Cabinet clears salary hike of MPs

     The Union Cabinet on Friday approved a bill to hike MPs' salary from current Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000. The decision comes few days after the Union Cabinet deferred its decision on the proposed three-fold increase. The Bill will now be placed in Parliament for final approval. The Parliament on Wednesday witnessed huge protests from RJD chief Lalu Prasad who vociferously demanded the hike. He was joined by Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and other members of SP, BSP, RJD, JD(U), Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Salaries, Allowances and Pensions, headed by Congress MP Charan Das Mahant, had proposed a salary of Rs 80,001, arguing that an MP''s salary should be at least a rupee more than that of an officer of the rank of Secretary (Rs 80,000), whom an MP outranks in the list of protocol. The recommendation to hike the salary was made taking into account the consumer price index and the wage index for skilled urban labour. Apart from the base salary, an MP gets a daily allowance of Rs 1,000 for each day when Parliament is in session or a sitting of a House committee is scheduled. A member is entitled for constituency allowance of Rs 20,000 per month and office expense allowance of another Rs 20,000 per month. Every MP can avail 34 single air journeys during a year with spouse or any number of companions or relatives. The last hike in salaries and allowances of 795 MPs -- 545 members of Lok Sabha and 250 members of Rajya Sabha -- came into effect about 10 years ago.

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