Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pritish Nandy on MP’s Salary Hike. Sigh! An MP Draws 13 Times an Average Indian

Writes Pritish Nandy, former member of the upper house (Rajya Sabha), about the recent hike in salaries of Members of Parliament (MP):

"The job had many perquisites, apart from the tax free monthly wage of Rs. 4,000. Then the wages were suddenly quadrupled to Rs. 16,000, with Office Expenses of Rs. 20,000 and a Constituency Allowance of Rs. 20,000 thrown in. I could borrow Interest-free Money to buy a Car, get my Petrol paid, make as many free Phone Calls as I wanted. My Home came free. So did the Furniture, the Electricity, the Water, the Gardens, the Plants. There were also Allowances to wash Curtains and Sofa covers and a rather funny allowance of Rs. 1,000 per day to attend Parliament, which I always thought was an MP's job in the first place! And, O yes, we also got Rs. 1 crore a year (now enhanced to Rs. 2 crore) to spend on our Constituencies. More enterprising MPs enjoyed many more perquisites best left to your imagination. While I was embarrassed being vastly overpaid for the job I was doing, they kept demanding more."

Now the salary of an MP is as follows:

Basic salary: Rs.50,000 per month (Sigh! There was a time when I prided myself in getting more than the Sons of the Bhoomi (SOBs). No longer!)

Daily allowance for attending parliament Rs.2,000 per day

Constituency allowance of Rs.20,000 a month

Office expenses: Rs.45,000 per month

Conveyance allowance: Rs.4 lakh

Pension for former members: Rs.20,000.

Travel: free travel by train and airplane anywhere in India

Much, much, much more!

Remember, farmers are committing suicide and women in slums of Bombay can't go to toilet during the day, and in some parts of Bombay water supply is for only half-an-hour each day. Most importantly, the average man in India draws a salary (per capita) of Rs 3,700, that a thirteenth fraction of what an MP draws (Actually it is a lesser fraction, but I am making a much understood comparison here.).

It's common in business for the accountants and finance guys to pay themselves more (since the kitty is in their hands, after all). Fact of life: you will find fund managers paying themselves heavy bonuses in most mutual funds. I guess the parliamentarians took a cue from them and decided to pay themselves more, again, they have an advantage, the kitty is in their hands.

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