Being a Member of Parliament brings with it many benefits, which include a prestigious lifestyle, ability to bring change to the lives of countless Indian citizens, and the perks, allowances which accompany the job.
But possibly one of the ‘bigger advantages’ of being an MP, is the ability to increase one’s own salary. This has time and again resulted in a debate over the ethics of this arrangement. In the current situation, the Parliamentary Committee on Salaries and Allowances, recommends the total hike in MPs salaries. Thus in 2016, the committee led by now UP CM Yogi Adityanath had suggested a 100% increase to their salary.
One of the other contentious points in this regard was lack of proper justification, rationale behind these hikes. Even though other countries like Canada follow the same practice, United Kingdom and Australia set MPs salaries via an independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and Renumeration tribunal.
And as a result of the power bestowed upon them, as per a 2017 report, the Indian MPs have enjoyed a 1,250% salary hike in the past 20 years with a Rs 34,000 salary hike coming in 2010.
Now in the 2018-19 Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has decided to put a stop to the whole debate, by fixing the salaries of MP’s which will be adjusted every five years, subject to inflation.
Jaitley acknowledged the public debate and criticism regarding the matter of emoluments paid to the MPs, and pointed out how present practice allowed for the Parliamentarians to fix their own salaries. Thus he proposed a necessary change to revise the salary, constituency allowance, office expenses and meeting allowance, paid to them from 1st April 2018.
Under this proposal, the salary of the MP’s would be automatically revised every five years, indexed to inflation. Finally he cheekily stated that he hoped the MPs would welcome this initiative and not suffer future criticism in this regard.