pensioners is of 65 lakh. In March, the Modi government had approved a four percent increase in basic pay and pensions.

The strength of the military service is 14 lakh and civilian service is around 35 lakh; both eligible for pension. The combined strength of central and state government employees in India is less than three crore, as per one estimate. India’s population is in the range of 1.35billion. IHN-NN

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