In the wake of unexpected Corona crisis in the country, parliament on Friday passed a bill to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs and ministers by 30 per cent for one year. The bill which cleared the approval of Lok Sabha on Tuesday was introduced in the upper house by Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Thursday.
With the approval from the upper house through the voice of vote, the salaries of MPs will be reduced by 30 per cent from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 70,000 for the next year. The sumptuary allowance of ministers will be reduced by 30 per cent for the same duration. This allowance is given to ministers to entertain visitors and is set at different levels for different ministers.
According to the reports, the proposed reduction to the salaries and allowances of MPs and ministers amounts to savings of around Rs 54 crore. However, statistically, this would make less than 0.001 per cent of Rs 20 lakh crore which is the amount of the special economic package announced by the Centre.
Though the MPs welcomed the reduction of salaries and the bill was passed, most Opposition members who participated in the discussion urged the government to review its decision to suspend the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme for two years saying it was necessary to carry out development works in their respective constituencies.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad argued that MPLAD funds are meant for taking care of needy people in their constituencies and are utilised for various things like purchasing ambulances, making small roads and community centres.