While many lawmakers supported the move to reduce their salaries, they objected to the MPLADs being suspended for two years.

Evening view of the parliament in 2020 PTI photo
news Law Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - 21:22

On the second day of the Parliament’s monsoon session, the Lok Sabha passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which cuts the salary of an MP by 30% in order to “to meet the exigencies arising out of COVID-19 pandemic”. The Bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha on Monday, was passed on Tuesday amidst opposition from many MPs, who protested the cuts in their MPLADs (Members of Parliament Local Area Development) fund. 

In April 2020, the government reduced certain allocations of MPs and Ministers through an ordinance. This was done amidst the coronavirus outbreak, in order to supplement the financial resources of the Union government centre to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet had passed two ordinances in this regard on April 6 — The Salary, Allowances, and Pension of Members of Parliament Ordinance, 1954, which will reduce the salaries of MPs by 30%; and the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Ordinance, 1952, which will reduce the sumptuary allowance of Ministers by 30%. The ordinances were promulgated on April 7. 

The government also amended Rules notified under the 1954 Act to reduce certain allowances of MPs, including constituency and office expenses allowance, for one year.  

The Bill will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

On April 6, the Union Cabinet also decided to suspend MPLADS for two years — 2020-21 and 2021-22. These funds, the government said, will be used to strengthen its efforts to manage the challenges amidst the pandemic. 

While many lawmakers supported the move to reduce their salaries, they objected to the MPLADs being suspended for two years. They demanded the scheme be restored. 

During the course of the discussion in Lok Sabha, DMK’s Kalanidhi Veeraswamysaid, “There are other ways to mobilise funds for the country. Going ahead with the construction of Central Vista during this time is a big disservice to the people. The government of India has cheated its people by depriving them of their rightful amount." 

Mithun Reddy, the floor leader of YSRCP in Lok Sabha, said: "YSRCP supports the Bill but we have strong objections and reservations against suspensions of MPLADS for the next two years.”

Parties like the BJD, BSP, TRS and Shiv Sena also supported the Bill but maintained that MPLADS be restored. Supriya Sule from the National Congress Party also extended her support for the same and asked why the government cannot reduce its expense.

Jayadev Galla from TDP suggested that the government divide its expenditure based on critical, necessary, desirable needs, and should only go ahead with critical expenses. He also noted that micro-targeting of expenditure for COVID-19 could have happened through MPLADS. 

Under the scheme, each Member of Parliament has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for works to the tune of Rs 5 crore per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.

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