Pay 3-4 lakh, revise only once in 5 years

The Economic Times, August 20, 2010

There is every reason for the salary of MPs to be revised upwards from Rs 16,000. I would suggest a salary of Rs 3 or 4 lakh per month. But then all other perks and allowances, whether in cash or kind should be wholly withdrawn. There should also be no income tax relief, no subsidies or perks of any kind. MPs should be subject to the same laws as any other citizen. It is most surprising and infra-dig for honourable members of Parliament to compare themselves with full-time paid government employees or bureaucrats.

Comparisons with payments made to legislators in other countries are odious and illogical because in that case one has to take into account the real value of respective currencies , the per capita income of citizens in those countries. While salaries of government employees are reconsidered only once in five years or so, for MPs, on an average in less than two years there have been upward revisions. So, there should be some provision that it would be reconsidered only once in 5 years. Also, MPs now vote for their own salary hike. An eminent citizens? panel should be appointed once in 5 years to examine the issue and make recommendations.

An estimate made by an honourable MP (Nanaji Deshmukh) had revealed that if all payments and expenditure on an MP in cash or kind was counted, then the emoluments would come to nearly 3 lakh per month. Right now, MPs also get a pension for life without any provision regarding years of service. In fact, if a person has been a member even for one day, he or she is entitled to pension for life. Also, the Constitution did provide for Parliament by law, making a provision for salary and allowances of members, it had not provided for pension. In case of bureaucrats, save the secretaries to the government of India, who are mentioned for comparison, they get a salary of Rs 50,000 only for the last 3-4 years of their career, roughly at the age of 55 or more. There?d be no objection to members of that seniority seeking more pay than secretaries. A comparison between a 59-year-old secretary and a 26 -ear-old new MP is not reasonable.

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