Lawmakers May Soon Get Massive Salary Hike

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New Delhi:  The parliamentary affairs ministry has proposed that the salary of lawmakers be doubled, and, despite their track record in recent Parliament sessions, the government believes they deserve it.

The salary hike could happen in the Budget session of Parliament, sources said. The ministry has proposed that the monthly salary of parliamentarians be doubled from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 and office and constituency allowances from Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 90,000.

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If these proposals are accepted by the Finance Ministry, lawmakers of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will earn Rs. 2.8 lakh a month.

Sources said many lawmakers are not very keen on an increase in basic salary as that will bring them into a higher income tax bracket, but want their allowances increased.

The finance ministry is also said to be weighing another proposal that links the salary of lawmakers to the Pay Commission, a panel that determines the salaries of government employees.

The proposal is to fix the salary of members of Parliament at Rs. 1,000 more than a secretary in the central government and the salary of ministers at Rs. 10,000 more than the Cabinet Secretary.

That plan suggests that the Prime Minister’s salary be one and a half times that of the Cabinet Secretary’s.

The last revision in salary of parliamentarians was in 2010. The government, sources say, believes it’s time for another pay hike and will weigh both proposals in time to take it up in the Budget session, expected to begin in February.

Crucial legislative work could not be finished in the winter session with opposition lawmakers spending a better part of it in the Well or centre of both Houses, protesting on various issues.

While the government used its brute numbers in the Lok Sabha to ensure the opposition’s protests did not cause a loss of working hours, the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, functioned only for half the working hours allotted.

The cost of running each House is Rs. 29,000 per minute and the loss of hours in the Rajya Sabha has resulted in a loss of nearly Rs. 10 crore to the exchequer. The government and the opposition have blamed each other for the loss.