Lok Sabha passes Bill to cut salaries of MPs by 30 per cent
“Take away all our salary but restore MPLADS funds” was the general sense among Opposition MPs who supported the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, brought by the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday to replace the Ordinance on 30 per cent cut in salaries of sitting MPs to mobilise money to fight against COVID-19.
In fact NCP MP Supriya Sule, questioning “the logic behind increasing petrol and diesel prices” while people in the country were reeling under the impact of Covid-hit economy, advised the Narendra Modi government to reduce its expenditure.
“We are all together on this (the Bill) but why are you not reducing your expenditure,” she said.
Alleging “lack of transparency” in PM CARES fund, she said: “What are you hiding? We will be happy to give up our entire salaries but the Rs 20,000-cr Central Vista project must also be cancelled”. She added that she would rather prefer a hospital with all facilities like ventilators.
Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme is a scheme that enables MPs to recommend developmental work in their constituencies with an emphasis on creating durable community assets based on locally felt needs.
In April, the Cabinet gave its nod to the government’s decision to suspend MPLADS scheme for two years, along with a 30 per cent cut in salaries of sitting MPs to mobilise money to fight against COVID-19. The suspension of the MPLADS scheme, especially during a pandemic has invited much criticism from several MPs who asked the government to “give back people their rightful money”.
Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury questioned if any BJP MP can say he or she does not need MPLADS.
“No one from ruling side said anything about MPLADS. We should pass a unanimous decision for restoring the funds, “said Chowdhary, adding that an MP belonging to the middle class he “cannot give anything from my pocket”.
“As much as 50 per cent of the MPLAD funds go for welfare of SC and 7.5 per cent for ST. The maximum expenditure from the funds is down for rural areas,” he said.
Chowdhary also claimed that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, during the BAC, said he will respond on the MPLADS issue in the Parliament. To this Joshi said: “I said we will convey the feeling of the House”. AAP MP Bhagwant Mann also said that the government should take away the salary but give them the public funds money with “guidelines on expenditure”.