The Rajya Sabha on Friday passed a bill to scale back for one year the salaries of MPs by 30 per cent “to meet the exigencies arising out of COVID-19 pandemic”. The upper house also passed the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which proposes to scale back the salaries and allowances of ministers by 30 per cent for a year. it’ll replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, that was cleared by the cupboard on April 6 and promulgated subsequent day.
Features of Salaries, Allowances & Pension of Members of Parliament Ordinance 2020
• The Ordinance reduces the essential salary of MPs by 30%. Further, the govt also amended certain Rules under the 1954 Act to scale back certain allowances of MPs. These are constituency allowance and office expenses allowance. These amendments are made for a period of 1 year effective from April 1, 2020.
Highlights of Bill
Article 106 of the Constitution empowers MPs to work out their salaries and allowances by enacting laws.Till 2018, Parliament periodically passed laws to revise the salaries of MPs. t revised their salary and as long as the salary, daily allowance, and pension of MPs shall be increased every five years, supported the value inflation index provided under the Income-tax Act, 1961. Further, in 1985, Parliament enacted a law that delegated the facility to line and revise certain allowances of MPs like constituency allowance, office allowance, and housing allowance to the central government.
In April 2020, the govt reduced certain emoluments of MPs and Ministers. This was wiped out the context of the coronavirus outbreak, to supplement the financial resources of the centre to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. This note discusses the Ordinances and Rules issued by the centre to scale back the salaries and allowances of MPs and Ministers.
Reaction of Opposition
While supporting the cuts in salaries, most Opposition members who participated within the discussion urged the govt to review its decision to suspend the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme for 2 years saying it had been necessary to hold out development works in their respective constituencies.
On several opposition members asking the govt to prevent various projects like bullet and construction of a replacement Parliament building to chop costs, Joshi said, “First you say public spending should be increased and now you’re demanding that each one these projects should be stopped”.
Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD), while supporting the bill to chop salaries, asked the govt to line it priorities properly. He asked if construction of a replacement Parliament building was necessary when the country was browsing a troublesome phase. Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JD-U) sought creation of a special corpus to affect pandemics within the future.
Demand for restoration of MPLAD
The Opposition and therefore the Treasury benches unanimously supported the pay cut for MPs, whilst the opposition MPs demanded the restoration of the MPLAD funds. they assert MPLAD fund should be restored to execute small development projects.
All the parties, except the ruling party, demanded the restoration of the MPLAD fund and stopping of the Central Vista project in Delhi.The minister said the scrapping of the funds may be a temporary measure. The Lok Sabha had on Tuesday passed a Bill which has provisions to suspend the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds for 2 years. The consolidated amount of MPLAD funds — around Rs 7,900 crores — will attend the Consolidated Fund of India. additionally , the cupboard had decided to suspend the MPLAD funds for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
As on 2nd July 2018, 47572.75 crores are released by G.O.I. since 1993 of which 94.99% are utilized under the scheme. Presently on the brink of 4,000 crores are disbursed annually for MPLADS scheme.