Make Parliamentary panel discussions online; save Rs 100 cr

The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to cut the salaries of all ministers, including Prime Minister and sitting MPs, by 30% for a period of one year. This decision may be reviewed based on the economic impact analysis on the epidemic crisis. The MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) has also been suspended for two years. As another good model of social responsibility, the President, Vice-President and all Governors voluntarily offered a pay cut of 30% in the wake of Covid-19 crisis.

Pay cut will be effective from April. The salary along with a proportionate reduction in allowances will also be applicable. This decision from the most responsible leadership’s model needs to be followed across the country, by state governments, central government and state government employees, senior officials of public and private sector companies also. The state and central governments should look for opportunities to save the money of tax payers.

There are five finance committees, 24 department-related standing committees (DRSCs), 16 other standing committees and 10 ad hoc committees for the MPs. Apart from these 50 committees there are many consultative committees. Each committee has a membership ranging from 15 to 30. These committees meet many times a year, travel to different places to study and discuss issues. A few committees meet up to 30 times yearly. These meetings cost Rs 10-25 lakh depending on the number of members including sitting fees of members, conveyance charges, business class flight tickets, accommodation expenses and movement of personal staff, etc. All together the committee expense will be more than Rs 100 crore. This could be controlled and reduced to 70% by periodic meetings conducted through video conferencing, and quarterly meets in person.

These are only the Indian parliament’s standing committee details. Apart from this, all the states are having there law makers standing committee in the same format. Along with the salary cut, there needs to be a check the on the number of committees and its meetings.

Salaries and allowances of both central and state government employees need to be cut, for a period of time. The deduction should be scientific and justifiable and proportionate. The Government should call on expertise and talents with proven capabilities to work as volunteers or with retainer basis. This could help to manage the show better in this crisis period.