February 3, 2018
There has been much debate in the last 24 hours on whether the Budget 2018 has helped farmers or the middle class, the two constituencies believed to be key for any government.
One section for whom the Budget 2018 has surely brought cheer is our netas, the Members of Parliament. Budget 2018 has virtually made the salaries of MPs inflation-proof under a law that will provide for “automatic revision of emoluments every five years indexed to inflation”.
Arun Jaitley also proposed “necessary changes to refix the salary, constituency allowance, office expenses and meeting allowances” of MPs with effect from April 1, 2018.
While making the announcement, the Finance Minister said, “There has been a public debate with regard to emoluments paid to the Members of Parliament. Present practice allows the recipients to fix their own emoluments which invites criticism… I am sure Hon’ble Members will welcome this initiative and will not suffer such criticism in future”.
Just a few months ago, Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal had cried hoarse in Rajya Sabha on even media persons getting more salary than parliamentarians and said that the House should not be worried about media criticism.
So, how much exactly do our MPs earn and how much does the government, or rather we the taxpayers, spend on each Member of Parliament?
The salary and allowances drawn by an MP are governed by the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954. In 2010, the base salary of an MP was hiked from Rs 16,000 per month to Rs 50,000 per month.
ALLOWANCES FOR MPs
An MP is also entitled to a pension of Rs 20,000 per month. According to data sourced from PRS Legislative Research, if an MP serves as a member for more than five years, her or his pension increases by Rs 1,500 for each additional year of service.
To compensate official expenses, an MP gets a daily allowance of Rs 2,000 every day for attending Parliament, when it is in session. The amount is paid only after the MP signs the register maintained for this.
A Member of Parliament also gets a constituency allowance of Rs 45,000 per month to compensate the expenses incurred in her or his constituency. For office expenses for staff, stationary and postage, MPs are entitled to Rs 45,000 per month.
Besides the monetary allowances, MPs are also provided accommodation in Delhi, which ranges from a hostel room to a two-bedroom flat or a bungalow. A Member of Parliament is reimbursed for electricity, water, telephone and internet expenses.
Among other perks, an MP is entitled to 34 one-way air tickets from her or his constituency to Delhi. There is also free travel in AC first class or executive class in any train with spouse.
The latest announcement in Budget 2018 also makes their salary inflation-proof with a provision for a pay revision every five years. Our MPs must celebrate.