Ministry plans independent panel to decide MPs’ salary

The move is aimed at checking the criticism of MPs deciding their own emoluments.  

The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry is all set to create an independent Emoluments Commission that will be empowered to recommend salaries and allowances for MPs. The Ministry hopes this will help to check the growing criticism – including in the media — of MPs deciding their own emoluments.

The proposal for an independent three-member commission is on the Ministry’s agenda for the two-day All India Whips Conference scheduled to be held in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh from September 29-30.

The conference will be chaired by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.

The Chief Whips and Whips of various parties in Parliament/Assemblies will discuss a plan to establish inter-party forums in the legislatures for better coordination to facilitate effective functioning of legislative bodies. The utility and shortcomings of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) in operation over the last 32 years will also be discussed, it is learnt.

“The setting up of an independent Emoluments Commission for recommending the salaries and allowances of the Members of Parliament will not only put to rest the public outcry and media criticism over MPs themselves deciding their salaries, but also provide an appropriate opportunity to take into consideration the huge responsibilities and the important roles they play in our representative democracy,” say the Agenda Notes for the conference.

The commission is expected to ensure that recommendations on Parliamentary salaries “are reached in a fair, transparent and equitable way.”

“Once there is consensus on setting up of the commission, the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, will be suitably amended.”

The general principles suggested by the Ministry are that the salaries “should not be so low as to deter suitable candidates or so high as to make pay the primary attraction for the job”; and “should reflect level of responsibility.” It also says that salaries should be fixed in a way so that “those with outside interests should not be deterred from entering Parliament, those who choose to make Parliament a full-time career should be adequately rewarded to reflect their responsibilities”.

Currently, Article 106 of the Constitution of India mandates that MPs’ salaries should be determined by the Act of 1954 that has been amended from time to time.

After the last revision in 2010, MPs have been receiving a basic monthly salary of Rs.50,000. Salaries of Members of State Legislatures are governed by Article 195 of the Constitution.

A comparative analysis of MPs’ emoluments in 37 developing and developed countries shows that the basic salary ranges from a low of Rs.7,952 in Tunisia to a high of Rs.6,16,675 per month in Israel. Only in six countries — Tunisia, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Haiti and Panama — do MPs draw less salary than their Indian counterparts. The All India Whips Conference was conceived as early as 1952 to provide a suitable forum for periodical meetings and mutual exchange of views on matters of common concern and to evolve standards to strengthen Parliamentary democracy.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 1:22:10 AM |

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