Why don't MLAs and MPs give up some of their privileges? | Fusion - WeRIndia

Why don’t MLAs and MPs give up some of their privileges?

Why don't MLAs and MPs give up some of their privileges?

In response to the appeal of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s “GiveupLPGSubsidy” more than one million consumers gave up their LPG subsidy. Most of them are common people and some are celebrities.

In this scenario, many citizens are talking about the privileges that are enjoyed by our MLAs and MPs. Several hundreds of crores are spent in the form of allowances and perquisites to MLAs and MPs.

Common people contribute to country’s economy by paying tax and other duties levied by the government. It is again the same people that came forward to surrender their subsidy despite the burden of it. But why don’t our leaders come forward to surrender their subsidy on LPG? Nor are they interested in saying no to subsidy food they are getting for very cheap prices in Parliament canteen.

The salaries of MLAs and MPs in India were hiked by a great margin in 2010. Yet, several of them are not satisfied saying that the salaries of MPs in Parliament are very low when compared to the rest of world. But, the privileges India’s MPs get are not enjoyed by their counterparts in other countries. There are many restrictions in other countries. In Switzerland, parliamentarians do not get any salary or allowance. They are only entitled to paid leave on the days of session. In Mexico, MPs cannot practice any profession or perform business. In the USA, members of Congress cannot earn more than 15% of their Congressional salary from other external sources.

But in India there are no such regulations. MLAs and MPs can fix their own salaries and perquisites. The salaries of MLAs vary in each state as they are decided by the states. Coming to the salaries of MPs, they are paid a base salary of Rs.50,000 per month; constituency allowance of Rs.45,000 and office expenses Rs.45,000 i.e. the total fixed amount per month is Rs.1,40,000, amounting to Rs.16,80,000 per annum. The salaries of MPs are tax free. Furthermore, MPs are entitled to a pension of Rs.20,000 per month. The MPs who serve for a period of more than five years are entitled to get an extra pension of Rs.1,500 for each additional year of their service.

Interestingly, our MPs are earning more than their salaries in the form of allowances. They are provided with several perquisites like free petrol, housing and telephone calls. The amount they spend on furniture, water, laundry and household expenses are paid for. They can travel anywhere in the country by rail in the first class unlimited number of times. Moreover, 34 free air tickets are given to them in a year. Their spouses can even travel for free to New Delhi from their place via airways eight times in a year when Parliament sessions are going on and they can travel in rail for unlimited times. MPs are entitled to Rs.16 per km they travel on road by hired services.

The MPs are given a Daily Allowance of Rs.2,000 per day to attend Parliament and for 190 days of Parliament sessions. Is any other employee paid an extra allowance for simply showing up at their office? But our honourable MPs are getting Rs.3,80,000 per annum (for 190 days) in the form of daily allowance.

Furthermore, MPs get free accommodation in Delhi with 4,000 kl of water, and up to 1,50,000 free telephone calls. They get 50,000 units of electricity per year. For 795 MPs in both houses of Parliament, this amounts to 3,97,50,000 units of electricity each year. Is it not an extravagant usage of resources, which can be used for something more productive? Would they still use so much electricity, or other amenities if they have to pay for it?

MPs can get an interest free loan of up to Rs.4 lakh to buy a vehicle. They can buy furniture for not exceeding Rs.75,000. They need not pay toll tax like common citizens while travelling on highways. Medical and laundry facilities are given to them as well. When counting all the perks and allowances given to them, they can avail more than 18 lakhs per annum as perks, which is more than their net salaries. This would amount to a grand total of more than 150 crores per annum for all the MPs alone. You can imagine how the costs would further go up if MLAs of all the states are also included. It is good that they expect common people to give up their privileges to support the government. But don’t these government officials themselves have any responsibility to lessen the burden on the government, particularly when it amounts to so many hundreds of crores? Yet they have the nerve to complain that they get salaries lesser than other countries. It is again the common man that has to pay for the lavishness of MPs in the form of taxes.

Image Credit: juggadery / CC BY-SA 2.0

Image Reference: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Govt_campaign_(24780039428).jpg

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