Recently, a much awaited bill with respect to our honorable members of Parliament was given a nod! The bill seeking a three-fold hike in MPs’ salaries from Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000 and increase of 200 per cent in their allowances was passed. Besides this, the daily allowance of every MP when he or she attended Parliament during session was doubled; constituency allowance and office expense allowance also saw a two-fold growth; and conveyance allowance saw a four-fold growth. In all, this hike entails an annual expenditure of Rs 146 crores and an expenditure of Rs 118 crore on payment of arrears!

However, a lot has been deliberated and written on this issue, and many arguments and counter arguments have been put forth with respect to this bill. Without getting into that argument, what I found most interesting was the manner in which the MPs built their consensus on this particular bill. It was amazing to observe how everyone got united, seemingly forgetting their personal and political differences, and lobbied for the raise. Political parties whose ideologies, in normal circumstance, rarely synchronize with each other, were seen singing the same tune. Rashtriya Janta Dal along with Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Janata Dal (United), Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress were seen to be on the same side. While some other parties didn’t join this unison directly, they were not seen opposing the move either. In fact, despite the first round of salary raise (an increase of Rs 10,000 along with increased perks compared to the current allowance MPs receive), almost all members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), Akali Dal, Janata Dal (United), Shiv Sena and Bahujan Samaj Party demanded a further hike. Parties like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and others refrained from participating in the debate.

It is no secret that our political parties – who generally are habituated to never come to any consensus on any given issue – were seen creating no fuss or roadblocks when the issue was all about their own personal interest. It reminds me of a similar phenomenon that happened a few years back, when the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to frame stringent laws regarding rejection of nomination papers for people with criminal background. There again, our MPs were found voicing their protests – to the move of barring criminals from standing for elections – in unison! On being asked to reveal their criminal antecedents (for the uninitiated, we have more than a fourth of our Parliamentarians facing some form of criminal charge) along with their assets and educational qualifications while filing their election nominations, the entire political class came together, rejected the notification, and without much debate and discussion, sidelined the proposal. In the same lines, our parliamentarians got together when a proposal was mooted to nationalize the money kept by Indians in Swiss bank accounts – and blatantly ignored the same without any discussion, for all the possible obvious reasons!     Read More....

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26/3/2012 05:58:11 am

nice post


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