Indian Ministers, MPs To Take 30% Pay Cut For One Year 
The Indian Parliament building is reflected in a fountain as it stands illuminated at night in Delhi. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)  

Indian Ministers, MPs To Take 30% Pay Cut For One Year 

In the wake of a financial crisis stemming from the new coronavirus pandemic, the Union cabinet cleared an ordinance to cut salaries of all ministers and members of Parliament for a year.

Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the cabinet decided to amend the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act through an ordinance, to cut salaries of all ministers, including himself, for a year by 30 percent, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters in New Delhi on Monday. This, he said in the media briefing, has been done to reflect the social responsibility of parliamentarians.

The president, vice-president, governors have also conveyed that they will take a salary cut of 30 percent for a year. This is being done on their request, Javadekar said, adding savings from the salaries will go to the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Covid-19 outbreak has stalled economic activities and the International Monetary Fund has already declared a recession. In India, it disrupted an economy that was set to grow at its slowest pace in a decade. The central government has already announced a Rs 1.7-lakh-crore stimulus, besides the Reserve Bank of India’s measures, to fight the novel virus that has so far infected nearly 4,000 people, including more than 100 deaths.

“This is the least we can do to help fellow citizens in this difficult time,” Ahmed Patel, a Rajya Sabha MP from the Indian National Congress Party, said on Twitter.

Two-Year Suspension Of MPLADS Allocation

Besides, the cabinet approved temporary suspension of the local area development scheme of lawmakers. The funds for 2020-21 and 2021-22 of about Rs 7,900 crore in Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme will also go to the Consolidated Fund of India, Javadekar said. This will help in the fight against coronavirus.

According to Lok Sabha MP and Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, the MPLADS fund “will add to our ongoing efforts and economic relief measures towards fighting Covid-19”.

Saugata Roy, Lok Sabha MP representing the All India Trinamool Congress had no issue with the cut in salary for MPs, but opposed the two-year suspension of MPLADS. This takes away the prerogative of MPs for development in local areas, and as elected representatives, MPs have some responsibilities and commitments, Roy told BloombergQuint.

Agreed Shashi Tharoor, Congress Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram. He called the two-year suspension of MPLADS funds, and pooling the funds into the Consolidated Fund of India “problematic”.

MPLADS is the only means for an MP to direct development resources to his constituency, he said on Twitter. MPLADS preserved the sense of direct responsibility for the well-being of the MP’s constituency. An order to earmark all MPLAD spending for coronavirus related measures would have been okay, he tweeted. But, now the money will be allocated by the centre and will follow the priorities and preferences of the central government, rather than reflect 543 sets of local needs, he protested.

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