Thursday, 15 October 2015

MPs Want Say In Deciding Their Salary And Allowances

MPs’ salary hike parliamentary panel head BJP MP Yogi Adityanath

They expressed the views at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, who was re-elected Chairman of the panel for one more year.

The government had in the last week of September proposed to constitute a Commission to determine the salary and allowances of MPs, which was endorsed at the two-day All India Whips Conference on September 29 and 30.

The proposal had come in the backdrop of a controversy over a parliamentary panel’s recommendations in June to double the pay and perks of lawmakers.

Today was the the first meeting of the reconstituted Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of MPs, where the issue of setting up an independent mechanism to decide the salary and perks of MPs came up for discussion.

“We have no objection to the government setting up any independent mechanism but that should not dilute the mandate of the Parliamentary committee constituted for the purpose.

Any expert group can make its recommendations but it should go to the government only through the panel of MPs.

“Any expert group’s recommendations cannot be superimposed on the panel of MPs,” a member of the Committee told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

Sources said MPs from most parties, who attended the meeting today, made it clear that the mandate of the Parliamentary panel should “not be diluted”.

“Our argument is that even if a three-member commission is set up, it should function under the Parliamentary panel which should have the powers to review its recommendations.

Otherwise what is the point in continuing with this Parliamentary panel,” the member said.

With the members not willing to allow any independent mechanism to have its sole say in determining their salary and allowances, the issue is back to square one.

Proposing the Emoluments Commission to determine salary and allowances of MPs, Government had said that was being done to decide this in a fair, transparent and equitable manner.

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

“It would ensure that recommendations on Parliamentary salary 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,” it had said.