Lok Sabha on the second day of its monsoon session passed a bill that would reduce the salaries of the MPs by 30 per cent, “to meet the exigencies arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a PTI report said.
The Salary, Allowances, and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in the Lower House on Monday. It will replace the Salary, Allowances, And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.
The ordinance was cleared by the Cabinet on April 6 and put into effect the next day.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “funds are needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and charity should begin from home”.
Responding to the demand by opposition members to restore MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), he said: “Whatever decision we have taken on MPLADS is temporary and only for two years”, the PTI report stated.
It was decided by the government to suspend the MPLADS funds for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Under the scheme, members of both Houses can recommend development programmes involving spending of ₹ 5 crore every year.
The Congress and other opposition parties in Lok Sabha demanded the restoration of MPLADS funds even as they supported the government’s decision to cut the salaries of members of Parliament.
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the MPLADS funds should be restored as it is being used by the members for development works in their respective constituencies.
He said that 93 per cent of the funds have been utilised by the members and the bulk of them were used for welfare activities for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and villagers.
He said that while the government is giving tax relief to corporates, it is cutting the salaries of the MPs, and termed it as being “penny-wise and pound-foolish,” the report added.