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PM Modi, lawmakers agree 30pc salary cut as India deals with coronavirus

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi on Monday cleared an ordinance to slash salaries of parliamentarians and ministers by 30 per cent for one year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The Cabinet also decided to suspend the MP local area development scheme for two years and transfer the money into the government’s consolidated fund. The money under MPLADS is around Rs 7,900 crore for two years: 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and governors had also offered to take the 30 percent cut in salaries.

Briefing media after the Cabinet meeting, Javadekar said the Cabinet has approved the ordinance amending the salary, allowances and pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, reducing their salary, allowances and pension by 30 per cent. This will be effective from April 1 for a year.

The decision came hours after PM Modi told BJP workers to prepare for a long haul. The country and its people can’t afford to get tired or rest in this long war, he said.

“This is a landmark decision that sends the right signals,” Javadekar told reporters.

More than the money, the minister said, the importance of the gesture was to send the right message.

The minister explained that an ordinance was required since salaries of MPs and other dignitaries were determined by law. “Charity begins at home,” he said.

Various state government had already decided on salary cuts and other measures in the fight against coronavirus.

Kerala government on Wednesday decided to cut a month’s salary of all its staffers to raise funds for the state disaster relief fund. Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has given up a year’s salary to help the state fight the Covid-19 crisis.

Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan also announced a cut in salaries of its government employees depending on their ranks.

Maharashtra, which is bearing the brunt of the coronavirus crisis with nearly 800 cases, has decided to pay out the salaries in instalments. (hindustantimes)