LS, RS authorities differ on additional increment to staff

LS, RS authorities differ on additional increment to staff

LS, RS authorities differ on additional increment to staff

Mukherjee's advice to the Rajya Sabha was that the grant of two increments was "not proper", Secretary General of the Upper House V K Agnihotri said, a day after his Lok Sabha counterpart P D T Achary asserted that Speaker Meira Kumar has "absolute authority" to do so.

Agnihotri's position was that Parliament's Pay Committee, which decides the pay structure of both Houses, was "sacrosanct" and the "advice of the Finance Minister should be given serious consideration".

Noting that the report of the Pay Committee was adopted with some modifications after the joint approval by Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Agnihotri said that there has been "no joint agreement" on the increments.

He said the mechanism of the Pay Committee for Parliament staff has been evolved as their working conditions are different as compared to government employees due to specific duties related to Watch and Ward, interpreters and reporters.

Finance Ministry sources said Mukherjee merely pointed out to the Lok Sabha Secretariat that any change in salaries has to go through a process under the Ministry of Finance, while Lok Sabha sources expressed ignorance about the Finance Ministry raising any objection.

Achary has insisted that the Speaker has "absolute authority" to decide on the issue as "this has been done to remove certain anomalies that arose following implementation of the cadre review for Lok Sabha staff done two years ago."

He said that the Speaker has the autonomy to decide on these issues as per certain provisions of the Constitution and the rules made thereunder.

"The Lok Sabha budget is finalised by the Secretariat and approved by the Speaker," he said, adding "what has been done is to remove the anomalies. The Speaker need not consult the Finance Ministry or the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry. This is within our budget. She has absolute authority".

Achary has said that when the pay was fixed, the Secretariat came to know about certain anomalies and it was suggested that two more increments should be given to those who did not get the benefit of the cadre revision.

"It is neither the prerogative of Parliament nor the Finance Minister himself to take any decision on it", Lok Sabha sources have said.

The strength of the staff of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is about 2,600 and around 1,400 respectively.