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MPs knock at PM’s door seeking salary hike; reluctant Modi suggests cutting down expenses

NEW DELHI: A group of MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s on Wednesday seeking increase in salaries and allocation under Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme.

The Prime Minister was known to have been averse to the idea of MPs giving themselves a salary raise, putting a parliamentary panel’s recommendation to double members’ salaries and allowances earlier this year on the backburner.

However, some MPs claimed that they had only sought increase in allocation under MPLADS. The MPs are demanding that the MPLADs scheme be increased from Rs5 crore to Rs 25 crore, a proposal which has not been accepted by the finance and statistics ministries.

According to sources, while the Prime Minister did not turn down the plea to raise the allocation under MPLADS, he indicated his reluctance to accept the proposal on increasing salaries by suggesting that members should try to cut down expenses, the sources said. Under the MPLAD scheme, a member is assigned a certain amount of fund for development of the constituency.

The delegation of MPs also submitted a memorandum signed by 255 MPs of various parties to the Prime Minister. The delegation included some MPs of the BJP.

Modi was in favour of salaries of lawmakers being linked to a certain post, instead of bringing a bill which is passed by MPs themselves, generally smoothly with the support of all cutting across party lines. The recommendations of a Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of MPs to increase salary from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh and constituency and secretarial assistance allowance from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000 has been hanging fire.

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