Absence of LoP secretariat hits Lok Sabha budget

Govt reduces fund allocations due to non functioning of office

Absence of LoP secretariat hits Lok Sabha budget

The Congress has not been the only loser with the absence of a Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha. According to revised budget estimates, the Lower House and its secretariat have been hit financially.

The Lok Sabha Budget Committee was apprised of a revision of fund allocation from Rs 562.86 to Rs 534.20 crore—a reduction of Rs 28.66 crore—at a recent meeting chaired by Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, sources said.

The government has reduced the amount of money in its allocations due to several reasons, including the non-functioning of the LoP secretariat. However, the vacancy in the post of LoP and its immediate consequences are only among other “main reasons” for decrease in allocation.

Other cited reasons include lesser number of foreign parliamentary delegations visiting India and vice versa.

There is also a decrease in debit claims and air invoices because of MPs’ travel and a slump in withdrawal of salary and allowances of Lok Sabha Secretariat employees as per the final fixation. Vacancies in the secretariat and delay in revision of fees of consultants in Lok Sabha TV have also resulted in the revision of estimates.

“Total savings due to these reasons and others came to Rs 34.61 crore, out of which Rs 5.95 crore had been adjusted against expected increase in revised estimates, especially for meeting enhanced expenditure on printing, computerisation, medical expenses and Air India invoices,” the committee was informed. Though the revised estimates are Rs 534.20 crore for this fiscal, proposed budget estimates for the next fiscal is Rs 599.85 crore.

 The increase of Rs 65.65 crore for 2015-16 would mainly be due to the inclusion of Rs 25 crore to upgrade CCTV and Integrated Security Systems, Rs 7 crore for Wifi and digitalisation of library of holdings and Rs 20 crore for domestic travel expenses for MPs among others.

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