Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

Parliamentarians too want a big salary hike

MPs could be given a variable pay that would be dependent on their performance

GN Bureau | January 11, 2018


#Member of Parliament   #MPs   #Parliament   #MP Salary  


Members of parliament are angling for a 100 percent hike in their salary.

The Lok Sabha’s committee on salary and allowances has called a meeting on January 12 where it is likely to discuss an old proposal to double the salaries of members of Parliament to Rs one lakh, reported Hindustan Times.

The salaries and allowances of parliamentarians are governed by the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, as amended from time to time.

Besides salaries, parliamentarians also get comfortable travel facilities.

“One free air-conditioned two-tier class railway pass for one person to accompany the member when he travels by rail; and free travel by any railway in India in first class air-conditioned or executive class in any train with the spouse, if any, of the member from any place in India to any other place in India and if such journey or part thereof is performed by air, from any place other than usual place of residence of the member, to Delhi and back, to an amount equal to the fare by air for such journey or part thereof or the amount equal to the journey performed by air from the usual place of the residence of the member to Delhi and back, whichever is less.”

So, what all do MPs get besides their salary?

Each member of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha is entitled to receive a salary of Rs. 50,000/- per month during the whole term of office.  Rs. 2,000/- per day for each day of residence on duty.

There is also constituency allowance, which is Rs. 45,000/- per month, according to the Lok Sabha.

Then there is office expense allowance, which is Rs. 45,000/- per month. (Out of these, Rs. 15,000/- for meeting expenses on stationery items and postage, and Rs. 30,000/- is paid by the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha Secretariat to the person(s) as may be engaged by a member for obtaining secretarial assistance provided that one such person must be computer literate as certified by the member.)

That is not all.

Each member is entitled to a rent free flat or hostel accommodation throughout the term of office. A member allotted housing accommodation in the form of a Bungalow on request shall pay full normal licence fee if entitled to such accommodation.

All that adds up to quite a bit.

India paid Rs.176 crore to its 543 Lok Sabha members in salaries and expenses over the last year, or just over Rs. 2.7 lakh a month per member of parliament, official data show, reported the Hindu.

Economist Bibek Debroy, now with the Niti Aayog, had written a blog in 2014 in the Economic Times where he said: “…we are talking about Rs 1.4 lakhs a month. There are items that are difficult to impute costs to – free petrol, free telephone calls, free housing, furniture, electricity, laundry, travel, pensions, subsidized food etc. I am not sure anyone has actually worked out these costs.”

“ We are probably talking about something like Rs 3.5 lakhs a month, 0.42 crores a year.  Add Rs 2 crores a year as MPLADS. Say 2.5 crores per MP per year. If you multiply by 543, that’s Rs1,400 crores a year.”

In 2015, a parliamentary panel had sought a 100 per cent hike in salary and daily allowances of MPs and 75 per cent raise in pension of ex-MPs apart from facilities for their “companions” in place of “spouses”.

The Hindu Business Line reported that the panel, then headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, had sought a doubling of the existing Rs 50,000 salary of MPs and favoured increasing the pension of former parliamentarians from Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000. The panel has also recommended that the daily allowance of MPs of Rs 2,000 for attending the House during Parliament sessions be doubled to Rs 4,000, reported Hindu Business Line.


However, all that is one side of the story. The proposed hike is in no way to related to the performance of MPs. The logjam in parliament causes a huge loss. Each minute of running parliament is estimated to cost Rs 2.5 lakh – and one way to improve performance would be to link MPs salaries with their work, something like the variable pay which is quite common in the corporate sector.

 

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