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MPs to get 300 % pay hike soon
NEW DELHI, AUG 17 (IANS):
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Published on 17 Aug. 2010 11:26 PM IST
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The government Tuesday said it was trying to bring a bill for a pay hike of over 300 percent for MPs in the current session of parliament, as members of several parties led by Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad forced an adjournment in the Lok Sabha over the issue.
“The government is ready to table the bill (for hike in MPs’ salaries) as early as possible,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the house.
He said this had to be done through legislation. “A bill has to be brought to amend the Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act, 1954. We are trying to bring the legislation in this session,” Mukherjee told protesting MPs in the Lok Sabha.
He said the bill would be brought after getting a nod from the union cabinet, which Monday deferred a decision on the matter.
“We are fully aware of the sensitivities of the issue,” Mukherjee said, soothing tempers in the house after a two-hour adjournment at noon over the issue.
Lalu Prasad protested against the government decision to defer the legislation.
As soon as zero hour began at noon, the RJD chief raised his voice to protest the cabinet decision to defer the bill.
He was soon joined by others, including Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his party members, and MPs from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Shiv Sena and the Trinamool Congress.
Some Congress MPs were also seen standing in support of the RJD president’s demand for “a fair deal”, as MPs cutting across party lines strongly pitched for the pay hike.
Left MPs distanced themselves from the issue as the Communist parties have been opposed to the idea of any move by parliament to decide on the salary and allowances of members. They favour an independent commission to decide the issue.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members, however, remained silent in the house even as protesting MPs were seen asking them to join in.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar stayed neutral on the issue. “You saw the turmoil in the house and their (MPs’) different opinions. When different opinions are there, for a speaker, who is supposed to be neutral, to express her opinion will not be proper,” Meira Kumar told reporters outside Parliament House.
At present, an MP gets Rs.16,000 per month as salary, but the parliamentary affairs ministry has suggested raising it to Rs.50,000 as against the Rs.80,001 recommended by a parliamentary panel which would be one rupee more than what a secretary-level government official gets.
Besides the base salary, an MP gets a daily allowance of Rs.1,000 for each day when parliament is in session or a sitting of a house committee is scheduled.
A member is also entitled to a constituency allowance of Rs.20,000 per month and an office expense allowance of Rs.20,000 each month.
The matter was also raised in the Rajya Sabha.

 
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