What the cabinet has cleared is more than reasonable. At over Rs 37 lakh a year, our MPs take home more money than their counterparts in developed countries including Japan, Italy and Singapore. Their pay is 68 times more than what the average Indian earns annually. So there is no case for complaining that MPs are underpaid. Similarly, the demand to peg the basic pay about that of top civil servants is ludicrous. The jobs are not comparable. Legislators are empowered to oversee the working of the bureaucracy, but those privileges provided by the Constitution can’t be translated into higher pay.
It must be remembered that the claim for more money is raised in a Parliament dominated by crorepatis. Over 58 per cent of the members in the present Lok Sabha have declared assets of more than crore: the average asset holding of a Lok Sabha MP is Rs 5.33 crore. So it’s a club of millionaires that’s clamouring for more, at a time of high inflation and economic distress. Let them not forget that voters are watching.