The salaries of Union ministers and Members of Parliament—starting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi—will be slashed by 30 per cent in view of the coronavirus outbreak and the expected downturn in the economy, the Union Cabinet decided on Monday.
Making the announcement, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and all state governors have voluntarily decided to take a 30 per cent salary cut.
The money will go to the country’s consolidated fund, the minister said after the cabinet approved the Ordinance amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954. The salary cut comes into effect from April.
At the meeting through video-conference, a first since the coronavirus crisis started, the Cabinet also approved the move to suspend the MPLADS scheme for two years. Rs 7,900 crore from the MPLADS scheme will go to the Consolidated Fund of India, Javadekar said.
The meeting was held soon after the Prime Minister had addressed the BJP workers, warning them to be prepared for a long battle.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala has welcomed the government’s decision to slash the salaries of MP’s. He, however, criticised the government’s decision to suspend the MPLADS scheme for two years. Surjewala tweeted: “Dear PM, INC supports the salary cut for MP’s! Please note that MPLAD is meant to execute developmental works in the constituency. Suspending it is a huge disservice to the constituents & will undermine the role & functions of MP”.
The Congress leader also suggested that instead of suspending the MPLADS scheme, the government should reduce its own expenses by 30 per cent that would provide it with the necessary funds in the battle against coronavirus.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 6, 2020
The number of coronavirus cases on Monday touched 4,067, with the highest 24-hour jump of 693 cases and 32 deaths. This is for the fourth consecutive day that India has registered an increase of 500-plus cases.
Asked when the lockdown will be lifted, Javadekar said, “We are monitoring the world situation every minute. A decision will be taken in the national interest. A decision in this regard will be declared at the right time. There are empowered group of officials who are assessing the situation”.
The government has sought suggestions from states about a phased lifting of the lockdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reached out to all the senior opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi, two former Presidents and his predecessors Manmohan Singh and HD Devegowda.