Bill for free air travel for companions,relatives of Ministers


Home Minister P Chidambaram introduced the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2009, entitling Ministers to take along "any number of companions or relatives" by air at the same rates at which travelling allowances were payable to them and their family.

"A Minister shall be entitled to an amount equal to the fare for a single journey performed by him, during each year, within India, either alone or along with spouse or legitimate or step children, residing with and wholly dependent on him, or any number of companions or relatives, at the same rates at which travelling allowances is payable to such Minister, subject to a maximum of 48 such fares per year," it said.

Under the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Act, 1952, a Minister was entitled to travelling allowance in respect of not more than 12 return journeys performed, during each year, within India, for himself and his family, whether travelling together or separately, subject to overall entitlement of 48 single journeys each year.

Under the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, an MP was entitled to air fare for each single journey performed by him "either alone or along with spouse or any number of companions or relatives" within India during his term, subject to a maximum of 34 such journeys per year.

"From the (two) provisions, it is observed that an MP is entitled to travel by air for each single journey performed by him, either alone or along with spouse or any other number of companions or relatives whereas, a Minister can avail this facility either for himself or for his family members only," the statement of objects and reasons of the amendment Bill said.
"In order to remove this discrepancy in the entitlement of Ministers to travel facilities, it is proposed to amend the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952, so as to allow the spouse or legitimate or step children residing with or wholly dependent on the Minister to travel on their own or with the Minister, but to allow the companions or relatives of the Ministers to travel only with the Minister, subject to a maximum of 48 fares only," it said.

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