Parliament on Friday passed a bill to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs by 30 per cent “to meet the exigencies arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The bill was passed in Rajya Sabha with a voice vote.
Lok Sabha had passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 bill earlier this week.
It will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, that was cleared by the Cabinet on April 6 and promulgated the next day.
The Upper House also passed the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which proposes to reduce the salaries and allowances of ministers by 30 per cent for a year.
Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy moved the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Both bills were taken up simultaneously and passed by voice vote.
While supporting the cuts in salaries, most Opposition members who participated in the discussion urged the government to review its decision to suspend the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme for two years saying it was necessary to carry out development works in their respective constituencies.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi said this was a temporary suspension.
During the debate, Joshi said it did not matter how much money was being saved through salary cuts of members. “Charity should begin from home and that is the concept we have started. It is not Rs 4 crore saving as said by DMK member but Rs 53.9 crore per year from members” salary,” he said.
DMK member P Wilson had earlier during the discussion said the measure would entail savings of just Rs 4 crore.
On several opposition members asking the government to stop various projects like Bullet train and construction of a new Parliament building to cut costs, Joshi said, “First you say public spending should be increased and now you are demanding that all these projects should be stopped”.
“At least we don”t pay to some private trust from PM Relief fund. These people raised similar issues in 2019 election and people have answered,” Joshi further said.
Reddy said COVID-19 has impacted the incomes of people working in the private sector and so the Prime Minister initiated this bill which entails 30 per cent reduction in ministers’ salaries.