NEW DELHI: To counter criticism over Members of Parliament deciding their own salaries, the government has proposed to set up an independent three-member emoluments commission, which would recommend salaries and other allowances for the lawmakers.
The proposal will come up for discussion at the two day All India Whips’ Conference to be held at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on September 29.
The new proposal to set up the panel comes after the government had to shelve the recommendations of a parliamentary committee headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath recommended a hundred per cent hike in MP’s salary from current Rs 50,000 top Rs One lakh, and massive hikes in other allowances. The outrage over these recommendations appears to have prompted the government to propose an alternative to decide on pay hike for the parliamentarians
According to the new proposal, the ministry of parliamentary affairs has suggested three general principles. “Salary should not be so low as to defer suitable candidates or so high as to make pay the primary attraction for the job; salary should reflect level of responsibility; and those with outside interests should not be deterred from entering Parliament, those who chose to make Parliament a full-time career should be adequately rewarded to reflect their responsibilities,” said the guiding principles for the proposed commission.
Presently, as per Article 106 of the Constitution, salaries of MPs are determined by 1954 act. The last revision in salary of MPs was made in 2010.
Apart from the Rs 50,000 per month basic salary, an MP gets Rs 2,000 per day as daily allowance when the MP signs the register while attending Parliament sessions or House committee meetings. The MP is also entitled to Rs 45,000 constituency allowance every month -- Rs 15,000 for stationery and Rs 30,000 to employ secretarial assistance staff. MPs are also entitled for a government accommodation, air travel and train travel facilities, besides three landline and two mobile phones. They also get a loan of Rs 4 lakh to buy a vehicle.
The ministry of parliamentary affairs in the agenda notes for the proposed commission argued that comparative analysis of MPs salary in 37 developing and developed countries, the basic pay was in the range of Rs.7,952 in Tunisia to a high of Rs.6.16 lakhs in Israel. MPs of only in six countries like Tunisia, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Haiti and Panama are drawing salary less than that of Indian MPs.
Talking about the need to have an independent commission, the ministry in its agenda notes said, “The setting up of an independent Emoluments Commission will not only put to rest the public outcry and media criticism over MPs themselves deciding their salaries, it will also provide opportunity to consider their huge responsibilities and important role in representative democracy.”
“It would ensure that recommendations on Parliamentary salary are reached in a fair, transparent and equitable way,” the ministry added.
The issue of salary hike will be discussed in the Visakhapatnam conference, where other issues like implementation of MPLADS scheme will also be discussed.