RNS: In a bid to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse impact on the economy the Union cabinet decided to cut the salaries of the Prime Minister, other ministers, and parliamentarians by 30 percent for a year.
The decision was taken at a Union Cabinet meeting (held via video conferencing) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday where an ordinance was approved to reduce the salaries, allowances and pensions of MPs by 30 per cent from 1 April for one year. The amount will be utilised in the fight against Coronavirus, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Apart from PM Modi and the ministers, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and state governors have also volunteered to take a 30 per cent pay cut for a year, said Prakash Javadekar Union Information and Broadcasting Minister in a press briefing.
According to the officials, the salary of the Prime Minister of India, Union ministers and MPs is over Rs 2 lakh per month. The MPs receive a basic salary of Rs 1 lakh and several allowances, including a constituency allowance of Rs 70,000 and a secretarial cost for office expense of Rs 60,000. The President draws a basic salary of Rs 5 lakh per month, the vice-president draws Rs 4 lakh per month, and governors get Rs 3.5 lakh per month.
“The President, vice-president and governors have written letters that they have decided to go for a pay cut of their own will,” Javadekar said.
It was also decided to suspend MPLAD funds- a scheme under which parliamentarians get funds for a year to spend on developmental work, for two years. With all the money saved going into the consolidated fund of India to be used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Notably, each MP is entitled to Rs 5 crore per annum under the MPLADS fund in a year, which he or she can use for the development of their constituency. There are 543 MPs in Lok Sabha and 245 in Rajya Sabha. Put together, the MPLADS fund for the two suspended years will amount to around Rs 7,900 crore, which is being donated to the government’s Consolidated Fund.
During the press briefing, Javadekar said, it’s a historic decision; the council of ministers were of the view that they should set an example. “MPs said that charity begins from home and as peoples’ representatives, they should take the lead.”