New Delhi, Mar 7:
The Union cabinet has decided to cut 30 per cent salary of all MPs for one year, and divert MPLAD funds for two years –nearly Rs 7,900 crores–to fund the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announcing the cabinet decision, Union minister Prakash Javadekar also said the President, the Vice President, governors of states have also voluntarily decided to take a pay cut as a social responsibility.
The cabinet gave its nod to an ordinance amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 reducing allowances and pension by 30 per cent from April 1 2020 for a year, he told reporters, adding this will include the prime minister and the Union ministers.
“Charity begins at home,” he said.
While the salary of all parliamentarians, including ministers, is more or less same at around Rs one lakh per month, there is a difference in allowances between ministers and common MPs. However, allowances have not seen any cut.
After Javadekar”s briefing, the government spokesperson clarified that only the salary and not the pension and allowances of the MPs will be cut.
A decision of more financial import and likely much political heartburn, is the temporary suspension of the MPLAD (Member of Parliament local Area Development) fund scheme during financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22.
While there are 543 MPs in Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha has 245 members –788 in all. Each MP gets Rs 5 crore per annum as MPLAD and for two years it would be nearly Rs 7880 crores while by salary cut the government will save about Rs 29 crores a year.
The money will be put in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) and used for “managing health and adverse impact of outbreak of COVID19” in the country, Javadekar said.