Lok Sabha passes bill to cut MPs’ salaries amid uproar over MPLADS2 min read . Updated: 16 Sep 2020, 08:35 AM IST
Non-NDA parties asked why Centre was taking away MPLADS funds for two years but continuing central vista projects
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to reduce the salaries of lawmakers by 30% for one year in view of austerity measures needed to mitigate the fallout of disruptions caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was introduced in the Lower House on Monday by Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi. It will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 brought in April.
However, almost all parties not in the National Democratic Alliance raised strong objection to the suspension of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for two years.
Opposition party members asked why the Union government was taking away MPLADS funds for two years while projects related to the central vista was continuing even as the pandemic is devastating the country. The Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Left parties, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham, and the YSR Congress Party have called the move short-sighted and said it will cause trouble on the ground for implementation of work.
“The central vista project must be cancelled and more ventilators must be brought for the common man in this nation. Why is the government not reducing its expenditure to make sure that the costs come down?" questioned Supriya Sule of the Nationalist Congress Party.
“Take away all our salaries but give back MPLADS fund. Why should MPs be made targets when ministers can do any amount of work. We are getting small work get done in our party…if possible the MPLADS fund should be increased. Instead of making token gestures, I think the Union government should cut down on bigger expenses," Saugata Roy, senior Trinamool Congress leader sad in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on the Bill.
No one grudges the reduction in salaries but MPLADS fund belong to the people and not to lawmakers, said Pinaki Mishra of Biju Janata Dal (BJD). “Its suspension disempowers MPs and the Union government should reconsider it," he said.
The Union government said the move is temporary and is needed in the unprecedented scenario.
“I congratulate all members that charity has begun from both the Houses. It is unprecedented as the whole world is affected. When such things happen we need to take extraordinary decisions…We are not saying only we are doing everything. There is no question of politicization of the issue. The MPLADS proposal is for only two years," Joshi said at the end of the debate.