The union cabinet today deferred a decision to raise the salary and perks of members of Parliament. The cabinet was to meet today to clear the bill mandating such a hike after weeks of walkouts and chaos in Parliament.
The agenda of the meeting included the MPs' salary bill and bio-technology regulatory authority bill. The salary bill had proposed to substantially hike the salaries of MPs from the current Rs15,000 to Rs50,000. The bill also proposed a hike in dearness allowance (DA) from Rs1,000 to Rs2,000. It also provided for higher perks, including Rs20,000 as constituency allowance and more air tickets.
The bill was scheduled to be tabled in Parliament this week. But members of the cabinet apparently felt that raising MPs' emoluments at this stage in the wake of allegations of corruption in the Commonwealth Games and the drought situation in some parts of the country would be seen in a bad light.
Besides the base salary, an MP currently gets a daily allowance of Rs1,000 for each day that Parliament is in session or a sitting of a house committee is scheduled. A member is also entitled to a constituency allowance of Rs20,000 per month and office expense allowance of another Rs20,000 a month. Apart from these, he is also entitled to a certain number of air journeys, AC first class train travel and rent-free flat or hostel accommodation throughout his or her term.
The recommendation to increase MPs' salary was made taking into account the consumer price index and the wage index for skilled urban labour.
A joint parliamentary committee led by Congress MP from Chhattishgarh Charandas Mahant had made a recommendation to fix MPs' salary at one rupee more than that of a government secretary. The panel included MPs from various parties, including S S Ahluwalia from BJP, V Maitreyan of the AIADMK, Rajiv Shukla from Congress and Ramgopal Yadav from the Samajwadi Party.
The committee on salaries, allowances and pensions had, in fact, proposed a salary of Rs80,001, arguing that an MP's salary should be at least a rupee more than that of an officer of the rank of secretary (Rs80,000), whom an MP outranks in the list of protocol.