Cabinet hikes MPs’ perks, salary raise unaltered (Lead)

August 23rd, 2010 - 2:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) The union cabinet Monday decided to further increase allowances of MPs by Rs.10,000 per month, comprising a hike of Rs.5,000 each in their constituency and office expense allowances. However, the three-fold salary hike remains unaltered.
The panel met here under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reconsider and bring amendments to the MPs’ salary hike bill it had cleared last week.

The proposed hike was severely opposed by parliamentarians who were demanding a 500 percent raise against the three-fold hike proposed by the government.

Sources told IANS that the panel gave its nod to a hike in non-taxable perks - constituency and office allowances - given to MPs.

However, the 300 percent hike in their monthly salary - from Rs.16,000 a month to Rs.50,000 - won’t be altered, the sources said.

The latest decision comes two days after Congress trouble shooter and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee met the protesting MPs over the issue. Though it remains to be seen if the parliamentarians agree to the further hike, the sources said Mukherjee has already taken them into confidence.

The government earlier Friday cleared the salary hike proposal and doubled other perks, but dissatisfied MPs from various parties stalled Lok Sabha proceedings demanding more money.

The protesting MPs led by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad said it is less than the Rs.80,001 as recommended by a parliamentary committee, which had proposed that MPs should get at least a rupee more than top bureaucrats.

An MP at present gets Rs.16,000 as monthly salary and a daily allowance of Rs.1,000 for each day when parliament is in session or taking part in house committee meetings. This has also been doubled.

Besides, a member is entitled to a constituency allowance of Rs.20,000 a month and an office expense allowance of Rs.20,000 each month. These perks were doubled Friday and the sources said the government has hiked these allowances each by Rs.5,000 more.

MPs’ conveyance allowance has gone from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.4 lakh. Spouses of MPs are entitled to free train travel from their place of residence to Delhi. They also get up to eight free plane tickets from their place of residence to Delhi.

The bill seeking amendments to the Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, after being cleared by the cabinet will be tabled in parliament most likely Wednesday to be passed by both houses before the hike is actually implemented.

The increase will be given with retrospective effect since the beginning of the current Lok Sabha, the 15th, which means MPs will get arrears from May 2009.

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