MPs’ salary-hike likely to be raised further


New Delhi : The government is likely to consider increasing the emoluments of MPs marginally more than what was cleared by the cabinet Friday following a meeting of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee here Saturday with parties seeking a greater hike, official sources said.

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The government has also agreed to a discussion in the Lok Sabha concerning the medical council bill under rule 193.

The sources said that the issue of salary hike was raised by Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad at the meeting with Mukherjee which was also attended by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ministers of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj Chavan and V. Narayanasamy. The Left parties did not attend the meeting.

Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Arun Jaitley and Gopinath Munde were present at the meeting.

Sources said that the BJP leaders told Mukherjee to evolve a mechanism so that MPs do not decide on their salaries themselves.

Lalu Prasad, meanwhile, insisted on a hike to ensure smooth functioning of the house. The SP and JD-U leaders also sought hike in salaries in line with recommendations of a parliamentary committee.

The leaders said after the meeting that the issue of hike had been left to Mukherjee who will hold further discussions. Official sources, however, indicated the government was willing to consider a marginal increase in allowances over those cleared by the cabinet Friday.

The salary hike bill cleared by the cabinet Friday was to be introduced in the Lok Sabha Saturday but wasn’t included in the revised list of business.

The bill seeks to raise an MP’s salary from Rs.16,000 to Rs.50,000 and double some of their perks, but parliamentarians from many parties were dissatisfied and said it was less than the Rs.80,001 as recommended by a parliamentary committee.

The meeting also ended the logjam over passage of medical council bill without discussion, which was vociferously protested by the opposition Friday. The government agreed to hold discussion under Rule 193 and consider suggestions given by the opposition.