RS member KTS Tulsi on his bicycle at Parliament on Tuesday
The parliamentary affairs ministry has rejected most of the recommendations of a panel of MPs, ranging from canteen facilities on the lines of defence personnel to a fourth of travel fare as incidentals.Not just this. Even former MPs would be entitled to diplomatic passport, have access to VIP lounges in airports and be exempted from toll tax, if the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Parliamentarians had its way.The parliamentary affairs ministry has struck down nearly 75 per cent of the 65 proposals made by a committee headed by BJP’s five-time MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath, according to sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Committee wanted the word ‘spouse’ to be replaced with ‘companion’ to accompany MPs in AC First Class train travel citing the reason that they could need assistance. The ministry was of the opinion that while single MPs could be given the option of taking a “companion”, the facility can be extended only to spouse in the case of married parliamentarians. As of now, a companion gets a second AC seat. If single, a member can declare a companion and travel together.The Committee also suggested increase in number of free air tickets between sessions for MPs from 34 to 43 and travel allowance during sessions, which have also been turned down. Besides it sought CGHS facilities for even their grand children, on which the ministry was of the view that the benefit should be confined to spouse and children.On the recommendation for ex-MPs to have access to guest houses and VIP lounges, the ministry saw no reason why they needed this after completion of tenure. Several of the demands were seen as unreasonable by the ministry while some did not fall in its jurisdiction, they said.The ministry also was of the view that status quo should be maintained on the existing Rs16 per kilo metre granted to members, rejecting the proposal to enhance it.It also struck down the demands for personal assistants of MPs to be given access to VIP lounges and providing a local phone when members traveled abroad on official work, the sources said. On the proposal to increase the car loan amount from existing Rs four lakh, the ministry was of the view that it should be availed from the market.The demands on which the ministry said “ayes” included enhancement of constituency allowance and salary to PAs from Rs 45,000 to Rs 75,000, raising pension from present Rs 20,000 and doubling monetary ceiling on furniture from Rs 75,000.On the question of increasing daily allowances from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, the ministry said it should be performance linked.The panel sought increase in quota in Kendriya Vidyalayas from ten to 15 a year, a proposal which was left to the HRD ministry. The ministry said the recommendations on housing society for MPs, exempting former parliamentarians from toll tax, car facilities to committee chairpersons in inter-sessions and their security, guest houses for MPs in every state capital and giving access to personal assistants to VIP lounges were not in its jurisdiction and referred these to various ministries. Free air ticketsThe Committee also suggested increase in number of free air tickets between sessions for MPs from 34 to 43 and travel allowance during sessions, which have also been turned down. Besides it sought CGHS facilities for even their grand children, on which the ministry was of the view that the benefit should be confined to spouse and children. While MPs are given lifetime rail travel card, the panel sought ten free air tickets per year for former MPs. The ministry was in favour of continuing with the existing provision of former MPs getting AC two-tier facility.
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