Rajeev Shukla feels MPs have notional perks. (Indian Express DT. 6/8/2005) He wants their salaries to be increased and they should be allowed to hold offices of profit. There was a discussion about this in We the people on NDTV 24X7 on 7/8/2005. I agree with what Gurudas Dasgupta said on that day. He was opposed to increase. Other MPs who took part were Lalit Suri, Ashwini Kumar and Shahid Siddiqui. Shahid Siddique was opposed to increase. Lalit Suri was in favour of it. Ashwini Kumar was not opposed to increase.
Arguments for increase:
1) MPs draw a salary of Rs.12,000/-. It is less than that of secretaries.
2) They have to give gifts during weddings – Rs.501/- at one time.
3) They have to entertain people who come to their homes.
I am opposed to increase.
Arguments against increase:
1) Rs.12,000/- is not a small amount. At 48, and after 20 years of service I don’t get that much. Let MPs not compare themselves to secretaries or other posts. Other posts have qualifications. MPs need not be qualified.
2) Giving gifts is their personal choice.
3) Everybody who comes to meet need not be offered tea. Besides, how much they spend on entertainment?
4) Rajeev Shukla does not mention constituency allowance, daily allowance of Rs.500/- while the Parliament is session and various other benefits.
5) MPs position is not a job. They are to represent people.
Besides MPs have got pensions for themselves when they are out of power. Even if a person is MP for one day he gets life term pension. Now they want to extend it to spouses and children. Pensions also should be abolished.
Rajeev Shukla wanted office of profit. He said there is not enough work when the Parliament is not in session. Shahid Siddiqui said 24 hours are not enough for the work.
Madhu Limaye got his salary as MP. Why his earnings from writings were mentioned as his only income?
People like N. G. Ranga are exception. Even though he had no private vehicle he could have taken Parliament bus. He preferred to walk.
What work MPs do? Many are absent. Many times there are disruptions. Several times bills are passed without quoram. President must take note of this. He has taken the oath to uphold the constitution.
There is misuse of MP Local Area Development Fund.
Expenses for educating the children were mentioned in the debate. Obviously they don’t want to send their children to government schools. Who is responsible for the condition of government schools?
Dilip Cherian pointed out that MPs say their salary is not enough and living conditions are intoleable and yet when it is times for election there are ten people vying for one seat spending one crore rupees. There is a huge disconnect there.
People become MPs voluntarily. If they are not happy they can quit.
Many MPs hold positions and sports bodies and deprive right persons their chance. Sharad Pawar deprived Ajit Wadekar his chance of becoming President of MCA.
Let not MPs whine about their salary and living conditions. You cannot fool all the people all the time.
Rajeev Shukla, you can go back to television journalism.