The salary hike Bill is one more taint on the already receding image of politicians who run our country. The bill, seeking to raise the salaries of MPs three fold has been unanimously passed by both houses of the parliament, leading to a furor among the people.
To worsen the situation, Opposition demanded a fivefold hike, and was unhappy with a threefold increase. Of course, when compared to their counterparts in developed countries, our MPs receive less salaries, but they do not do the equal amount of work. Most MPs visit their constituencies only during election campaign visits.
The provision for raising salary, daily allowance and minimum and additional pension would involve a recurring annual expenditure of Rs.103.76 crore. With problems like price rise and farmer suicides facing the nation, this is the most inappropriate time to hike salaries of MPs.
When there are criminal charges, pending cases, corruption charges against the MPs, they absolutely do not deserve a pay hike. When it comes to Bills that are absolutely necessary for the development of the nation, MPs take days to come to a consensus, but in the case of this bill, which was raised by Parliament Affairs minister Pawan Kumar when it wasn’t even slated in the agenda for the day, the MPs passed the Bill within 2 days.
What skews the argument against them is that most MPs—there are, however, exceptions—are extremely wealthy, as their affidavits with the Election Commission show. ADR pegs the average assets of a Lok Sabha MP at Rs 4-5 crore, even after excluding three MPs with assets of over Rs 100 crore from the calculation.
The payroll has started and not much can be done now. Until of course, we land ourselves on a national financial emergency.
By discussing the pay hike we have nothing left to decide. What we indeed should be discussing is the accountability of the funds that they control (Rs 2 crore per yr for their constituency) and their overall productivity. Let them take some more money if they wish to but they need to work to justify this hike. Twelve ministers of state in Maharashtra govt who cost us Rs 12 crore/yr have no work to do at all. These are the things which all of us should be focusing at.
My blog: manasa-chlamydomonas.blogspot.
Name: Manasa K Kumar
Location: Chennai, India.