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Three-fold salary hike for MPs approved

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha has paved way for increasing by three-fold the salary of the MPs from Rs.16,000 a month to Rs.50,000, and doubling the daily, constituency and office expenses allowances, by adopting the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2010.

When it becomes an Act, it will be implemented with retrospective effect from May 18, 2009, when the present 15 {+t} {+h} Lok Sabha was constituted.

The Left parties opposed the Bill and wanted the government to work out some mechanism to fix the salaries and allowance of the legislators. It was not good for the MPs to increase their own salaries when the people were suffering due to inflation and increasing prices of essential commodities. Later the Left MPs staged a walkout.

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani wanted the government to come out with such an independent transparent mechanism before the monsoon session of the House would end on Tuesday as there was already a four-year delay in setting up such a committee. The open demand for better pay by MPs was “not ideal.”

Replying to the debate, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said there was a need for setting up a mechanism for revision of members' salary and pension. But wider discussions were required for that and it would be sent to a parliamentary committee.

The increase in the salaries of the MPs and pension to the ex-MPs would cost an additional Rs.103.76 crore every year. Besides, there will be a one-time expenditure of Rs.118 crore to the exchequer due to arrears in payment of salary and pension.

The increase will cost another additional Rs.38.50 crore every year.

Under the Bill, the MPs will get additional privileges in rail and air travel. These include facility under which their spouses can travel any number of times in first class air-conditioned coach or executive class in any train from the MP's residence to New Delhi and back.

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