Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill that reduces the salary payable to Members of Parliament by 30 per cent for one year commencing April 1, 2020.
The Salary, Allowances, and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, will replace an ordinance brought earlier by the government as part of measures to mobilise resources for fighting COVID-19.
The bill was introduced in the lower house on Monday.
The Union Cabinet had also approved the temporary suspension of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) Fund during 2020-21 and 2021-22 in the wake of COVID-19.
Participating in the debate, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that MPLADS fund should be restored as soon as possible.
“We should pass a resolution that we should get MPLADS fund. I don’t know the intention behind scrapping MPLADS funds. Eighty-three per cent of MPLADS funds is being spent in villages. All MPs accepted that their salaries be deducted by 30 per cent. I am fervently appealing that the MPLADS funds should be restored as soon as possible,”
Navneet Ravi Rana, Independent MP from Amravati, was among members who said that MPLADS fund should not be suspended.
“Please take our salaries, but please do not cut MPLADS funds meant for development works,” she said.
Replying to the debate on the bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the government needs to take some extraordinary decisions in the face of the unprecedented situation created by COVID-19.
“The scope of this ordinance and Bill is to reduce salaries of members by 30 per cent. I am thankful to all the members who have supported the bill. This is not the question of a small or big amount. The question is charity should begin from home. I am happy that charity has begun from Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha,”
“When unprecedented things happen, we need to take some extraordinary decisions. We should be role models for others. You have raised the issue regarding MPLADS funds. We have taken so many measures under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi to contain COVID-19. Many world organisations also hailed our efforts,” he said.
He said the government has announced Rs 20 lakh crore special package and Rs 1.76 lakh crore Garib Kalyan
Yojana for various sections to deal with the situation created by COVID-19.
“We have increased MNREGA wages. Whatever decision has been taken regarding MPLADS, it is temporary for two years,” he said.