New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Tuesday demanded that an external independent body should be formed to determine the remuneration of lawmakers and questioned their authority to hike own salaries.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour, the Bharatiya Janata Party member said: “The MPs have raised their salaries up to 400 per cent in the last decade as compared to 13 per cent rise in the United Kingdom.”
“Giving ourselves the authority to increase our own fiscal compensation is not in line with the morals of our democracy,” he added.
“In the interest of the country, we must create an external body, independent of us members, to determine the salaries,” the Lok Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur said.
Gandhi told the members of the house that “if we self-regulate, considering the economic conditions of the last man in society, we must empathetically forgo our privileges, at least for the duration of this Parliament”.
Citing the example of the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi said: “In the very first meeting of his cabinet it was decided that the all the members would not take their remuneration for six months looking after the suffering of the people at that time.”
He added that even the Constituent Assembly member from Odisha, Biswanath Das, chose to draw only Rs 25 a day instead of Rs 45 a day, saying that he did not require any more.
“When matters regarding salary are raised recurrently, it makes me worry about the moral compass of the house. Nearly 18,000 farmers have committed suicide over the last one year. Where is our focus?”
Referring to the mechanism followed by the Parliament in United Kingdom, he demanded an independent agency to determine salaries of Parliament members here. “Sadly, such a mechanism does not exist in our nation,” he said.
He also said that it was shameful that the number of sittings in the house had dropped from 123 days in 1952 to 75 in 2016.
Gandhi also questioned the recent decision by the Tamil Nadu assembly to double the salaries of its legislators and referred to the protests by the Tamil Nadu farmers in the national capital.
He took a dig at the members for not discussing the important Bills in the house and said, “Taxation bills, as significant as Aadhaar, were passed within two weeks without being referred to a committee.”