MPs’ pay hike: Pranab helps break deadlock

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Bellevision Media Network

New Delhi, 21 August 2010: The deadlock over MPs’ salary hike ended on Saturday after the Government’s trouble-shooter Pranab Mukherjee met agitating parliamentarians who are unhappy with the three-fold increase and are demanding a 500 per cent raise. The Government is likely to consider marginally increasing the hike, official sources said.


Finance Minister Mukherjee met Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav early on Saturday following which peace returned to the Lok Sabha, a day after they stalled house proceedings demanding more money.


Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Dara Singh Chauhan were also present in the meeting with Mukherjee, who is leader of the Lok Sabha.



The RJD chief told reporters in Parliament House that the matter regarding the salary hike has been "resolved". "The house will now function as per rules," he said. Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav also informed the house that the government had assured them that their concerns on salary hike would be addressed soon.


The salary hike bill cleared by the cabinet Friday was supposed to be introduced in the Lok Sabha Saturday but wasn’t included in the revised list of business. The bill is likely to be introduced next week. The bill seeks to raise an MP’s salary from Rs.16,000 to Rs.50,000 and double their perks, but parliamentarians from various parties were dissatisfied and said it was less than the Rs.80,001 recommended by a parliamentary committee.


The opposition leaders conveyed their anguish over the manner in which the Medical Council of India (MCI) legislation was passed in the Lok Sabha Friday without discussion amid pandemonium over the MPs’ salary bill. Sources said the government has agreed to hold a discussion in the house soon on the MCI bill and their suggestions would be considered in the next session.


The meeting with Mukherjee was held in the wake of a mock parliament session held Friday by protesting MPs in which Munde became speaker and Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh were "prime ministers". The exercise drew disapproval from Speaker Meira Kumar.


The mock session was held in Parliament House soon after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day following the uproar created by members over the salary hike demand and protest over passage of the medical council bill without discussion. In the mock session, during which BJP MP Maneka Gandhi spoke, debate was held on the medical council bill.



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