Diwali bonanza for former LS members

 
They will now get their pension by simply clicking the Parliament website, wherever they are. A message flashed on the Lok Sabha website says that those who have not applied for pension “so far” may kindly apply for the same.

As if the crushing financial burden of the increasing salaries of parliamentarians was not enough, the politically correct pension scheme for MPs has almost knocked the bottom of the prudent budgetary expenditure of the government. The former MPs will be receiving a pension of Rs 6000 per month.

A parliamentary amendment in 2006 had hiked the salaries of MPs from Rs 12,000 to Rs 16,000, besides raising their daily allowance to Rs 1,000 from Rs 500, stretching the delicate government resources. This apart, they get a constituency allowance of Rs 20,000 a month and several perks including housing allowance and railway and air fare among others.

Majority of MPs refused to go on record on the issue of pension and perks.  “We get a consolidated amount of Rs 40,000, which would not even cover the cost of writing letters to the voters,” said a ruling party member. “There is no social security for the honest retired MPs,” he said and pointed out that the government was providing social security to even the unorganised sector. Another Opposition party member blamed the media for “trivialising the issue”.

The Union Finance Ministry had this year informed the National Development Council that by fiscal 2009-10, the joint liability of the states and the Centre on account of the pension of government employees alone was likely to be over Rs 1,00,000 crore.

The MPs’ decision on salaries and pensions has invited criticism following which the government has been mulling over setting up a permanent institutional mechanism over the matter.

The pension scheme for former MPs is coming into force even as the Centre has firmed up a new scheme for its employees, which would drastically reduce the burden on the government exchequer.

After the implementation of Sixth Pay Commission, it has been found that some employees, who retired in 1995, would get pension nearly 2.5 times the salary they drew. Some pensioners have received pension for about 40 years. Ironically, low-salaried private employees are denied the privilege of pension after their retirement.

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