File photo. Photograph:( PTI )
Parliament failed to function for 14th day in a row on Thursday, without transacting any business. The opposition kept protesting against the government, blocking passage of many bills and other legislative business.
The only thing passed amid the continuing din was the Finance Bill. And along with it, a proposal to raise the salaries of Members of Parliament - quietly, nearly escaping the eyes of everyone.
The bill's passage means the basic salary of an MP has now been raised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. The have also got more money as constituency allowance - from Rs 45,000 to Rs 70,000, and the office expense has been increased from Rs 45,000 to Rs 60,000 and monetary ceiling for furniture has been increased from Rs 75,000 to Rs 1 lakh.
Even former Members of the Parliament have benefitted. Their pension has been raised from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per month.
Neither of the two Houses debated the bill either on its good provisions or pitfalls. Some MPs, however, are of the view that there should be a culture of no work no pay and Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien has slammed the move to hike salaries of the parliamentarians.
The bill, which has been cleared by Parliament, has also hiked the salary for the President of India from Rs 1,50,000 to Rs 5 lakh per month. It also has a provision that salaries of Members of Parliament will also be increased after every five years. So, the next review of salary now will take place in 2023.
Though the Finance Bill was passed in Lok Sabha without discussion, it is pending in Rajya Sabha. The Upper House does not have a veto; it is the privilege of only the elected members of Lok Sabha or Lower House. Even if the bill is not passed within specific frame of time (14 days), it is considered passed by the Rajya Sabha, also known as the House of Elders.