The parliamentarians and judiciary are again at loggerheads. The members of Parliament have taken umbrage at the Supreme Court's observation about 'crorepati' parliamentarians getting pension for life.
Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal raised a point of order yesterday in the Rajya Sabha saying that the Supreme Court observation sullied the image of MPs, many of whom were living "a pauper's life" with their children working as labourers and artisans.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley went on to question the apex court, which agreed to examine the constitutional validity of laws granting pension and other perquisites to retired MPs.
So, how much do our MPs earn? What is their CTC - Cost to Country?
HOW MUCH OUR MPs EARN
The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 decides on the financial entitlement of MPs. The Act has been amended 28 times. The last amendment was enforced in 2010. The proposal to increase salaries of the MPs is under consideration of the government.
Since August 2010, an MP is paid a basic salary of Rs 50,000 per month and a pension of Rs 20,000 per month after retirement. An ex-MP is entitled to pension even if he becomes a member of Parliament for a day.
If a person serves as member of Parliament for more than one full term, the amount of pension increases by Rs 1,500 for every year as an MP.
Apart from their basic salaries, MPs are entitled to several allowances and perquisites. Daily allowance of Rs 2,000 is given to an MP for attending Parliament, a job they get elected to do.
MPs are entitled to Rs 45,000 per month as constituency allowance and another Rs 45,000 every month for office expenses in the form of staff and stationary.
The earnings of a person as an MP are tax-free.
The additional perquisites of an MP include free petrol, free telephone calls and free housing. MPs can get three phone lines and 1,70,000 free calls every year.
The official residence of an MP gets most household expenses free including furniture, electricity, water and laundry. The bungalow of an MP is furnished with air conditioners, refrigerators and television sets. Maintenance of the bungalow is paid by the government.
An MP is entitled to 34 free air tickets for themselves and their companion, unlimited train travel in the first class and his/her spouse can travel free by air from their residence to New Delhi when Parliament session is on eight times a year and unlimited number of times by train.
As legislator when an MP travels abroad, he/she is entitled to free business class air ticket and a daily allowances depending on which country the parliamentarian is visiting.
Almost all the medical expenses of an MP are paid by the government.
PERKS OF AN EX-MP
An MP is entitled to a minimum pension of Rs 20,000 per month and additional pension of Rs 1500 per month for every year of membership of Parliament in excess of five years. There is no upper limit on the amount of pension entitlement.
The family of an ex-MP is entitled to half the pension the former member of Parliament was getting during his lifetime. The family pension is given to the spouse or declared dependent.
An ex-MP is entitled to free train travel in AC-I class anywhere in the country alone or in AC-II with a companion.
The CGH scheme is available to all the ex-members of Parliament for lifetime across the country on the payment at the same rate as they paid while they were MPs.
CTC OF AN MP IN FIGURES
On an average leaving aside the allowances, an MP gets a total fixed sum of Rs 1,40,000 per month and annual fixed salary is Rs 16,80,000.
If allowances are factored in taking average, it comes over Rs 1,51,800 per month and Rs 18,22,000 annually.
Total cost to country of an MP stands at Rs 2,91,800 per month and Rs 35,02,000 per annum or about USD 53,486 at today's market price.
CONTRAST WITH COMMONERS
According to the World Bank report for 2013, the per capita income in India was USD 1,500 and 5,350 PPP dollars.
Gallup, the global performance management consultant, conducted a survey in December the same year and found out that the median income of an average India was USD 616.
Considered on purchasing power parity basis the basic salary of an Indian MP falls in the range of 25,000 PPP dollars per annum. If the allowances are included, the annual earning of an Indian MP goes into the range of 75,000 PPP dollars.
WHAT MPs ARE LOOKING AT
Currently, a proposal to double the salary of MPs from Rs 1.4 lakh to Rs 2.8 lakh is under the consideration of the government.
A parliamentary committee headed by Yogi Adityanath (now the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister) recommended that the basic salary of MPs be hiked from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Constituency allowances could be hiked from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000 per month.
The joint committee also recommended a 75 per cent hike in pension of MPs.