Parliament on Friday passed a bill to reduce salaries of MPs by 30 per cent for one year to augment financial resources required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, with members supporting the move but demanding restoration of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
Opposition members in both the House supported the move, but pressed for restoration of MPLADS fund, which has been suspended for two years. They also said public money should not be spent under such circumstances on projects, including a new Parliament building and bullet train. Lok Sabha has 543 members and Rajya Sabha has a strength of 245.
A member of Parliament draws a salary of Rs One lakh per month and a constituency allowance of Rs 70,000 per month, besides other allowances. The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will replace a similar ordinance issued in April this year. The consolidated amount of MPLADS funds for two years — Rs 7,900 crore — will go to the Consolidated Fund of India. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said this was a temporary suspension.
DMK member P Wilson had earlier during the discussion said the measure would entail savings of just Rs 4 crore. During the debate, Joshi said it did not matter how much money was being saved through salary cuts of members. “Charity should begin at home and that is the concept we have started. It is not Rs 4 crore saving as said by DMK member but Rs 53.9 crore per year from members’ salary,” he said.
Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, who moved the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, said COVID-19 has impacted the incomes of people working in the private sector and so the prime minister initiated this bill which entails 30 per cent reduction in ministers’ salaries.