MPs have come out with defence of their demands for increase in salary and benefits.
In my previous article I had proposed that salaries of MPs be made Rs.86,000/- p.m. and their allowances and benefits be abolished and I stick to that.
There are two types of MPs: Lok Sabha MPs and Rajya Sabha MPs. Some reasons given for increase in salary and benefits do not apply to Rajya Sabha MPs.
Let us examine the reasons given by MPs.
1) MPs are engaged in full-time constituency and parliamentary work.
On most occasions the attendance rate in Parliament is around 10% or less. Instead of debate and discussions, we find MPs engaged in disruptions and walk outs. Many bills are passed without discussions and during commotions.
2) Often MPs have no other source of income.
MPs fight elections. For that they spend money. Legal limit is 25 lakh rupees. How do MPs get money to fight elections? How many MPs have no other source of income? What were they doing before they became MPs? What do they do when they lose elections?
3) MPs of other countries get more.
In the currency of the country the amount is not much. In rupee terms what an American Congressman gets may be 77.50 lakhs per year but in his country it is 1.55 lakh dollars per year. In rupee terms what a British MP gets may be 44.39 lakhs per year but in his country it is 52,000 pounds per year. Similar is the case with MPs of Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. An Indian MP who gets Rs.1.92 lakhs per year is better paid in local currency than those MPs.
4) In India a parliamentary constituency has around 16 lakh voters. In Europe it is around 30,000 voters.
In India there are state governments and legislative assemblies. European countries mostly do not have legislative assemblies.
5) Prices have gone up during the last six years.
What have the MPs done to prevent price rise? In demanding increase in salary and benefits all MPs are united. Where is the unity against price rise? Prices have almost doubled. MPs want five times of what they are getting now. Where is the proportion?
The value of rupee has gone down nationally and internationally. Why have the MPs remained silent when RBI has consistently devalued rupee to favour vested interests? RBI continues to devalue rupee.
6) MPs get many visitors, attend many functions
If the salary is Rs.86,000/- as I have suggested this is taken care of.
7) Need of assistant
MPs are given Rs.20,000/- as constituency allowance and they want it increased to Rs.60,000/- to pay an assistant and cover office expenses. MPs should use laptops. No need to hire a secretary/assistant.
8) Comparison with others
One does not become government secretary or DGP overnight. To reach that position one has to have necessary qualifications and put many years of service. They have retirement age.
Clerks, peons and constables get annual increments. When they reach retirement age their salary will be much higher than someone who has joined in a similar capacity.
If MPs want equality they should see that others do not get what they do not get. If government secretaries and some others were exempt from paying toll that exemption should have been abolished instead of exempting MPs and MLAs from paying toll.
MPs get pension irrespective of the time one was an MP. This pension should be abolished.