Accepting the demand of MPs, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that their salaries will be automatically revised every five years indexed to inflation.
Presenting the Union Budget for 2018-19 in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said that the present system, which provides for MPs to recommend increase in their salary, had invited criticism and was being changed.
"There has been a public debate with regard to the emoluments paid to the Members of Parliament. Present practice allows the recipients to fix their own emoluments which invites criticism. I am, therefore, proposing necessary changes to refix the salary, constituency allowance, office expenses and meeting allowance payable to Members of Parliament with effect from April 1, 2018," Jaitley said.
"The law will also provide for automatic revision of emoluments every five years indexed to inflation. I am sure Honâ€™ble Members will welcome this initiative and will not suffer such criticism in future," he added.
Several MPs in Lok Sabha had demanded hike in their salaries during debate on the Bill to hike salaries of judges of the Supreme Court and High Court in the Winter Session of Parliament.
Under the present system, a Parliamentary committee having members from both Houses of Parliament makes its recommendations on the salaries and allowances of MPs, and the government takes appropriate decision and brings an amendment Bill. Such amendment proposals are usually approved with consensus in Parliament.
The last time such a bill was passed was in 2010. The bill hiked parliamentariansâ€™ salaries from Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000, which was almost a three-fold pay hike. The constituency and office expense allowances were also increased from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000.
At that time as well, there was furore about MPs asking for a hike, considering the common person was burdened by inflation. The Left parties even staged a walkout.
Last year, BJP MP Varun Gandhi also questioned the MPsâ€™ deciding their own increased remuneration. He also wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to urge the economically advantaged MPs to forego salary hike in context of the increasing inequality in the country.
Over the last decade, parliamentariansâ€™ salaries have reportedly increased by 400%.
(with IANS inputs)