Is Your MP Underpaid? – they voted a huge hike for themselves

Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Bill to hike Members of Parliaments salaries despite a walkout by the Left , demanding a provision for an independent mechanism to fix the MPs salaries. The Salary, Allowance and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2010, provides threefold hike in basic salaries of MPs from Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000 while doubling two of their key allowances, namely the daily allowance of members from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 and the constituency and the office expense allowance from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000. The bill also seeks to enhance pension of former members from Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000 with effect from the constitution of present Lok Sabha on May 18, 2009.
Let us just have a look at the facilities that are currently given to the MPs. Leaving apart the “Kursi Ko Salam” facilities like people calling you Sir, people always being around to pick your stuff and government officials giving prompt response on any issues MPs are given a salary of Rs 16,000 per month, office expenses of Rs 20,000 and a constituency allowance of Rs 20,000. Apart from this they get interest free loan to buy car, they can have their petrol paid and make as many phone calls as possible. They get a rent free home with free furniture, electricity, water, gardeners and plants. There are also allowances to wash curtains and sofa covers. Back of the envelope calculations show that the present cost per MP to the government is Rs. 4 lakh per month and with the pay revision it will be around 5.25 lakhs per month.

Today, out of the 543 MPs in Lok Sabha, 315 are crorepatis. In case of Rajya Sabha the figure stands at 100 out of 219. The assets of average Lok Sabha MP have grown from Rs 1.86 crore in the last house to Rs 5.33 crore. That’s 200 percent more and as we all know not all the MPs are known to always declare all their assets. 70 percent of the MPs from Congress are crorepatis. The figure for BJP is 50. Statistics show that the average assets of 304 MPs who contested in 2004 and then again last year grew by 300 percent. But we can complain as we are the ones who vote them. In the last lok sabha elections 99.5 percent of candidates having assets below 10 lakhs lost the elections while 33 percent of candidates having assets above 5 crore won.
They real problem with hike is not about the money; it’s about the image that the MPs have. Interruptions and walkouts reduced the total session to only two-thirds of the scheduled time or 138 hours, which is less than 18 days of work in a session that ran for about 10 weeks. The criminal records of MPS are also no more a secret. The government has been calling upon the CEOs who fix their old salary but why are they not evolving a mechanism so that an independent committee decides on the salaries of the MPs. But none would have a problem if the government recommends an even higher salary but links bulk of those payments to their attendance in the Parliament and the extend of productive work in the session!

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