NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill which has provisions to suspend the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds for two years and for a 30 per cent deduction of salaries of all lawmakers and the money thus saved can go to the Consolidated Fund of India to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed on the second day of the Monsoon Session despite objections by opposition MPs.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved the Bill to replace an ordinance issued by the government after the Union Cabinet in April approved a 30 per cent cut in the salaries of all Members of Parliament and suspension of the MPLAD scheme during 2020-21 and 2021-22. The consolidated amount of MPLAD funds — around Rs 7,900 crores — will go to the Consolidated Fund of India. The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi, had approved the ordinance to amend the Salaries, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, to cut the salaries of MPs by 30 per cent.
The MPs, including the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers, would take the salary cut for the financial year 2020-2021. In addition, the Cabinet had decided to suspend the MPLAD funds for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Many MPs had already pledged to use their MPLAD funds, Rs 5 crore a year, for efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
In his concluding remarks, Joshi said the suspension of MPLAD funds is temporary and for two years. "I am happy that charity began from LokSabha and RajyaSabha. This charity is because the economy has been affected due to lockdown and other things. When such things happen, we need to take some extraordinary decisions," Joshi said.
The Minister said that the government has taken the decision to be a role model for others. "We have taken so many measures and unprecedented steps to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. PM Modiji told me to tell all MPs not to politicise the issue as it is not related to Centre or state."
Joshi mentioned how the government had put together a Rs 20 lakh crore package and the Rs 1.76 lakh croreGaribKalyanYojana scheme through which free ration is being provided to all poor people upto November this year. The government also given a Rs 40,000 crore budget for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. (IANS)
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